Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy

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RfC: Blocked editors and their talk pages[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the debate may be found at the bottom of the discussion.

Should the following be adopted in regards to blocked users editing their talk pages?

Wikipedia:Blocking policy (WP:OPTIONS)
Current text
  • Prevent this user from editing their own talk page while blocked, if checked, will prevent the blocked user from editing their own talk page (including the ability to create unblock requests) during the duration of their block. This option is not checked by default, and typically should not be checked; editing of the user's talk page should be disabled only in the case of continued abuse of their user talk page. The protection policy has further details in cases where other users are repeatedly causing disruption to the user talk pages of blocked users.
Proposed text #1 (All blocked editors)
  • Prevent this user from editing their own talk page while blocked, if checked, will prevent the blocked user from editing their own talk page (including the ability to create unblock requests) during the duration of their block. This option is not checked by default, and typically should not be checked; editing of the user's talk page should be disabled only in the case of continued abuse of their user talk page, including any blocked user editing their talk page for anything other than a block appeal. The protection policy has further details in cases where other users are repeatedly causing disruption to the user talk pages of blocked users.
Proposed text #2 (Indefinitely blocked editors)
  • Prevent this user from editing their own talk page while blocked, if checked, will prevent the blocked user from editing their own talk page (including the ability to create unblock requests) during the duration of their block. This option is not checked by default, and typically should not be checked; editing of the user's talk page should be disabled only in the case of continued abuse of their user talk page, including any indefinitely blocked user editing their talk page for anything other than a block appeal. The protection policy has further details in cases where other users are repeatedly causing disruption to the user talk pages of blocked users.

The difference between the two is that Proposed text #1 is for all blocked users, while Proposed text #2 is for all indefinitely blocked users.

This proposal stems from the lengthy and divisive discussion at ANI. Please read through that discussion before commenting or voting here. Additionally, please comment on whether you support one version, both versions and the order you support them, or oppose to proposal entirely. Nihlus 16:02, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

Support[edit]

Oppose[edit]

  1. I oppose all proposals which contains a prohibition against "editing their talk page for anything other than a block appeal". -- zzuuzz (talk) 16:07, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  2. I oppose both proposals above. Blocked editors should be able to edit their talk pages with constructive ideas for improving the encyclopedia. This can serve several purposes - if they have a short-term block it can serve as a to do list for when the block expires. If they have a longer term block they can use this to compile a case for what they would do that would be constructive if they were unblocked. If other editors wish to implement these suggestions those editors should also take responsibility for them. Talk page access should only be revoked if the person is being disruptive. ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 16:14, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
    I don't plan on responding to most comments, but I want to clear up some confusion. Both options allow the user to edit their talk page for anything that would lead to an unblock appeal, including compiling a case for what they would do that would be constructive if they were unblocked. Nihlus 16:20, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  3. Oppose both - after reading that...interesting... ANI thread, I remain strongly of the viewpoint that @Opabinia regalis:'s comment is most accurate: "you realize that what happened here is that someone hurried over to ANI yelling "help, help! this guy is improving the encyclopedia in an unauthorized manner! somebody stop him!". This is exactly correct - blocking TPA should only be done if and when edits made that are disruptive to the community occur there. Blocks are supposed to not be punitive. Thus, making Talk Page blocks can only be justified in cases where doing so is specifically needed to further protect the community. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:19, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  4. Oppose both as written - Do we have something already in text about using the talk page unreasonably during a block? Some things that come to mind are; the the person is complaining about the ANI process, the person is using the page as a forum, and/or the like. - Knowledgekid87 (talk) 16:24, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  5. Oppose both, per all of the above. SarahSV (talk) 16:27, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  6. Oppose per WP:CREEP. What constitutes abuse of a talk page while blocked should be left up to admin discretion. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:30, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  7. Oppose both per WP:CREEP, and because I think there can be good reasons to allow the use of the talk page when strictly they are not requesting an unblock. I don't see the need to remove talk page usage except in cases of clear disruption. --Jayron32 17:26, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  8. Oppose both. Policy is sometimes intentionally ambiguous to allow for discretion. Each blocked editor situation needs to be assessed differently. Alex Shih (talk) 17:43, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  9. Per zzuuzz. I oppose both of these proposals, and any other follow-up proposals that try to prohibit disruption-free discussion on a blocked user's talk page unrelated to unblock requests. -Floquenbeam (talk) 19:23, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  10. Oppose both, but especially the "any blocked editor" one - I left notes on my talkpage one time when I was blocked, and created the article when I came back. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 20:11, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  11. Oppose Explanations of inteface text should reflect current policy, not determine it. Unless WP:PROXYING is also changed to remove the exception for when "changes are either verifiable or productive", this entire discussion is premature. --Ahecht (TALK
    PAGE
    ) 20:22, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  12. Oppose Firstly, Ahecht is exactly right, this change needs to be presented with the necessary changes to all relevant policies. Secondly, "continued abuse of their user talk page, including any indefinitely blocked user editing their talk page for anything other than a block appeal" would define abuse as any edit of the talk page that isn't an appeal. This is a patently absurd definition of abuse. I think the current definition of abuse on the talk page is clear: it's any edit the user makes to the talk page that contravenes current policy. If the consensus is to make this the new policy instead, it should say "editing of the user's talk page should be disabled if the user edits their talk page for anything other than a block appeal". Leave the concept of abuse out entirely. But thirdly, I think this is a lousy policy idea to begin with. As reflected at ANI, this is a solution in search of a problem. --Bsherr (talk) 23:54, 4 September 2018 (UTC)'
  13. Yeah, I also think the proposed language might be going beyond what we needed to clarify at ANI. Perhaps we should start a discussion specifically about whether it is considered abuse of the talk page for a blocked editor to request that certain edits be made, particularly if those edits are uncontroversial improvements. There may be an inclination to just defer this judgment to "admin discretion", but reading over the ANI, it seems that enough admins disagree on the issue that some formal guidance on this might not be such a bad idea. Mz7 (talk) 04:33, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
  14. Oppose - let's imagine a user who has been blocked for, say, persistent violation of the rules concerning automated editing without using a bot account. Let's imagine that the same user is experienced in constructing templates that perform a useful function. The proposal would prevent the blocked user responding to questions left on their talk page about how a template might be constructed or improved. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 07:25, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
  15. Oppose (Summoned by bot) TPA revocation needs to be the exception not the rule. The incident incident as pointed out above was not a problem. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 04:38, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
  16. Oppose (Summoned by bot). Unconstructive, bordering on vindictive. Defines talk page abuse far too broadly. Does not help to build the encyclopedia. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:18, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
  17. Oppose Blocked users remain part of the community so should be able to edit their talk page. The wording could probably be clarified to make it more consistent with the banning policy. That is, talk page access for banned users only allowed for the purpose of unban requests and not allowed if the ban can only be appealed off-wiki. Callanecc (talkcontribslogs) 12:51, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
  18. Oppose While the talkpage of a blocked user probably should be used solely for appeals, a blanket requirement for this is overly restrictive. TPA revocation should continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Yunshui  12:54, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
  19. Oppose per everybody above. I think we all know what the forecast is for this proposal. . . SemiHypercube 20:32, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
  20. Oppose both. The ANI thread demonstrates what could go wrong if this change were to be adopted. It ended up disallowing a blocked user from making constructive suggestions. There are also other use cases of an editor's talk page, such as as to-do list, replying to other editors' messages, and so on. If anything we should restrict the ability of admins to block TPA so that the incident do not repeat in the future. HaEr48 (talk) 22:07, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
  21. Oppose both. Talk page access should only be revoked in the case of personal attacks or other very disruptive behaviour. For the rest, blocked users are welcome to make suggestions or otherwise engage with other editors on their talk pages. Bradv 23:16, 6 September 2018 (UTC)
  22. Oppose both - Current text is fine. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:36, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
  23. Oppose both-Unnecessary instruction-creep and an effort at substitution of common-sense by more policies.If somebody has some moral opposition to productive edit-suggestion(s) or miscellaneous non-disruptive discourses by blocked users, please try to change WP:PROXYING first.Not the other way round.And (+1) to wot Nosebagbear and Acquillion said; this looks like an attempt at legitimizing the punitive aspects of a block, in contrary to the principle that they are always preventative.WBGconverse 04:54, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
    Winged Blades of Godric, I'll mention this for about the fifth time since I've seen this come up again and again. WP:PROXYING makes no mention of the avenue by which someone can request an edit to be made. It does not give any form of "right" for an editor to edit their talk page while blocked nor does it even mention anything to do with talk pages. Edits can be requested vial email, IRC, IRL, or any other method. Saying that an edit requested by a banned user is not inherently bad does not mean they have free reign to request such edits on their talk page. I would like to see that discussion that states that, because I don't believe your interpretation is based on anything. (Additionally, the block would obviously be used to prevent further misuse of their talk page, so I am unsure as to why you trying to imply that I would like to contravene current policy.) Nihlus 11:31, 7 September 2018 (UTC)
  24. Oppose. Even if we wanted to outlaw editing by proxy, prohibiting users to answer non-block related queries on their talk page is wrong. —Kusma (t·c) 11:01, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • TPA Revoking Review - this discussion has made me think. The blocked editor's who TPA-revocation kicked this all off, was rather lucky that the revocation was contested. Given that all but email access (which can really only be used for "complete" block appeals) if an admin does exercise their authority (whether under their full discretion, as I generally prefer, or a stricter set of guidelines, it becomes very difficult for anyone blocked to challenge it. Now obviously this has some benefits: encourages those still with TPA to be even more careful, we don't want to deal with an extra step in blocking TPA, but also can end up with unfair expansions, depending on the admin's (rather subconscious) viewpoint.
I was wondering if anyone had some thoughts on resolving this, or do we need to accept a necessary problem? Nosebagbear (talk) 16:37, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
  • So the difference from the existing text to prop #1 is the insertion of , including any blocked user editing their talk page for anything other than a block appeal and the only difference from prop #1 to prop #2 is the insertion of the word indefinitely? You could have made that clear, instead of making us laborously compare them. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 20:00, 4 September 2018 (UTC)
    Redrose64, you mean the line that is right under them that states: The difference between the two is that Proposed text #1 is for all blocked users, while Proposed text #2 is for all indefinitely blocked users. That one? Nihlus 04:40, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
    That describes who they apply to. It doesn't call out the actual changes to the policy text. --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 07:17, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
  • I wasn't involved in the discussion that prompted this, but this suggestion seems to go far beyond the concerns that prompted it. The specific issue in the WP:ANI discussion in question is about people using their talk page to request specific edits while blocked; whereas this would ban all edits except those related to being unblocked. If the question is whether banned users should be able to use their talk page in an attempt to effectively edit by proxy, I feel that the suggestion needs to make that question unambiguous (and the failure to focus on that is why this seems to be heading towards a WP:SNOW failure, since without that clarification and focus it appears pointlessly draconian.) Also, the part of the text specifically under discussion here is probably not the place to make this change - I would suggest starting with WP:EVASION instead, with a specific proposal that blocked users who try to use their talk page to request or direct edits should have access revoked. Making the purpose of a policy clear in the policy itself is important, since that helps determine how it's enforced and interpreted. --Aquillion (talk) 02:49, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
  • This proposal has of course been mooted before. One such discussion is Wikipedia_talk:Blocking_policy/Archive_19#Minor_user_page_clarification. In my mind this is one of the main features of a ban - if you want to enforce a lack of TPA, get a ban in place. -- zzuuzz (talk) 06:19, 5 September 2018 (UTC)
  • Withdrawn per WP:SNOW. I had something longer typed up, but it's not worth the effort at this point. I am aware that a lack of nuance is an issue here, which is clearly my fault; however, I would hope that the community takes this policy to task as there are clearly many interpretations of it running around. Despite the lack of support above, there was clear support in the ANI discussion. Additionally, if you want to leave it up to admins, don't go try overturning what they do saying it was done incorrectly without taking a look at the underlying issues as to why it was done incorrectly. Admins should feel supported by policies, not confused. Nihlus 11:51, 7 September 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Following BRD: re text “definite or indefinite”[edit]

In the lead, the meaning of text that reads “blocks can be for either a definite or indefinite time” is a little bit hard to follow. The text flows nicely because the words pair well. However while we “indefinitely block” people we do not “definitely block” them - those two words conventionally carry different meanings. Can we change it to “for either a fixed or indefinite time”? Other words which would suffice in terms of clarity are temporary/indefinite and so on. Many thanks, I know it’s just one word - but it keeps sticking in my head. Edaham (talk) 01:39, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

Edaham, we do block for a definite time, which is what the sentence is saying. Nihlus 01:51, 14 September 2018 (UTC)
I see, my brain is wired to confuse the word definite with its synonym, “certain”. I’ll rewire it.Edaham (talk) 03:00, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

Editor restriction logging discussion[edit]

There is a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Editing restrictions regarding the logging of restrictions imposed as an unblocking condition, as well as formal logging of editor warnings. Administrators and editors are invited to participate in the discusson. Thanks. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:38, 14 September 2018 (UTC)

Unblockself[edit]

The developers have just tweaked MediaWiki to remove the ability of an administrative account to unblock itself, and with that in mind I've tweaked the policy slightly. Any objections? Nyttend (talk) 02:44, 27 November 2018 (UTC)

I guess that with recent cases (like this) it will mean that a compromised account will be brought to a full stop rather than "ah, but I have admin rights so I'll simply unblock myself". --Redrose64 🌹 (talk) 10:52, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
This was done without community input and in defiance of an ongoing RfC. The "historically" link should point to the "announcement" at AN, probably. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 10:56, 27 November 2018 (UTC)