Wikipedia talk:Banning policy/Archive 2

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Appeals process confusion

"Users who have been banned indefinitely may, if they wish, appeal to the Arbitration Committee after one year." Does this apply just to bans issued by Arbcom, or community bans as well? I was under the impression that a community ban could be appealed to the Arbcom any time after it has been applied, and as the Arbcom is the only entity with the authority to make binding decisions, that seems the way it should be. Either way I think this should be clarified. --Sam Blanning(talk) 12:41, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Bans imposed by the community may be appealed to the Arbitration Committee.
Users who have been banned indefinitely may, if they wish, appeal to the Arbitration Committee after one year.
The way it is written it seems like community bans must be appealed directly to Jimmy Wales or the foundation or the banned user must wait a year. I can understand why that may sound confusing though as a community ban may have been imposed without any attempt at arbitration. That said, it takes a lot to be community banned (like a massive block log) so would it really be of any use to take such a matter to ArbCom? MartinDK 12:56, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
They've definitely accepted such cases in the past. Requests for arbitration/Saladin1970 appeal is one that springs to mind.
Would anyone object if I replaced the first two paragraphs of that section with

Users who have been banned indefinitely by the Arbitration Committee may, if they wish, appeal to the Arbitration Committee after one year by emailing one of the committee members.

Indefinite bans imposed by the community may be appealed to the Arbitration Committee at any time.

To ask for an appeal, email a current Arbitrator. Banned users should not create another account to appeal, as it may be blocked. The Arbitration Committee has consented in the past to temporarily unblocking a banned user in order to edit pages related to the appeal, on the condition that it does not make any other edits.

The last paragraph addresses a different problem, that it doesn't tell indefinitely banned users how to appeal their block. I don't know if there's a written policy about this right now, but allowing users to edit temporarily in order to contest their ban seems current and sensible practice. Again Saladin1970 is an example, Blu Aardvark's appeal is another. --Sam Blanning(talk) 11:08, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Some additional info to inform any changes: The "one year clause" started out as an arbitrary period after which a repenting sinner banned by the ArbCom could have their case "retried" by the ArbCom or Jimbo. See diff and discussion above. At the time, the appeals process was, apparently, limited to immediate appeals to the next higher authority (ArbCom handled appeals for community bans, Jimbo handled appeals regarding ArbCom bans). This situation did not have any options for banned editors wishing to turn another leaf. The change clearly stuck (that was 2,5 years ago). The wording developed into something that now may have the opposite (unintended) implication that indef community-banned editors have to wait for a year if they wish to appeal, as explained by Sam and MartinDK.
Perhaps we can (re-)instate wording that differentiates between appeals to re-assess the same situation (soon after the ban) and repenting sinners who are ready to abide by our rules? AvB ÷ talk 11:59, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Adopting & adapting Sam Blanning's proposal - would anyone object to replacing the first two paragraphs of this section with

Indefinite bans imposed by the Arbitration Committee may be appealed to the Arbitration Committee after one year.

Community bans with a duration of three months or longer may be appealed to the Arbitration Committee at any time.

To ask for an appeal, email a current Arbitrator. Banned users should not create another account to appeal, as it may be blocked. The Arbitration Committee has consented in the past to temporarily unblocking a banned user in order to edit pages related to the appeal, on the condition that the account does not make any other edits.

The only major change: the "three months" threshold, which I base on (1) the time it may take the ArbCom to conclude a case and (2) the fact that I would not want ArbCom members to waste any time on shorter blocks (or expect them to accept such cases).

I'm not so sure about resurrecting language for repenting users, so postponing that one for now. AvB ÷ talk 14:50, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I think the key issue is making sure that a community ban is not devalued while on the other hand making sure that we do not undermine ArbCom's authority when it comes to binding long-term decisions. 3 months minimum sounds like a good solution. As we have seen before a persistent editor will find a way to bother us no matter what. The ban is the "punishment", the block is the tool to implement it and is a totally different matter. MartinDK 15:03, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Since when did community bans have lengths attached? Users occasionally get blocked for weeks or months, but that's usually when repeated violations have resulted in escalating blocks. I don't see that as part of a ban. Remember that "indefinite" doesn't mean "infinite". --Sam Blanning(talk) 16:19, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, once again the policy is rather unclear as it doesn't really talk about this. The only real reference to time is when it says that the timer is reset in case of evasion. And even there it makes no distinction between community bans and ArbCom bans so it makes it rather difficult to decode what the intention of the wording was. Indef means "no automatic expiration". The issue is what it takes for a community ban to expire.... MartinDK 16:36, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that's the issue. As to the duration of a community ban: Since I've taken part in only three community ban discussions, my impression that community bans can have a set duration may well be wrong. If so - in other words, if there is wide support for the notion that a community ban must always be effected through an indefinite block, I would say that Sam's original proposal can go live and the new info (community ban -> indef block) should also be included in this policy. If my impression was right, the changes I proposed still stand. In that case, the ArbCom may want to indicate a preference. AvB ÷ talk 15:09, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
What we seem to be getting at here is ArbCom's undisputed sole right to make binding decisions vs. the community's right to say enough is enough. I don't think ArbCom would like to be told that it can't review a ban not imposed by itself but on the other hand commmunity bans do exist for a reason. Giving ArbCom the right to reverse a community ban at any time but making it a general rule that a community ban should last 3 months before being reverted sounds fair to me. Problem is how do we express that in a way that does not appear to be undermining ArbCom's authority. I would not like for us to create a precedent for policies that do not allow ArbCom to step in at any point in time. That said, I know of at least 2 recent community bans where ArbCom appears to have expressed their informal accept at AN/I. MartinDK 20:59, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

blocking an IP


I don't know how to propose some IP to pe blocked, but check this IP:

He has been vandalising articles for some time and no action has been taken.

--PET 17:45, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

A little late to be answering this one but for anyone else wondering the same you should refer to WP:AIV. An administrator will then look into it. Cheers, MartinDK 15:10, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Indefinite blocks and comunity bans.

There's currently discussion on the relationship between use of indefinite blocks and community bans at Wikipedia_talk:Blocking_policy#Indefinite_Blocks. --Barberio 20:58, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Partial bans including Talk Pages

The article presently says:

Partial bans usually do not extend to talk pages.

This description has a narrow and restrictive scope, although the "usually" provides a way out. Partial bans which exclude talk pages miss one of the more common problems in Disruptive editing where an editor engages in frequent and lengthy discussions on an article's talk page advancing original research or a particular point of view. I suggest the description be revised to give a more positive scope to partial bans:

Where appropriate, partial bans may extend to include talk pages.

--SteveMcCluskey 23:04, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Lacking objections, I made the proposed change. --SteveMcCluskey 21:40, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

No misconduct is necessary for a partial ban

A perceived WP:COI is sufficient {] My edits were described by the arbcom as responsible but I got banned anyway. User_talk:Jdforrester/Arbitration#Sathya_Sai_Baba_arbcom_case_2:_banning_of_Andries_for_one_year Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Sathya_Sai_Baba_2/Proposed_decision#Editing_by_Andries Andries 19:31, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Definition of relevent notice board in the "community ban" section

Can we define the "relevant noticeboard"? Navou 21:30, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

See the discussion above. At the moment, it doesn't say "the relevant noticeboard", it says "a relevant noticeboard". At the moment there is not only one relevant noticeboard, whether there should be or not. JPD (talk) 13:22, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Pardon my misuse. I mean, should we define the boards? Regards, Navou 13:39, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
No, any relevant noticeboard means just that. --Tony Sidaway 13:59, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
"noticeboard" is unfortunate wording in my opinion, anyway. It seems to indicate either WP:AN and subpages, because of the name, or any actual noticeboards, where such discussions don't really take place. "Relevent" was added to go some way towards rectifying this, but I think it should simply convey the fact that any discussion that demonstrates community consensus should be sufficient (and if an admin can't determine whether a particular discussion in a particular forum is community consensus or not, they shouldn't be involved in implementing bans). Dmcdevit·t 08:43, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Explanation of Tony Sidaway's revert of an edit by Navou

Navou changed the wording of the community ban section, changing "Administrators who block in these cases should be sure that there is a consensus of community support for the block, and may note the block on a relevant noticeboard" to "Administrators who block in these cases should be sure that there is a consensus of community support for the block, and are encouraged note the block on a relevant noticeboard." The edit summary was: "change may not to are encouraged too, revert if this is not the case. Does not seem creepish, at least I don't think."

Well I've reverted and this is my explanation. We've had months and months of a slow creep towards the very unwikipedian concept of a community ratifying bans that are made on the basis of consensus, but our policy doesn't required this, only that concensus should exist. Raising an expectation that the ban be noted on a noticeboard raises the expectation of consultation beyond that necessary to determine whether consensus exists. Take for instance the case of an editor who has been found by checkuser to be socking for serious vandalism. No consultation should be expected. This is an instance for which consensus already exists to ban. It is for anyone who objects to such a ban to raise it and ask for review. It should not be implied that the administrator needs to ask for review of such a ban if he's already certain (as is the case here) that it's one for which consensus exists. --Tony Sidaway 19:37, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The point is that admins are encouraged to ask the public when it is appropriate, not just encouraged in general. There is no reason to think that it is necessary for every case, but this implies it is (encouraged at least) for every one. As if we don't expect administrators to understand the difference. This is unnecessarily prescriptive, which makes it still instruction creepy to me. Dmcdevit·t 09:00, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Indefinite bans and the future

Something that occurred to me in an IRC discussion...

As it is, if a user is banned indefinitely, they are not allowed to come back and become a productive contributor without appealing the ban (and the deck is stacked in every way against such an appeal). That may seem fine now... But what about down the road? What happens fifty years from now, when that snotty 15-year-old kid who thought it'd be hilarious to move pages to "On WHEELS!!!"1
is now collecting social security?2
Now, you could say, if he keeps his mouth shut, we'll never know it's him, and he's free to contribute all he wants. But are we really going to say that he can't admit to a mistake half a century gone by, because of a still-active ban?

Why should any ban last more than ten years, ever? Or even one year? If they keep doing whatever they got banned for, they can be banned again, or if they're doing it while still banned it can be renewed.

  1. Yes, I know Willy on Wheels has never been formally banned.
  2. Speculation on the survival of social security is beyond the scope of this argument.

--Random832 01:49, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

  • I think that we already expend undue resources on these problem editors. Those resources could be expended on more productive matters. Editing is not a right. If they appeal 50 years later while collecting social security, they can raise your above point then as part of their appeal process. But I see no reason to put a blanket exception into the rule. Just my opinion.--Epeefleche 19:51, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

The answer is simple: just create another account and remain anonymous. Also, who can say that Wikipedia will even last that long? In the future, it will either be a whole lot like Citizendium or will be totally overrun and unmanageable.

Strikethrough of comments by User banned indefinitely for disruptive editing (where the comments appear on talk pages & article discussion pages)

A question for the experts here. An editor has been banned indefinitely for disruptive editing (after a number of shorter bans, for repeated sockpuppetry, disruptive editing, and 3RR). (Even after his indefinite ban, he has come back as a sockpupet, but that is not the focus of my question). Left behind on article discussion pages, and user talk pages, are the banned user's comments. Many state his positions as to what Wikipedia policy allows, in an authoratative manner, and others are disruptive comments in which he engages in conflict with other editors. I (and another editor) have struck through such comments, with a note that they are comments of an editor who was banned for disruptive editing. Two other editors, one who had vociferously challenged his ban, now quarrel with that approach, and have reverted my strikethroughs on a number of such pages. I am of course referring to his comments from before the ban -- but it was of course his disruptive comments and actions before the ban that led to him being banned. I have not reverted/deleted his comments. Nor archived them. Simply left them there, with strikethroughs and the explanation, so later readers can (de)value his comments appropriately Thoughts? Many thanks.--Epeefleche 20:18, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

His comment from before the ban should stand; it's really not necessary to strike them though.--Isotope23 20:58, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi. Thanks for your thoughts. To amplify -- it's not a question of whether it is necessary to strike through his comments. It is a question as to whether it is OK to strike through them. This is to my mind in accord with the policy.

WP:Ban does not provide direct guidance. It does provide background to this issue, however, in that it addresses appropriate treatment of the banned user after the ban. It states that any of such edits "may be reverted to enforce the ban, regardless of the merits of the edits themselves.... Users are generally expected to refrain from reinstating any edits made by banned users."

The way that strikethroughs of prior statements accord with the above statement, is that Tecmo was banned for disruptive edits. As such, any future disruptive (or, indeed, non-disruptive) edits may be reverted. Since his edits have been found to be disruptive, it appears likewise to be appropriate to -- if not delete -- at least flag to the reader, so that the reader can devalue the edits as the reader feels appropriate.

WP:Ban also provides support for the "replacement" of the banned user's comments (and those of others) on the banned user's user page. That page, of course, is a talk page that can be anticipated to include comments by the banned user before the ban was put into effect. The rule states: "Banned users' user pages may be replaced by a notice of the ban and links to any applicable discussion or decision-making pages. The purpose of this notice is to announce the ban to editors encountering the banned user's edits. Unlike editors who have been temporarily blocked, banned users are not permitted to edit their user and user talk pages." [emphasis added].

The rationale for the strikethroughs is consistent with the above Wiki guidelines -- the purpose being "to annouce the ban to editors encountering the banned user's edits." It is even less draconian, in that strikethroughs allow the reader to still see the banned user's edits. This is a softer approach than the reversion and replacement approaches that the guidelines suggest in the above instances. IMHO.--Epeefleche 22:59, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

As I said above, his comments from before the ban was enacted should stand; i.e. it is not OK to strikethrough them. The text you quote above allows for wholesale replacement of a banned editor's userpage... I think you extrapolating something from the policy that it doesn't actually state. If you want to propose that text here, you are free to do so, but I don't think that is current practice either explicitly or implicitly from WP:BAN.--Isotope23 00:30, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree that it is not explicit. It is clearly consistent with the stated rationale, though. Guideline interpretations work in this manner, where there is no explicit statement that is directly on point. The rationale stated in the guideline is that there is an interest in alerting readers to the fact that comments by a banned editor -- certainly comments after the ban, but also comments prior to the ban (albeit, on his talk page) may be deleted. Applying that rationale, the same purpose is served when the banned users comments are merely stricken through on talk pages other than his talk page. If it makes sense to, for the reasons stated, go so far as to delete his comments on his talk page, it seems that it is consistent to allow the less draconian striking through on other talk pages of that banned editor's writings.--Epeefleche 00:50, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
  • No. What you're doing is in fact invoking an ad hominem argument, i.e. "this user is banned therefore we should ignore everything he ever said". That is not proper. >Radiant< 09:53, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Actually, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that readers should be alerted (by strikethroughs) that these are comments of a banned user, so that the reader can determine whether he wishes to devalue the banned user's comments as a result.
Of course, your construct (we should ignore everything the banned user said) could be read to be consistent with the more draconian policy set forth in WP:BAN itself. The guideline calls not for strikethroughs, but actually for reversions and replacement of certain banned user comments. Those leave no trace of the comments on the page itself, and as you say lead one to necessarily ignore the banned user's comments in those circumstances.--Epeefleche 14:51, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
That only applies to comments made by a banned editor while banned and common sense should rule the application of that. If an obvious sock of a banned editor makes a page change or comment, that can be immediately reverted. If it is noticed after other editors have commented back to it, it is probably preferable to just add a comment that it is a statement by a banned editor who is block evading and move on. There isn't any reason to strike out or remove previous statements made an an editor now indef blocked or banned. For one thing it is a maintenance nightmare to have to go back and restore/unstrike comments if the block or ban is lifted. Ignoring a blocked or banned editor's comments in a discussion that is still ongoing and which they were once a part of (but are no longer participating in due to their ban) is just a conscious effort on the part of the other editors involved in the conversation. Obviously the banned editor has nothing more to add there and they can be considered out of the consensus building process, just like an editor who voluntarily declares that they are no longer participating in the discussion. Your suggestion of alerting others via strikethroughs is not part of current policy and would have to be proposed as a change to WP:BAN, though as I said above I think this would create extra work that isn't really necessary.--Isotope23 15:05, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Iso--It also applies to pre-ban comments made by a banned user on the banned user's user page. And WP:BAN indicates that the purpose "is to announce the ban to editors encountering the banned user's edits." The same purpose is served here. And that is precisely the end result that I am seeking here.
I could just leave a notice at every entry, rather than use strike-throughs. Do you think that would be better? Either approach serves the purpose, as long as it appears in each instance that the comments appear.
Sure, once we have some more discussion, I'll be happy to propose something in accordance with that statement of existing policy, applying the policy manifestly in the guidance to pre-ban banned user comments, other than those made on his talk page. Something that brings it into line with treatment of his other pre-ban and post-ban comments.
I would think btw that strikethroughs, if we were to go that route, should only be used where the ban is an indefinite ban. This, in deference to your comment about maintenance. Otherwise, I think that the maintenance problem -- if the banned user is allowed back -- is properly the problem of the banned user if he wants to reinstate fuller consideration of his comments. A small penalty for having engaged in the disruptive activity leading to his ban. (Though as to maintenance issues, I struggle with what we do with, for example, all the edits made by the banned user's sockpuppet. We have authorization to revert all of them. But that involves the maintenance that you describe -- and it falls to us, users who are the do-gooders, not to the banned user). --Epeefleche 15:35, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Right... it applies to the banned editor's "userpage", not the mainspace. Sorry Epeefleche, but there is nothing in the letter or the spirit of WP:BAN that would allow for you to alter a banned editor's comments and additions made before the ban in the mainspace. Given the tenor of the current ANI thread about this, it might be in your best interest to drop this. Just a suggestion (as an editor, not an admin). For the time being the editor that is at the root of this is gone. It's probably a good idea for you to just be content with that and put down the stick.
In regards to your statement of indef blocked/banned editors, an indefinite block != infinite. Indefinite just means no set time limit. I don't want to drag uninvolved editors in as examples, but I can think of at least one individual who was indefinitely blocked, where I would have considered that a block until the sun swallowed the earth, and that individual is currently editing again per a (sort of) consensus. Part of the ban wording also states that "Wikipedia's hope for banned users is that they will leave Wikipedia with their pride and dignity intact". I think expecting an editor who was indef blocked or banned and who has been reinstated to go through and find every example of a past comment that has been struck out and try to undo that (most likely from archives that shouldn't be tampered with) isn't particularly in line with the spirit of that. Blocks are preventative, not punitive and punishing someone who has been indef'd/reinstated by expecting them to resurrect their previous contributions doesn't have any preventative merit.--Isotope23 18:45, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for thinking this through with me. Yes, the mandate to delete applies, as we agree, to the banned user's pre-ban comments on his user page. And to all his post-ban comments, wherever they may be. There is no specific language as to what to do with the same user's pre-ban comments on others' user pages and on article talk pages. But I think I covered this above, and how I think that the rationale applies -- while wp:ban has not addressed the circumstances -- to post-ban comments the banned user left elsewhere. The spirit, as you put it, of wp:ban is encapsulated in its overt statement of the goal of "announc[ing] the ban to editors encountering the banned user's edits. On this page I am seeking a general policy discussion, not one specific to any one user, that would apply to all indef banned users. My clarification was so that this would not be applied to users banned for shorter periods of time. And I agree that an indef banned user can come back -- of course, that does not stop us from deleting their pre-ban comments on their talk page, and their post-ban comments elsehwhere. The goal here is not punitive, but it is to put teeth into wp:ban's goal of alerting other editors that the comments that they are reading are the comments of a banned editor. That is a clearly stated goal of the guideline. And it allows readers like you, who have said that for you the opinions of a banned editor are irrelevant,[1] to know that the comments that you are reading of the comments of such an editor. Otherwise, without more, when you see those comments you do not have the opportunity to value (or devalue) the comments in accordance with your own view as to how important that should be. The question is what is the best way to apply the goal of announcing the ban to other editors, who are encountering such banned user comments, in areas other than their talk page. I'm open to suggestions.--Epeefleche 19:05, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
How about stop. --MichaelLinnear 19:30, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Anything other than replacing a banned editor's userspace with a template is out of the scope of WP:BAN and as I've said before I personally don't see a good reason to add anything along those lines to the policy at this time. Sigs are links; anyone can follow them and see that the editor is currently banned.--Isotope23 20:33, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Iso-I hear you. But if Wiki guidelines thought that sufficient for notice, why does this policy provide for deletions of pre-ban comments and of post-ban comments on the user's talk page? For the purpose of "announc[ing] the ban to editors encountering the banned user's edits?" I think that that is at odds with your suggestion that links (which have to be clicked on) are enough.--Epeefleche 05:09, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Because a user page is not an article talk page, and we've never had anything relating to striking or removing edits from a banned editor before they were banned. The reason for changing their userpage to {{banned}} is, indeed, the way in which we address your concerns—anyone saying "Who is this guy?" and clicking on the link will quickly be informed that the user is now banned. Your proposal, however, raises too many concerns to be workable (both practical ones such as: Being able to do it in the first place, as some banned editors have thousands of edits before being banned; the question of reversing all that work in the future if the ban is later lifted; a nightmare of confusion in trying to follow any conversation the user contributed heavily to before being banned) and more abstract ones (the idea of reverting a banned user's edits which the user makes after being banned is simple—they shouldn't have been editing in the first place, so it's fine to reverse anything they did in defiance of that prohibition. But edits made before they were banned were made while they did have editing privileges, so why should we memory-hole those?). Or to put it more shortly, there's not any consensus to do what it is you want to do, and it doesn't appear likely there will be. Seraphimblade Talk to me 06:36, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Edits to intro and description

I've had a go at improving the description in the policy intro, without changing meanings, to deal with the problem that whilst bans can be community bans or short term (eg article) bans, the policy slips between the two a bit. Summary of edits:

  1. Refactor introduction:
    • Moving detailed description of short term bans to the main article (see below)
    • Tighten up the introduction and description of bans (brevify and focus).
    • Replace long description and inadequate sentence how bans are imposed, by a single short paragraph that describes the types of ban, and list the main ways such bans are imposed.
    • Simplify block/ban contrast, was over-detailed and quite long for what needed saying.
  2. Add "policy in a nutshell"
  3. Take the description of article and short term bans that was in the intro (simplifying it), and use that and the "community ban" section and a brief note on longer term bans, to create one main section, "types of ban" that summarizes the differences between ban types (partial, site and community), ban duration, and how they are created.

Diff: [2]

FT2 (Talk | email) 11:25, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

One question: under "Decision to ban" should there be a bullet:

"Individual administrators may set a ban on a user, for example by imposition of a partial ban covering specific articles or pages, or a site ban for significant breaches of policy. Whilst this is usually for a short period only, in case of repeated disruption gradual escalation to indefinite blocks may occur."

FT2 (Talk | email) 11:55, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Blocks are not set to punish or ban a editor, blocks are set to protect the community, and the integrity of the article proper. So I would that individuals do not set short term bans, bans are set when there is an indef block, and no administrator is willing to unblock. That would be de facto consensus. Also, community consensus to ban is also possible and done. Navou banter 12:39, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
The partial and site bans section was a little wordy. I Don't mind it being mentioned, but it should probably be mentioned briefly. Navou banter 12:49, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Part yes, part no. It's that ambiguity that was (in part) the problem with the current text of WP:BAN. For example, if BAN states that a block is "just a technical measure to enforce a ban", then users blocked for vandalism and the like are in fact better described as banned for a short period (the social construct due to breach of policy to protect the project), with the ban enforced by a block (the physical enforcement of that construct and ensure protection).
The problem is, there's an ambiguity between what BAN says, and what we do in practice, and policy doesn't accurately describe the actual consensus. According to BAN, bans are the social construct, blocks the technical enforcement, but in actual usage it looks like the reality is, there is short term removal but we describe it differently in different places and don't have one clear place they are defined and differentiated. If we mean in reality, that a block is used to enforce a ban or protect the project, then the description of blocking in WP:BAN is inaccurate. What I'm aiming for is to bring BLOCK and BAN into line as a good description of community consensus on how editors are removed temporarily or permanently. We know what the communal norms are (using the word 'remove' to ensure no ambiguity):
  1. Editing rights may be removed for a short period, or a long period, or indefinitely.
  2. Short term removal of editing rights tends to be for deterrence of future misconduct, to enforce a break to think and reflect, cool off disputes, and in order to educate the editor by impressing the seriousness of their action. Long term removal tends to be more to protect the project.
  3. Editing rights may be removed for a section of the wiki, or the entire site. Partial removal is usually considered where there is a combination of good general editing combined with inability to edit appropriately in some limited area, and aims to protect that area and yet avoid losing their good contributions elsewhere.
  4. Editing rights may be removed for breach of a policy such as vandalism or personal attack.
  5. If the account or IP is used for attack or damage purposes only, editing access may be removed permanently by any admin.
  6. If access is removed several times, the periods of removal may escalate at administrator discretion, possibly up to "indefinite".
  7. If an editor's removal lacks a defined time period, and yet no editor is prepared to seek consensus that they can come back, they are deemed to have been removed by communal consensus.
  8. Long term removal of a month to a year or indefinite (other than of pure attack and damage users), whether partial or site, is more commonly a part of an arbcom decision.
  9. Mediawiki does not presently support enforcement of removal other than to the whole (or substantively whole) of the site. So removal from part of the site is usually not backed other than by social demand (and threat of removal of all editing privileges if breached), whereas site removal usually is enforced by software exclusion.
Terminology aside, that is (as best I can tell) how blocks, bans and exclusions work in practice, and how the community uses and views them. A new user reading WP:BLOCK and WP:BAN should get the above impression, clearly, and my concern is that they actually don't. There is little clear description of different types of removal (whatever called) and little distinction of when a block is itself the removal and when it's a mere "technical measure" for removal sanctioned elsewhere. Hence the edits, to bring them into line with consensus and actual agreed practice. FT2 (Talk | email) 14:40, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Note also that WP:BLOCK refers to bans set on specific articles "on all or part of Wikipedia. A ban may be temporary and of fixed duration, or indefinite and potentially permanent" with a note "For more details on this topic, see Wikipedia:Banning policy" But WP:BAN doesn't address partial bans set by admins, it only addresses full site bans by the community, arbcom etc. Where is policy on the setting of short term limited (partial) bans by admins, to protect specific articles, documented? Omission? FT2 (Talk | email) 23:33, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

I am a named party in an ongoing arbitration case where this is an issue, Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/COFS, so in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety I will restrict my comments to one technical point until the close of the case. I certainly have more I'd like to say when it's done. If you're going to cover topic bans, please use the same terminology in policy that sysops normally use: topic ban. DurovaCharge! 15:58, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Enforcing bans. Flaw in policy. Proposed change.

The official policy says:

Any edits made in defiance of a ban may be reverted to enforce the ban, regardless of the merits of the edits themselves. As the banned user is not authorized to make those edits, there is no need to discuss them prior to reversion. Users are generally expected to refrain from reinstating any edits made by banned users. Users that nonetheless reinstate such edits take responsibility for their content by so doing.

It is not possible to revert newly created pages, as there is nothing to revert to. Such pages may be speedily deleted. Any user can put a {{db-ban}} to mark such a page.

This is flawed for one major reason. Imagine a user creates a great page which becomes a Featured article, then it is later found out that this user was previously banned for some reason. What should happen to this Featured article that the user created? Let's imagine that hundreds of other users had put a lot of work into it and the consensus is massively in favor of keeping it. This policy clearly states that such pages may immediately be speedy deleted and makes no mention of any exceptions. I propose that the policy be reworded to leave room for exceptions and make it clear that if a page is created by a previously banned user and the page existing (or the edits themselves existing) is constructive to Wikipedia and improves it in some way then they may be kept if a consensus supports a keep. Wikidudeman (talk) 16:24, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

It says may be reverted. Common sense prevails here. Regards, Navou banter 19:41, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Generally, the page only will be speedied if little or no additional work has been done to it since the banned user created it. If it turns out that a sock of a banned user created an article two years ago, and today others have done tons of work to it and it's featured, no one in their right mind is going to speedy it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:54, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
With this reasoning, you may consider speedily deleting Sathya Sai Baba movement that I created. Andries 19:59, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
Navou, "May" be reverted when? Does it specify when it "May not" be reverted? If the consensus is to keep "may" it still be reverted? Wikidudeman (talk) 03:52, 29 July 2007 (UTC)
Seraphimblade, While that may be true, I fear that some people may use this flaw in the wording to make reverts or deletions that harm the project. Wikidudeman (talk) 03:52, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

Happens all the time. Damages the encyclopedia and proves how petty the reverting admins are, and that's about all.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

Ban terminology and usage (moved from WP:AN)

Discussion moved from WP:AN:

I'm discussing block/ban policy wording with other editor/s on those pages, over concerns that the wordings of WP:BAN doesn't completely describe day-to-day reality and usage. Although basic noob points and in some cases stated in WP:BLOCK or WP:BAN, it would help to re-check some fundamentals, as input:

Q. Comment/example
1. Which types of removal of editing access are properly described as "bans"? For example, editor 1 picks up a 1 week block for repeated personal attacks on co-editors on an article, editor 2 is banned by an admin from editing on religion for a month following lesser blocks and personal attacks on atheists there, editor 3's edits are all personal attacks and the editor is indef blocked by an admin, editor 4 is indef banned by arbcom for incessant personal attacks - are these all "bans"?
2. Is a ban always the social construct of removal of an editor for a period and a block the technical means of implementation? (See WP:BAN) For example, would it be accurate to describe users who pick up a 24 hour block for disruption, as technically being short-term banned with the ban supported by a block?
3. In some cases (eg vandal only SPA) an account is usually described as "account/user X indef blocked, vandalism". In other cases (eg at arbcom) an account is usually described as "account/user X indef banned from Wikipedia for vandalism". Both seem to have the identical aim and effect: to protect the site from vandalism by long term excluding the vandalistic user. Are these in fact the same thing? Different? Comment: My impression is that we tend to use ban to mean, long term exclusion of an editor who is/was part of the community from the site (or part of it), and block to mean the removal of someone who never was part of the community, or is not being long term excluded from it. (As well as using "block" for a technical means of enforcing a ban via software.)
4. WP:BLOCK refers to partial bans to protect articles, referring to WP:BAN for more detail. But WP:BAN focusses on long term/indef bans. Neither of these document a user being short term partial/topic banned by an administrator from an article or page (eg to avoid losing good edits elsewhere). What is communal understanding on short term article/topic bans? Example: User Z has good edits generally but POV wars on sexuality. A 1 week ban is now reasonable for repeated OR/CIVIL on sexuality related topics, but rather than giving a 1 week block that will affect all edits on the site entirely, an administrator decides to ban him just from sexuality related topics (only) for a week, to protect those topics and without losing good contributions elesewhere. Is this an option open to unilateral administrator decision?

Even though the above points are (apparently) referenced somewhat by policy, it would help to have communal double-checking. Thanks :) FT2 (Talk | email) 09:23, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

None of that looks very good to me. First, no one should be getting blocked for "NPA." Second, absolutely no one should be banned for NPA-related anything. If anything like that is occurring, I can only hope that the subjects of the blocks are appealing them. Some Wikipedians use the term "ban" when what they're talking about is by no means a ban. WP:BAN is right: it's reserved for very special cases. A ban is a ban -- don't come back. We have had very, very, very few bans of established editors, and a good many of those were later reconsidered. A ban is for Willy on Wheels. This is different from a topic/article ban, which is usually conditioned additionally by time. "You are banned from editing booger for six months." First, such things don't generally have genuine force without going through RFAR but really are consensual or contingent (e.g. when I see you at snot, I decide that you're violating the booger-ban and block you, with the block being the contingency). In general, no one should be using the word "ban" for something an administrator does, because administrators cannot, should not, and must not desire to ban someone. That's ArbCom's job. Geogre 11:50, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

That's why it needs communal input. I'm going back to back fundamentals, since the divergence of policy wording, usage and intent is a bit wide and it's no longer 100% clear what the community does think consensus is, here. Obviously bans are intended to be very serious, and uncommon, but the usage, implementation and descriptions used are not reflecting that, and it's not certain what the community thinks. The above 4 questions are the crux of the matter. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:50, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Also, could you have a go at answering each of those 4 specifically? It'd help :) Thanks FT2 (Talk | email) 23:52, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

The answer to #1 is that the answer to #2 is yes, and the answer to #3 and #4 is that the terms are being used incorrectly in those cases because the answer to #2 is yes. ←BenB4 07:53, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Let me give it a go:
Admin blocks dont qualify as bans, be it indefinite or short term: An admin action can be considered as ban if it satisfies this point stated in

  1. The Wikipedia community, making decisions according to appropriate community-designed policies with consensus support, or (more rarely) following consensus on the case itself. If not one out of 1,257 administrators is willing to unblock a user, the user can be considered banned.

But when a blocked user asks for unblock, it will be reviewed by hardly 50 admins and unblock is accepted or declined. So if admins wish to ban somebody, it must be discussed in admin noticeboard, to bring to notice of all admins. Only decision there can be considered as ban(this way admins can ban, maybe they love to too), otherwise its just a block to prevent disruption, not revokation of invitation to edit. All other points in banning policy come under ARBCOM etc., not under admins, but this analysis is based only on current version of Wikipedia:Banning policy. Miyamw 14:28, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

Coercion: proposed additional to banning policy

Per this discussion I propose we add Attempts to coerce administrative action through threats issued onsite or offsite constitutes grounds for immediate sitebanning to this policy. Rephrase as appropriate if you like. Disclaimer: per the link above, I was targeted twice in this way. Had to invoke WP:IAR for my response because policy hadn't anticipated that problem. Consensus at the administrators' noticeboard has been strongly in favor of the principle. I'll refrain from editing policy on this point since I am an involved party. DurovaCharge! 00:48, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

You havent made it clear you are also referring to off site actions, and I think you need to do that to achieve your purpose, this is a no brainer on site but re off site actions may be controversial, SqueakBox 00:57, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
Okay, so amended. A coercive threat issued via e-mail or another website would have no less chilling an effect on administrative integrity. DurovaCharge! 01:01, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
Erm, you'll need to be a lot more specific about the type of threat if this is to fly; as it's written, "unblock me or I'll take you to arbitration" could be grounds for a ban, which is (presumably) not the intended effect. Kirill 01:14, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
Good point, Kirill. I'll think about that. In the interim, proposed rewordings are welcome. As the target of that action I might not be the best person to compose the draft language. DurovaCharge! 01:21, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

How about Attempts to coerce administrative or user action through clearly malicious threats issued onsite or offsite constitutes grounds for immediate sitebanning--Fahrenheit451 01:29, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Malicious is not always clear and it isn't clear to me that it should be limited to admins. I'd suggest "Attempts to coerce actions of users through threats issues of actions not within Wikipedia process. Such threats issues whether onsite or offsite constitute grounds for immediate sitebanning." JoshuaZ 01:37, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Good point, Josh, SqueakBox 02:31, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd tend to agree, the wording here seems to me to be in the same vein as legal threats, which have been disallowed for quite some time, but wouldn't include "If you keep this up I'll start an RFC on you." Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:42, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
O.K. then I refactored to "clearly malicious". That should be clear.--Fahrenheit451 01:44, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
I think the actions not within Wikipedia process handles Kirill's objection. DurovaCharge! 01:55, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

So, copyediting JoshuaZ's version a little, we get "Attempts to coerce actions of users through threats of actions not within Wikipedia process, whether onsite or offsite, constitutes grounds for immediate sitebanning." DurovaCharge! 01:58, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Looks good to me. JoshuaZ 02:28, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
I would approve of that wording.--Fahrenheit451 03:04, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
Someone else can edit the policy page if they think consensus exists per the AN thread. I'll stick to talk on this issue, at least until the dust is well settled. DurovaCharge! 02:35, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Edited into the policy Navou banter 19:45, 28 July 2007 (UTC)
  • Coming late, approve as well. Sandstein 08:59, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Community banns

I've linked Wikipedia:Community sanction noticeboard to the community banns section. If that noticeboard is the "relevant noticeboard" mentioned, as it apparently claims, than this should be an uncontroversial edit. If not, then there needs to be some discussion. See also my comments at Wikipedia talk:Community sanction noticeboard Banno 21:28, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

  • WP:ANI is also at times a relevant noticeboard. >Radiant< 12:38, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Indeed - so is the "relevant noticeboard" WP:CN or WP:ANI, or both, or either? I'd say either. Banno 21:35, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Either. Holding two simultaneous discussions on both isn't useful. >Radiant< 09:01, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
I've changed the policy to reflect this. Banno 10:07, 14 August 2007 (UTC)


I made two changes to the policy page, the first is a minor copy edit for style. The second is due this precedent. Regards, Navou banter 12:47, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

Not keen on this [3] edit. Adding "or the community has discussed the behavior, and consensus to ban has arisen" just confuses the issue. A community ban occurs when no admin is willing to unblock a certain blocked user, not when some group within the community reach a consensus that someone should be banned. Ideogram was banned from when Chrislk02 blocked him, not from when a consensus was reached. Banno 21:07, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Part of the closing summery reads "...Taking all of this, and all of the opinions below it is regretable that I believe there to be a consensus to ban Ideogram for a period of no shorter than a year."
The block occurred. after the close, and the block log cites this discussion and community ban as a reason. Based on the timing, and the reason in the block log, the block was executed due to the consensus discussion. This is not the first time this has occurred. The policy should reflect practice. Lets rewrite this into the policy? Regards, Navou banter 21:17, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree, and am not objecting to the precedent. Rather I am making the logical point that the ban occurs when the block commences, not when a consensus is reached. The ban occurs when an admin places a block that no other is willing to remove. The block that is the implementation of the ban can be placed for any of the usual reasons; or as in the case you cite, as a result of a community discussion. I'll work on an alternative wording. Banno 21:32, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
If you can work on an alternative wording, I'm open. My goal in that edit was to emphasize the social construct that exists, and that a ban can result from a discussion. More, the discussion is the social implementation, and the block, is the technical implementation. A ban is a block, no person will unblock, and a ban can be more than this also. Navou banter 21:38, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

(back to left)Yes, that is right. So a community ban can result from:

  • The unusual processes for a block
  • A wide-ranging community discussion

And is implemented when the user is blocked, and no-one is willing to unblock. Banno 21:44, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

I propose the following:

There have been situations where a user has exhausted the community's patience to the point where he or she has been indefinitely blocked by an administrator—and no one is willing to unblock them. Such users may have been blocked as a result of the blocking policy, or the community may have discussed their behaviour on a relevant noticeboard such as Community Sanctions or Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents, and reached a consensus to ban the user. Users blocked under these circumstances are considered to have been "banned by the Wikipedia community." Administrators who block in these cases should be sure that there is a consensus of community support for the block. The user should be listed on Wikipedia:List of banned users (under "Community").

Comments? Banno 03:05, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

One minor inconsistency -- the comment about "Administrators who block in these cases should be sure that there is a consensus of community support for the block". But "these cases" may only become identified as a ban when the block is placed - and nobody will remove it. A ban that comes into existence via the first means (admin places it, nobody will remove) cannot logically gain approval as a ban beforehand, because it isn't a 'ban' until it becomes apparent nobody will remove it. A ban may come into place simply because of an indef block (one administrator's action) that was not described as a ban, but which nobody will remove.
I'd reword that sentence: "Administrators wishing to block an editor on the basis that they are banned, or wish to describe a blocked user as banned, should be sure that there is community consensus that the user is indeed 'banned', before describing them as such."
That's more the actual issue, though possibly the wording could be streamlined. FT2 (Talk | email) 12:53, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I think that the probelm is with the sequence of events, rather than the wording. Changed it to "If there is a demonstrated consensus of community support for the block, the user should be listed on Wikipedia:List of banned users (under "Community")." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Banno (talkcontribs) 01:33, August 23, 2007 (UTC).


Currently this policy reads:

Wikipedians are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned user, an activity sometimes called "proxying."

The history of this provision's development can be seen at Wikipedia talk:Banning policy/Archive 1#Human proxies? and Wikipedia talk:Banning policy/Archive 1#Human Proxying part 2.

If a banned user asks to have something included, does that really mean that all of the sudden everyone is forbidden from including it? If that were the case, a banned user could effectively censor just by asking to have the material he or she wishes to censor included. I'm sure that can not be the intent of the policy. Can we rephrase this so that it doesn't allow banned users to censor new material? ←BenB4 08:21, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

It seems like proxying was initially intended to apply to topic-banning, and not banning in general. For the former, forbidding proxying makes sense: if a user isn't supposed to touch an article or set of articles, it is against the point for him/her to do so indirectly. For the latter (a general ban, such as a community ban), any material a "proxying" individual publishes should be completely according to his/her discretion, and his/her responsibility to explain. (How else would ban petitions work?) GracenotesT § 18:14, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Should we explicitly say, then, that editors are allowed to act on the suggestions of banned editors? And, if we do say that, could there ever be a case of proxying? Presumably editors can decide which suggestions they wish to follow. I am convinced there is a serious problem here, but uncertain of how to address it. ←BenB4 18:53, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't really think of it as that big of a problem--editors should just use common sense in deciding whehter to include it or not. Nathanww 19:01, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

It's one thing to have a banned user make an edit, and then for someone else to say "hey wait, don't revert, that's a good idea". What the policy says is that I can't go into an article and make a bunch of edits because a banned user asked me to. -Amarkov moo! 23:42, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Here's how this plays out on a practical level: an editor who's a contentious POV pusher goes overboard and gets sitebanned for chronic disruption. So that editor seeks out another editor who shares a similar point of view and says, "Can you post this for me? I can't anymore." That material is usually a rehash of points the banned editor has already asserted many times. If two or three people with similar points of view hang out at that page, one of them may call out "Don't revert! That makes sense!" So right there you've created a loophole where banning loses most of its purpose. If the the banned editor's point is legitimate then someone else will make it independently. Can we tell what's independent and what's proxy? Sure we can; people are lazy. Most of the time this is cut-and-paste work that mirrors the banned editor's unique prose style and POV. If it's sufficiently modified that it isn't distinguishable as proxy then it's probably someone else's independent thinking and has a legitimate place in the project. DurovaCharge! 00:51, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

I added the header "Editing on behalf of banned users" so it is easier to find in the TOC. If that's wrong, please revert it. ←BenB4 13:53, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

The following is copied from Wikipedia:Village pump (policy):

How are administrators expected to discern between independent and directed inclusion? How is someone who has decided to include material which a banned user suggested supposed to defend themselves from accusations of proxying? Wouldn't anyone proxying likely claim that they are acting independently? ←BenB4 18:50, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Good questions. I think that if I was going to add something that a banned user suggested, I'd say so on the talk page and explain my reasons. It would be up to others to AGF. I wouldn't think you could formalize a procedure for this, but you also can't allow concepts to be censored just because a banned user proposes them. Admins will have to be flexible, as usual. Dicklyon 19:04, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, provided that the editor adding the content is able to confirm that they believe it valid (per WP:V etc, of course) the WP:AGF dictates that we believe the editor concerned. All we require is the belief that the content is not being added purely on the basis that it has been promoted by a banned user. LessHeard vanU 19:53, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Directed inclusions are usually pretty obvious because they reproduce the same problems that led to the editor's ban. They're mostly cut-and-paste jobs. If anyone really agreed with these people and cared enough, they'd research independently and put citations and statements into their own words, which would be fine. DurovaCharge! 20:19, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
The only premise I can think of is if the banned editor was blocked regarding their conduct (or similar), rather than contributions. If, owing to overzealous interpretation of the rules, otherwise good edits were removed simply because they were the contributions of a banned user then it may be permissable for someone to reintroduce them - citing that the edits had consensus for inclusion prior to the ban of the editor concerned. For this the question of whether it is being done at the behest of the banned editor is irrelevant, the edits are under a different name and therefore the banned editor is not credited. In reality, good edits will always return (without prompting) since the good sources remain. Bad edits will not survive (despite prompting). LessHeard vanU 20:46, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

I think LessHeard vanU's suggestion is a good one. How about changing to:

Wikipedians are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned user, an activity sometimes called "proxying," unless they are able to confirm that the changes are verifiable and have independent reasons for making them.


Wikipedians are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned user, an activity sometimes called "proxying," unless they are able to confirm that the changes are verifiable and are not making them only because of the banned user's request.

Is either of those that better? ←BenB4 14:03, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

  • The latter is not good because you can by definition not "confirm that you are not making them only because of a request". I suspect we're overcodifying things here, anyway. >Radiant< 10:56, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, stricken. ←BenB4 07:01, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
    • I agree with Radiant. The existing policy worked fine on this point and doesn't need adjustment. It may have been counterintuitive but it worked. DurovaCharge! 12:37, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I am facing a situation right now where an editor banned from making changes to an article but allowed on the talk page has made a request that I feel would be an improvement. I am hesitant to make the change because of the way this policy is worded. It is more than just counterintuitive, it's plain that I would be proxying the way it is worded now. I'm going to make an RFC for this. ←BenB4 07:01, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

A banned user who suggests constructive edits to the encyclopedia? Why on earth were they banned? Two reasons why it should be removed:
  • Many banned users wouldn't dream of making a constructive edit to the encyclopedia
  • The small number who do suggest a constructive edit should have that edit carried out if the edit really does improve the encylclopedia
And if a banned user exhibits remorce for thier actions and suggests article improvements, shouldn't they be unbanned?--Phoenix 15 18:29, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, the RFC has garnered a single comment. Looking back, it seems to me that Durova was agreeing with Radiant and saying the policy doesn't need adjustment, but Radiant was only objecting to the second of my two suggestions. I'm going to be bold in hopes of attaining some WP:BRD comments. The fact remains that the policy wording at present does not reflect current practice. ←BenB4 21:03, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Added sentence

I've added this:

"A user should only be said to be 'banned' (as opposed to blocked) if there is evidence of either community consensus for a ban, or other suitable authority."

The purpose is to ensure users are not described as "banned" if in fact theres no evidence of communal assent.

rationale -- Describing someone as "a banned user" itself deters others from unblocking. If there is not yet in fact mutual agreement amongst admins to allow the block to stand, describing someone "a banned user seeking to be unblocked" can by itself (and quite strongly) prejudice others against unblocking, instead of discussing. So it's important a user is not prematurely described as "banned".

FT2 (Talk | email) 14:07, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

I disagree and think it is unneeded. We already have
There have been situations where a user has exhausted the community's patience to the point where 
he or she has been indefinitely blocked by an administrator—and no one is willing to unblock them.
So if someone does unblock, they are no longer banned. I do not believe a sysop would be less apt to unblock in these circumstances. I do not believe if is in our best interest to add this into the policy.

Additional note on the coercion bit, they need to be actually attempting to coerce. Appearance leads to interpretation. These is best worded in status quo. "Real life harassment" adds an element to this policy that has yet to be discussed. Real life harassment is fundamentally different from coercion. Regards, Navou banter 16:25, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Thought about that, not sure it's accurate. The two sentences don't have much overlap. The one you quote, is a definition of a community ban. The one I added is, users shouldn't be described as "banned" unless it's clear there is a communal consensus. The nature of a community ban is, you don't know if it's there or not until it becomes clear (later on) thast although there are 1000-odd admins, nobody has actually performed an unblock. It's important that even disliked or indef-blocked users are not described as "banned" if that hasn't happened (or some authority such as arbcom hasn't deemed them banned), lest it prejudice that discussion. FT2 (Talk | email) 20:26, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I think I would feel more comfortable if we had wider input on this, would you be amenable to crossposting this to VPP and AN/CSN? Navou banter 20:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Wider input on policy matters usually a good idea; if you want to post there, pointing here? Central discussion would be sensible and this is probably the place one wants it on record.
I don't see this as a particularly controversial sentence though -- is anyone saying that people not yet with a visible consensus of ban (or banned by an authority) should be described as such? Its a sensible precaution; shouldn't need saying but definitely worth it. Some near-banning situations can get pretty nasty and it's important not to say things that aren't visibly the case. Seems useful and clearly valid. Does anyone else see it as being controversial? FT2 (Talk | email) 03:30, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
"...or the community may have discussed their behaviour on a relevant noticeboard such as Community Sanctions or Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents, and reached a consensus to ban the user."
The community does not have to discuss, any user who is blocked indef, is banned, if no person is willing to unblock. The statement you are adding, makes discussion a requirement. Navou banter 04:05, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Ah, okay, that makes sense (that last point about seeming to make discussion a requirement). Whether they are banned or not is a point of fact, and known at the time they fail to be unblocked (or a ban is explicitly stated). Whether user or admin X can formally describe them to others as "banned users" (in the absence of an authoritative statement by Arbcom/Jimbo etc), is merely user/admin X's sole opinion, unless and until there is actual evidence of some kind of community support. The view of one user or administrator, or a few, should not be described as a communal consensus on something this serious, without at least some evidence the community does have a consensus, in some form. That is completely separate from whether they are in fact banned, it related only to whether they are described as banned.

A few examples of the ways other than discussion that the community can show support for a ban are documented at this LTA page.

So to recap, my point isn't about when someone is banned. They are banned (we all pretty much agree) when an authority (arbcom, jimbo etc) says they are, or when a block is placed and it then emerges that nobody is inclined to remove it. My point is that a person should not be formally listed as banned, or (presumaby) described as banned, unless there is "a demonstrated consensus of community support" for the statement. This does not preclude them being banned, since a ban is simply "nobody will lift a finger to let them back in", a factual state of affairs. But to describe them to others as banned, or list them on a list of banned editors -- that should not be done without some kind of evidence that they are in fact so excluded by the community as a whole - whether via discussion, or some other kind. FT2 (Talk | email) 12:31, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

  • This strikes me as instruction creep. Many editors don't make an effective distinction between a "ban" and an "indefinite block", and I don't see the need to complicate this. >Radiant< 13:53, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm just very uneasy about the ease of that slippage. It's easy for "many editors" not to make an effective distinction. But for the person so described, it probably does matter since it impacts directly on their likelihood of a 2nd chance. A bit like calling someone a convicted or proven criminal in the media, when they are merely to date arrested by one or a few officers, so to speak. FT2 (Talk | email) 06:39, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, community bans are really pretty easily reversed—all that has to happen is one admin to say "I'd be willing to unblock this person", and/or to actually do it. At this point, they're not banned, since an admin is willing to unblock them. I think, though, that there is some distinction between an editor who has been indefinitely blocked (especially if discussion over that block is still ongoing) and those for whom it's clear no one is going to unblock. At times, banned users have also applied to ArbCom and been declined, at which point ArbCom has effectively endorsed the ban. Seraphimblade Talk to me 07:24, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

I had intended the wording of the last sentence to cover this sort of thing: If there is a demonstrated consensus of community support for the block, the user should be listed on Wikipedia:List of banned users (under "Community"). It's much the same as saying A user should only be listed as 'banned' (as opposed to blocked) if there is evidence of either community consensus for a ban, or other suitable authority. I agree with Radiant - I don't think FT2's sentence is needed. Banno 07:44, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Community Bans

I propose changing the community bans paragraph to help solve two problems that plague our current system:

  1. Retaliation - Bans may not be proposed against an editor by any party who is disputing with them. If one editor gets mad at another editor, they should not run to Wikipedia:Administrators noticeboard/Incidents, nor to Wikipedia:Community sanction noticeboard, seeking a ban. Bans are serious business, and should only be proposed by uninvolved parties.
  2. Deadlock - Ban discussions are decided by a consensus of uninvolved parties. Disputing editors can present their evidence, but their opinions are not objective, so they don't count towards consensus.

Thank you for considering these changes. I think they will help make Wikipedia a better place. - Jehochman Talk 15:22, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

I certainly agree that editors involved in the dispute should have no say about the ban. We will never get rid of the most obnoxious trolls as long as they have a handful of vocal supporters. Looking at the proposal from the point of ethnic feuds, I affirm that the current banning policy is not effective in dealing with members of ethnic cliques. Once a member of such a group is about to be banned, a crowd of his co-nationals will start a campaign of passionate defense. If there are few editors of his nationality in English Wikipedia, they will come from his nation's wikipedia. This approach prevents the community from making any headway in respect to ethnic feuds that plague the project for years. The same is true about other votes and discussions. Here is a recent example of how people tend to vote along ethnic lines: the only people voting to keep a blatantly provocative template are three Estonians, a Latvian, a Pole, and a Ukrainian. Once I voiced similar concerns with skewed votes in the past, I was accused of racial prejudice. It is frustrating that everyone knows where the root of the problem lies and cannot do anything about it without being accused of discriminatory leanings and other unspeakable offenses. --Ghirla-трёп- 16:10, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
I like the second half of that proposal very much. Regarding the first, that stricture could hamstring good editors in situations where a disruptive user has successfully driven off most contributors to an area. I don't have a problem with a partisan to a dispute requesting community sanctions so long as the proposer discloses the nature and extent of involvement. Self-disclosure should be an expectation throughout these discussions when partisans attempt to give evidence and commentary. That was the standard when WP:CSN was newly established and the board functioned much better then. DurovaCharge! 16:51, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Like Durova I think the deadlock proposal is really good. But the first part verges on being too restrictive. First off I'd drop the mention of WP:ANI from it completely. Secondly I agree with Durova, involved editors should be able to make postings to WP:CSN as long as they make full disclosure. However I'd like to see something along the lines of "involved editors should make one statement and leave discussion of the proposed ban to uninvolved editors" added because bickering at WP:CSN makes the page very difficult to use--Cailil talk 17:52, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

This is short, so I'll post a revision:

  1. Involved parties - Bans may be proposed by parties involved in a dispute, so long as they make full disclosure.
  2. Deadlock - Ban discussions are decided by a consensus of uninvolved parties. Disputing editors can present evidence, but because their opinions are not objective, they don't count towards consensus.

Thanks for the comments. I didn't put in the bit about disruption, Cailil, because at any point an editor can be warned for disruption and then blocked if they persist. - Jehochman Talk 19:40, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Much better. Is there a way to rework that so that the disclosure expectation applies throughout the discussion, not just for the opening poster? The general standard ought to be that if one's impartiality is open to challenge, declare the circumstance oneself when participating in a community sanction discussion. DurovaCharge! 22:53, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Involved parties - Bans may be proposed and discussed by parties involved in a dispute, so long as they make full disclosure.
Deadlock - Ban discussions are decided by a consensus of uninvolved parties. Disputing editors can present evidence, but because their opinions are not objective, they don't count towards consensus.
How's that? - Jehochman Talk 23:08, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Suggest adding to the second part, Editors whose objectivity may be open to challenge are expected to disclose possible involvement proactively. Or something to that effect. DurovaCharge! 23:30, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
You will probably need to define what an “involved party” is and is not. As I know Ghirla can well attest to, partisan leaders can easily round up “uninvolved” reinforcements – from among both existing and soon-to-be-new editors. (I’ve seen brand new editors sign up for the sole purpose of participating in mediations or commenting on AfDs.) Furthermore, some partisans who haven’t been as active as others may not see themselves as “involved.” It might even be wise to consider limiting “uninvolved editors” to those who have at least a year of experience and are in good standing. Askari Mark (Talk) 03:40, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
Involvement is a well established concept at the blocking policy where sysops are prohibited from blocking people with whom they've been in conflict. The objection you raise about offsite recruitment is already covered at WP:MEAT. We've tried community banning both ways - with involved editors presenting evidence from the sidelines and with involved editors participating directly. The latter has been far more problematic. Under this proposal, the discussion closer may sometimes set aside one or two opinions that would otherwise count. That rarely affects the outcome of a discussion. I have brought multiple cases to arbitration as a direct result of dispute partisans' disruption. This update is badly needed at the policy level. DurovaCharge! 04:13, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
(undent) Just dropping by to voice my support for the Deadlock proposal. It seems like good common sense to have decisions made by parties who aren't involved. I'm a little concerned that the first proposal may create opportunity for wikilawyering (should a proposal be quashed if the nominator is later found to have had some invovlement?). On balance I think that anyone should be able to make a proposal, and anyone may comment. Perhaps anyone who makes a post without disclosing an interest (or history of involvement) may find that their contribution is at least liable to be discounted; perhaps even interpreted as a bad faith attempt to disrupt the process. Sheffield Steeltalkstalk 19:45, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

Aren't these questions of process, rather than of policy? The policy should be kept as concise and clear as possible. Instead of working this wording into the policy, shouldn't it be placed into the header of the Community Sanctions Noticeboard, as the way in which we determine that we have a consensus? Banno 20:56, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

It used to be there, and it used to be included at the guideline level through Wikipedia:Disruptive editing. That changed half a year ago and the absence just didn't work out. It's necessary to have something written in policy that an editor can cite with a wikilink to nip these problems in the bud. Common sense solutions don't work when dealing with people who lack common sense. DurovaCharge! 21:38, 24 September 2007 (UTC)
I take your point. Banno 21:20, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
We seem to have a rough consensus. If that holds up for a few more days shall we edit this project page, or do we all need to head over to Wikipedia:Disruptive editing and have the same discussion again in order to make the necessary change? - Jehochman Talk 05:23, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
The proposal is for a change to this page rather than to the guideline. This is a very small group to establish consensus, so how about a policy WP:RFC on the proposal? DurovaCharge! 06:03, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
We could at least work out a proposed new wording first. Might make for a more straight-forward discussion. Banno 06:46, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Community Ban: proposals for new wording

One way to present the above two changes would be:

There have been situations where a user has exhausted the community's patience to the point where he or she has been blocked long term (usually indefinitely) by an administrator—and no one is willing to unblock them. Such users may have been blocked as a result of the blocking policy, or the community may have discussed their behaviour on a relevant noticeboard such as Community Sanctions or Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents, and reached a consensus to ban the user. Bans may be proposed and discussed by any party, provided that they make full disclosure of their involvement in related disputes. If there is a demonstrated consensus of community support for the block amongst those not involved in such a dispute, the user may be considered to be banned. Users blocked under these circumstances are considered to have been "banned by the Wikipedia community" and should be listed on Wikipedia:List of banned users (under "Community").

The two additional conditions are italicised. Banno 07:19, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Willy on Wheels

Does anyone know why Willy on Wheels was banned ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by King Nitro (talkcontribs) 12:36, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

For a notorious vandalism spree involving renaming numerous articles to titles ending in "on Wheels", using a huge army of sockpuppet accounts to get around blocks. There are only a small handful of articles, such as Meals on Wheels, that legitimately end in this phrase, so anything ending in "on Wheels" turning up either in article space or as a username is immediately suspect. *Dan T.* 12:38, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Arbcom deliberately eschews precedent

Arbcom deliberately eschews precedent, and I note that the page Wikipedia:Arbitration policy/Precedents has been quite correctly removed to Wikipedia:Arbitration policy/Past decisions. The link in this policy document has therefore been changed to follow it there. Please change any wording (and perhaps, your concept of what Wikipedia is) accordingly. --Tony Sidaway 10:56, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

The wording

The wording seems to have drifted a bit perhaps due to editors inserting wishful thinking into the document. The situation is that a user is banned if no admin will unblock him. All the rest is wikilawyering. --Tony Sidaway 10:47, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

It might be interesting to repeat this post at WP:CSN Banno 22:12, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Tony, the version you are reverting does not say anything to the contrary. Note the phrase, "Such users may have been blocked as a result of...." (emphasis added) The previous section says, "If no administrator is willing to unblock a user, and the user has been blocked after due consideration by the community, the user can be considered banned." 1of3 01:38, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Well. sort of. However we've already established that silly voting forums like votes for banning have no authority on banning. I'm simply removing the rubbish that says that it does. --Tony Sidaway 03:13, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Tony, remember that not all bans are sitebans. Some are article bans or topic bans. Most of the policy discussion has focused on the former, but the community can and does implement all kinds. Those milder remedies don't automatically appear in a block log. DurovaCharge! 07:29, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

A suggestion to make this more accurate: ArbCom can immediately ban people indefinately through secret e-mail exchanges

One more thing about the ban is that ArbCom has the authority to ban people indefinately through non-accessable e-mail exchanges by their discretion immediately 1. I actually do not know if this is actually ArbCom on its own, or ArbCom acting in accordance to a decision by Jimbo Wales, so I apologize if this is already included under "Jimbo banning."--A 20:26, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

I think that the present language adequately covers the situation. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:27, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Which one is that? Please inform me. I thank you for your reply.--A 22:42, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
It's covered under these entries:
  1. The Arbitration Committee can use a ban as a remedy following a request for arbitration. In the past these bans have nearly always been of limited duration, with a maximum of one year.
  2. The Arbitration Committee may delegate the authority to ban a user. In the past it has done so using two mechanisms: Probation and Mentorship.
  3. Jimbo Wales retains the authority to ban users.
  4. The Wikimedia Foundation has the authority to ban users, though it has not often exercised this authority on the English Wikipedia.
Simply put, the ArbCom and Jimmy Wales have the authority to ban users, as well as to delegate that authority to others. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:06, 5 October 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, please clarify for me. These pages pertaining to banning policy are in fact descriptive rather than prescriptive, is that correct? If so, I would want a good description. Now, the first two cover the ArbCom, the third is Jimbo, and the fourth is Wikimedia. However, nowhere does it say that it can immediately ban a person. It only says that they can do so after a request for arbitration, or put people in probation or mentorship. That is clearly not true since they can ban anyone at any time, so I would like this clarification to be added in.--A 02:07, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
In particular, I suggest changing "The Arbitration Committee can use a ban as a remedy following a request for arbitration. In the past these bans have nearly always been of limited duration, with a maximum of one year" to "The Arbitration Committee can use a ban as a remedy usually following a request for arbitration. In the past these bans have nearly always been of limited duration, with a maximum of one year." --A 02:13, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Since when can arbcom "ban" a user without an arbitration case? As far as I know, they have never done so, and it isn't permitted by the Arbitration policy either. The example you gave was of a user who was blocked for "activities damaging to [sic] the reputation of Wikipedia"[4], which is not a ban by the ArbCom. Melsaran (talk) 10:59, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
In that case, there was an arbitration case, since it said "[a]n arbitration case has been filed which affects you. Please contact the arbitration committee by email to the committee or any member. All proceedings will be conducted by email." I am not so clear whether this was following a RfA, however.--A 17:03, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Instruction creep

I understand your thinking for opening this discussion but I think we need to remember that our policies and guidelines are never written in stone. An one size fit all policy is not desirable when dealing with complex issues. We trust our administrators to use good judgment. A legalistic, rigid enforcement of policy or guideline in this area is not correct, I think. FloNight♥♥♥ 12:37, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

In fact, I agree. Actually, my intent was to simplify the policy: I'd been kind of hoping that there would turn out to be consensus to just remove the special mention of user talk pages as unnecessary. Alas, the responses have probably gotten too heated for any consensus to emerge, except perhaps by someone being bold and not reverted.
I think you're also right about a rigid one-size-fits-all policy being impossible: even among "hard-banned" users there are many kinds, and it just doesn't make any sense at all to act as if there was no difference between someone like Amorrow and, say, Cute 1 4 u. The best we could achieve, really, is making sure the policy won't recommend applying rules more suitable for one when dealing with the other. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 07:08, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't disagree with removing the special wording for talk pages (and have just done so). It was only recently added and based on an off-hand AN/I comment at that. I just didn't want to see any of the more restrictive, 'we never ever leave edits by banned users un-reverted and anyone restoring them should be banned themselves', type stuff that people have been advocating added in. That'd be detrimental to the project and contrary to the history and purpose of this policy. --CBD 12:19, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree with the removal of the wording concerning talk pages, but I strongly disagree with any addition that implies that edits can be reinstated based on one editor's idea of what might be beneficial. Including this type of language in the policy only benefits Wikilawyers. If an edit is indisputably beneficial (vandalism revert, typo correction), there isn't going to be anyone challenging it. Thus, the only real effect would be to provide ammunition to those attempting to justify reinstating rants and tendentious edits of banned users. Chaz Beckett 12:34, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
And who is actually harmed if somebody chooses to retain, on his own user talk page, some rant from a banned user (assuming it doesn't contain otherwise-banned material such as personal attacks or "outing" info)? Do we really need to go the Unperson or Suppressive Person route? *Dan T.* 17:52, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
How would retaining such a rant improve Wikipedia? Chaz Beckett 17:53, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Giving any banned user a forum for ranting is likely not a good idea. Giving this particular user a forum is unacceptable since we need to make it clear that he is unwelcome to edit here. Banned means banned from editing. Period. Calmly removing his post with little fanfare is the approach we need to use. We can not expect support from law enforcement if we do not make a good faith effort to enforce his ban here. FloNight♥♥♥ 21:33, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Question about community bans

Aloha! A community ban has been defined (in one variation) as a user blocked indefinitely where no administrator is willing to unblock. (In the policy page as, "he or she has been blocked long term (usually indefinitely) by an administrator—and no one is willing to unblock them.")

Now, my question is, Is this too strict? (Or perhaps, does it need re-worded for clarity?) I'll explain.

My concern is that it requires just one admin who is willing to unblock (and effectively, unban). What happens if there is a (or a few) long-time, non-admin editor(s) in good standing that dispute the block? If adminship is really "no big deal", as has been said, then shouldn't a user in this position also have some say in the outcome of the ban? If admins are really not a higher "caste" than non-admins, and adminship is just getting a few "janitorial" tools (like a mop), shouldn't they be equal in these regards?

In full disclosure, I have thought about this in terms of the on-going arbitration case regarding Ferrylodge. However, I do not want to discuss the details of that particular case here. I am asking a more general question. I am not disputing that community ban here, and I request others do not either.

I don't necessarily dispute the definition either, I am just seeking clarification. Is being an administrator that big of a deal that it places more value on your opinions concerning a community ban? Or can a couple of (non-suckpuppet, obvously) editors in good standing carry the same weight? Does the definition of a community ban need reworked to explain the difference (or even reword to make it stricter, and more difficult to unban someone)? Mahalo nui loa. --Ali'i 18:20, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

We are a forgiving community and do not often permanently ban users. (That is the reason that a community ban is one that last only until another admin unblocks so not permanent.) There are more than 1000 administrators that were chosen because they are thought to be trustworthy (at bare minimum meaning not a vandal, a banned user, or a troublemaker.) If not a single one of them will unblock then there is a serious problem with the editors conduct. We know that some banned user attempt to cause trouble here by coming back as sockpuppets to support users that are causing problems. For that reason while administrators listen to the opinion of editors, we can not let a small group of editors over ride the opinion of the more experienced administrators. FloNight♥♥♥ 21:21, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that I understand that, but what makes you think an administrator is more experienced than a non-admin longtime editor? And I would doubt that you saying editors that are not admins are not trustworthy. So is it the fact that being an administrator is a big deal? Thanks for helping me walk through this. :-) --Ali'i 21:28, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion, using administrative tools to indef block an established user is a big deal. After the community gave this responsibility to administrators, instead of Jimbo or arbitrators alone, the community became more selective about choosing administrators, I think. The community tends to shy away from promoting editors that are controversial. And administrators that use their tools in controversial ways frequently are pressured to give them up or have them removed by the Arbitration Committee. That said, being an administrator should not be a special class or status that is out of reach of most established users. In that way, we should think of it as not big deal since most established users can be one if they want to help out with the work that administrators do. Hope that helps. FloNight♥♥♥ 21:53, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Enforcement on user talk pages

In this discussion, a general consensus seems to be emerging that the wording of this policy regarding the enforcement of bans by reverting posts to user talk pages needs to be clarified. The current wording says (emphasis mine):

The (immediate) problem is that the emphasized wording is ambiguous. At least the following interpretations seem possible:

  1. Edits by banned users to user talk pages should not be reverted except by the owner of the talk page, and may be restored if reverted by someone else.
  2. Edits by banned users to user talk pages should not normally be reverted except by the owner of the talk page, but, if nonetheless reverted, should not be restored.
  3. While edits by banned users to user talk pages may be reverted by anyone, the owner of the page may restore them if they wish.
  4. Edits by banned users may by reverted by anyone, even on user talk pages, and should not be restored. However, the choice of whether or not to revert should usually be left to the owner of the talk page.
  5. Users are required to revert edits made to their talk pages by banned users, and may be requested to do so if necessary. Others should generally not revert such edits.
  6. Users are required to revert edits made to their talk pages by banned users, and should not restore any such edits reverted by others.

While I personally find the interpretations 3 or 4 the most reasonable ones, the comments made during the discussion referenced above make it clear that this interpretation is not shared by everyone. Of course, it's also worth asking whether the emphasized part really means anything at all: the first half of interpretation 4 above is pretty much what the policy would say if no special mention of user talk pages was made at all.

So I'd like to ask for opinions on how to clarify this policy. In particular, I'd like to ask whether any special mention of user talk pages in that section is required at all, and, if so, what form should it take? While considering this, a few things may be worth keeping in mind:

  • Even if an edit to a user talk page is reverted, the user is still notified and may still read the reverted comment in the page history.
  • It is not really possible to engage in meaningful two-way on-wiki discussion with a banned user, due to the simple fact that they should not be editing in the first place.
  • WP:USER says that users don't really own their user and user talk pages. We generally go pretty far to allow users to freely make their own decisions regarding pages in their user space, but no such requirement actually exists.

Please discuss. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 08:56, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

The intent of the policy on this point seems clearly to have been to allow the user to decide whether they want to retain the comment or not... likely on the assumption that the comment would be directed to and/or about them. If a banned user posted a screed about how evil 'User A' is on the talk page of 'User B' then it might (depending on the severity/nature of the comments) be reasonable to remove it as personal attacks/disruption/harassment/posting of personal info even if 'User B' happened to agree with the complaints or just felt they should remain. However, that is all covered under other policies and practices... 'User B' doesn't get to keep personally identifying info of another user on their talk page - regardless of who posted it. Most personal attacks get left in place, but in extreme cases (death threats and the like) removing them is seldom controversial. Thus, I'd say that the only thing this section might need would be a caveat that, "reversion of user talk pages can be left to the individual page owner unless the comments should be removed for violation of other policies"... or somesuch. Of course, I think that kind of disclaimer is generally assumed rather than specified for every possible conflicting situation. Id est, Wikipedia is 'the encyclopedia anyone can edit'... not 'the encyclopedia anyone can edit unless they have been blocked, or are an IP user looking at a semi-protected page, or are a non-admin looking at a protected page, or the server is currently down, or their IP address is auto-blocked because of another user, or...'. --CBD 12:32, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

I think you missed one interpretation.

7. Edits by banned users are not welcome here, period. While there is no obligation to do so, any user MAY revert any edit by a banned user, anywhere. Reversion of that to restore the edit as written is not permitted and can be viewed as editing on behalf of a banned editor, a blockable offense. For edits to a user talk page by a banned user, customarily it is left to that user to revert but if that user does not do so, anyone else can, and as with any edit by a banned user, the edit should not be restored as written once removed. While this is true in the general case, there are certain banned users for which this is enforced quite strictly.

Obviously I don't agree with CBD's interpretation, above, as per usual. ++Lar: t/c 12:48, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, in the recent example of the Amorrow sock, the sockpuppet reverted vandalism[5] and was rolled back by Dmcdevit[6]. Dmcdevit quickly realised his mistake and reverted himself, but what if he hadn't? Would reverting the anonymous vandalism again count as "editing on behalf of a banned editor"? I don't think this should be a policy violation (let alone a blockable offence) if it was obviously a constructive edit and you reinstate it while taking full responsibility for the edit. It's like re-doing the edit as if the banned editor had never made the edit. Melsaran (talk) 19:06, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
Our administrators are empowered by the community (and the Arbitration Committee through our decisions) to use good judgment when using their administrative tools. (Clearly, Dmcdevit did so here.) This sometimes means that an administrator will ask an user to modify their conduct if it is causing a problem even if they are not breaking a specific rule. If they do not comply with a polite and clueful request by an administrator then an user could be blocked. In the recent incident, an user was blocked because he was not working well with others in a way that had the potential to cause Wikipedia harm. After he agreed to do so, he was promptly unblocked. There was no rigid application of rules here but thoughtful and knowledgeable administrators doing needed work. Truly, I don't see any issues that need to be sorted out here. FloNight♥♥♥ 14:49, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Past discussions on these issues here, here, and here might be worth consideration. I believe those show that the intent has always been that edits by banned users MAY be reverted, but do not have to be, and may be restored if someone feels they are worthwhile. That is also my recollection of past practice in this regard. --CBD 21:38, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
This ArbCom case is also relevant. There it was again found that restoring the edits of a banned user was allowed and could be beneficial. The view that, "Reversion of that to restore the edit as written is not permitted", is inconsistent with past practice and IMO not a good idea. --CBD 22:00, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, that may be a bit too broad, yes. But the examples given seem to apply to things in articlespace that are minor corrections, or vandalism reversion and the like. I think the prohibition should remain broad when we are talking about any other space, but especially any talk space. Because while useful edits are... useful, the opinions of banned editors are... not wanted. And most especially, if someone removes a talk page comment, there should be no latitude whatever to restore it. ++Lar: t/c 11:07, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Conversely I'd argue that talk space is where we should be most open to contributions from such users. There is a reason after all that the one page a blocked user can edit is their own talk page... to help keep lines of communication open. I recall a minor wheel war over the reversion of talk page edits by Daniel Brandt which was squashed with the edits allowed to remain and Brandt engaged in discussion. If the edits are abusive then they can (and will) be nuked and kept gone without controversy... but we shouldn't be stating absolutes about never allowing banned users to communicate on Wiki. It isn't consistent with past reality and it sets restrictions against resolving old disputes. --CBD 15:08, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Edits by banned users are always reverted, and the good changes put back at leisure. The reason is to save querulousness from the banned. Morrow is an unusually unwelcome editor on Wikipedia, and this definitely applies to him - David Gerard 13:20, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, I've reverted a change to the wording that I believe could have been mistaken as granting permission for reinstating the edits. Chaz Beckett 13:52, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Factually, that just isn't true. When someone has been a contributor for an extended period and we discover that they are a banned user there is not a campaign to go off and reverse every single one of the hundreds or thousands of edits they have made. Such would be a tremendous waste of time and hugely counterproductive... for the same reasons that we don't go and reverse everything the banned user did with their original account before banning. As noted above, Brandt made edits and participated in ongoing talk page discussions while banned. Changing this policy to state such absolutes is inconsistent with past practice and encourages rigid 'scorched earth' application even in cases where it does more harm than good. --CBD 15:08, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Any policy here, even one stated in absolutist 'scorched earth' terms, is always subject to reasonableness testing, to IAR, to clueful admins doing the right thing. Brandt might well be a special case. But Amorrow is not a special case (except perhaps in the other direction). There is no useful purpose in having any of his talk page edits stand as written as there is no likelihood of resolving our dispute with him, and no dialog we wish to entertain with him... and I believe everyone who is here to help build an encyclopedia knows that. He is not wanted here. Period. Certainly there was no need to let the talk page edit that precipitated this discussion stand. I suggest that the guideline be changed, but that it be simplified rather than elaborated. Strike the italicised section completely, simplifying away the special case for user pages, and rely on common sense to guide us in those rare cases where there is valid reason to let edits stand... for the main, if someone deletes a talk page edit that deletion should not be reverted, instead if there is disagreement, discuss... bring the points made up in one's own words. That's our general principle anyway, don't revert war, discuss. (using Larbot for IE related reasons) ++Larbot - run by User:Lar - t/c 18:09, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, and there's always the rule of reason here. If a banned user reverts vandalism, it would be unreasonable to insist that the vandalism be put back in place just to accomplish a revert of the banned editor. On the other hand, 99.9% of a banned user's edits can and should be reverted, as generally they have come back to troll, cause trouble, or continue to engage in the same disruptive behavior that got them banned in the first place. The idea is, banned users are not welcome to edit, because of the fact that they severely abused that privilege. While in rare cases it may indeed be appropriate to keep a banned user's edit despite this, in almost all cases it is not. Seraphimblade Talk to me 07:21, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Lar, you say that Amorrow is NOT a special case... and then go on to describe all the ways in which he is uniquely unwanted. That's the very definition of a special case. This policy describes normal practice and should not be re-written to apply the standards conceived for the worst of the worst to all banned users. You say there is no point in even trying to discuss things with Amorrow. That is not true of every user who has ever been banned and thus NOT what this page should say or support. That said, I'd agree with you that the separate wording for talk pages isn't really needed... the general statement that users restoring edits take responsibility for them should be fine. That's every bit as true for talk page comments as it is for article edits. --CBD 11:58, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, either Brandt or Amorrow is a "special case", I guess (or both). Per Seraphimblade, I'd rather it be Brandt only, with Amorrow covered by standard interpretation, and that some of Brandts hypothetical future edits are allowed to stand because we're all being clueful in applying exceptions to a policy statement that is narrowly defined (the way you yourself just narrowed it, CBD, thanks for that), rather than Amorrow is the special case and that none of his edits are allowed to stand because we have to wrangle about whether he's an exception to a rather lax and imprecise, wikilawyerable rule. There are always going to be opportunities for ruleslawyering, it seems, and those that relish the chance to do so... but we have some control over which edge the lawyering occur on. The default ought to be, we don't want contributions from banned editors, period, subject to rare, clueful exceptions. In the triggering situation, if the policy had been this narrow way (and apparently it actually was this way, prior to 1 October) Everyking would have had to make a case that this particular edit was valid... I think that's a hard case to make, but I'd much rather see a case made, or the edit restated in Everyking's own words, than see revert warring... if the case was made successfully that would be that. If this edit of yours to narrow things is allowed to stand, I think we're done here, the policy got successfully revised/clarified. So thanks. ++Larbot - run by User:Lar - t/c 15:33, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

This seems to be a case of the "two party system" of Wikipedia politics rearing its head again, where the two parties are the "Live and Let Live Party" and the "Scorch the Earth Party"... the philosophical divide is over whether the default condition should be in favor of maximum freedom and tolerance, with narrow exceptions being made in rare cases where justified, but the burden of proof being on those making them; versus one where the default condition seems to be a rigid, fortress-like mentality where all the "good editors" are hunkered down in a bunker, circling their wagons against a horrible enemy against whom they should shoot first and ask questions later. *Dan T.* 16:00, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Scorch the Earth? Gimme a break. Even by your classification, banned editors would be those rare cases where exceptions would be made and their freedom restricted. These users are banned for a reason and aren't allowed to edit, full stop. Chaz Beckett 16:07, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Well DanT has a point you know, there is a dichotomy in possible philosophy, and Wikipedia has chosen the "live and let live" approach... The English Wikipedia has what, 5M editors? Out of those, how many are banned? I'd say the default condition is indeed "in favour of maximum freedom and tolerance", and the project has "made narrow exceptions in rare cases, where justified", by banning a very small handful of the very most disruptive editors outright. And it has even allowed for appeal and exceptions.
So then... I'd say the "rigid fortresslike mentality" is what you find elsewhere... you know, WR, Citizendium, places like that, where it's quite hard to contribute without making quite a bit known about yourself, where you might get banned without warning, without any process at all to getting banned, and there aren't arbcom members, a Jimbo, and 1000++ other admins you could plead your case to. So I absolutely agree with the point DanT actually made. (although perhaps not with the point he thought he was making!) ++Larbot - run by User:Lar - t/c 16:44, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, those are some good points you're making about DanT's point. ;) I guess any disagreement would center around how much slack to cut users. At what point does the assumption of good faith get overwhelmed by evidence of bad behavior? I would say that Wikipedia is remarkably lenient and gives users plenty of chances to reform. Some tiny percentage of users are either unwilling or unable to behave properly and end up getting banned. It's at this point where philosophies will differ. Everyone see the phrase "From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", but one side favors the "free" part and the other favors the "encyclopedia" part. The former tends to argue that reform is still possible, while the latter is more inclined to consider them a detriment to the project. Chaz Beckett 17:03, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia was clearly founded on the "live-and-let-live" philosophy, but it seems like with every passing day its prevailing attitude gets further and further away from it. *Dan T.* 17:54, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Amorrow is a disturbing individual who should not be tolerated on this site under any circumstances. As far as I can ascertain he has no redeeming qualities and his behavior and interests, which largely revolve around stalking women online and off, are of a level of distastefulness that should not be permitted here. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 21:18, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Community Bans

The community ban wording is hopelessly confused. Surely we don't mean to give each of 1400 administrators the power to veto a ban. That would reduce Wikipedia's security to the level of the least competent, most gullible sysop. That's clearly not what we want. For community bans, I propose the following wording:

Version A:

A user is community banned if (1) no administrator is willing to unblock, or (2) there is a community consensus that the user should be banned. Administrators may not unblock to overrule a consensus to ban. However, they may appeal a ban to Arbcom, or they may attempt to generate a community consensus to unban if circumstances have changed.

This is in direct response to the Sadi Carnot case which is now heading to arbitration. See WP:RFAR. This revised wording would save us a lot of time and trouble and help prevent wheel wars. - Jehochman Talk 13:19, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Isn't point 1) contradictory to the second sentence you propose? --Ali'i 13:24, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
The two cases are connected with an "or". The second sentence specifically clarifies that administrators may not unblock in order to overrule a community consensus to ban. Feel free to suggest better wording. - Jehochman Talk 13:36, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
The wording could probably be tweaked for clarity, but I think there's basically two types of community bans: de facto and consensus. A de facto ban is when no admin is willing to unblock. The other is when there's a community consensus that the user should be banned. A de facto ban would be terminated when any admin decided to unblock. A consensus ban would have to be overturned by ArbCom or the community, not a single admin. This is how I understand it anyway. Chaz Beckett 13:43, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Version B:

Community bans: A user is de facto banned if no administrator is willing to unblock. A user is consensus banned when a community discussion results in a consensus to ban. Individual administrators may overrule a de facto ban by unblocking, but may not overrule a consensus ban. A consensus ban may be appealed to Arbcom, or may be lifted by a community discussion that results in a consensus to unban.

I think this says what we actually practice. With compliments to ChazBeckett. - Jehochman Talk 13:57, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Something to that effect would be an excellent idea. The policy also has a serious omission: it conflates all community bans with sitebans. The community can and does issue article bans and topic bans, usually by consensus discussion. Wherever feasible, these lesser restrictions should be preferable over the extreme measure of sitebanning. DurovaCharge! 17:48, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Check the talk page of Tony Sidaway (talk · contribs). We're actually in complete agreement. We should work with him to hammer out the wording so this policy will be clear to everyone. I think it's being misunderstood badly by a couple of admins. - Jehochman Talk 17:53, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Further discussions have been going on at my talk page and at WP:RFAR#Sadi Carnot. There's broad input. We need to fix this ambiguous and internally inconsistent policy so that it reflects the consensus that we practice. Let me try a few edits and see whether anyone dislikes enough to revert.- Jehochman Talk 22:39, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Request for comments: Community bans

Information.svg Fixed RFCxxx template - changed section param in template to match section heading. DMcMPO11AAUK/Talk/Contribs 05:26, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

The current wording of the community ban section is confusing, and seems to encourage administrators to revert each other. Bans are serious. Shouldn't they always be discussed to achieve an overt consensus? I don't understand why we would allow a block to automatically become a ban. Also, do we really want to give each of our 1400 administrators the power to overturn a ban without discussion. That seems wrong. If a ban needs to be undone, it should be discussed, and there should be a consensus to reverse. I think this policy needs to be rewritten for clarity and common sense. - Jehochman Talk 02:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I tend to agree. That particular language seems a relic of the days when "everyone knew everyone", so to speak, and a long-term ban of an editor would be a big deal and involve discussion among tons of people. Anymore, we indef-block people all day long. Most of them are just vandal-only accounts that no one in their right mind would object to an indef block on, but in other cases the situation is more complex and bears some discussing. If a reasonably well-publicized discussion occurs, and no admin indicates willingness to unblock, I think we can safely assume at that point the community has expressed that the editor in question is no longer welcome here. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:55, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
What if there are one or two hold outs, but there's still a consensus to ban? What does that mean? Do we run by consensus, or does that case go to our already overloaded Arbcom? - Jehochman Talk 05:03, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment, I've already discussed this with Jehochman, but I am completely opposed to this change (from a ban being when no admin is willing to overturn to a the definition of two types of bans—de facto and consensus). There have been problems with abusive use of "consensus" bans, leading to the MfD of the Community Sanction Noticeboard, and two cases before ArbCom now. I don't believe this change should be put into place without broad input from WP:VP, WP:AN and WP:ANI; has this change been proposed and notified to all of those places? When changing important policy pages, broad consensus should be developed. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
    • No change has been made. I reverted that because you objected. Instead, I opened this RFC. - Jehochman Talk 15:20, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
      • ah, thanks, Jehochman, that's a relief. I'd just like to see broader consensus and input before changing policy, particularly with two very different situations before ArbCom right now. Best regards, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:24, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
        • You're welcome. Arbcom can't write policy. We have to do that here. - Jehochman Talk 15:37, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
          • I know, but it seems premature to change policy without broad input while they are looking at what (if anything) went wrong where. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:52, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
            • NewYorkBrad and Daniel have both said they are confused by this policy. This discussion is going to last a long time, I think. The sooner we start, the better. We don't want to write policy based on specific cases either. That can lead to bad policy.- Jehochman Talk 16:02, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I want to see if I understand the current policy, and the issues being raised here. An indefinite block has the same effect as a ban, but it can be overturned by any administrator if the blocked user can convince them to do so. A community ban can not... it can only be overturned by the community, ie through arbcom. Is this correct? If so, I can see the potential for conflict, where a blocked user has convinced one admin to unblock him, against the wishes of the admin or group of admins who placed the block... Is this what people are concerned about? Blueboar 20:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
That in a nutshell is the concern. This policy appeals to conflict with Wikipedia:Consensus which is one of the Five Pillars. - Jehochman Talk 20:53, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that summarizes my concern, but I could be messing up on the terminology involved, so please bear with me. My understanding is that there is a difference to begin with between an indef block and a community ban; that a community ban could only be imposed certain ways (and consensus as we understand it in most contexts was *not* one of them). One of those ways (aside from ArbCom, Jimbo, etc.) was that a community ban was an indef block that no admin was willing to overturn. As soon as any admin disagrees and is willing to overturn, there can be no ban. Yes, one admin has veto power, to use Jehochman's terminology.
I was directly affected by this principle, in a situation where there was overwhelming consensus to community ban a user harassing and severely attacking me (beyond anything I've seen in any of the recent ArbCom cases), but *one and only one* admin agreed to mentor, so there was no ban.[7] Please read; it's instructive as to how the AN noticeboard should work in discussing community bans. Although I was on vacation, the discussion took four days, and I was able to weigh in and be heard even with limited internet access. It was carefully deliberated. Even though I continue to deal with this situation, I have become convinced over time that the person offering to mentor was completely right in terms of preventing longer term damage, and that I and Wiki would have been dealing with more damage over time if the user had been community banned. I understand that if I tire of the situation, it is up to me to bring an ArbCom case. That used to infuriate me (that I, as a completely innocent party, wasn't more protected), but having observed recent events, I now understand that the converse—the abuse that occurred at the Community Sanction Noticeboard—results in much more harm to the project and has the potential to chase off good, productive editors. Groups of editors should not be able to band together with one admin to declare a super-majority and site ban another editor when other admins disagree and are willing to overturn. If any admin disagrees with a ban, the block should be lifted and it should continue to go to "higher powers" as it always has; that is, ArbCom. This prevents abuse of "consensus" (which lately seems to be any WikiProject that can get a large enough membership to wield their power against users they don't like); I'd rather deal with the situation I live with than see editors banned by super-majorities without a "fair trial".
We need checks and balances when it comes to site bans, and they should not be handed out "like candy". And I say that as an editor 1) whose Wiki-life would be much easier if the consensus version of site bans had prevailed a year ago and 2) who fully agrees that Sadi Carnot should be site banned by ArbCom. I just think the greater danger is in having no ArbCom check and balance on site bans. The person who harassed and attacked me will never chase me off of Wiki; witnessing abusive bans will make me no longer want to give my time and effort to this Project. Yes, Wiki is larger than it was a year ago and there are more problems; there is equally more potential for users to band together and abuse of bans.
I've been wrong before <shrug>. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:26, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, if that's what we do in practice, and many people seem to want this level of protection against an angry mob, the guideline should state clearly that any administrator can veto a community ban by agreeing to mentor the troubled editor. That said, an administrator should not unblock a user against consensus, because Wikipedia:Consensus takes precedence over this policy. The administrator should say, "I am willing to mentor this person, will you please unblock them," to the blocking admin. If the blocking admin refuses, then the case goes to Arbcom, as any situation where administrators can't resolve their disagreements. Remember, block and bans are different. A single administrator could veto a community ban, but that doesn't give them carte blanche to revert a block without discussion and consensus. Is this formulation workable? - Jehochman Talk 21:48, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Agree with you on the mentorship, disagree that consensus applies to ban and on no unblocking in the interim. Consensus should not be a means of imposing a community ban or indef block; AtbCom, Jimbo are. If one admin disagrees on indef block, discussion should ensue, perhaps the block can be left in place for a month while discussion ensues (as in the case I was involved in above), but there is no indef ban by definition when one admin disagrees. It's not fair to those how are convicted without a trial to remain indef blocked. (Separately, IMO, PS62 still should have discussed *before* unblocking SC to avoid wheel warring, even though s/he was in the right to unblock according to policy then. Discussion should have proceeded on AN as it did in the link I gave.) If SC is unblocked now, plenty of eyes are on him; we can deal with this. Abuse of super-majorities imposing site bans is a more dangerous problem. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:00, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Shall we say: When an estalished user is blocked indefinitely, the blocking admin usually reports the block at a central place, such as WP:AN. Any administrator can propose conditions for unblocking, such as mentorship, probation or topic bans. If the community and the blocked editor agree on terms the block may be lifted. If not, the case may be appealed to Arbcom. Sometimes, no administrator is willing to propose conditions for unblocking. In those non-controversial cases, where there has bee broad notice, the indef blocked user is considered banned by the Wikipedia community. How's that? - Jehochman Talk 00:36, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Are you following the Miltopia case on AN/I? <sheesh> Anyway, no, I still think that's a bit backwards and that the Z case I linked above was done correctly. You block for a week, extend to a month if the abuse continues while you're discussing at AN, and *then* bring up the possibility of an indef block/ban at WP:AN, exactly as was done in the case I linked. If no one agrees to mentor or if no one opposes the block, then you can call it a ban. If an admin opposes the ban, you can't ban, it may end up at ArbCom. But based on the Miltopia case on AN/I right now, no one seems to respect policy anyway, so what the heck, all bets are off here. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:47, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Miltopia is another mess caused by this stupid notion that admins can unblock each other without discussion and consensus. If an admin does something wrong, talk about it, get agreement, and then act. If you can't agree, go to Arbcom. Sandy, your proposal about one week to one month to indef is the same as my proposal in practice. Indef means, "until unblocking arrangments are made." We can talk about the block and see if anybody can suggest reasonable conditions for unblocking. If nobody even makes a case to unblock, the user is effectively banned. If somebody makes a case, we either come to an agreement after trying for a while, or we go to Arbcom. The length of the underlying block really makes no difference. Any case that can't be resolved with less than seven days of discussion is going to Arbcom anyhow, and they'll deal with the length of the block. We need not worry about the details when the effective result is the same. - Jehochman Talk 02:23, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
This is where we may differ, but I'm not sure: it should be spelled out that indef blocking a user when another admin is willing to unblock should never be done. If another admin is willing to unblock, you either don't indef block to begin with, or reduce it to a finite period while discussion ensues. Do we agree on that part? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:42, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I am a computer scientist, so I hate degenerate cases. A one month block is logically the same as an indef block if we are going to spend 7 days discussing and then either lift the block or make it indefinite. There's no difference, so why add the extra complexity to policy.
Perhaps you would be happy if we don't specify the length of the block at all. How about: "after blocking a user for an appropriate length of time per blocking policy the case can be discussed at WP:AN to see if any admin is willing to propose conditions for unblocking. If no admin is willing to propose conditions for an unblock, the block is extended to indefinite, and the user is considered banned by the community." - Jehochman Talk 02:49, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

I see no reason to "strengthen" the community banning process, and indeed I would recommend abolishing WP:BAN althogether. Any member of the community may request an admin block either directly to any admin or on one of the many noticeboards. The admin may block in accordance with WP:BLOCK or, in exceptional cases, outside of WP:BLOCK on the basis of general WP principles. In the second case, the block should, at the very least be reported on ANI. If no one overturns the block, the block stands. If someone overturns, there is a discussion as to how to deal with the problem, at any reasonable forum including ArbCom. There is no need for a voting process which has been shown on multiple occasions to degenerate into a pile-on witch hunt (see the MfD discussion for CSN for more details on this point) and would actually make it more difficult to police WP because of the consequential erosion of the concept of fixed, written policy. 10:58, 27 October 2007 (UTC) For technical reasons, I appear to have lost my login before that edit was processed. It is mine. Physchim62 (talk) 13:30, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Consensus supports some form of community banning. The policy will almost certainly be changed, because the current wording encourages non-consensus admin reverts, sometimes called wheel warring. One admin should not revert admin without discussion and consensus. If consensus isn't achieved, then the case can be referred to Arbcom. As an IP user you might have an undeclared interest in this matter. If you login any connection would be visible, giving people a fair chance to judge your remarks in context. - Jehochman Talk 12:29, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Community consensus has rejected the Community sanction noticeboard. Policy allows a single admin to stop a witch-hunt "community ban" by unblocking and taking the consequences. These are the points that you're forgetting, not to mention any philosophical questions as to the "rule of law", or to put it another way, how can we get users to abide by policies which can change at any minute. Physchim62 (talk) 13:30, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
If you read the MfD, you will see that the decision was to move the discussions to a more central place, not eliminate the process. The objection to CSN was that it was a poorly watched venue where users could have their fate determined by a small number. I've alerted the arbitration committee about your comment, because it's troubling that you still support the idea of administrators reverting each other without discussion. That's very troubling. - Jehochman Talk 14:38, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
The problem with the "single admin" policy is that it does take the risk of the single most gullible admin undoing the block, or one doing so for improper motives. In the infamous SC case, Dragonflysixtyseven undid the block not for the good of Wikipedia, but because the block had made one admin unhappy, and she didn't want that to happen. Completely unacceptable.Kww 15:10, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
And the converse is worse; one admin can permanently block an innocent party, who becomes guilty until proven innocent in a very long process. We can deal with SC; the permanent blocks of innocent parties cause more long-term harm to the Project via lost good will of good editors who witnesses it happening. This whole discussion comes down to erring on the side of innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent. I contend that the latter harms the Project more than the former, and that we can deal with the SCs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:15, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
The blocking policy already makes it clear that you need to get a larger consensus or the agreement of the blocking admin before unblocking. So the current wording does not really invite wheel warring. If an admin goes and "unbans" someone, they are unblocking as well, and if they do so without consensus then they have violated the blocking policy and should be sternly warned or even taken to arbcom if it is a pattern of such behavior. I don't see the need for a change. 1 != 2 15:35, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
(ec)Perhaps we could just add "Please read and follow the blocking policy before unbanning someone particularly the section on unblocking". If they are still confused about that then there is a more serious problem. 1 != 2 15:40, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Again, conversely, same applies to the admin who indef blocks when other admins disagreed and were willing to overturn; this causes more critical harm to the Project, IMO. Guilty until proven innocent, blocked for months in the meantime. The burden is backwards here; the admin who indef blocks should only have done it if no admin was willing to overturn (which does describe, btw, Jehochman's block of SC). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:39, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Sandy, a unblock discussion at WP:AN is only going to take a few days. If it's so contentious that it has to go to Arbcom, then a motion can be made to unblock. Arbcom routinely unblocks people so they can participate. Likewise, if some injustice has occurred, I have confidence that Arbcom will recognize it and unblock the target of the injustice without delay. - Jehochman Talk 15:58, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Only when they get around to looking at the case; again, my concern is that we not open the door to the converse of the SC case. Block fast so then no ne can unblock, and the party is presumed guilty. An indef block should not happen to begin with when an admin was willing to overturn; that has been long-standing ban policy. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:12, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
The unblocking policy is already clear. We don't need to add anything more here. Don't revert blocks, discuss first, and go to WP:AN if you need more input. If that fails to generate a consensus, go to arbitration. The issue of indef versus 30 day block doesn't matter. If the block is controversial, it will be discussed and resolved. If there is a gross injustice, it will be fixed speedily at WP:AN or Arbcom. Have you any examples where Arbcom failed to speedily unblock when it was necessary? If Arbcom is broken, we need to fix it, not turn this policy on its head. - Jehochman Talk 16:19, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

[Reset tabs] ArbCom is also broken, IMHO, but that is a separate matter. Community bans have been tried and shown to worse than useless. There is no need for them which cannot be dealt with under blocking policy. When Wikipedia becomes an ochlocracy, I shall leave. Physchim62 (talk) 17:58, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

While I agree that SC should eventually be banned, I believe such action should be taken only via careful ArbCom examination and discussion. My larger concern is also ochlocracy. I'm not sure it's a question of when; it's been my concern for a long time from other cases I've observed. I presented a case above which I still believe to be a correct manner of approaching these decisions. Obviously, blocking and banning policy on Wiki is hopelessly muddled and misunderstood. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:52, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree, and the recent events with Jimbo and Miltopia further complicate the picture. It would be helpful for Arbcom to comment on this. The issue of Sadi is minor and hardly in dispute. The bigger issue is do we want to have community bans, and if so, how can we implement them in a way that does not have administrators wheel warring? Does Arbcom have enough bandwidth to handle all the cases, or do we need to have other ways to create bans? At minimum, can we all agree that administrators should not undo each other's actions without first attempting to have a discussion and form a consensus? - Jehochman Talk 19:56, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I don't agree that the wording is confusing - unsurprising, since much of it is my own. Rather, the changes discussed above would introduce a new way for banning a user essentially by declamation. A community ban exists if and only if a user is blocked and no admin is willing to unblock. Suggesting that admins be prohibited from removing a ban "when there is a consensus" begs the question, since if an admin is willing to unblock, there is no consensus, and hence no ban. If an admin is willing to unblock an erstwhile banned user, then the case ought to be referred to arbitration. This is what the present wording allows. Banno 11:11, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

It is better if an admin who is willing to unblock moves the case to ArbComm than if they just unblock unilaterally. But I saw too many railroading cases of false consensus at WP:CSN, and expect to see even more at WP:AN/I because it is a worse forum to use. But either way, a single admin who objects to the continued editing restriction (whether or not they technically implement their objection) has, by the simple act of objecting, removed the user from a community banned status, whether or not they remain blocked. At that point it should go to ArbComm. (Alternatively, we can reopen WP:CSN with some real mechanism to ensure that railroading doesn't occur and true consensus can be measured. But I don't think the community is willing to put in the effort to find community consensus decisions in this area with adequate procedural safeguards, given the recent MFD for WP:CSN.) The only current definition of community siteban is a long term block that no admin is willing to reverse. Killing WP:CSN also killed the concept of a "consensus ban", because we killed the opportunity to form any such consensus. GRBerry 16:52, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

We have the blocking policy which says admins should discuss before unblocking and attempt to achieve consensus. That should still apply, yes? True, if any admin objects to a ban, then there is none, but that admin shouldn't unblock the account without discussion first. If the discussion fails to achieve a consensus where one side convinces the other to either keep or remove the block, then the matter can be referred to Arbcom. At that point Arbcom can decide whether to implement a ban, or unblock the user. I think most admins are willing to consider reasoned arguments about the need for unblocking or blocking. - Jehochman Talk 17:04, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
ah, I'm much relieved that GRBerry and Banno's comments reflect the concerns I've had and my understanding of the policy. While Jehochman is concerned about the unblocking issue, I'm also concerned about the alternate scenario of railroading and first-strike pre-emptive indef blocks in the absence of discussion or when another admin has clearly expressed opposition. As an aside, the same type of railroading that we saw at CSN has also occurred at WP:RFC/U on topic bans. To me, this is a greater poison on Wiki than the abusive editors, trolls and vandals, because it discourages good editors and may make them reluctant to speak up or present evidence for fear of the B (talk · contribs) result. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:15, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, we need to be concerned that if trolls reach critical mass, they can start railroading good users. I think we've seen this happen a few times. Yes, I would not indef block a user after some other admin expressed reservations. I'd discuss it first. However, the blocking policy allows each admin to place blocks whenever they feel the necessity to protect the project. We shouldn't change that to require full scale drama before implementing a block. That would be a bad thing. If somebody wants to disagree with a block, a conversation can follow, and we can decide what to do. There's absolutely no need to unblock before talking. That's just asking for trouble and drama. - Jehochman Talk 18:21, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
The railroading issue I worry about isn't trolls, it is POV pushing factions who think they are acting in good faith. Trolls know they are disruptive - too many POV partisans don't realize it. And we have and have had (some desysopped for this reason by ArbCom) POV pushing admins. We need to get the POV factions under control, and I don't know how to do it. (But the last sentence is a different issue for a different venue.) GRBerry 18:44, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes it is, but remember when those POV factions are protected by admin action including preemptive indef blocks when other admins disagree, there is very little chance that regular editors will come forward in any case to present evidence. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:47, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
OK, I see POV pushing factions, especially nationalistic ones, as a big problem. If they get an admin to side with them, it can be a bad thing. But, if that admin does further or protect POV pushing by indef blocking an opponent, don't you think there would be an overwhelming consensus of uninvolved editors to unblock? Maybe we need to have a stronger process for de-sysopping to prevent that kind of abuse. I am not sure how to resolve this. - Jehochman Talk 18:54, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
The answer to your question is no; some of these factions are large enough to overwhelm others, and apparently some use extra-policy means to accomplish their goals while not recognizing that the blocker's position is POV-agenda driven to the same extent as the blockees. Enough harassment and a few well-placed railroaded indef blocks silence others. My point is, don't overly focus on one side of this issue in this policy. Don't unblock is only one side of the equation; equally emphasize the don't block to begin with if there is admin disagreement, and recognize that each are problematic. Remember, the block that you had overturned was a correct block; you discussed it, no one disagreed, you blocked, another overturned. Don't forget to emphasize the alternate; if someone had disagreed, you should not have blocked. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:04, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the situation with blocking and unblocking is symmetrical. If an administrator disagrees with a block in advance, there should be a discussion and consensus before blocking. Situations that don't resolve to a consensus need to go to [[WP:ARB|arbitration]. - Jehochman Talk 19:24, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Jehochman, your view does not seem to differ from the policy as written. Perhaps what is needed is a bit of faith in the process. Although POV pushers may sometimes gain the upper hand, in the long term they will be swamped by consensus. Isn't that the very core of the Wiki process? Banno 19:57, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

That's because I've already edited the policy and am happy with the current wording.  ;-) If everybody is happy with the current version, I am ready to put my faith in the process. - Jehochman Talk 20:02, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
It needs a few grammatical corrections. Also, I am not a fan of parenthetic comments - they indicate a lack of an adequate logical sequence. Banno 20:39, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
I think copy editing isn't controversial. Go for it. - Jehochman Talk 20:55, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
But I will hold off until the present arbitration cases have been finalised. Banno 20:45, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, note that the definition has changed already since the present arbitration cases dealing with this policy were opened. Mahalo. --Ali'i 20:48, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

not quite along the lines of the rfc.

I think somewhere we need to add a section on community ban process. What does it take for their to be such a thing? How much time? How many uninvolved users? Also, some way to make it cleart that it is not neccessary to actually unblock for an administrator/sysop to contest a Community Ban during a Community Ban Discussion. The disruption caused by out of consensus unblocks/reblocks is astounding and we need to find a clear way to avoid it. --Rocksanddirt 00:05, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Usually we don't go into so much detail with a policy. That sounds more like a guideline. We can see if there is support for creating a guideline. - Jehochman Talk 00:35, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
yeah, something though....there are two current arbcomm cases substanitally involving this issue. --Rocksanddirt 00:41, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

A couple of thoughts from users struggling with this idea during an arbcomm hearing [8] and [9]. I am increasing concerned that the idea of admin veto of community bans will put even more pressure on admins to be the police of the encyclopedia, and not allow them any leway to just edit or just do backroom stuff. All admins will have to be on the front lines of dispute resolution all the time. --Rocksanddirt 03:53, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

  • No big deal, I'd say. Any admin who wants to unblock can do so - they may, of course, catch nine kinds of shit for doing so, but most banned users have no support for unblocking. Of course, with a thousand admins, there may be someone, but actually many banned users don't even ask. Guy (Help!) 15:11, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
maybe. but there are grey areas, such as User:Sadi Carnot, and User:Ferrylodge, and to a different extent people like User:PalestineRemembered. Where there are admins, who will unblock without catching overwhelming shit, because the community is in some whay not certain about banning them (though many think they should be banned). In those cases, should we have a "consensus standard"? --Rocksanddirt 23:03, 30 October 2007 (UTC)
No. Such cases go to arbitration. As the policy says. Banno 20:15, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I guess then, why? Why waste so much arbitrator time on fairly straightforward cases? I think it unlikely that User:Sadi Carnot, and User:Ferrylodge will be restored to "user in good standing" by the arbitration committee, but the committee has to take a full and clear look at those cases. If we had a "consensus standard," and approriately applied it in these cases it would be over, but for the user appeal. --Rocksanddirt 20:38, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm OK with going to Arbcom if any administrator objects. I did, and haven't complained about it. . - Jehochman Boo! 20:44, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
What is a consensus standard? Banno 20:45, 31 October 2007 (UTC)


"When discussions fail to achieve a consensus due to disagreement amongst administrators, the cases are referred to the Arbitration Committee."

This is the current text in the banning policy. I guess I'm asking for a change in what "fail to achieve a consensus" means. As interpreted by Banno (and many others; please correct me if I'm mistaken): It means that when a single Admin in good standing objects to a community ban/sanction discussion and by the conclusion of the discussion has not been swayed off of the objection, consensus is not achieved. There is not a requirement for investigation/involvment/independance or anything else, effectively an admin. veto of community sanctions/bans. --Rocksanddirt 20:52, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

But, from WP:Consensus, Policies and guidelines document communal consensus rather than creating it. Banno 20:57, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Exactly. - Jehochman Boo! 20:59, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I think we have recently eliminated the notion that there is any community consensus behind a standard for "community bans" other than unanimous non-objection to the point of willingness to act. While I think it would be better if we had a process other than this that included appropriate safeguards, the reality is that the community recently choose not to attempt putting appropriate safeguards onto the only alternative process that had been tested. Accordingly, the policies and guidelines should recommend "unanimous non-objection" as the relevant standard in effect. GRBerry 21:37, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Just an idea—I'm not sure if heads put together can turn this into an implementation. What went right in the case I linked above was that a temporary block (first one week, then extended to a month when the abuse continued) was put in place while discussion ensued. Discussion was mediated and thorough and lasted four days. No one was anxious to pull the trigger, there was no "voting" and there was no time pressure—the abuser was blocked for a month, so there was time to reflect. These conditions yielded a good chance of success. In the two cases which have led to these discussions, we had "fingers on the trigger" precipitous action: in one case, quick to ban when other admins were still discussing, willing to overturn and not everyone had been able to enter evidence, and in the other case, quick to unblock without discussion. Is there a way to motivate/force lengthier discussion, to help encourage discussion rather than vote tallying, to give all time to weigh in and not have discussions restricted to those with a vested interest, and to avoid that rush to pull the trigger? Isn't that most of the problem? Don't we want issues to end up at ArbCom only after measured discussion and not because of rushes to pull the trigger? If the case (linked above) that affected me had come up on an RfC or a CSN, I would have jumped on the "out now" bandwagon (which would have quickly and easily prevailed), and I would never have heard the mentor's reasoning for a longer-term, hopefully more stable solution. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:56, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree very much with SandyGeorgia'a comments. I'm concerned that arbcom will be overwhelmed by community sanction discussions that are not able to reach an aggreement. Maybe with some (dreaded) guidelines or rules about what needs to be in such discussions, we can avoid or at least make it easy for arbcomm's involvement. --Rocksanddirt 16:34, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
They can reject cases that don't need to be heard. A user can be blocked without being banned. - Jehochman Talk 14:59, 5 November 2007 (UTC)


Given the importance of this page to the project we need to ensure that it's clearly written. Some of the writing is wordy and ungrammatical, so I'd like to fix it. I most definitely do not intend to make any changes in meaning at all and if I accidentally do so please set me straight. Here's an example of what I have in mind.[10] Raymond Arritt 21:43, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Go for it Raymond, this is Wiki, if anyone doesn't like your work it can be reverted and discussed. You've obviously got an eye for copy-editing for clarity (and quality of language tone), and understand how not to change content. What's the phrase ... "Be bold!" :) Alastair Haines (talk) 13:47, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Edit reverted

I've reverted to change to the policy in regards to what a banned user can not do. I think it is already clear, and this adds creep. Regards, Mercury 12:29, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Matters of principle

Dear friends,

I hope I understand the difference between block and ban correctly. Blocks come in several flavours of technological possibility that render impossible various kinds of edit in Wiki-space to a given account, static IP address or both, for a specified or indefinite period of time. A ban, on the other hand, is a specific agreement with a user for him to refrain from various kinds of editing for some particular duration, or indefinitely.

I particularly like the ban, because it builds respect for the one banned. You heard me correctly. An agreement based on trusting the one banned to comply with the conditions of the ban presumes the banned one to be willing and able to contribute a specified kind of silence. This is precisely what all editors are asked to do in any form of edit war ... self ban, as it were.

I note the "pride and integrity intact" comment. I am with that sentiment. However, I am concerned that this be more than sentiment. For a start it is an exaggeration to say the Wiki community ban someone. Were Jimbo to make an executive call on something, he would not claim the authority of the community as backing (though we probably would, yay Jimbo:). Without the unanimous feedback of every Wikipedian all that can be claimed is "respected representatives of the community requested ..." This more accurately reflects the process.

While I concur that threats and slander are grounds (probably legal and above our pay grade) for summary blocking, I think there are important reasons for us not to presume to construe or term banning in punitive terms. Quite the contrary, users who have respected a "ban" have demonstrated a self-restraint above and beyond that of other users. I think this should be communicated clearly in policy, in the course of any "banning" action, and explicit thanks for co-operation be recorded at the user page of any "restored" user.

Wiki is not about freedom of speech, but it is about absence of censorship (not ideologically, of course, which would be POV). Even "hate speech" is documented from the NPOV at racism, sexism and anti-semitism, alongside the POV that condemns such speech morally.

Blocking and "banning" are as inevitable as vandalism. There will always be people who believe something should stand in the text of an article that, as best most people and sources would think, should not stand there. Some will believe this passionately, even morally; some will argue their cases unpleasantly. At this point, Wiki incurs an educational responsibility if we are to maintain an environment conducive to quality co-operative documentation of knowledge. We make this our business by boasting the highest possible standard of text -- one that dares anyone to "improve it if they can" ([edit]).

I think we want to back our boast, by offering people access to the highest court of appeal possible to legitimate their use of that button. But, the converse is, this same court of appeal needs to help some people see that precisely the same access is available to users with contrary opinions. In some cases, an executive ruling needs to be tolerated, and those responsible for the ruling have the right to be wrong.

Friends, I'm probably naive and unrealistic, help me understand why we need to speak of "community banning" and "probation", when we could adopt self-restraint agreements, advocacy and mentoring instead. Can we take "welcoming" to this higher level?

I'm busy for a month or so, after that, were I considered suitable, I'd offer to mentor a "ban-ee" or "banette". Maybe that'd teach me. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 15:22, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

PS A big thanks to ArbCom, someone has to step-up to be hated on behalf of the community. Stay happy you people, for the sake of great decisions. Cheers. Alastair Haines (talk) 15:33, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Minor update to "Enforcement by reverting edits"

I've added a sentence to "Enforcement by reverting edits" that reflects the overall section header "Evasion and enforcement". Namely, that enforcing bans is (primarily) about improving the encyclopedia. I've seen several sections on AN/I lately about people reverting banned users and inadvertently reinstating material in violation of more important policies like NPOV or BLP. It's not a new situation, either, but it seems to be a small epidemic right now.

It might not be a bad idea to expand this bit just a little with suggestions on what an editor should do if they're not sure if reverting an edit by a banned user might be worse than leaving it. I'd suggest reverting it, and posting a notice to the article's talk page requesting more involved editors to look into it (as I'm assuming obvious violations of BLP, for example, should be...well, obvious). Thoughts? --InkSplotch (talk) 15:10, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

An open discussion

As some of the earliest bans are soon to pass the five-year mark, I think it's worth starting a discussion based on meatball:LifetimeBan. To what extent does it make sense to ban someone forever? the canonical example is: what happens when the (say) 15-year-old kid who did a bunch of pagemove vandalism in school now finds that (while he almost certainly won't be caught) he's not welcome to come back and start doing real productive editing even now (note: "now" refers to some unspecified point in the future. Obviously if WoW was 15 when he started he can't yet be 30) that he's grown up and is (say) 30.

This was prompted in part by Durova's response to my question in her arbcom candidacy questions on "the Willy on wheels issue" - I think we should figure out what community consensus really is for these cases, now that it seems clear that, yes, Wikipedia _is_ going to last long enough for this to be an issue worth considering. (and, yes, they can appeal; see meatball:DemandApology for what this at best becomes in practice.)

There is no specific incident this is in reference to (I don't think Willy on wheels himself would be particularly bothered by the fact that he's "banned" if he wanted to come back and do encyclopedia work) - I think that policy discussions are more likely to end up with a sane result when emotions aren't running high from a real recent incident.—Random832 16:19, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Here's a thought, issues don't change but people sometimes do. So Wilhemena the Wicked got herself banned. A couple of years later, with a totally different perspective on life for one reason or another, she'd like to offer her services. Technically, she's not appealing a previous decision, she did what she did and, let's assume, policy has not changed regarding whatever it was she did. What we're looking at is a review not an appeal. I've excluded the grounds for review on the basis of changed policy, do we have any other grounds for reinstatement? It's hard to imagine what these would be, other than perhaps having had work published, which has been cited somewhere at Wiki! A slightly bizarre, but not impossible scenario.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's a logical inconsistancy floating around in permanent bans. Not only are they not strictly policeable, but we encourage anyone to register, no quals, no background check, which seems right to me. We aspire to being robust enough to engage with the broadest possible types of editor, why not explicitly allow people back, or is the reality that, despite denials, it is about making examples of people.
Whatever decisions have been made in the past, they worked. Wiki is now very successful, and very likely due in part to decisions that offered a measure of protection. Have we reached a point where assets now exceed risks? Although discipline issues appear to distract from core goals of producing content, managing disputes is fundamental to the way Wiki does this. A few rogues strengthen those who learn to manage the issues. I speculate even difficult returning editors could be a positive thing.
Fire away, shoot it all down. ;) Alastair Haines (talk) 19:51, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
There is an elephant in the room here, and its name is collaboration. If someone is banned it is not because of simple vandalism that lasted for a week or for 10 weeks. If someone is willing to disrupt the project to make a point they are not collaborating in the project to build the best encyclopedia possible - they're doing the exact opposite.
Nobody has been banned frivolously - the community has always taken the decision to ban very very seriously. While I fully agree that people deserve a second chance I don't think there's a point letting somebody who is deliberately disruptive back into a collaborative project unless they recognize why they were banned and apologize for their previous behaviour.
When somebody has "exhausted the community's patience" they need to regain the good faith they abused - they no longer have the same right to it that everyone else has and its their fault not the community's. Let's face it, it doesn't take a genius to be able to get along here, all one needs is a modicum of good manners and a little courtesy in disagreements - that isn't much to ask. Perhaps I'm being a bit "sackcloth and ashes" about it, but why should we turn yet another cheek? Most of these people had a series of escalating blocks, most of them had a second chance and most of them abused it. Why reward negative, unconstructive beahviour? In fact, why reward deliberately destructive beahviour?--Cailil talk 20:51, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
If we care, we know how to recognize Willy's characteristic style of behavior; even some of us who didn't join the project until after he was shown the exit door. We also know that it is not hard for anyone else to learn that characteristic style and adopt it themselves. Let's be honest. What we are really banning, ultimately, is a particular style of disruptive behavior, and if an account uses it, we block it without really caring whether or not it is Willy. If Willy came back and didn't behave in a way that was characteristic of the old style, we'd never recognize him.
I've also seen multiple cases of appeals with apology and promise to be good that were turned down by ArbComm. I'm sure they decline even more that don't appear publicly. If I recall right, Willy himself has made one of them. If someone comes back and behaves so as to never be recognized, then the editor that came back is not the same editor that was shown the door. They changed. While confession is good for the soul, the demand for confession is not good for us. GRBerry 22:18, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
You are perfectly right GRBerry. But if somebody wants to come back either with a clean slate or with the same username they'll need to regain our trust - and on the flip-sdie if they come back using another identity and they get into trouble - their history will get them auto-banned. The Techmobowl/Jmfangio situation is a case in point. User:Techmobowl was banned for disruption of baseball articles. He came back as User:Jmfangio edited for a while on American football articles and then ran into a dispute with another editor. For some reason he got checkusered and was banned for being a ban evading sock-puppet. One way or another the project is demanding disclosure both at a cultural and policy level. However, I do agree that it's not ideal--Cailil talk 23:37, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I really like the concept of banning behaviour rather than people. That's a functional definition and an objective one. It doesn't preclude entering into agreements that require people to take a "wikibreak" for a while, to let the air clear and the emotions settle regarding behaviours that are disruptive.
Another thought. I use my real life name on Wiki. For various reasons, including difficulty of verification, I wouldn't propose Wiki requires this of editors. However, anonymity, other than IP addresses and patterns of behaviour, invites people to take more risks in behaviour than when they have to take responsibility in person for their actions. We all know how often difficult edits occur with anonymous editors.
I can speak about individuals and issues I've not been party to, but in theory I think it would be worth giving some weight to registration as a willingness to accept some personal responsibility, and for us to work with that by providing a procedure for reinstatement, rather than a duration of time. I agree with Calil that those who have clearly and deliberately disrupted our collaberative project aquire an onus of proof of their willingness to reform. But how can they do this if they are totally excluded from Wiki? Couldn't we establish a procedure that welcomes previously banned users to initiate a restoration of good faith? Perhaps re-admission allowing contribution to particular projects, with strong communities, and little politics would be a start.
I'm not really criticising current practice. Ultimately, I guess it's true that some will push and push to see how far they can go. Others will return to badger away on a personal crusade. Wiki does have to have a process to stop this. All I'm trying to say is there must undoubtedly be "bounday cases", and I propose a defined (and flexible) set of options for helping people who have done the wrong thing in the past, but now wish to demonstrate good faith to make up for that. Obviously, "hard cases" would not be interested in this. The best evidence of lack of change would be the lack of interest in a very reasonable "way back in".
Again, just a thought. Alastair Haines (talk) 02:24, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
In practice at WP:CSN it was usual for problematic editors to be topic banned rather than site banned if they only had problems in a small area and if they were willing to join WP:ADOPT - this could be formalized--Cailil talk 00:27, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
This sounds like precisely the sort of thing I'd back with words in theory, and attempt to assist with in practice. Thanks Cailil. Of course, the reality is that people who are only editing to cause trouble or make a point wouldn't be interested. So be it, they choose to leave, we don't block them, just their behaviour. On the other hand, people feeling emotionally involved in an issue may well move on from that issue over time. The more peaceable our interactions, the easier it is for them to return. Such returning users, who show the success of the system, may be rare, but I think they'd really prove a point about Wiki being "open/accountable/transparent to the core". It would only take a few. Offering even the "hard cases" a system of reconciliation is the ultimate in assuming good faith, or in this case, the possibility of adopting good faith, despite a history of bad faith edits. Anyway, I'm getting close to repeating myself, if I haven't actually done it. I think I've made my point, and I trust others to make wise judgements taking into account factors I am undoubtedly overlooking. Cheers. Alastair Haines 13:21, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Ban duration

Why should ban be reinitiated for the same period if it's not completely exhausted before the editor resumes? Justice is in that only a period when observance was not effective should added to the length.

So if you were banned for 10 days and you edited on the seventh to the ninth, then you've already sat six days ban and you've done your 10 when you finish day thirteen.

It makes sense to me. It should be changed. How to do?? (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 17:31, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Arbitration Committee remedy on Community Bans

Regarding the recent Arbitration Committee remedy, I have started a discussion of community bans at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Community Bans. Please discuss there. Mahalo. --Ali'i 17:27, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Too many 'may's and 'can's to make this policy enforceable

Peter Blaise says: Here's how I experience it:
"...Whoever gets here first and becomes an admin sets the level of emotional maturity and tolerance. Subsequent visitors who make the primary contributors uncomfortable will be banned. That is, the wiki will not grow beyond the imagination and tolerance of the initial admins...."
Click! Love and hugs, Peter Blaise peterblaise (talk) 17:41, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Ouch, indeed. I do sympathise with this, but I hold more hope that over time things will change (both for the better and for the worse). The current culture will always reflect the emotional maturity and tolerance of the most outspoken people, but if enough people speak up, then that can change. Also, people themselves do change. Both those who get banned and those doing the banning can grow up and mature and change. That, in my view, is a primary reason why banning should not be "for life". Even life imprisonment (in the UK) often only means "10 years and then you are eligible for parole". Carcharoth (talk) 14:51, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Does an indef block become a ban automatically simply by not bringing it to anyone's attention?

There seems to be some disagreement over the status of User:Defender 911. He was blocked on 11 August, and banned two hours later by, curiously, an editor who'd only been here three weeks. There was never any effort to bring this to the attention of the community, so I've reverted the template. People are now saying it's been "discussed" at WP:AN#User:Defender 911, but this is four months after the fact, no diffs or rationale have been provided beyond vague innuendo. Am I wrong for reverting the template here? If a tree falls in the wood etc.? -- Kendrick7talk 18:06, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Once anybody plays the "harassment card", all rational discussion goes out the window, and it's all "Burn the Witch!", no actual proof required. *Dan T.* (talk) 18:28, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
I tried to get basically the same conversation started at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Community Bans, but discussion seems to have fizzled out. --Ali'i 18:37, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
I'll look at this. A ban can always be reviewed, and an inappropriate ban should be lifted as soon as possible. That's without prejudice to whether this particular ban (which at this point I know nothing about and haven't reviewed) was appropriate. --Tony Sidaway 18:40, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Attempting to gain the personal information about someone after being told to stop over and over is simply trolling, this is a valid block. Reading that WP:AN thread, I see a pretty strong consensus in favor of the ongoing ban. 1 != 2 01:56, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
It appears that whole drama played itself out within a few hours, so it's not like he persisted for days or weeks in an unreasonable demand. It also seems he was just trying to gain that information by asking people for it (who always said no), not by actually stalking anybody or engaging in sneaky sleuthing. The whole thing seems more like an episode of temporary silliness than an ongoing history of abuse, and a permanent ban seems overblown. *Dan T.* (talk) 02:15, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Untrue, this user persisted for many days in trying to get this information. 1 != 2 02:25, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
I guess this particular example is a moot point now. However, it might be wise to clarify this policy to prevent these sorts of back-alley bans going forward. -- Kendrick7talk 05:11, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi Agent008 here,I've been swotting up on the policies and I just curious but;if I was"banned by the Wikipedia community" and listed on Wikipedia:List of banned users,would I still be able to access the website or would not be able to even read an article. PS:I haven't been banned because I am a law abiding citizen and I obey the rules,but I'm just curious.-Agent008

Hardbans - do they still exist anymore??

Back in 2005, I remember seeing the word "hardbanned" mentioned here, is it still used now, or is it rarely used to describe users here?? The last time I remember seeing it was in a block log edit summary for Homey (talk · contribs · count · logs · page moves · block log), but rarely anywhere else.

Anyone know if this is true or not?? --Solumeiras talk 12:27, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Rationale doesn't fit action

In the User pages section it reads that:

Banned users' user pages may be replaced by a notice of the ban (my emphasis)

The rationale given is:

The purpose of this notice is to announce the ban to editors encountering the banned user's edits.

The rationale only supports adding a notice, not replacing the page. I have sifted through the archives for this discussion page to see if this has been dealt with previously, however finding no such discussion. Either the rationale must be amended, or the provision changed from replacing content to merely the addition of a prominent notice. __meco (talk) 08:56, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

No bureacracy

About the section of "Enforcement by reverting edits". I find the policy seriously flawed.

What if such edit is so good that it can turn it to the quality of a featured article? It says there that Wikipedians may revert it however good or bad it is since such user is not permitted to make edits to the encyclopedia. Now that is flawed. And I thought that we oppose bureacracy. Reverts should be used to better the encyclopedia, not to enforce bans. -- Felipe Aira 02:16, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Notice the keyword may. They don't have to be. TJ Spyke 11:30, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, currently in an AfD, this is being used as the rationale for deleting an article that meets notability and that other editors have made edits to. It seems to be a limited policy. matt91486 (talk) 21:24, 8 April 2008 (UTC)


Looking at my overall edits, do you people think I will be banned soon? I hope not, but I am afraid my account might get closed. A big member around here who is called Chris said I was "waling on thin ice"... If I get banned, I want you people to know I loved working with them. Honestly. The best wishes, The One and Only (talk) 16:25, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

We have already been exceptionally patient with you for making edits such as, this. Chrislk02 Chris Kreider 20:27, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Requests for remedies - possible solution to dispute resolution scaling problems

Please review and tweak: Wikipedia:Requests for remedies. A very simple three-step system that can make trusted, final decisions on very tricky or complex matters, based on evaluations from trusted, uninvolved users on a given case in the dispute resolution process. It does add new process, but not many layers, or particularly complex layers by any stretch of the imagination. It's built entirely around consensus and the idea of certification, and is the opposite of Votes For Banning. Please weigh in at Wikipedia talk:Requests for remedies. The community needs a way to move forward in a trusted, fair manner on high-end, complex problems that are either unworkable for normal WP:AN, WP:ANI, or WP:RFC to handle, or that the Arbitration Committee can't take on, or that the Arbitration Committee relegates back to the Community. Lawrence § t/e 22:15, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Overly bureaucratic

My understanding was that a community ban was simply an indefinite block that is not going to be overturned. The "banning mechanism" need be no more complicated than adding {{banned}} to someone's userpage once they've been blocked indefinitely ([11], [12]). Or am I doing something wrong? Moreschi (talk) 10:52, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm not an admin, I'm just an observer but as I read the {{banned}} documentation, adding that template will automatically add the user to the Category Banned Wikipedia Users. AFAIK it will not add the user to the Wikipedia:List of banned users, so that should probably be done manually. Once there's consensus, I think those two steps would do it. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 13:11, 3 May 2008 (UTC)


Hi, I've been reviewing several dispute resolution procedures lately, as part of my involvement with the working group, but I've gotta be honest here, this policy still confuses me. I've read it several times, I've looked at discussions of banned users, I've reviewed the template, and I still don't get it. It's not that I disagree with it, it just seems that "banning" is something that's done by those admins who understand what it is, and the rest kind of ignore it (maybe because they're confused too?). I'd help rewrite this page, except like I said, I don't understand it, so I'm not clear how to even improve it.

I'm perfectly willing to continue ignoring this page, but just in case anyone would be interested in further clarifying things, I would recommend:

  • Go into more detail on the difference between a ban and a block
  • Explain how to go about banning someone. What steps need to occur first? What are common problems to avoid?
  • When is a ban more appropriate than a block?
  • When is a block more appropriate than a ban?
  • Describe different types of bans. Some seem to be blocks, some seem to be "topic bans" or "article bans"? What minimum authority is required to implement such a thing? Do all bans require a "community consensus" discussion, or can some admins just go in and implement them? What are some typical examples?

Thanks, Elonka 06:00, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Elonka, this policy exists for those admins who view the project not as building an encyclopedia, but as a MMORPG. You can easily identify these admins by looking at their contributions list and seeing mostly edits to project space and block logs several pages long. WP:BANNED includes scores of users who have "de facto" community bans not discussed anywhere on-wiki. (talk) 13:25, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Elonka raises serious questions that deserve a serious answer, not sarcasm and ad hominem attacks. I agree the banning policy has significant gaps. She outlines most of them quite well, although not quite with the priority I'd give them: a policy page should be understandable by everyone, not merely by the administrators who implement it. DurovaCharge! 14:41, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Durova. As a case study, I could bring up an editor that both you and I are familiar with, PHG (talk · contribs), whose behavior led to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Franco-Mongol alliance. Even with a unanimous decision by the arbs, it's still been an ongoing situation for several months now. Would a ban have been an appropriate option at some point? Or if not, why not? And if it was, which "precursor" steps should have been done, that were missed? Is a ban still an option now, or does this come off the table after the arbs are involved? Sorry if these appear to be dumb questions, but I'm still trying to understand this policy. Thanks, Elonka 10:55, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Edits by banned users

Proposed text to add: "This includes reverting to bad spellings, bad grammar, and punctuation errors. Stopping a banned editor is more important than the quality of the encyclopedia." It's important to clarify this, that even if a banned editor comes back and reverts vandalism, it's better to revert back to the vandalism than to allow the evil banned user to edit. (talk) 13:15, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Seriously, the anon has a point. The current wording in Wikipedia:Banning_policy#Enforcement_by_reverting_edits section is contrary to our goal of building an encyclopedia, as well as to related policies that tell us to concentrate on edits, not editors. If an established editor makes a mistake, he can be reverted; and if a banned editor makes a good edit he should not be reverted just because he is banned. Rather, we should assume good faith and even consider whether his ban is best for the project. Some time ago a banned editor asked me to correct a spelling error in an article, should I have just ignored him? Recently I saw a bunch of innocent and useful edits (for example, interlinks) reverted just because they were done by a sockpuppet of a banned editor, and this policy was cited as an excuse. As far as I am concerned such an approach is wrong and harmful to our goal of building an encyclopedia, and I suggest rewriting the relevant part of the policy. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 12:03, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I believe that the idea behind "revert banned editors on sight" is to simply make it clear and final that they are banned from the project. They are not just banned from making bad edits, they are banned, period. Letting banned users make "good" edits leads to all sorts of questions about what edits are good, what edits are controversial, and so on. It also opens the door for them to gradually evade the ban, after a month of good edits their behavior becomes gradually more controversial, and when someone wants to put the foot down and block the sockpuppet, there will be editors exclaiming "but s/he has done good work here!", and step up to defend the person even if they're banned or been engaging in other clearly abusive practices (we saw that in the Jack Merridew case. [13] [14])There have been enough cases of using a sockpuppet to gradually make more and more controversial edits as a backdoor into Wikipedia, that just saying no to their edits might be the best.

Onto practical consequences, first are you really sure that the "good edit" by the banned user is really good, and not simply well-disguised propaganda, POV-pushing, harassment, or similar? Second, there is no rule which says that you cannot make the edit. If you find an edit from a banned user, it should be reverted, but if you think the edit was good, you can then reinstate it, but you will be taking responsibility for that edit as well, so only do this if you are sure this edit is good. The fact that you reverted and reinstated has the additional benefit of showing to everyone that the user's edit has been dealt with. Sjakkalle (Check!) 13:53, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I agree we should block socks, ips and any way the banned users try to circumvine their ban. I also have no problem with 'revert and reinstate' good edits to certify they are good, but I have a problem with 'revert good edits just because they were made by a banned user'. Remember: our goal is to build an encyclopedia, not to police the users. The second is necessary, as in any community, but the tool should not become - or overshadow - the goal itself. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 14:57, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Um, does that mean we agree? Because if you have no problem with "revert and reinstate", and I too have a problem with "revert good edits just because they were made by a banned user", then I think we are in agreement... :-) Sjakkalle (Check!) 15:01, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I hope so :) Check my sandbox rewritten version below, and see if you'd like to change anything.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:49, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I think I support the general sentiments here. I added the bit about core policies and BLP myself last November after a flurry of discussion over on ANI about this policy. While I understand the need to keep banned users banned, a strict "no edits from banned users" policy just opens a new avenue for abuse using reverse psychology. It also discourages second chances. I feel this section and the idea of "meatpuppets" is far too broad and prone to abuse. I support refining this policy to better isolate abuse and disruption, over the mere sight of a name. I made a few modifications below. I'd like to go further and suggest striking the sentance about meatpupptery entirely, and finish on "Users who reinstate edits by banned editors take complete responsibility for the content by so doing." --InkSplotch (talk) 16:03, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Neither version seems obviously bad to me, and I agree that the wording on meatpuppetry is more scary than it should or needs to be. Nonetheless, I feel the proposed version goes a bit too far on the side of caution — we really do not have the time or ability to review each and every edit made by every sockpuppet of a banned user in order to determine whether their net value is positive or negative (which is what the proposed version could be interpreted as requiring). The point of this policy is that it should be OK to revert edits made by banned users wholesale: they weren't supposed to have been made in the first place, and if any turn out to have been useful after all, someone else will redo them.
Anyway, I've added my own suggestion below; perhaps we can work towards a consensus version combining the best aspects of each proposal. I've left out the paragraph starting with "If a banned user makes helpful edits" from my version, since I think it may be a bit misguided: while we certainly might want to do that in specific cases, we don't really want to encourage the idea that registering a sockpuppet and making helpful edits with it is a recommended way to get unbanned. In its stead, I've proposed a somewhat longer paragraph (which really would belong in the "Reincarnations" section) hopefully more or less describing current practice in those rare situations where a banned user manages to return as a productive editor. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 18:57, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I would support simply removing that language from the policy or anything that makes it less stupid. Helpful edits are helpful edits. It shouldn't matter who makes them. Blanket reverting is detrimental to our goal and reverting and reinstating is just making 2 pointless edits, though that's still better than just reverting. Remember, we're here to build an encyclopedia, not score points in an online game. Mr.Z-man 20:20, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
The problems with this are twofold: First, most edits of any significant value are not obviously useful. Sure, one can usually tell at a glance whether a word is spelled correctly or an interwiki link leads to the correct target, but those are trivial edits anyway; if they get reverted, some bot or AWB user will come along and redo them. But if someone has inserted a seemingly innocuous paragraph with a valid-looking citation to an obscure book, how long will it take you to ensure that it definitely doesn't violate NPOV, UNDUE or COATRACK and that the reference it cites is a reliable source and actually supports the statement? Now how about when the sock has made a hundred such edits? Second, we don't ban users just for the heck of it; banned users are banned for a reason, and that reason, whatever it may be in each case, generally involves a judgment that their edits, on the whole, are not worth sorting through to separate the wheat from the chaff — because if they were, we'd be doing that instead of having banned them. If you think a banned user is making edits that are valuable enough to justify that effort, you should be proposing that they be unbanned and promising to take the time to monitor their contributions instead. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 21:45, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
If we can't tell if its a helpful edit and the user is banned, there's no good faith assumption and we assume the edit may be bad - that is fine, that is practical. Reverting obviously helpful edits for the sole reason that the user who made them is banned is entirely unhelpful. Mr.Z-man 23:10, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we, or anyone else in this discussion, disagree on that (possibly modulo the degree to which bad faith may need to be assumed when it comes to some banned users). That said, people will disagree on what constitutes an obviously helpful edit, and will try to bring grief upon those who revert edits they think are helpful "just because they were made by a banned user". There really needs to be something in this section that protects users who revert edits made by banned users because they found them suspicious or just didn't feel like spending half an hour checking to see if they're useful or not. If we ask users to exercise discretion when reverting edits made by banned users, we need to make sure they don't catch grief for actually exercising said discretion. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 18:57, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Based partly on some of what you wrote, I've added a new proposed version to the sandbox section below. Comments? It's shorter, too. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 19:42, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Best version yet! I like short and concise. --InkSplotch (talk) 02:37, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that looks much better than what we currently have. Mr.Z-man 03:09, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
This sounds fine; since we seem to have a consensus I am updating the policy to include the wording of "Second proposed version by Ilmari Karonen" from sandbox below.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 16:16, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Um. Every time this discussion comes up, people fail to distinguish between addition of content and removal of content. The anon IP who started this discussion came closest. The point is that blanket reversals run the risk of undoing removal of content, and possibly restoring bad content. This is not a hypothetical situation. Let's say that among the edits of the banned user there are some edits where the banned user removed BLP violations or reverted vandalism ranging from obvious to subtle. Those edits will, of course, not be challenged in the normal course of events, but will those watching the pages in question take the time to look further when they see a bot or AWB-assisted editor roll by with an edit summmary of "reverting edits by banned user"? If they just let that go, without checking further, then the BLP vio or vandalism, unwittingly restored to the article by the person blindly applying rollback or undo, may stay in the article for longer than need be, and may even end up causing harm. The point is that it is normally (though not always) safe to revert the addition of content, but it is far more risky to revert the removal of content, and the reason is simple: when you are reverting the removal of content, you are in fact ADDING content to the article. Content should never be added without a manual review. Thus all processes for blanket reversals should be able to assess whether they are reverting the addition or removal of content. Problems arise though with complex edits that involve both removal and addition of content. Still, any guideline on this should at least make the above points about distinguishing between addition and removal of content. Carcharoth (talk) 19:52, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
A good point. Still, the principle that "content should never be added without a manual review" is somewhat problematic. For example, our article on George W. Bush is 124kb long and has 153 references. If a vandal (banned or not) comes along and replaces it all with "He's an idiot.", it's obvious that the vandalism should be removed. What's less obvious is whether it really makes sense to insist that the article should thereafter stand blank until and unless someone is willing to review each reference and personally confirm that each and every claim made in the article satisfies all applicable policies and laws. I suppose the restoration could be done piecemeal, starting with the lede (which is hopefully easily verifiable), but that's still a lot of work just to revert one vandal. Or we could just agree that reversion is a purely technical operation that simply serves to restore the status quo ante, and involves no editorial judgment beyond asserting that the version being reverted to appears to be better than the current one. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 22:27, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
What should be done, and many people forget to do (including me) is check for recent vandalism just prior to the edit being reverted, since that other vandalism might not have been reverted. Simply reverting the latest edit without looking back a bit through the history is just asking for trouble. Carcharoth (talk) 03:26, 31 May 2008 (UTC)


Current paragraph:

Any edits made in defiance of a ban may be reverted to enforce the ban, regardless of the merits of the edits themselves. As the banned user is not authorized to make those edits, there is no need to discuss them prior to reversion. When reverting edits, care should be taken not to reinstate material that may be in violation of core policies such as Neutrality, Verifiability, and Biographies of Living Persons.

Users are generally expected to refrain from reinstating edits made by banned users and such edits may be viewed as meatpuppetry. Users who reinstate such edits take complete responsibility for the content by so doing. It is not possible to revert newly created pages, as there is nothing to revert to. Such pages may be speedily deleted. Any user can put a {{db-banned}} to mark such a page.

Proposed new version by Piotrus (slight modifications by InkSplotch):

Any edits made in defiance of a ban may be reverted to enforce the ban, care should be however taken not to revert helpful, uncontroversial edits (ex. fixing typos or adding interlinks). Also, when reverting edits, care should be taken not to reinstate material that may be in violation of core policies such as Neutrality, Verifiability, and Biographies of Living Persons. Improving the quality of Wikipedia takes precedence over ban enforcement.

If a banned user makes helpful edits, he should be advised to ask for review of his case and to be unblocked (with or without restrictions, based on previous disruption). If a banned user continues to make harmful edits, his ban should be extended.

Users are expected to refrain from reinstating unhelpful edits made by banned users and such edits may be viewed as meatpuppetry. In all cases, users who reinstate edits by banned editors take complete responsibility for the content by so doing.

It is not possible to revert newly created pages, as there is nothing to revert to. Such pages may be speedily deleted. Any user can put a {{db-banned}} to mark such a page.

Proposed version by Ilmari Karonen:

(I think I'll remove this one soon unless anyone feels it's better than my second proposal below.)

Any edits made in defiance of a ban may be reverted wholesale to enforce the ban, regardless of the merits of the edits themselves. By banning a user, we've decided that we'd rather do without their contributions, and the fact that they've managed to circumvent the technical measures preventing them from editing does not change this. Reverting simply serves to retroactively apply that decision.

This does not mean that obviously beneficial edits (such as fixing typos or undoing vandalism) must be reverted merely because they were made by a banned user, but there is no obligation to retain them either, and the presumption in ambiguous cases, or where the volume of edits precludes individual review, should be in favor of reverting. If the edits were truly useful, someone else will eventually make them again. However, when reverting edits, care should be taken not to reinstate, even temporarily, any material that may be in violation of core policies such as neutrality, verifiability, and biographies of living persons.

Users who reinstate edits made by banned users take complete personal responsibility for the content by so doing. Editing on behalf of a banned user is strongly discouraged and may in some cases be viewed as meatpuppetry, especially if the edits are similar to those that led to the ban in the first place. If in doubt, think twice and consult others more familiar with situation first. If you genuinely believe that an edit made or suggested by a banned user would be an improvement to the encyclopedia, making an equivalent improvement in your own words may be preferable to reinstating the edit verbatim.

It is not possible to revert newly created pages, as there is nothing to revert to. Such pages may be speedily deleted. Any user can put a {{db-banned}} to mark such a page.

(Note: This paragraph really belongs in the Reincarnations section.) Banned users who return to edit constructively under a completely new identity, and manage to refrain from the activities that got them banned as well as anything else that would connect them with their old identity, will generally not suffer any sanctions for the simple reason that they cannot be identified as a banned user. Should such a connection subsequently come to light, and if the user's contributions under the new identity show them to be a productive editor with no sign of the behavior leading to their former ban, this may be considered a reason for rescinding the ban or at least not enforcing it against the new identity. However, this depends strongly on the reasons for the ban; some banned users may simply not be welcome under any circumstances, and in some cases there may be reasons for the ban that may not be apparent from the edit history alone.

Second proposed version by Ilmari Karonen:

Anyone is free to revert any edits made in defiance of a ban. By banning a user, the community has decided that their edits are prima facie unwanted and may be reverted without a further reason. This does not mean that obviously helpful edits (such as fixing typos or undoing vandalism) must be reverted just because they were made by a banned user, but the presumption in ambiguous cases should be to revert. When reverting edits, care should be taken not to reinstate material that may be in violation of core policies such as neutrality, verifiability, and biographies of living persons.

It is not possible to revert newly created pages, as there is nothing to revert to. Such pages may be speedily deleted. Any user can put a {{db-banned}} to mark such a page.

Users may reinstate edits that were reverted due to being made in defiance of a ban, if they sincerely believe the edits are beneficial to the encyclopedia and compliant with policy. Users who reinstate such edits take complete personal responsibility for the content by so doing. Note that editing on behalf of a banned user is strongly discouraged, and may in some cases be viewed as meatpuppetry, especially if the edits in question are similar to those that led to the ban in the first place. If in doubt, think twice and consult others more familiar with the situation first.

Banned users and Wikipedia namespace pages and discussion pages

Could we have some comments on how to handle Wikipedia pages created by banned users? Effectively, these pages (usually policy pages) embody some idea or concept or guideline that may not be accepted by the community, but may end up generating discussion. Sometimes, the fallout from the banning of the user (or the discovery that the creator was the sock of a banned user) sees people assiduously hunt down such pages and delete, or attempt to delete, them, even when the idea has already taken root and been adopted and community discussion (in good faith) has taken place. Some examples of this can be seen at the following deletion discussions:

There should probably also be something that says that even if a banned user creates a page, subsequent good faith discussion by others on the talk page of that page should be handled sensitively (saying "you've been trolled" is not always the best way to handle such a situation, and in some cases saying that, especially if there was no trolling, can poison a productive discussion). By all means announce to those discussing things on the talk page that the creator of the page is a now banned user, but let those at the talk page come to their own, independent conclusions as to what to do, and don't steam in wielding G5 like the blunt instrument it is. Carcharoth (talk) 20:12, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

Lacks procedures for Topic Bans

This important article needs a discussion of the procedures for implementing and enforcing topic / article bans. The notion that a ban can be enforced by a block doesn't really apply to a topic ban, since the editor (as I understand it) isn't blocked but is free to edit on all other areas of Wikipedia.

There needs to be some guidance on how and where the editor should be notified. Admins who have experience in implementing bans would probably be the most helpful people for drafting such a section.

A good method for notification would be through a standardized template. There is presently a template for general bans Template:Banned user to go on the User page and for topic or article bans to go on the article or article talk pages Template:User page ban, Template:User article ban, and Template:User article&talk ban, but I don't know of any templates for topic bans to go on the user page. Perhaps something along that line needs to be created.

Finally, enforcement of topic bans, which I presume is done by elevating the topic ban to a general block. Once a topic ban is established, am I right that any admin can initiate a general block once the ban is violated?.

--SteveMcCluskey (talk) 19:24, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I had been topic banned by the arbcom though the arbcom explicitly stated that I had not edited inappropriately, so I do not accept such a template. Andries (talk) 19:37, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
At the moment, the page says that enforcement is done by reverting edits. That is somewhat strange in cases where there is nothing wrong with the edits themselves. But I find the entire policy very confusing on topic bans, while the concept is really not all that complicated. I've just received an article ban myself and I have no clue, and I get the impression that neither does the banning admin. I'm also with Andries here; since no evidence has been presented for what I am supposed to have done wrong, I would not accept such a template either. Guido den Broeder (talk) 19:43, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
This doesn't seem to be the place to discuss the merits of particular cases. Does anyone have opinions on defining procedures to eliminate the apparent confusion reported by Guido den Broeder? I've seen similar uncertainty among admins on AN/I about how to close and log a topic ban, so there does seem to be a problem. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 19:37, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Proposal on community bans

See WP:AN#Community ban discussion. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:15, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Copied from AN where these things get lost a bit:

Currently a community ban is de facto created, any time a user is indef-blocked, and no admin is prepared to unblock them.

Two problems:

  1. Most community bans are in practice consensus driven anyway,
  2. With over 1500 admins there is always an admin who will unblock even a block most others agree with. Our consensus model clashes heavily with an "any admin acting unilaterally" model here. It can cause problems, since most other decisions, wide consensus trumps most things.

Question - is it time we moved to a consensus-based view of a community ban?

The proposal would be:

  • A community ban arises where there is a consensus that a user should be banned from the wiki. A ban may either be created by discussion leading to consensus, or by an initial indef-block that a consensus then agrees should be considered a ban. Once created, a community ban may be removed by consensus, or by appeal to the Arbitration Committee. The consensus in each case is of uninvolved admins.

Thoughts? FT2 (Talk | email) 23:53, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

One thing we'll still all disagree on is when "consensus" is reached on a ban. Is 51% consensus, 70%, 85%? Who determines it? Maybe its finally time to get the crats, our consensus determining experts, involved in more things. MBisanz talk 02:49, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
So far, disputed discussions have gone to ArbCom where the arbs decide it, since they're the appeal route for a disputed community ban anyway. This is a solid rational update that shouldn't get derailed over minor points. Anyone who watched the CAMERA fiasco knows it's just too gameable to keep a system where a single corrupt administrator out of 1500 holds such power: too much of a temptation to plant a few operatives who'll act politically. DurovaCharge! 02:58, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
That is something I totally agree with, the idea that 1 or 2 admins can overturn a community ban simply by unblocking is something we really need to work to eliminate from the policy. I'd give up by vagueness objective to get what FT2 is proposing into policy. MBisanz talk 03:20, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Most of Wikipedia's consensus discussions reach consensus in the neighborhood of 2/3 to 3/4, with weight considered for the quality of the argument. As long as people are satisfied with that general standard we probably don't need to redefine it here, since the Committee and the Foundation exist as appeals routes. DurovaCharge! 03:45, 7 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps the notion of someone who is indefinitely blocked with no hope of being unblocked being community banned should be eliminated entirely if it is causing problems. De facto community ban is only a name for an undiscussed indef block anyway. ViridaeTalk 11:49, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Prior discussion at WP:AN

See Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive143

Agree with point 1, but is there any evidence of point 2 being an issue? I haven't seen it, and of the 1537 admins, I doubt more than a third are currently active. --Rodhullandemu 23:58, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

The consensus model is seen as important. Also, actual cases probably do exist where an argument has broken out whether sole admin X can unban someone whom a consensus favors keeping blocked (placing consensus vs. unilateral models at loggerheads), or some such. Just seems that this would be a nice way to handle it that effectively codifies how we do it nowadays, where actual community bans mostly are consensus backed. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:05, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Todays midnight unblock of Jack Merridew supports point 2.--Cube lurker (talk) 00:02, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Forgive me if I missed that; I've, er, been writing an article, bizarrely enough.--Rodhullandemu 00:07, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
No, it does not support point 2. The editor who unblocked was the one who blocked him in the first place. Very different situation from what you're stating. -- Kesh (talk) 13:17, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Agree, it would certainly seem inappropriate for community consensus to be overturned by a single admin, and in that sense, it does seem that the current system lacks logic. --Rodhullandemu 00:11, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

I dont agree with the assesment that any indef block is a defacto ban... Remember the differences: accounts are blocked, persons are banned. Many, if not most, indef blocks are a result of an account being used to vandalize or cause any other type of disruption, after which the person can re-register and start over productively. You're not proposing we need to get consensus first for these blocks, I hope? EdokterTalk 00:01, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

I was the user who wrote WP:INDEF so yes, I do remember it :-) More seriously, you might have split the sentence when it wasn't intended you should. Note the wording after the comma, "and no admin is prepared to unblock them". Or else you're discussing clean starts, which are a bit different. We surely don't expect anyone indef-blocked to be able to just start a new account and carry on unchanged. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:08, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

FT2, that sounds like a reasonable concept. Here is a pair of options for implementing it:

  1. Require 2 admins to unblock a community-banned user; they must commit to keeping tabs on the user until the community comes to a consensus that this is no longer necessary (or X months, whichever comes first).
  2. Any user subject to community ban who is unblocked will automatically be reblocked after X edits. At that time, a different admin must review the user's edits and decide to finally unblock. Both admins will thereafter be charged with keeping tabs on the community-banned user until there is community consensus otherwise (or X months pass, whichever comes first).

FT2's vision is cleaner than either of these mechanisms for implementing it, but what I'm trying to do here is offer concrete suggestions that would at least make the community ban more difficult to overturn than it is now. Antelantalk 00:04, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Specifics of X admins may not be needed. Good consensus is more to the point (see FCYTravis' point below). An addition that "banned users are usually parolled back into the community" will suffice. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:12, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Yep, I like this approach. If it fails, we can consider other options (such as the X admins watching for X months approach that I've suggested here). I, for one, hope it doesn't come to that. Antelantalk 00:19, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

This needs to be studied very closely to avoid becoming "Votes for Banning." FCYTravis (talk) 00:05, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes. Same applies to any consensus discussion though. CSN was merged back into ANI exactly to ensure many more eyeballs to prevent that. Yes it's important, but the issue here is more "in principle". FT2 (Talk | email) 00:12, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I support this. A consensus-based approach makes it much more likely that people are going to seriously review these matters in substantial numbers, reducing the probability of inappropriate bans. Furthermore, individual admins should not have veto power; we need to encourage more collaborative decision-making among admins. Everyking (talk) 00:06, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I have reservations in supporting this, though I am not closed to the concept -- indeed, it is to a certain extent current practice. Votes for banning must absolutely be avoided, and the barrier must be pretty high. The aim of the debate should be "are there any reasonable objections to putting this ban into place?" rather than "does anyone oppose this ban?". This is, of course, difficult to achieve. It might require a decision that whoever says "Support ban ~~~~" has such a comment removed from the discussion. I have great scepticism about Antelan's ideas in particular -- that kind of concrete system is incredibly arbitrary and inflexible -- two principles that must be as far as possible from any consideration of banning. In response to Everyking, admins should not have veto power, but a well-reasoned objection should. Sam Korn (smoddy) 00:17, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
With your permission, if this went ahead, I'd put the "aim of the debate" point as a footnote to the final version, if folks agree. Good call. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:43, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes, I have advocated something like this proposal for a long time. We need to reduce drama. If 80% of admins want to ban somebody, they should be banned. Jehochman Talk 00:18, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
    • I think that rather depends what the other 20% think. If they, in general, think "I don't think they need to be banned yet, but it's well on the road", then I think a ban would be reasonable. If they in general think "No, absolutely not, this user has done nothing warranting banning and here's why ...", I think a ban is misplaced. If consensus banning is to be introduced, it has to be real consensus, not an arbitrarily defined figure. Sam Korn (smoddy) 00:27, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
      • But then Admins are supposed to be able to assess consensus on AfDs, and Bureaucrats on RfAs. Since this would be an Admin-input process, would Bureaucrats therefore be the best to assess consensus, or should it be left to Admins? --Rodhullandemu 01:02, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, with an important caveat: people who are partisans to a particular conflict should be expected to recuse themselves from the actual consensus and/or disclose their history of involvement. It wouldn't be right for a team of people to gang together and force the outcome of something as important as a ban. DurovaCharge! 00:20, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Absolutely agreed regarding disclosure of involvement. Once concern, though, is that this phrasing makes it sound like this is going to be a vote. Certainly involved admins shouldn't participate in an administrative way in these matters, but involved parties should be welcome to give their input, so long as they disclose their involvement. Antelantalk 00:23, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • The amended version looks great - a long overdue update. Thank you very much, FT2, for proposing this. Should reduce the occurrence of periodic drama-fests. DurovaCharge! 00:39, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Support, in principle - but I would like it made clear that the later lack of consensus for a ban resulting from an indef block which was originally supported is not consensus to unblock. The erosion of consensus in banning an editor still means that the block is in place, but that an admin is prepared to argue for the lifting of the block; there is still the need to establish consensus that the block can be lifted. This comment comes directly from the actions performed regarding Jack Merridew a few sections above (at the time of writing). LessHeard vanU (talk) 00:29, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
No consensus to escalate an indef block is not the same as consensus to remove it. I think that's your point. If so, concur. FT2 (Talk | email) 00:44, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but also consensus to de-escalating a ban does not mean there is consensus to unblock, only that there is the potential to unblock (first we agree we can discuss unblocking a banned editor, and only then do we talk about lifting the block.) LessHeard vanU (talk) 12:50, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Support the proposal. Based on what happened today the current process is fatally flawed.--Cube lurker (talk) 00:35, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • This sits fine with me. At present, the whole "if one admin feels an unblock is good, then it's all fine" concept really doesn't work in situations where the greater community may have something to say about it. In the above situation, I would be surprised if the majority of the community even knows it happened. We're a consensus-driven project, and that should be extended to community bans. Tony Fox (arf!) 01:52, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I support this as well. Wizardman 01:58, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • You have my support. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 05:20, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
This discussion assumes that community bans are normally enforced by a block that can be undone by the action of a single admin. In many cases community bans are topic bans and are, therefore, not enforced by a block but by reverting the edits of the banned user. Any policy revision should keep this in mind.
That being said, I agree with the concept that one admin should not be able to overrule consensus by undoing a community ban. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 12:41, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Support in the hope that a previously supported block will henceforth not be reversed due to an agreement among a few individuals (like it was yesterday) --PeaceNT (talk) 14:25, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I must oppose this. Banning is a very serious issue, and to be quite frank, the Wikipedia community acts like a mob sometimes. The current rules for a community ban, which allow that if any admin is willing to unblock, the user is not banned, are needed as a safeguard. This is simply holding bans to an extremely high standard of consensus. Already, we see editors being AFD'd from time to time by those who treat community bans as votes for banning. This change will simply empower that. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 17:15, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
    • Another question: How are we to judge when consensus is reached? We have constant difficulties with this at RFA, and yet we're trying to implement a system like that here? This is a bad idea, especially with an issue so serious as banning. I take extreme issue with Jehochman's statement that if 80% of admins think a user should be banned, they should banned. This is the definition of votes for banning, and is something we should be running from, not moving toward. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 07:10, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

This is based on a misconception, in my opinion. If someone is indefinitely blocked, and an admin unblocks, then there arises the possibility that the admin will re-block, possibly/hopefully following discussion. If then the unblocking admin leaves the block then it's a ban, since they have reached the conclusion that their action has no support. If it continues to be lifted by that admin or others, then there is no ban for now — if a lone warrior persists in the face of vast opposition, then they will be stopped eventually by ordinary means, perhaps including an emergency arbitration. In the end, perhaps that collection of unblocking admins will as a whole come to the ban view, and leave it in place, in which case it's a ban by consensus. If they do not, then it cannot be viewed as tenable that the individual is likely to remain blocked, and thus no ban can possibly be in place.

None of these facts change if you happen to legislate some other "consensus" model, as is being mooted here – it matters not if there is a so-called consensus of a handful of passing admins to ban since if someone feels strongly enough that the person should be unblocked they will still do so. You cannot possibly stop unblocks by attempting to legislate in this way; a nice demonstration of why policy is descriptive and not legislative. This new piece of legislation tries to stop something that simply cannot be stopped while any admin retains technical abilities to unblock since feelings will eventually run high just as they do now. Finally, I dispute FT2's #2 as demonstrably untrue in the numerously many cases where indefinite blocks have stuck in the past. If we accept FT2's #2, however, then the proposal is doomed to failure as a matter of definition for the reasons I have just described. Also, of course, this will in practise function identically to the disastrous Community Sanction Noticeboard, and it is hopeless to suppose otherwise. Splash - tk 17:19, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

  • I oppose this proposal per Heimstern Laufer, but I also find Sam Korn's argument persuasive. I don't think every admin should have veto power, but I also don't think that a simple majority is sufficient to convict a user to spending the rest of their life on activities more worthwhile than Wikipedia. :) What the numbers game fails to consider is that a single user who wishes to unblock a user who most of the community wishes to ban will have a good reason, and in some cases will have a strong conviction that the ban is just wrong. I think this sort of reasoning also explains why RFA requires a supermajority: people who oppose RFAs almost universally feel more strongly about the issue than supporters. So if one admin wants to unblock and nobody agrees with him, maybe that admin is just loony. If two or three or four other admins agree with him, even against a large majority, my instinct is to let the admins who wish to unban take responsibility for the situation.
  • I'm also concerned about any process that ends with an appeal to the Arbitration Committee. ArbCom is overworked and doesn't need to be consulted every time an indef-blocked user wishes to receive a second chance. I don't think a majority is needed to overturn a ban: a significant minority is enough for me. Shalom (HelloPeace) 03:56, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Call it WP:CREEP if you want, but we need some sort of guideline or process for this. A significant minority or even a majority can't be the deciding factor as shown by what happened recently (non canvassing emails?). I can see WP:ILIKETHEM and WP:OTHERBANNEDUSERsEXIST type of essays helping in some sort of discussion. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 04:09, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

  • Disagree with the unban/unblock rule. There needs to be parity in blocking and keeping blocked, in banning and keeping banned. But this proposal turns that parity upside down. If it requires a community consensus to ban someone, then it continues to require a community consensus to keep that editor banned. An unban discussion reaching no consnesus is proof that there is no longer consensus to ban that person, and thus they are not community banned by consensus. Any other rule will result in votes for banning again. GRBerry 14:26, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Comment: I think the #Jack Merridew thread on this page demonstrates the potential of a serious problem. I also want to point out why the community sanction board was abolished. This initiative should avoid such pitfalls. -- Cat chi? 18:49, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Something to remember

We get caught up in our discussion of the way in which Wikipedia operates that sometimes we forget that it operates at all. We are consumer driven, millions more readers than the thousands of editors (hell, I'm not even an "editor" as much as I am a reader). I've been reading Ed Fitzgerald's userpage, which got me thinking about this thread.

The point is that we should all remember that Community Bans don't happen that often in the grand scheme of having the office open 24/7/366this year for business. At best a dozen a year.

These sort of community ban reviews are even more rare. I can only think of a couple times this has happened in recent years.

Sometimes smoke is caused by char and ashes. There is not always fire.

I'm just sayin. Keegantalk 04:34, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Pretty diagram

Thoughts? Daniel (talk) 02:52, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Basically correct. Buuut slightly more complicated than that. De facto ban --> can lead to discussion which can lead to a full community ban OR no community ban. Similarly defacto unban (for want of a better description) can lead to discussion and a ban (so the unban indicated may be temporary). And it probobly doesnt need to be said, but perhaps should be that a willingness to unblock doesn't need to be followed by an actual unblock. ViridaeTalk 11:41, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Don't give up your day job to become a graphic designer. Looks accurate. Do you want to rewrite the policy and then we'll edit war to make it stick see if anybody reverts and then discuss things? Jehochman Talk 11:50, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
My day job is a graphic designer. Oh, wait, was it a professor of philosophy? Gah, I always forget what profession I'm in :) </bad taste> Daniel (talk) 08:01, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Talk page

I have a concern over the policy of banned users not being allowed to edit their talk pages. Editing their talk pages is a good way for banned users to engage in discussion with administrators, so they can understand what is required of them and if there is a chance for them to come back one day, what procedures they must follow. Most of the time admins don't even warn users about this policy and are quite happy to have a discussion about their ban on the talk page. Without any discussion, the banned users are far more likely to turn to sockpuppeting to evade their ban, rather than take the advice of administrators. I ask that, if there is consensus, there following statement removed: "Unlike editors who have been temporarily blocked, banned users are not permitted to edit their user and user talk pages." (talk) 12:49, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Hard banning

Why is there no mention of hard banning? EVCM (talk) 17:34, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Because it is not a distinct concept. There is no "soft banning" with which to emphasize a contrast. — CharlotteWebb 18:05, 30 August 2008 (UTC)


I noticed that some of the information on this page had gotten a bit out of date, so I took the liberty of reworking things. The main points of my changes were to:

  • Add information related to the ArbCom authorized "uninvolved administrator" bans. See Wikipedia:General sanctions
  • Rework a couple sections that seemed to have some confusion between bans and blocks
  • Emphasize that bans are not usually permanent and project-wide, but are often temporary and of limited scope

If anyone has any trouble with my changes, please feel free to fix. I was not attempting to make new policy here, but simply to make the page easier to understand. --Elonka 06:40, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Location of ban discussions

I've attempted to clarify the documentation about where ban discussions should take place. Please see WP:AN#Location of ban discussions for details and disucssion. Carcharoth (talk) 11:33, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I've reverted the change, and modified it to reflect current practice - part of my rationale for opposing the change is also located at WP:AN#Location of ban discussions. Ncmvocalist (talk) 14:57, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Indefinitely Blocked Versus Permanently Banned

Perhaps there needs to be a revision in the banning policy so that after a user has been indefinitely blocked for a certain amount of time, that user shall be officially banned. The concept of a ban being merely a social construct also needs to be revised to send a stronger message to prospective vandals.

Therefore I propose the following:

  • That the clause "Users may be banned as a result of the dispute resolution process, or by uninvolved administrators who are enforcing rulings of the Arbitration Committee" be replaced with
"Users may be banned as a result of the dispute resolution process, or by uninvolved administrators who are enforcing rulings of the Arbitration Committee. In addition, users who have been indefinitely blocked shall be banned automatically should the user remain blocked after 365 days and there is no pending appeal by the blocked user."
  • that the clause "Bans are social constructs, and are not enforced by the MediaWiki software. However, users who violate a ban may have their account access blocked entirely, as a way of enforcing the ban." be replaced with
"Bans are social constructs, but may or may not be enforced by the MediaWiki software. However, users who violate a ban may have their account access blocked entirely, as a way of enforcing the ban."
  • that the clause "In the case of project-wide bans, the primary account of any banned user may be entirely blocked for the duration of the ban." be replaced with
"In the case of project-wide bans, the primary account of any banned user shall be entirely blocked for the duration of the ban."
  • that the clause "Generally speaking, the banned user will make the request on his or her talk page, which will be copied to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration by a clerk." be replaced with
"Alternatively, if the user is permitted to edit their talk page, then he or she has the option of making the request on his or her talk page, which will be copied to Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration by a clerk."; and
  • that the following section be inserted after the "Administrator ban" section:
Auto-Banning of Indefinitely Blocked Users
If a user account has been indefinitely blocked for any reason other than a user name policy violation and no permanent and project-wide community ban is forthcoming, the following shall apply in relation to the user involved:
1.The user page is blanked and tagged with a template declaring that "This user account has been blocked indefinitely." Full protection shall be applied
2.An announcement that the user has been indefinitely blocked is appended to the end of the talk page. The talk page shall be semi-protected in order to prevent possible disruption to the talk page by IP vandals.
3.Subject to the restrictions mentioned in point no. 6, the user is allowed 365 days to appeal the block.
4.At the expiration of the 365 days mentioned above, if the user remains indefinitely blocked and no appeal is pending, then the user shall be auto-banned. If an appeal is pending, then the user may not be auto-banned at all unless the appeal is unsuccessful at which point the user shall be auto-banned.
5.Where a user has been auto-banned, the indefinite block template on the user page shall be replaced with a template declaring that "This user has been banned from editing Wikipedia" as well as any relevant information connected to the circumstances leading up to the indefinite block and auto-ban. Unless the user has engaged in sockpuppetry or there is another good reason for not doing so, the user's talk page shall be deleted and protected from creation on auto-banning. If the talk page is not to be deleted for any reason, then it must be fully protected once the auto-ban commences.
6.Notwithstanding point no.4, if an indefinitely blocked user abuses the unblock request template, makes frivolous threats either on or off wiki or engages in sockpuppetry after the indefinite block, then the user shall be auto-banned immediately. Points no. 5 and no. 7 shall then apply.
7.Once a user has been auto-banned under this policy, the revocation of the user's editing privileges shall be final. Any attempt to evade or appeal the ban from this point onwards on his or her part may result in legal action against the banned user.

The task of auto-banning users (including related tasks such as the deletion of talk pages) shall be performed largely by a automated bot specifically designed for that purpose.

Hopefully, the above suggestions will send a strong message to would be vandals. In particular, the proposed auto-banning policy will introduce for possibly the first time, the concept that once a user account has been indefinitely blocked for a reasonable amount of time, then in the absence of a community or administrator ban, the user shall be officially banned from editing any part of Wikipedia, including their talk page. Of course, a change in policy as radical as this one will require consequential amendments to other relevant policies as well as the creation of a new bot to implement the auto-ban scheme. (talk) 13:00, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I would not support any form of auto-banning. Bans are more serious than blocks. Those who have been indefintely blocked under one account may be editing productively in a different area under another account without bothering to ask for the blocked account to be unblocked and retired. Also, people can reform and change even after a year, and want to return to editing. The current process works well, in my view. Also, the legal point you make at the end is not appropriate. Taking legal action against ban-evading users is not something that would ever be desirable in my view, and is not something that the community can decide. That would be a matter for the Wikimedia Foundation. Carcharoth (talk) 13:16, 21 September 2008 (UTC)