Wikipedia talk:Bans and blocks

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May vs Will[edit]

All subsequent edits by this user will be reverted

This isn't strictly accurate in practice, though it might be in theory. I wonder how it could be phrased better. Martin

All subsequent edits by this user may be reverted

where "may" is deliberately ambiguous between "you're allowed to do it" and "it might actually happen"? :-) Evercat 21:21 1 Jul 2003 (UTC)

All subsequent edits by this user should be reverted

neither promises what we may not deliver nor equivocates on what's supposed to happen. -- Toby Bartels 10:38, 2 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Ya see, I don't think that this is what's supposed to happen. If it is what's supposed to happen, then we're failing on a huge scale. I'd prefer not to tell people they should do something when they show no inclination of doing it... :-/ Martin
How about All subsuequent edits by this user are subject to reversion. Using the "is" word may create problems, someone may argue that the policy is not being applied fairly, using "subject to reversion" implies some amount of discretion. Alex756

Text moved from Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion by Oliver P. after suggestion by Martin:

[begin moved text]

I was testing out a way to see could we delete DW's stuff (given that he is multiple hard banned and so should have his stuff deleted) while preserving useful text, by deleting the page and then creating a new page with that name into which salvaged text could be pasted as a new edit by a non DW user. Yes, it can be done physically (which is what I was checking) but if the recommendation is that it shouldn't, then I guess we will simply have to revert to last non-DW edit or if none delete the entire article. FearÉIREANN 02:46 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Once a user account is blocked, there is no reason to revert any of that user's valid content. The argument in Michael's case was that his material was untrustworthy, and I accept that. No such argument has been made in the case of DW, as far as I am aware. His material should therefore be kept. -- Oliver P. 06:42 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

The guidelines say to revert and delete irrespective of content. DW was hardbanned in January 2003. Therefore everything he placed on since that date is liable for revertion and deletion. Michael's is creations not being deleted due to its unreliability, but do to the fact that he is hardbanned. The same rule applies to all hardbanned users. FearÉIREANN 19:38 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Where are these guidelines? I can't find them. Please could you give me a link? If it is official policy to remove everything contributed by banned users, then we've got a few megabytes of material still to remove, by Lir and DW and so on. But I don't think this is the consensus at all. I don't know of anybody who has been going round removing Lir's contributions, at least. If you can point out which policy page these alleged guidelines are on, then I will go to the relevant talk page forthwith, and strongly urge the removal of the guidelines! Removing valid content from the Wikipedia just because we don't like the person who contributed it is, quite frankly, barmy. -- Oliver P. 11:33 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Jtdirl is probably referring to an older version of wikipedia:bans and blocks. Shall I take this discussion there? Martin 13:15 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

[end moved text]

Okay, here is my argument: as far as I am aware, there is one, and only one, reason for banning people from the Wikipedia, and that is that they are behaving badly here, and thereby disrupting normal Wikipedia activity. (What "behaving badly" means is debatable, but not relevant to this argument.) Once someone has been successfully blocked from contributing to the Wikipedia, they are no longer behaving badly here, and no longer disrupting activity. I can therefore see no good reason to take any further action against them. To remove their valid contributions seems to me not only pointless, but actually detrimental to the Wikipedia, because the amount of good material goes down. It seems to me a perfect example of cutting one's nose off to spite one's face, and I simply don't understand why anyone should support the idea. I therefore strongly oppose the suggestion that the contributions of banned users should be removed after they've gone, and by extension I also oppose the suggestion that other users should not restore any of their contributions thus removed.

Removing bad contributions is of course okay, but that is the same for any user. And if a user is known to persistently insert nonsense into the Wikipedia, as Michael is said to have done (to be honest I never checked his material myself), then it may be sensible to remove all his material until it can be checked, but he is a special case, and cannot be used as a reason to make a general rule. -- Oliver P. 13:41 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)

This is a good point in general.

The case of Michael is special, because his shtik is to write statements that are plausible but false (intermixed with those that are plausible and true), so his work is reverted on sight without fact-checking. But Lir and DW never did this sort of thing -- the false statements that they wrote were also implausible ^_^. So there you are right. -- Toby Bartels 10:38, 2 Aug 2003 (UTC)

I'd even say that the majority of Michael's work was plausible and true, based on the pages I've reviewed. I probably don't have a fully randomised sample, though.
Anyway, I agree with Oliver, still, and can only hope those who disagree come to their senses at some point. Martin 13:47, 2 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I'm two months late on this one, but I'd say that in my experience at least half of Michael's work was not correct, and some of it was so far from the truth that I doubt very much he was making any effort to make it true (I remember several pages of purported Grammy winners which were miles off the mark). --Camembert 14:24, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC)

/ban pages (aka /shun, subpages of problem users, etc)[edit]

EofT contributes: (edited by Martin for genericness)

  1. no one should blank their ban page
  2. protecting a /ban page prevents others from commenting
  3. archiving a /ban page, as a compromise in a blank/unblank edit war, rewards the blanking user.
  4. In principle no one should edit their own /ban page more than to respond to specific allegations.

The whole "We should ban user X" thing has become so endemic that I think we need a "Request for sanctions" page. Such a page would have the following advantages:
  • users wouldn't feel they have the right to blank their own ban pages (see EofT's post above)
  • sanctioning policy can be discussed and consolidated
  • policy and implementation would be located in one place
  • non-sysops can get in on the action
  •  ?
Cyan 18:07, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
  • (cont'd) and trying to fit the analysis of the problem, and the "request" into one thing, is a really bad idea - those who note the behaviour in general are the worst people to advise or request sanctions. These functions should be totally separate - I for instance tried to stay aloof from the actual measures to be taken re: User:RK, and believe that taking a position (even the moderate one I did take initially) just rendered my reporting of his behaviour harder to simply accept on face value.
    • So here we have policy suggestion #1: reporting users shouldn't specify what sanctions they want; they should only provide links to the objectionable revisions. My addition: a disinterested user can make a recommendation for sanctions, to be seconded by another disinterested user. No consensus = no sanctions. Cyan 05:45, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
  • (cont'd) Anonymity in advising measures is a good thing, so maybe, we should have software to record "N frequently used IP numbers, M infrequently used IP numbers, and X named users voted for this measure". EofT 18:21, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
    • This is another policy suggestion. It would require a developer to implement, I think. Cyan 05:45, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
  • Anyone making a bad-faith censorship attempt will find ways to excuse altering the text record of their behaviour. EofT 18:21, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)
    • Not sure what you mean. Maybe give a toy example? For me, the phrase "text record" means the unalterable (except by deletion) record in the revision history of a page. Cyan 05:45, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
  • Hastiness in sanctions is a bad idea.
    • "Hastiness in sanctions is a bad idea" should be the first line of the policy. Cyan 05:45, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)
  • (cont'd) For instance, User:RK's behaviour (reading "death threats" into political comment, repeated lying and mis-framing events, attempts to allude that there is a conspiracy against him or some risk of harm, calling for help from authority repeatedly, raising ALERTS, censoring talk pages) has actually some precedents even among now-sane users and sysops who later calmed down. We should be cautious about urging any "request for sanctions" in the heat of the moment. See User_talk:EntmootsOfTrolls/on_applying_Sharia_to_RK for what I hope is more like a deliberative democracy approach. EofT 18:21, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Cyan 18:07, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

By "sanctions", I don't mean just banning. I mean any method which protects Wikipedia against a harmful user by reducing their ability to edit, e.g. auto-revert, ban, hard ban, (others?). Sanctions, as such, should only be requested against signed-in users: raw IPs are probably vandals out for a joy ride, and are already dealt with by sysops.

From [1]:

As an example of something that I really didn't like to see, someone set up a page the other day where other people could vote on banning someone. Well, that's just going to anger them more, and anyhow, we don't vote on bans anyway. We never have, and if we were going to do that, we'd have to have a huge discussion over the best way to do it, etc. There's a huge mess of thorns there.

I've started this discussion because I think the issue can't be avoided any longer. In my view, too many \ban pages have gone up; the meme has taken hold. We need a policy, even if it's official Wikipedia disapproval of \ban pages. If you, the reader, disagree, and think that no official policy is needed, this discussion is a good place to state your views; I would like to be convinced, since the whole idea of banning and sanctions suck.

This absolutely is a huge mess of thorns. Clearly, the potential for abuse is tremendous. It's a problem, and no sanctions page should go up without a viable solution, if at all. Thoughts?

Cyan 05:45, 22 Aug 2003 (UTC)

How about having a Shun: space where we outline reasons to shun a given IP or name? This will not pretend to be about ineffective "bans" or temporary technical "blocks" but will be about the social implications of the behaviour. Then we can have Shun:RK and Shun:EntmootsOfTrolls and Shun:Cyan with the appropriate arguments for doing so. That shunning can take the form of the reverting, auto-reverting, IP-blocking if required, but just the social sanction should be enough in most cases. This space would clearly have different rules than the [[User_talk:]] space, avoiding the confusion that User:RK clearly exploits. And, it would get us away from absurd claims that we cannot back, which include "X is banned" when they are clearly still around (like Michael) or arguments to "ban X" which are really about reasons not to talk to them, such as "X is a troll..." and such. Trolls are those we shun but don't or can't effectively ban, and often, trolls do know some area of knowledge so well that it's important for the encyclopedia to keep them around. It is admittedly tough to take, but, many very talented people (like User:LMS for instance) had a track record of good edits and bad dialogue. That's common, and probably an inherent part of encyclopedic discourse. EofT 18:21, 21 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Please see [2] for a relevant post to the English mailing list by Jimbo Wales on the issue of creating ban pages. Angela

"In short, I'm asking (and this is a 'please' in the sense of a genuine request, not a veiled command!) that we discontinue this practice."

I don't agree. In fact, I very strongly don't agree. Not sharing what we know about someone's tricks disables everyone - it's anti-democratic and does not permit interventions by the community. If we can neutrally comment on articles, why can't we neutrally comment on bad edits, or say falsehoods posted to the mailing list, or violations of etiquette, etc? I *do* agree that a User_talk:NAME/ban page should not be a place to hold a vote, and that it needs to go in another space, and that "ban" is the wrong word. I propose the rationale above for a Shun: space and perhaps we should rename all /ban pages as /shun pages, rightly describing why a person should be shunned. But I think that to hide the information from everyone but Jim Wales is a bad move. I am sure he doesn't want to deal with the volume of stuff now on /ban pages. EofT

Your opinion is noted EofT -- And *I disagree with you. You dont make the rules here alone, and Id suggest that considering your lapses in judgement today, you might be less qualified than most to make that call. You are of course redeemable, should you demonstrate some tact on this matter. Try copyediting and adding to Extreme Elvis for a while instead of carrying on pretending you like the mud. Some of use are quite willing to drown you in it if you decide to start throwing gasoline. -戴&#30505sv 23:13, Aug 21, 2003 (UTC)

I fail to note any "lapses in judgement". And I do not consider myself "redeemable" by you. I point out provable lies when they are posted to such important forums as the mailing list. I point out breaches of protocol. Now User:RK has been rewarded for his lies and whining and made-up grievances by having User_talk:RK/ban deleted, by a sysop of course. Yourself? Let's be3 clear here: I don't give a damn how RK feels. Why should I? He's a liar. His first attempt to bridge any gap with me was to call for a ban by lying about me on a mailing list that shouldn't exist. So I owe him nothing. What I owe to those *many* people affected by him is a record of what he's done, so that they may make an argument to get rid of him, revert his edits, whatever. Note I did not until quite recently advocate doing any of this. If lying on the mailing list is acceptable, then I am not seeking to be accepted. If inventing psychiatric and legal judgements and posting them everywhere is fair, then I am not seeking to be judged as fair. I suggest you take RK at his own request, and make a choice: either accept all his tactics as fair, and permit any response to be drowned out or censored, such as mine repeatedly was, OR ban him and get it over with. It's a userid well spent if you decide to take me out too. Eliminating User:RK would be an honour however it is accomplished. But be wary the message you send to others. EofT

Well dont go getting all psycho. I will dig up the ban page for its last edit and put it on meta. You can deal with a writeup there. Better yet -- ask someone neutral to do the writeup, and you just be a contributor to the info on it. Recommendation: Dont expect there to be any superswift reaction or action -- RK walks a fine line --but he knows not to cross it. All he would like to do is for you to cross it, and he "wins."
But its not a contest between you and he at all -- if you have legitimate greivances -- state them seriously, without flippancy--because you seem to go from flippant to anger in 2.3 seconds, without enough gears and degrees inbetween, and that a bad place to be. --Respectfully -StevertigoOfTrolls

That's your own, provably incorrect, opinion: there was lots of alternating between humour and correction in the beginning, less now as RK proves his real nature, and the legitimate grievances have been stated many times in many places. It's your problem if you don't support a single common place to hear them out, you dig them up. If you delete RK's ban page, delete them all, else you have by default joined RK's faction. As for RK's "fine line", it widens daily, and seemingly includes libel and lying freely even to the mailing list, never mind assertions of others' intent. I have barely speculated on his intent, except in a response on user_talk:EntmootsOfTrolls recently where I asserted this was all insincere propaganda techniques. If you fall for it, it will get worse as his ilk pile in. See Wikipedia:troll war. There are many of us who anticipate that lots of paid and unpaid RKs will pile in to apply whatever techniques are shown to work on weak minds here. So not giving in to this libel campaign will help this project much in the long run, while asserting moral equivalence between he and I will simply prove that any liar/libeller can take down anyone who responds as a reasonable person would, simply by continuing the lies and libel until the other either leaves or makes a joke or flippant comment they can twist into some kind of assertion that their own influential allies are not comfortable with. Such a project that falls for such tactics, deserves to be destroyed not by trolls but by lawyers and hackers. Be very careful of which direction you lead Wikipedia. It is at the point USENET was, where public email was, public blogs were, before they "died" due to the kind of noisy crowding-out that the RK do, or are paid to do. EofT

(I fixed the indentation - was getting silly)

Case study: Christian philosophy[edit]

This text was from Talk:Christian philosophy and documents actions resulting from a policy that talks about "bans" and advises "reverts" without regard to the merit of the material in question:

whats wrong with this article? Susan Mason

Nothing's wrong with the article text, as such. The problem is that the author has been banned by the management of the Wikipedia. See [3] and earlier discussions on the mailing list for reasons why.

The user in question is welcome to request the removal of the ban at any time. However, at the moment, they are knowingly ignoring the ban, and trying to circumvent it through contributions via anonymous IP addresses.

Banning them implies that we need to remove their contributions via anonymous IPs, regardless of intrinsic merit. Why? Because if their contributions are allowed to stay, it means the ban cannot be enforced against them, or anyone else. And if users cannot be banned, there is no disincentive against abusive behavior.

The aim of the removals is not the removal of their point of view, it is the enforcement of the ban. The Anome 08:53 Mar 6, 2003 (UTC)

it seems like such a waste... Susan Mason

It is. They are welcome to E-mail Jimmy Wales at any time, to request the removal of the ban. Or they can simply copy the database files, and set up their own Wikipedia fork on their own server. It's not content or politics that's the issue, it's behavior. The Anome 09:00 Mar 6, 2003 (UTC)

By the way, thanks for re-starting the article with your own contribution. The Anome

I just wanted future generations to remember me as the one who saved christian philosophy. Susan Mason

There may also be a chilling effect, as until the article was restored at Christian philosophy, literally no one had a hand in improving it. It waited until someone noticed that Hindu philosophy had been created, then went looking, and noticed this, and found the best version still in the log. user:142.177.etc

Why be coy? Your user contribution list shows that the "someone" is you. This isn't sarcasm; I'm genuinely curious. -- Cyan 21:14, 29 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Banned users[edit]

I am familiar with the process of banning a user. What is the process to un-ban a user? And are un-banned users on in sort of probationary period? Kingturtle 23:24, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

[Note: I don't know everything, and I might be wrong about this] Well, just as Jimbo is the only person with authority to ban users (egregious vandalism excepted), so he is the only one with authority to unban them. Unbanning is rare indeed (I think it's only happened once), but the process as it stands is that the banned user writes to Jimbo and tries to convince him to let him back in. Jimbo's a reasonable bloke, so if other users were to flood him with requests that a banned user be unbanned or something like that, I'm sure he'd take heed of them, but that hasn't ever come up as far as I know. There's no general rule for what happens when somebody is unbanned, because as I say, it's only happened once - in that case, Jimbo said that the user was not back under any particular conditions, and would be treated like a normal, never-banned user. There's some discussion of alternatives to all this afoot at Wikipedia talk:Bans and blocks, though, so you might want to have a look in there. --Camembert 23:39, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Maybe Jimbo could post a statement. Or maybe someone could post a statement Jimbo may have made already. I was offline for about 6 weeks this summer, and I may have missed comments pertaining to this. Kingturtle 23:44, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)
A statement about what exactly? If you mean on the process in general, about all that can be said in general is at Wikipedia:Bans and blocks. If you mean on the recent case of unbanning, see the mailing list posts at [4] and [5]. If you mean something else, you'll probably need to email Jimbo, because I don't think he keeps an eye on this page. --Camembert
Thanks. Those links answer my questions. I do have some questions for Jimbo, though. What is his email address? Kingturtle 00:33, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC)
It is jwales at bomis dot com (it's on his user page for future reference). --Camembert
Ah, thanks. I did a quick eye-scan for an "@" on Jimbo's user page and didn't see one. So that explains that one. Again, thanks. Kingturtle 00:48, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC) P.S. Just out of curiosity, why can't emails be written out here in their regular format?
They can, of course, but many people have the habit of breaking up e-mail addresses to make it harder for spammers' webcrawlers to harvest addresses. --Brion 00:51, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC)

transgression procedures[edit]

(One week suspension prior to ban and the new more extensive ban notice)

I note that there is a problem with some people on Wikipedia feeling ignored - feeling that they did not have a proper opportunity to express their feelings on the ban of EofT.

I note that this compares to similar problems I experienced on h2g2. On h2g2 a "transgressions procedure" was implemented to increase the feeling of openness, while maintaining the single point of decision, and this turned out to be highly successful.

I have therefore made some proposed changes to this page. I would appreciate feedback. Jimbo has rightly expressed worries that public discussion of bans *prior* to a banning decision can cause heartache and misery. However, public decision *after* an initial banning decision is a separate matter.

I can vouch for this policy from personal experience, having had someone I knew and cared for banned via this procedure. While I disagreed with the decision taken, I did at least get the feeling that someone was listening to my opinions on the matter.

Of course, such discussion should not devolve into so-called "votes", and Jimbo should retain the final decision. I do not seek increased openness to overthrow Jimbo in some manner: merely to help Wikipedia exploit the healing properties of light in what are inevitably tough and divisive decisions. As with the logo vote, I can accept a decision that I disagree with easier, if I can accept the decision-making process that led to it.

I commend the transgressions procedure to the house.
-Martin 23:49, 29 Sep 2003 (UTC)


I read through your recenet edits here, and I offer the following commentary because you requested it at User_talk:EofT/ban, despite the fact that my views are considered sufficiently fringe here that, in all likelihood, no one will care what I say.

I believe the changes you propose here have merit, because they add a degree of visibility and discussion that is not present today, and because they take a step towards moving some of the discussion away from the mailing list. That said, however, I believe that they do not address the root problems, to wit:

Problem 1. There is no dispute resolution or arbitration process short of a ban, which results in good, well meaning contributors getting frustrated. And, closely related, the culture here punishes neutral parties who try to get involved. This is a real cultural shortcoming, by the way, and no face-to-face culture would tolerate, for example, the kinds of vitriolic outbursts that RK has made in the last few days on the EofT/ban page. In a functional face-to-face culture, someone would give RK a big hug and have a personal, private conversation with him about community values. Either that, or quit inviting him to parties.

Problem 2. Jimbo should not be the one to decide, mainly because he does not wish to invest the time necessary to understand the issues, and secondarily because his contribution to the project, though important, does not carry such weight that he should be God-King.

Problem 3. It is not realistic to expect that banned users will grovel to Jimbo in order to get their ban lifted, which is essentially what he asks. That's the way they must see it, anyway. Absent some more palatable process, they will show up under some other identity or just leave the project. This is not a good thing.

Problem 4. The mailing list is a problem in its own right, because policy decisions are made there, yet participation is so cumbersome that few Wikipedians are involved. And there are all the well-known problems with high-traffic mailing lists that led to the creation of wiki in the first place. It persists because Jimbo reads it, and reads little else; it would be better for everyone if he quit reading it and instead focused his attention on some policy pages here or on the meta that would carry the same discussion.

All right. That's it. I'm leaving. Bye. Kat 15:28, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Jimbo being the only one with the right to ban people is totally an anachronism. It comes from the wiki phase I time, with software limitation and risks associated that made some acts quite final. Most of you have not known that system. Perhaps, is there around a couple of people currently sysops on a small, not yet transfered to phase III wiki. I can speak of knowledge. When the french wiki was upgraded, it was already quite "big" (compared to the non upgraded current wikis). We already had vandals. We had pages to delete. Three of us were made sysops by Jimbo. I spent a couple of months fearing deletions and fearing banning. Because we did it without any God kink over us, to make tough decisions for us. But it was our decision, together, and that makes a huge difference.

Jimbo should not take care of these matters any more. He has more important things to do. He is not with us *here*, on a daily basis. How could he feel the atmosphere ? He is of *very* good advice, perhaps could he help us on tough cases, but we should not rely on him for everyday banning decision. How can people here not feel that some of us feel a growing unhappiness of not seeing their concerns taken into consideration ? How can we speak of community and of consensus, when banning is made solely on one person opinion ? Several people express their concern over the last banning. So what ? Nothing. Several opinion voiced their concern about some problematic users who they felt should receive more than a little "oh, please, be nicer with others". So what ? Nothing.

I do not like voting, but I see an option here. I would be intersted that after we all properly discuss a banning matter, we vote over it.

I would like to use the word "suspension" rather than banning, in hope it is an proper english word. I mean by it, a temporary measure meant to make it clear to the user that some aspects of his behavior are not acceptable. Right now, banning is final (or at least meant for months). Is it the best ? I am not sure. Why not a graduation in punishment ? For example, revert on sight any edits made by a user, when the latter put agressive personal attacks or humiliation in the comment box. Or forbid a user the access of a certain type of article if this user is getting wild each time on this issue. Refusal to answer on talk page to a user who is very aggressive with others. Banning for a first short period. Or banning during some hours. There are many other imaginative options to indicate displeasure to a problematic user, before banning him.

Second, after proper discussion, why not suggest a vote to decide what to do with the problematic user ? Why would not that be precisely in the wiki process ? Would not that be more satisfying to those who do not hold Jimbo view, to have the feeling there is an interest for them speaking up rather than just given up when they realise Jimbo is not gonna take any decision, or take one they think is wrong ? Is not that consensus precisely, which do not mean anyone is satisfied, but that at least no one is frustrated to see his opinion just put aside as irrelevant ?

When I mean voting, I do not necessarily mean "ban yes" or "ban no". I suggest that we go slightly more in detail. Perhaps if the user is said problematic just toward another editor is it to say "you do not have the right to work on such and such article for xx days" or is to decide for a suspension of 3 days, versus 10 days, versus 30 days.

I really think Jimbo would not object to such a decision from us, rather feel freed of something that does not necessarily amuse him. And something he is aware is upsetting an increasingly high number of people. We could also say that at any time, Jimbo has the right the override a community decision if he thinks it deep wrong. But in all honesty, if Jimbo trusts us on any other matters, such as being able to handle NPOV, I am sure he would trust us to make good community decisions as well. Anthère 19:15, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

So many good suggestions on one page! I think Martin's proposal is a good one. The discussion of banned users often continues once they are gone anyway, so it seems only sensible that these discussions might actually have some purpose.
Anthere's suggestion of a graduation in punishment is also excellent. There currently doesn't seem to be any in between stage between normal editing and banning, except for sysops who may be de-sysopped first I suppose. I'm not sure about the voting idea though, and if this does occur, there needs to be enough discussion about if beforehand. Complaints are made that bans happen too slowly, but to have people voting in the heat of the moment may lead to regretted decisions.
Kat mentioned an arbitration process, which is of course severely lacking if existent at all. This should absolutely become part of the process.
I also think now that Jimbo's objections to /ban pages may be misguided. Banning of /ban pages will not stop people listing a user's faults. The comments simply move to other places – the village pump or the problem users page, or even a "problem users special feature" page, which in reality is no different to a ban page. Not being allowed /ban pages just means the discussion spreads to numerous pages and fails to provide any central point of complaint. Perhaps it needs a nicer name than a /ban page, but one place to discuss a particular user is better than the current situation, where people may create all sorts of bizarrely phrased page titles to get around the lack of ban page. "Community case" pages for example. Would an /objections page be more acceptable?
Angela 21:30, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Has anybody got Jimbo to look at MRD's proposal on the page right now? There doesn't seem much point in making it "official" (whatever that might mean exactly) if he's just going to ignore it (I'm thinking of this "After a week, Jimbo will read the relevant talk page comments..." business). --Camembert

I've no idea if he's read it yet, but he hasn't commented publically. I was going to ask him specifically earlier, but events rather took over.
You're right, of course. Martin 13:45, 3 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Reverting and deleting[edit]

The policy says "All edits by a hard banned user... may be reverted by any user... Newly created articles: sysops can simply delete the page"

Please can someone clarify whether this relates only to articles the user has edited or created since their banning, or may it also include those made before they were banned. For example, if someone has deleted something which a banned user created months before they were banned, should such an article be undeleted/ listed on VfU etc? Angela 23:56, Sep 30, 2003 (UTC)

As far as I'm concerned, it definitely only applies to articles created since the ban (applying it even to those is a bit controversial), and I think that's where the balance of opinion lies. I've added a couple of words in an attempt to clarify this. If we deleted all the articles that, for example, DW had made before he was banned, we'd be deleting a lot of decent articles. If somebody deleted an article created by a banned user before they were banned, and there was no reason to delete the page other than that its creator had been banned, then I personally would undelete the article and ask the deleter not to do it again (though what others would want to do, I don't know). --Camembert
If we deleted/reverted all the articles that DW had made after he was banned, we'd still be deleting a lot of decent articles. I don't know who still believes that this is a good idea, to be honest - perhaps we should take a vote at some point. Martin 08:18, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC)
A look through the deletion logs would give a fairly good indication of who thinks it is a good idea. Angela 08:31, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC)
In principle, I'm against automatically deleting banned user's stuff, whenever it was created, but to be fair, DW isn't the best example. The stuff he made post-ban was created with him behaving perfectly well (rather than throwing abuse at everyone who disagreed with him, which is why he was banned), and most people didn't know it was him editing (at least at first). I think it's pretty clear that in that sort of case, to go back and delete all his post-ban stuff once it becomes clear it was DW all along doesn't bring any benefit. The murkier area is when somebody is banned, but just continues editing and acting as they always did, along the same lines that got them banned in the first place. I'm still against autodeletion in those cases, but I can think of some pretty good arguments in favour of it, and I think a majority would be in favour. --Camembert 14:16, 1 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Should anybody ever be banned?[edit]

I oppose the whole idea of bans and blocks in principle. The whole point of a Wiki is that anybody can edit anything. And anybody can revert anybody else's edits. There is never any need to ban anybody. If you don't like what somebody has done, just revert it. People who don't like working this way should perhaps be participating on some other project that is not a Wiki (Nupedia for example), rather than trying to dilute the Wiki nature of this site. GrahamN 17:03, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Sure. But with some users, if you do that, you just enter a cycle of reversion; that is hardly productive. Anthère

Productive? It depends on your perspective. Who is the "baddy" and who is the "goody" in an edit war is a subjective judgement. If Wikipedia officially endorses any such judgement it cannot simultaneously claim to be maintaining a neutral point of view. GrahamN 18:37, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree with GrahamN. The beauty of Wikipedia is its radical openness, and I cringe at the thought that there should be any acknowledgement of the claim that there are "practical limitations" to this openness. There should be only one steadfast rule for Wikipedia: Ignore all rules.
In practice, there are times when a sysop can and should unilaterally impose a temporary ban or block of 24 or 48 hours, as Eloquence did with RK, but such decisions should be left to the sound discretion of individual sysops who can, in turn, be overruled by other individual sysops. In fact, this is *exactly* what happened, and it should be an object lesson in how best to cope with a problem user. Granted, such situations could lead to sysop ban/unban wars, but that slope is nowhere near as slippery as the cliff we are now leaning over. I am particularly concerned about the movement to form a Wikiquette committee to impose and revoke user bans, one with all the formal trappings of a House of Lords, answerable only to Jimbo Wales. -- NetEsq 17:54, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I am not favorable to permanent bans in the least. However, I support temporary bans, as a mean to cool down things, and to indicate to a user great displeasure over his behavior. But if you disagree with banning, what do you suggest to do with users such as RK ? Just nothing ? Let the stronger, the more vehement, the bolder win, and just forget about the weaker or more polite one ? Is this openness ? Don't think so. The limit of openness is also where you leave room to others. Just as the limit of your liberty is where the liberty of others begin. You admit buggers can bug, then you admit some just do not have opportunity to be there.

I must indicate as well that protecting/unprotecting wars are already going on.

As for the wikiquette commitee, I understand your concern; but you may also see it as a way to solve issue over compromise, not with ban. Banning right now, is all in the hand of Jimbo. I see not how having several people trying to take a decision over problematic users is worse than just one. Anthère

...what do you suggest to do with users such as RK ? Just nothing ? Let the stronger, the more vehement, the bolder win, and just forget about the weaker or more polite one ? Yes, just nothing. Opinionated loudmouths are not unique to Wikipedia. They have existed throughout history, and they always will exist. Some of them we regard as heroes, some of them as villans, some as fools. They are just human. You are asking too much of Wikipedia if you want it to change human nature. I don't ask that, I just ask for an encyclopaedia written collabaratively by ordinary people, who are free to write what they know without being censored or influenced by governments, commercial interests, or anybody else. GrahamN 19:35, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)
we clearly have a different definition of what open is. You write "I just ask for an encyclopaedia written collabaratively by ordinary people, who are free to write what they know without being censored ... by anybody else". I think many users around thought RK precisely resulting in this. We can't expect to change human nature, but we should not either let *one person* on wikipedia prevent others from writing, in scaring them away, or in reverting them consistently. This is censorship, not by government or commercial firms, but a type of censorship nevertheless. I do not say it is an argument for banning RK, I say if you want to insist the encyclopedia is open, please make it so that everyone really may participate. On the fr wiki, I consistently fight over any ban proposition, but I also consistently fight against bullying of one user toward others. Just "laissez faire" is imho not "open". Anthère
<< I say if you want to insist the encyclopedia is open, please make it so that everyone really may participate. >>
Other thing being equal, this position is a valid one, but the way you have argued it is fallacious, albeit unintentinally so. The words "free" (as in freedom) and "open" have very clear and unambiguous meanings that do not lend themselves to equivocation. To wit, freedom is easily understood to mean freedom from authoritarian regimes and open is easily understood to mean open to all who wish to participate. In truth, you are not arguing for freedom and openness; you are arguing for the need to impose some sort of authoritarian regime so that Wikipedia will be able to exclude those individuals that the community deems undesirable, thereby increasing the likelihood that more timid and cultured souls will be willing and able to participate. In other words, you are arguing that openness has practical limitations, and I respectfully disagree. -- NetEsq 20:08, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)
<< But if you disagree with banning, what do you suggest to do with users such as RK ? Just nothing ? Let the stronger, the more vehement, the bolder win, and just forget about the weaker or more polite one ?>>
Given that RK screamed relentlessy for bans on a large number of respected Wikipedians, it was poetic justice to see him get a taste of his own medicine. The fact that RK has yet to return to Wikipedia indicates that a temporary ban can result in a somewhat permanent solution. Nonetheless, we do *NOT* need a policy to tell sysops when temporary bans are appropriate.
<< I must indicate as well that protecting/unprotecting wars are already going on. >>
I've seen sysops take unilateral actions that were counterproductive, such as the unilateral decision to delete pages that provided a history of alleged abuse. However, other things being equal, protecting and unprotecting pages is hardly a cause for concern.
but they should probably be listed somewhere Anthère
Absolutely. List them; consider them; discuss them. But other things being equal, they are hardly a cause for concern. -- NetEsq 20:08, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)
You are quite right. But I just used that example as a parallel with potential wars between sysops banning and unbanning people in turns. Now, I was "polite" (understand dead stupid :-) enough to indicate a couple of time when I unprotected a page, which allow the other party to be immediately aware of the unprotection and to protect it again. So I indicated it a couple of time to feel "free" with my providing information, then I did just as the other ones, underground protection/unprotection. It does not matter maybe as long as people are sysops themselves. It is crude and impolite behavior toward those who are not. When I talk about "listing" that information, I meant a software historical log (so we can know who is ridiculous or not :-))

"Arbitration committee"[edit]

<< I see not how having several people trying to take a decision over problematic users is worse than just one. >>
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there are well over 100 Wikipedia sysops, and virtually any competent Wikipedian can obtain sysop status, thereby creating a virtually perfect system of checks and balances upon the powers of sysops. Any one of these sysops can impose a temporary ban on a logged in username without consulting Jimbo Wales, just as any one sysop can lift a temporary ban on a logged in username without consulting Jimbo Wales. Why do we need a committee, endorsed by Jimbo Wales? -- NetEsq 20:02, 6 Oct 2003 (UTC)
apologies, but I think things are being mixed up here. I may have missed something about the commitee involvement in the current page we are discussing. I will need to reread it then. I thought the committee was mostly to try to fix up disagreement between users, and you think commitee is mostly to decide over banning (rather than by balance of powers). I would much prefer temporary bans are made and lifted on spot by one sysop or another, though it might result in sheer anarchy. It was not clear to me this article was suggesting that from now on banning would not only be done by Jimbo, but by this committee.
If I understand well, two different types of ban might be possible
  • temporary ban
  • permanent ban
3 people/groups may do it
  • Jimbo himself (with his opinion on the matter alone, after careful review of the case)
  • any sysop (ie; 100 people, on the spot)
  • a commitee (ie, 3 people, after careful review of the case)
My position would be sysop can do/undo temporary ban. Commitee and Jimbo may pronounced temporary and permanent ban. At best, try to avoid both types of bans.
<< I thought the committee was mostly to try to fix up disagreement between users, and you think commitee is mostly to decide over banning (rather than by balance of powers). >>
I think that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The committee is being discussed as a way for Jimbo to delegate his authority as Wikipedia's one and only benevolent dictator. Such committees have a tendency to blossom into naked power organs. -- NetEsq 20:08, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)
That is why I was suggesting some standards and impartiality, but strangely no one seems to be able to see this. The idea is that Jimbo would be only able to confirm a ban (something that he already does), eventually it will be a function of the Wikimedia organization whatever that might be, if someone came along and started blanking pages by bot you would say, they have a right to do that? There has to be some limit on what a reasonable user can do here. This is not a free for all, it is an online collaobrative encyclopedia, not a primordial wiki seeking to find itself.
It was also suggested that these arbitrators be eventually elected by contributors. Having every one discuss a ban in a free for all fashion does not seem fair to me either; I would like to be able to find out what the history of all bans have been and see all the accusations in one place, if that does not make it more transparent I do not know what will. The fact is that people do get banned. Creating a procedure to deal with it does not necesarily make it more arbitrary or subject to abuse, right now it is raw power that can be abused. I for one would rather that ban proceduress had some kind of structure to them, right now it seems very disorganized to me and not really fair to the person who is being banned, they can be ganged up on by everyone who wants to tell them that they are damaging Wikipedia, that can be a very scary and agressive act upon someone who might feel victimized by wrongful banning.
Hopefully, not everyone who is going to be an arbitrator will be pro banning. I nominate NetEsq to be an arbitrator (that way you can always vote no and all the accused users will always nominate you as their arbitrator, if you want to keep the system honest, I think this is a way to do so, not to just let disorganized ad hoc banning to continue (which it will). Freedom does not mean being able to yell fire in a crowded theatre when there is none. Alex756 22:23, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)
see all the accusations in one place

One of my current concerns with the arbitration "committee" is that it may decide to meet in secret. I could accept if its deliberations were private, but I think evidence and accusations should be public, once they get to the arbitration stage. (They can be secret during mediaton, of course). Martin 23:16, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I understood mediation would be private (and actually, it is already a bit what is naturally happening), but arbitration public ? Ant
I agree with Martin, it has to be public, otherwise there is no accountablity and no one will learn how the arbitrators rule. The pleadings (complaint and response) should be available to the whole community. Depending on what kind of hearing they have (that would be determined by their chosen procedures) that might be public or a record of it should be posted. No anyone will be able to participate once the complaint is filed whoever represents those who complained should have the major voice. Perhaps the arbitrations in certain cases will allow members to submit short statements or something like that. But the arbitrators would be able to decide the procedure and its limits as long as the procedures have some amount of fairness about them (i.e. give everyone the right to make a comment either pro or con or no comments, or allow supporters of the accused to argue in their favour briefly, something that balances the two sides audi alteram partem Of course the decision should also be posted on a wiki page and then protected once rendered. Alex756 21:56, 8 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< There has to be some limit on what a reasonable user can do here. >>

I wholeheartedly agree, and the best way to impose such limits is by granting sysop rights to any reasonable user who requests them, which is pretty much the way things are currently handled. What we do not need is a committee of "right-thinking" Wikipedians to tell other Wikipedians what is and is not reasonable.

Why do they have to be "right thinking" actually I was thinking of left thinking Wikipedians. It should be a dynamic. I am not in favour of banning, making the process complex, subject to mediation, negotation and finally to a publically accountable process that is transparent in the worst cases should provide some kind of balance and prevent most permanent bans. It will cool down the community when it comes to bans too as people will not be able to discuss it and get all fired up about banning someone. Just make a complaint and let the system work it through.

<< It was also suggested that these arbitrators be eventually elected by contributors. >>

I cannot imagine anything worse than this. Elections are little more than popularity contests, yet many people perceive elected officials as having some sort of God-given ability to make informed and responsible decisions.

I tend to agree with this, it was not my suggestion, but many state elected judges are trying to dispensing justice, aren't they? If they are appointed or elected, they should be qualified and some kind of group should review these people to make sure that they have differing points of view and do not all represent one paradigm and have respect for differing points of view and are tolerant. It is important that arbitrators be around that represent the differing points of view that are available here. The idea behind arbitration is that it is a consenual process. Anyone should be allowed to pick anyone to be their arbitrator on a three member panel. I do not agree that it should be one committee that makes all the decisions, that is probably worse than Jimbo deciding permanent bans.

<< The fact is that people do get banned. Creating a procedure to deal with it does not necesarily make it more arbitrary or subject to abuse, right now it is raw power that can be abused. >>

I respectfully disagree. The power to impose temporary bans is in the hands of over 100 well-respected Wikipedians, and it is perfectly balanced by the power to end temporary bans.

Then why are there so many disagreements about it among the sysops and such long discussions about it in so many places. I find that tiring and emotional draining. Create a forum for it so that people who want to participate in such a discussion regarding the hard cases have a place to try and resolve it through a reasonable process.

<< I nominate NetEsq to be an arbitrator (that way you can always vote no and all the accused users will always nominate you as their arbitrator, if you want to keep the system honest, I think this is a way to do so, not to just let disorganized ad hoc banning to continue (which it will). >>

Actually, I would probably recuse myself in those instances where I felt a temporary ban was appropriate, which is what I would have done should I have been called to arbitrate a dispute involving RK. Similarly, if called for jury duty, I would disclose during voir dire that my sympathies typically lie with the accused, and that I am likely to persuade other members of the jury to invoke their rights of juror nullification rather than impose vengeance that (IMHO) serves no real purpose. In other words, if I were candid, my overwhelming bias would make me totally unfit to serve on a criminal jury, at least in the eyes of most judges and prosecutors. Indeed, disclosing my bias might poison the entire pool of jurors that were involved in the same episode of voir dire, at least in the eyes of most judges and prosecutors. -- NetEsq 20:18, 8 Oct 2003 (UTC)

So at least you could serve in those situations where you felt a ban was not warranted and bring some common sense to the process. I don't think we disagree really. I am not pro-banning, I am pro-arbitratary banning or banning by a dictatorial system. I would not ban anyone unless the behavior was very bad indeed. We are not talking about the simple cases here, we are talking about the hard cases that need more reasoned review were someone wants to ban someone for the wrong reason. Alex756 21:56, 8 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< Why do they have to be "right thinking" actually I was thinking of left thinking Wikipedians. >>

Point of order: "Right-thinking" = "correct-thinking"

Clarification. This is not a parliamentary debate, there are no "points of order" here. This is just a discussion page. Re: "left thinking" = not everything should be taken seriously, and not every debate is designed by the person who puts things into italics. I can say anything I want to, left thinking is an example of such freedom, it does not have a dash between it for a reason. left thinking is thinking a made up word and it means, when everyone else goes right, you go left. Even with left thinking there are still rules, order and chaos. Left thinking may bring more order than right thinkers.

<< [M]aking the process complex, subject to mediation, negotation and finally to a publically accountable process that is transparent in the worst cases should provide some kind of balance and prevent most permanent bans. >>

That has not been my experience in similar situations. In fact, those who crave power seem to thrive on bureaucracy, and the procedures that are supposed to insure due process typically do nothing but insure that the illusion of due process is maintained for the credulous. To wit, I wish I had ten cents for every criminal defendant who has told me, "They never read me my rights!"

All the more reason that anyone should be an arbitrator if those accusing or those being accused what such a person to serve in that capacity. And all the more reason that everything the police do should be recorded (there is a movement to do that you know).

<< [M]any state elected judges are trying to dispensing justice, aren't they? >>

State judges are elected, at least in California, but typically they are simply re-elected after being appointed to an unexpired term, and I only know of a handful of cases where appointed judges have lost their seats when sitting for re-election. As a general rule, most state trial judges that I have encountered pretty much ignore the law and rule the way they want to; on appeal, most of the judges that I have encountered seem to go out of their way to avoid the most relevant and difficult issues and rule on inapposite grounds that make for an easy decision. It's little more than a crap shoot to someone who has a legitimate gripe.

See my comments below on making unsubstantiated statements.

<< The idea behind arbitration is that it is a consenual process. >>

And peremptory challenges purportedly validate the jury process, but I have no interest in deferring to the tender mercies of twelve angry men. Wikipedia is all about empowering individuals. We do not need committees to tell reasonable people how to behave.

Yes, I agree, but it is not the commmittee telling anyone how to behave, it is just people who are willing to volunteer, You are saying this should just be sysops; it appears that others say it should be another group of people. So if I paraphrase you what you are saying is that we have a committee of 100 (sysops) and that is an ad hoc banning committee that just makes its own rules up and changes them without any appeal to the general Wikipedia community. How ironic, you talk about not liking committees but then it is a committee that you are actually endorsing. I am saying that the people involved in the process should just have some choice over who makes the decision about them and that not every decision requires a vote or a popularity contest (I do not think popularity contests are better than arbitration, popularity contests lead to Arnolds becoming governor, that is not what we are talking about here).

<< [W]hy are there so many disagreements about it among the sysops and such long discussions about it in so many places. I find that tiring and emotional draining. >>

There is no requirement that anyone participate in these discussions, but some people seem to thrive on it, and I am content to let these people carry on as they see fit. As far as I am concerned, Wikipedia only needs one rule: Ignore all rules.

Unfortunately for you that is not the only rule here. Sorry, but thre are many rules on Wikipedia, it is a complex social interaction that creates order and stability, I think you have Wikipedia confused with a garden variety wiki.

<< We are not talking about the simple cases here, we are talking about the hard cases that need more reasoned review were someone wants to ban someone for the wrong reason. >>

I'm really not sure what cases we are talking about here. My experience has been that people who join committees do so in pursuit of personal power over other people, something that I do not want, just as I do not want anyone to have power over me. As such, I am willing to leave problem users to the tender mercies of the sysops, a large, decentralized, and diverse group of individuals, many of whom have a passion for keeping Wikipedia as free and open as they possibly can. -- NetEsq 00:03, 9 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Yes, I see that you have a hard time following the discussion, you are anti-committee, but suggest that those who ban or block are the committee of sysops. You are talking about power and committee members, I am talking about reasoned decisions. You are stating generalizations and I am giving clear concise examples. It appears to me that we are not on the same page at all. We are not talking to each other, but around each other, too bad.
Still, I think there is an argument to make the shunning of users who are disruptive more transparent. If it was all in one place and recorded anyone could see what is going on and judge for themselves. Perhaps calling it an "arbitration committee" is a bad idea, and I am opposed to letting sysops make all the decisions around here, they should not be a "committee of 100" that is not a lot of diversity, sounds like "Athenian democracy" which as we all know was based upon the slavery of the masses.
Arbitation commitee? : that was not my proposal actually, if you read my discussion on the mailing list what I was proposing is a procedure, and under that procedure anyone could be an arbitrator, it would not be a committee designed by Jimbo or anyone else (and I do agree with you in principle Jimbo should not have any ultimagte authority, but the fact is that he is still the owner of this site and everything on it and he could shut it off tomorrow and essentially ban all of us, what would only be left is the right to fork under the GFDL).
What I was suggesting was a simple transparent procedure: someone wants to ban some one not tempororarily but permanently for a very serious reason (not for a temporary ban reason which I agree can and is done by sysops). An example would be a ban based upon the terms of 17 USC 512 which requires a procedure to remove repeat infringers. There is no real procedure to do that now that might stand up under scrutiny. The procedure would be one that seeks transformative justice, first: (1) mediation and then and only then, if the problem persists, mutually agreed upon (2) arbitration (remember that arbitration has its origin in contract law). Those complaining get to pick a rep and an arbitrator, the accused gets a rep and an arbitrator, the two arbs pick a third who is known for being neutral (will to listen to both sides) the parties present their positions (in writing which can be reviewed by the whole community), the arbitrators discuss it and come to a reasoned decision. It makes the decision based upon input from the community, it involved three trusted members who can set up their own procedures and it results in a reasoned decision that all can view, comment upon and disagree about. If the decision results in a ban recommendation everyone has the right to ask the owner of this site to overturn it, if the committee says do not ban, then the decision stands. This is not "bureaucracy" as your suggest it is just putting a minimal amount of order into what is at present a very disorganized and unprincipled process. If arbitators start banning people for no good reason the procedure will not continue because it will not be tolerated by the transparency of the process. It will make the debate about banning someone limited to a specific arena, not a free for all that gets discussed over and over and over again in so many places, the proposal does not create arbitrary power, it forces those who already have that power to give it some more legitimacy. ' Right now there is no transparancy in the banning process and there is no accountability, just chaos.
Also if you have specific examples how arbitration is a corrupted process then please share them, generalizations about what you have experienced in the past do not throw any light upon what were are trying to discuss here. I cannot say that I agree with you, sometimes arbitration works quite well, sometimes not so well, but my experience is that generally speaking it allows the sides of an issue to present their respective opinions (if they are well prepared and know how to present their case). Is it perfect? No. But that is true of everything people do together. What is being suggested is just to make the process a bit clearer and to keep it on specific pages so that it does not become an opportunity to be a forum for defaming or attacking the character of users who may find themselves wrongly accused by others.
As for your rantings about the legal system, I accept your right to have an opinion, but not replying to them in no way is an endorsement of any of your views, nor is this to be construed as a statement that I disagree with you, quite frankly I do not find statements conductive to serious reasoned debate. Really this is just opprobrium: "As a general rule, most state trial judges that I have encountered pretty much ignore the law and rule the way they want to." If you have specific proof of this, post it, write an article or book about it, try to reform the judges in your state, do something but don't just post such generalizations as your reasoning for doing something here; that is not helpful to me or anyone else. Stating such generalizations is not only creating bad press for the US legal system, it is just an unsubstantied assertion. This is like saying "Most lawyers are idiots" IMHO. It does not help a debate and it only perpetuates the bad images that jurists have in your country (remember I am a Canadian). IAAL but it's NALO 07:03, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< Clarification. This is not a parliamentary debate, there are no "points of order" here.>>

I think you understood exactly what I meant, but I appreciate your clarification of what you meant by "left thinking." This is a very clever turn of phrase.

As for whether this is a parliamentary debate or "just a Talk page," I fail to see any meaningful distinction, _ceteris paribus_. Apples and oranges, you say? Hey, their both fruit! -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< [I]f I paraphrase you what you are saying is that we have a committee of 100 (sysops) and that is an ad hoc banning committee that just makes its own rules up and changes them without any appeal to the general Wikipedia community. >>

This reminds me of Ronald Dworkin's assertion that the United Kingdom is a "consitutional monarchy," albeit one without a "written constitution." Apples and oranges? Hardly. More like apples and tomatoes: They're both fruit, but one of them sure doesn't act like it.

At the present time, Wikipedia is by and large a free, fluid, and open community in which virtually any contributor who has learned the ropes can request and be granted sysop privileges. Those with sysop privileges are free to exercise their own good judgment when it comes to imposing temporary bans, just as others with sysop privileges are free to exercise their own good judgment when it comes to ending temporary bans. There is no reasonable way to characterize a community with such fluid membership and such unrestricted freedom and independence as a committee. -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< Sorry, but there are many rules on Wikipedia . . . >>

Not as far as I'm concerned. -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< [I]t is a complex social interaction that creates order and stability >>

Acting pragmatically and diplomatically when engaging in social intercourse is hardly the same thing as obeying an arbitrary set of rules, laws, and commandments. I do the former; those who need to make up rules, laws, and commandments are free to do the latter. To me, such rules, laws, and commandments are nothing more than persuasive authority. -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< You are talking about power and committee members, I am talking about reasoned decisions. >>

Clarification: You claim to be talking about reasoned decisions, and I interpret such claims as a pre-text for imposing bureaucratic limitations upon the autonomy of individual Wikipedians. -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< You are stating generalizations and I am giving clear concise examples. >>

I wholeheartedly disagree. A much more reasonable characterization of our exchange would be that I am offering a carefully considered opinion based upon my extensive experience with large-scale online collaborative projects and similar situations in re conflict resolution in the real world, and you are reaching hasty generalizations based upon peculiar, unusual, hypothetical, and academic situations. -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< I am opposed to letting sysops make all the decisions around here, they should not be a "committee of 100" that is not a lot of diversity, sounds like "Athenian democracy" which as we all know was based upon the slavery of the masses. >>

These are straw man arguments. I never suggested that sysops should "make all decisions around here." Moreover, I disagree with your unfair characterization of the fluid community of sysops as being a "committee of 100." Finally, there's the irrelevant red herring of Athenian democracy and "the slavery of the masses." Are you also opposed to infanticide as a form of birth control? -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

<< What I was suggesting was a simple transparent procedure . . .>>

If it's so simple, then why is it so easily misunderstood? Committee action seldom results in the formation of any sort "simple transparent procedure," much less meaningful resolutions of conflicting points of view. More often than not, the formation of a committee simply results in the formation of powerful alliances and ultimately a centralization of power in the hands of a small group of individuals who are skilled at manipulating the passions and prejudices of others to their own advantage. -- NetEsq 19:34, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Regards "making friends": obviously one shouldn't be hear simply to make friends, but forming bonds with other contributors does benefit Wikipedia (see Wikipedia:WikiLove|]], and we should encourage that, where it goes hand-in-hand with genuine contributions. I've tried another version: I think the "simply" was a red herring. Martin 20:50, 8 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Any banned user protection for Meta?[edit]

moved down here because of dearth of responses up the page

This is probably a very silly question. But is the ban limited to the English Wikipedia? There is someone with a quite similar IP:address doing quite active editing at meta... -- Cimon Avaro on a pogostick 17:28, Oct 31, 2003 (UTC)

Jimbo has now replied 'Just to clarify, the hard-ban on 24/142 is *everywhere*, all languages, meta, everywhere.' Andrewa 15:16, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)
It's a very good question. Someone not logged in from has created a four-paragraph talk page for the m:Referees page I created, containing some provocative and interesting statements but on the whole a waste of time IMO. It could be an interesting discussion, it's just not the right place for it. Any advice? Andrewa 12:36, 2 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Banning policy is in the hands of one man. Ask on wikien-l in the hopes of attracting his attention. -- Tim Starling 14:10, Nov 2, 2003 (UTC)
I've raised it on Wikipedia-l (my <trumpets> first post </trumpets> to any Wikipedia list), it seemed to fit Jimbo's recently posted guidelines for that list rather than Wikien-l. Andrewa 18:36, 2 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Hmmmm, I've now posted it to the mailing list twice. It hasn't made it to the archive either time, at least the headers have but the message text has been lost. I've received it intact myself, so it has presumably gone out to people who subscribe to the list as individual emails. But I have grave fears that those who subscribe to the digest version may still not have received the text I sent, and the archives are useless if they look there of course. And I've had no responses. Any suggestions? Andrewa 14:40, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I now have a reply, see above. The ban applies to the Meta, etc. Andrewa 15:16, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Now why does "in the hopes of attracting his attention." have a distinctly ominous ring to it? -- Cimon Avaro on a pogostick 15:23, Nov 2, 2003 (UTC)

Dunno. Seems to work OK even with software glitches. (;-> Andrewa 15:16, 4 Nov 2003 (UTC)

list of banned users?[edit]

is there a page listing all the banned users? is there a notice placed on the user pages of all banned users? Kingturtle 21:50, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)

1) Yes. Special:Ipblocklist
2) No. Martin 22:37, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)

The block list doesn't appear to have a record of all banned users on it actually. DW, for example, is only listed under his most recent incarnation as Nightcrawler, not as any of his other identities. Angela 22:42, 26 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Special:Ipblocklist definitely is not a complete list. I know that I have banned one or two users, and my bans are not listed on that special page. So how can I get a complete list? Kingturtle 02:15, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
Do you mean users with user names or IPs? IP blocks run out after 24 hours now so they won't be shown on there. There is now a new Wikipedia:Block log though which keeps a record of them even when they expire (or it will do once fixed). Angela 02:32, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
I am trying to compile a list of list of blocked user names. But I cannot seem to find a complete list out there. Kingturtle 02:44, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)
The user pages of Michael and DW have lists of their pseudonyms. JohnOwens:Most Wanted also has lists you may find useful. Angela 02:51, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)

If you're after blocked usernames, then the special page is it: if a user is not on there, then they're not blocked, barring very special circumstances such as blocks on IP ranges. Perhaps someone unblocked them? If you're after banned users, then there's no complete list. Note that, in theory, we block usernames, but we ban users... Martin 23:32, 27 Nov 2003 (UTC)


If it becomes clear that a new user account is a reincarnation of a hard banned user, then it should in theory be treated as hard banned. A notice of some sort may be added to the top of the user page, or the user page may be redirected to the page of the original account.

Why on earth can't we give them a second chance if they come back with a new username. I can see the point with this policy if the user comes back repeatedly with new names, but shouldn't the first reincarnation be allowed as long as the reincarneted person behaves themselves under the new name? Jrincayc 17:06, 14 Dec 2003 (UTC)
They often are given a second chance. NightCrawler (DW), for example, wasn't blocked until he actually started causing problems under that user name, even though some had realised some time before this who he actually was. Secondly, any user is invited to email Jimbo if they actually want to be unbanned, which is what users such as Lir have done. Those who refuse to do this though are just trying to circumvent the ban by changing user name, which would make the ban rather pointless if it is not enforced in some way. Angela. 17:14, 14 Dec 2003 (UTC)
What about modifying the text to something like this:
If it becomes clear that a new user account is a reincarnation of a hard banned user and the user continues to cause problems, or the user has already done multiple reincarnations, then it should in theory be treated as hard banned. A notice of some sort may be added to the top of the user page, or the user page may be redirected to the page of the original account.
The policy seems too absolute as currently stated. Jrincayc 01:23, 15 Dec 2003 (UTC)
I'm sympathetic to your views Jrin. In essence, the current policy gives banned users a three way choice: discuss the issue with Jimbo, excercise their right to leave, or else attempt subterfuge. In the last option, being covert often means that the banned user has to take a dramatically different approach, which can help resolve the problem.
To my mind, rather than giving people their first reincarnation "free" as a "second chance", it would be better to give someone their second chance prior to banning them. This might be a simple written warning, or it might be a temporary ban. Of course, in either case we should try to follow open process. Martin 19:18, 15 Dec 2003 (UTC)

reported to the nearest friendly sysop

Do we have unfriendly sysops.... no, don't answer that. ;-). Martin 23:54, 14 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Village pump discussion[edit]

Moved from WP:VP

Since I suggested banning Lir yesterday, I have noticed that I am way behind the times in this regard, and that the idea has been going around and around for ages, even though Lir has been banned before and so arguably it shouldn't take much misbehavior for Lir to earn a ban again. This makes me wonder: Why is it so hard to ban people from Wikipedia? What are the criteria?

To me there's an obvious rule of thumb that should apply: If a user has lots of complaints against him or her about behavior that is documented and verifiable in the histories; and if no one with a good reputation speaks in favor of keeping that user around--citing some verifiable good behavior like "so-and-so made a nice contribution to article X while I was there on such and such a day" or "so-and-so discussed an issue reasonably over at article Y while I was there then"--then the person should be banned.

Could such a rule work? Is that in fact what we do? I ask just because it doesn't seem like that's what's being done. Instead I get the impression many people regard banning as almost too harsh to contemplate, as if nothing short of verified 24/7 beligerence and vandalism with no redeeming or ambiguous behavior deserves a ban. But the way I react to users is that after I experience a certain amount or a certain consistency of unreasonableness and/or incivility from them, I just don't trust them anymore. But of course there's no avoiding such users on Wikipedia, if they take an interest in the same articles as you.

At the very outset of discussions Lir has had with other users on Talk pages, I have noticed them address or respond to Lir with skepticism and or sarcasm. I imagine that's because they've interacted with Lir before and they no longer assume good faith. Why on Earth should we put up with users of whom nobody with experience assumes good faith? (Not that I'm positive that Lir in particular falls in this category). Does Wikipedia have any obligation or responsibility to people like that? If people think so, I can't imagine why. 168... 02:31, 11 Jan 2004 (UTC)

As of September 2003, it is now possible for sysops to block usernames. It is important to note that sysops are not authorised to decide whether a particular case of Wikiquette violation warrants banning by username. The ability to ban by username has been made available for the purposes of enforcing a ban already approved by Jimbo, and to protect Wikipedia from "simple vandalism". It may be used to block accounts of obvious reincarnations of hard-banned users (see below). (from Wikipedia:Bans) Anthony DiPierro 04:01, 11 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Unfortunately, there seems to be a kind of "complicated vandalism," besides the simple kind. That's what concerns me and what I feel most victimized by. Simple vandalism you can revert with a mouse click. Getting into discussions with antisocial users costs you hours of aggravating and often pointless discussion which leave you feeling worse about the world and your fellow human being. I'm sensing that there's not much hope or interest in reducing this kind of thing, but I'm trying to see if I can generate a little. 168... 07:26, 11 Jan 2004 (UTC)

BTW, a policy of imposing bans for bad behavior doesn't necessarily exclude anyone. Some people it would deter from being antisocial in the first place. Others who end up banned can always come back under new names, hopefully inspired to establish a better reputation the next time. I guess there are some people who enjoy watching dust-ups and bad behavior, and clearly there are some that enjoy behaving badly themselves, but I imagine most people would enjoy Wikipedia more if there were less bad behavior. 168... 07:41, 11 Jan 2004 (UTC)

History of the ban[edit]

I wonder what kinda history lieth behind the ban. Who was the first user to be banned on Wikipedia, and what did he do? Was there ever anything tried as an "ultimate penalty" before banning? How long did Wikipedia last before it realized a ban was needed? Any idea? Rickyrab 03:01, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC) ... wow

Barred IP addresses[edit]

Hi. I have sent this message to User:PMelvilleAustin, but could somebody please have a look at it? I'm quite confused about the whole IP thing so if anybody could please help I would be very very grateful. Thanks.

I was barred yesterday from editing and apparently it was you who did it. I was shocked actually and then I realised contributions by my "IP" address were in fact not mine. I actually don't know much about IP addresses, so is it possible for two different computers to have the same IP address? And if it is, why didn't I receive a warning? I have also checked the IP's discussion page and there is no warning whatsoever either. Do you ban people just like that or did I get anything wrong? Thanks Rumpelstiltskin 10:52, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yes it is possible for two different computers to have the same IP address under some circumstances (though not at the same time). This can happen if you use a dial-up modem to connect to the internet. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives you a temporary IP address when you dial-up so that other computers can send data to you. Because your ISP knows that not all its users will be online at the same time, it gives you an address only temporarily - when you go offline the address returns to the pool so that your ISP can give it out to someone else. (With AOL it is even more complicated than this - they may give you several IP addresses during one internet session.) It looks like you were extremely unlucky, not only did someone who had previously been given your IP address visit Wikipedia and vandalize it, someone decide to block that address, even though it was an IP address that may be given to lots of people which is not something an admin should do in the normal run of things. If all that is true, you've had a lot of bad luck and I am sure the Wikipedia community offers its collective apologies. It looks like the ban is no longer in force, else you couldn't have posted this message. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 11:36, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
by edit conflict: Two computers cannot have the same IP address at the same time. However, if you use a dial-up connection to the internet then it is possible that by accident you got the same IP as the one the vandal had before. Another possibility is that both the vandal and you use the same proxy server (which might be a mandatory proxy server from your ISP), then the blocking did block the complete ISP. I doubt that your username was getting blocked, you should've found a warning on your talk page first. andy 11:40, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
What was the IP address? -- Tim Starling 11:46, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC)
Hi and thanks. Yes, I thought it was strange I didn't get a warning before, but I still can't really understand what's going on. Thanks for the IP information by the way, I didn't know that (and yes, I'm using a dial-up connection). IP was Thanks again. Rumpelstiltskin 12:00, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The acts of vandalism in question were [6] and [7]. It looks like the IP address in question is a proxy, which is why you were blocked too. Instead of just one computer, everyone using that proxy server was blocked. That could be hundreds or even thousands of people. To PMelvilleAustin and sysops in general, I would say: this is an example of why it is better to revert several times and warn the user, hoping they will go away, before heading for the block button. -- Tim Starling 12:28, Mar 2, 2004 (UTC)
I think you are going a little too easy on PMA here, Tim. Blocking a proxy after just two non-insidious bits of vandalism (particularly when that IP has made decent contributions before) and without giving any warning on the talk page is totally unacceptable. What happened to Rumpelstiltskin is exactly why it is unacceptable. Sysops respect your power! Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 12:35, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
To Pete: To nitpick: This is irrelevant: "particularly when that IP has made decent contributions before": As a shared-IP user, I can tell you that "good history" means nothing. The vandal and the goodie user are obviously two separate people. People don't turn retarded and start go vandalising after making half a dozen solid contributions. Most of us aren't blessed with Jackyll/Hyde-DNA. My IP is shared by over 10 Wikipedians who dont even know each other's names.About 5 are in fact quite trollish. The solution is easy: Sign up with a nice user name, Anon guys! --Menchi 12:47, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I think you missed my point - the mixed history is *very* relevant. It shows the admin that the address is likely to be used by lots of people.. and thus is likely to be a proxy... and thus extra care should be taken when considering whether to block it or not! All without having to resort to reverse DNS. Agreed that this is just one more reason why it is good to log in... Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 15:06, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

To Rumpelstiltskin: Silsor told me an easy solution over IRC: Go to (in IE) Options > open "LAN" dialogue. uncheck everything. Da-la... I was never blocked again despite my constant trollism under my anonymous IP. And yes, I in fact was blocked 3 times in 1 Internet (cable) session, without dis/reconnection. Weird dynamic IP. ----Menchi 12:47, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think what is needed here is the ability to differentiate between unlogged in access from an IP, and logged in. Then one can block anon. and bad-user edits. Those with good edit histories for their accounts can continue editing with impunity. They can get started and get such a history by reconnecting and getting unblocked IPs. This is not a complete solution, though. Mr. Jones 09:01, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Excellent idea! I don't know when the developers will find time, but this is definitely the Right Thing. Noel 03:20, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
That seems obvious. I'm surprised it's not done this way already. One thing we would need to block from blocked IPs is creation of new accounts, of course. Andrewa 18:11, 5 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Something I'm curious about: in Special:Ipblocklist, I see a number of entries reading "This IP address is blocked for editing because it belongs to an anonymizing proxy. Editing from anonymous proxies is currently not allowed." I looked around on Wikipedia to see if I could find out more about this policy, but couldn't find anything. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks! Noel 03:20, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC) -- Tim Starling 23:27, Mar 9, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the pointer to the discussion on WikiEn-L (on which I bailed after being on for a while, the S/N ratio was too low and I get too much email already). However, even after reading the whole thread, I'm still a bit confused by some subtle issues as they relate to this new policy, so perhaps we can elaborate here?

First, in the discussion, I saw people trying to draw a distinction between "anonymizing proxies" ("bad", block at will) and "transparent proxies" (by which I gather they mean "caching proxies" - which are by contrast "good", I guess). However, in technical terms (as opposed to the goals of the people running the proxy), there is usually no difference between the two; the both send in HTTP requests in which both the IP address, and the info in the HTTP GET, are that of the proxy machine. Also, of course one could easily get vandalism from someone sharing a transparent proxy with productive users. So is there a different policy for the two, and if so, what are the differences?

Which leads me to a second question: is it necessary to find vandalism coming from a proxy before it's banned, or does the OK to "systematically block[] all anonymous proxies" mean we can do it as soon as we find one? Thanks! Noel 15:32, 12 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Bans for insults[edit]

Refactored version: Sam Spade asked whether admins can ban people for insulting them. Anthere pointed out the Wikipedia:remove personal attacks guideline and recommended that someone making insults should apologise for that. She also proposed exploring the idea of banning for more than 3 insults.

What an idiot! No one can be banned for insults, you stupid head!! --Ed Poor 17:15, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)
That's two . . . * grin * -- NetEsq 18:35, 19 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I know, and I gave Ed Poor a 4-hour block to teach him a lesson. --Uncle Ed 16:21, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Ban of user:Gdansk[edit]

I'd like to know why user:Adam Bishop banned user:Gdansk. --Uncle Ed 13:33, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Block of PalestineRemembered[edit]

I'm PR's advocate in this case. He was blocked for the duration of the RfArb for reasons that are now known to be inaccurate. The block has been lifted for the duration of the RfArb so he can defend himself. A motion has been passed to have his editing restrictions lifted completely. There has been no opposition to the motion. Could this please be looked at? PR has had no substantial accusations made against him (since the CSN, but the reasoning has been debunked), yet he's been blocked for quite some time now. Mark Chovain 22:19, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

He's been asked to drop the RfArb case in return for having his block dropped - but has not yet been given a reason for being blocked. Why is it taking so long to lift a block that shouldn't be there in the first place? Mark Chovain 05:20, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Can someone at least tell me where we can go to dispute the current block? Mark Chovain 06:58, 22 May 2007 (UTC)