Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy/Archive 19

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Archive 18 Archive 19 Archive 20

Before blocking...

Before blocking an editor, they should be given an offer of "Cake or death?" If they choose death, the editor should summarily be executed, and if an admin tries to block them at that point, he or she should should be laughed at for just being plain silly. -- Avanu (talk) 04:02, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

On one hand my sensible side is wanting to know the meaning of the metaphor, and on the other hand my SISO processor is dying to know what kind of cake is it. Both of these two questions will gnaw at me. I'll decide which one to ask tomorrow. Penyulap 05:37, 8 Jul 2012 (UTC)

Minor user page clarification

I went back and reviewed the circumstances regarding the addition of the section that covers user page blocks.

It appears it was added at 14:17, 28 September 2008 by Zzuuzz in response to a new 'bit' granted to admins at that time. It appears that the wording was chosen by copying the text from the block e-mail section above it.
While I believe it is fairly easy to tell if when "abuse of the 'email this user' feature" is occuring, the concept of "continued abuse of the (user) talk page" does not appear to be as easy to discern. Some admins seem to feel that a user can reasonable request help or ask for editing assistance or even rant at the admin who blocked them. Other administrators do not agree with this.
I've made a small change, in an effort to more clearly base the conditions for a User page block within a policy argument. How exactly does someone 'abuse a talk page' versus 'how was a specific policy violated?'

This may require additional thought and ideas to be perfect, but simply saying "you abused your Talk page" isn't clear or pointing at a specific policy. -- Avanu (talk) 22:18, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Seeing as Bbb23 has already reverted this, the Block policy is a policy, but the idea of "user talk page abuse" is not on this page. Where is that even remotely defined with some clarity? I would say the best place is probably the User page guidelines page. -- Avanu (talk) 22:30, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I reverted your change because (1) it should be discussed first (I don't think it's all that minor) and (2) I disagree with it. You changed it to "editing of the user's talk page should be disabled only in the case of gross continuing violations of the user page guideline". Not only are you tying it to a guideline (not a policy), but you are adding the word "gross". Both of those changes ups the bar for an admin who wants to revoke Talk page access, and I think an admin should have more discretion than that. I don't see why policy language has to be tied to some other policy, or in this instance guideline, and I also don't see why the fact that admins may act differently in different contexts is a basis for changing the language. Admins aren't robots and should have the ability to exercise judgment. Admins are also not fungible, so may not always exercise identical judgments, which, in my view, is often a good thing.--Bbb23 (talk) 22:37, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I can clarify the background somewhat. I was not alone at the time being concerned about unwarranted use of the new feature, and the edit is likely to have directly followed one or more WP:AN threads. However my main concern was just to update the policy with some sensible defaults. At first some scripts had the wrong default setting, but it seems some admins also thought it was a good idea to lock up every talk page by default. There was much disagreement. I think things have improved since those days, but there are still some fuzzy areas, and possibly some excess use by some admins. There are also a lot of long term abuse cases where things might not be what they seem. The word 'abuse' is intentional, as a recognised general description of what disruptive users get up to to enjoy this feature. But I'm fine with a change of wording. It is not my natural instinct to think that every abuse of the talk page is a guideline violation, but I'm happy to be persuaded otherwise. -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:40, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

(ec)@Bbb23: I agree with you that admins need to have discretion and be able to use their judgement. But I also think it needs to be more clear to the average editor where the line is. I've seen admins who say the exact opposite thing regarding the same facts over the course of the last few days with these debates over whether one user or another was properly blocked. If the admins cannot even agree, given the same set of facts, how can editors be expected to know? I think a clear tie to a specific guideline or policy will make it more clear when a user talk page block should and should not be enacted. We're not talking about overall block policy here, only a *very* specific subset, and the sentence already says that the block on talk page access "typically should not be checked". I think a solid basis in policy will make these arguments over 'good' or 'bad' a little less based on whether it feels like the thing to do and more based on whether an editor is acting in line with guidelines or policy. -- Avanu (talk) 22:44, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Presumably all the recent excitement is due to some desire to improve the encyclopedia. In that case, all the excitement is misplaced because attempts (such as Avanu's reverted edit) to enable a blocked user to carry on as normal by misusing the talk page used by the community to communicate with them is not helpful, particularly when blocked. If there is a problem, that problem needs to firmly established before making arbitrary edits to policy. In almost all cases, a blocked user needs to learn that problems are best avoided—that does not happen when a team of enthusiasts enables them to feel they are the righteous slayer of admins. Johnuniq (talk) 22:54, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
A lot of these block debates get bogged down in emotional baggage. I'm working slowly toward trying to remove some of that. "Misuse" of the talk page isn't a well-defined thing. Neither is "abuse". Dennis Brown said he feels it is generally ok to let an editor rant about a block, other admins don't agree. Sarek, for one, said it might be ok to let a person ask for a page to be improved while blocked, other admins didn't agree. We have these wide gaps in what administrators think is 'misuse' or 'abuse', and that kind of fuzzy vision isn't helpful when one day an editor gets blocked for something the other guy didn't. I realize that perfect symmetry isn't possible, but for many editors this unequal enforcement feels arbitrary and personal. So you end up having long debates with forensic diff analysis to sort out who was actually right or wrong or other. Not helpful. -- Avanu (talk) 23:03, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Even if I agreed with your goal (predictablity), I don't see how adding the word "gross" and tying the abuse to WP:TPG will achieve it. Nor will it reduce the claimed post-block drama. In addition, I agree with zzuuzz - the Talk page guidelines aren't a good thing to rely on in this context.--Bbb23 (talk) 23:10, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm curious to hear what else we can predictably rely on. Pillars make sense as a guide for this (like WP:Civility), but we have some admins who think its ok to let a user cool off by just venting, and the Block policy explicitly says cool-down blocks are not a good idea. So what is a clear example of "user talk page abuse"? -- Avanu (talk) 23:34, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
  1. A user gets blocked for personal attacks and post-block engages in personal attacks.
  2. A user gets blocked for BLP violations and post-block commits BLP violations.
  3. A user gets blocked for legal threats and post-block makes legal threats.
--Bbb23 (talk) 23:41, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Then how about a change to something like what you just said.
From: editing of the user's talk page should be disabled only in the case of continued abuse of the talk page."
To: editing of the user's talk page should be disabled only when the behavior that caused the block continues on the talk page.
-- Avanu (talk) 01:38, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Honestly, I think the wording is ok and that the real problem is so many admins thinking that you can only use the talk page for unblock requests. I also don't want to have to put that in the policy, as more words muddy up the place. Perhaps what is needed is an RFC to clarify that yes, an editor can use the talk page freely while blocked as long as they aren't violating more policies and guidelines. Then the wording can be left alone, and we have a consensus to demonstrate what we see might see as obvious. I had not given it that much thought before, and perhaps other admins haven't either. I prefer fixing the problem using the least amount of "force" (change) required, myself. To me, the policy already says this by its silence on restrictions, and intentional vagueness on "abuse", that allows an admin to use discression. I don't think it is their judgement that is faulty as much as their understanding here. Dennis Brown - © 03:08, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

Nooo, the policy is that if you are blocked from editing, you are blocked from editing. Your own talk page, the place that the community grants you at its discretion to be a convenient place to communicate with you the individual editor, is left open for you to discuss your block and ways that you might become unblocked. And that is all: anything else is just people being nice and hoping you will get the message about why you were blocked. I strongly disagree that an editor can "use the talk page freely" when they are blocked. Yes they should be given leeway, allowed a certain amount of venting, not made to feel permanently ostracized - but that is at the discretion and kind heart of the community and its representatives, not because some policy spells out some "user right" - which I hope we all still agree none of us has at all, y'know, privately owned website and so forth? Franamax (talk) 05:46, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
I have rarely seen such ill-considered bollocks even here on Wikipedia, which is of course jam-packed full of ill-considered bollocks. There is no "community" and no "granting" of anything, unless you believe that every anonymous IP in the world is "granted" the right to edit Wikipedia. Malleus Fatuorum 06:29, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Franamax, I look at WP:BLOCK and WP:AAB and I see no authority to make this determination. Without the authority granted, this would be an additional sanction imposed unilaterally. I understand that many admins think that this is the policy, but it isn't. At least not any written policy I have seen, and the actual written policies place NO restrictions and only assume the same rules for user talk page, that they be primarily concerned with Wikipedia. The purpose of a block isn't to MUTE the offending party, it is to stop them from editing in a disruptive way. While talk page block are warranted in some circumstances, limiting talk page use to only asking for unblock requests, in my opinion, is overstepping the authority of adminship as it isn't based in policy. If you can find the policy that states this, please point it out and I will be happy to correct myself here. Dennis Brown - © 01:15, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I think it's vital that editors should retain talk page access unless they do something soooooo bad that it would have got any editor (no matter how "respected" or "senior") an instant emergency indef block. An editor's talk page is a place where they can get into productive conversation with people who weren't involved in their block, with people who might be able to help them find a way forward which is acceptable both to them and to the 'pedia community, and just to let them know that not everybody hates them and is out to get them. Removing an editor's access to their own talk page for anything other than really outrageous behaviour is solely punitive, let's not kid ourselves on that one. Yes, some (most?) just-blocked editors can rant a bit on their talk. That's species-normal for humans, the ranting bit, especially if there was any heavy-handedness or gleeful "I'll show you!" vengefulness about their block. Communication is the key to getting anywhere at all. Decent, constructive, interactive communication. Removing someone's ability to communicate altogether, except for to grovel, is pathetically inadequate, lacking in the most basic insight into normal reactions, showing a complete ignorance of gentle (and effective) mediation / interpretation / go-between functions. It's punitive. It's nasty, it's spiteful, it's vindictive, and it's behaviour unworthy of an admin. Pesky (talk) 06:56, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
I note that Franamax, the admin who offered that ill-considered opinion, has rather few edits to article space relative to time spent. Not an atypical pattern for admin tossers. Malleus Fatuorum 07:17, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
In almost all cases, a blocked user needs to learn that problems are best avoided—that does not happen when a team of enthusiasts enables them to feel they are the righteous slayer of admins. Johnuniq (talk) 07:24, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
That's a rather bold claim. Any evidence to support it? Malleus Fatuorum 07:50, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Umm, yeah Malleus, every anonymous IP in the world specifically is granted the right to edit Wikipedia, until and unless we, as a community but eventually through the action of one single bit-changer, decide to revoke that right. That's one of the pillars dude. Franamax (talk) 07:33, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Thus proving you don't have the faintest idea what you're talking about. "Dude". Malleus Fatuorum 07:48, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
(e/c, I will claim right of first reply here) If you have a problem with me personally (as an editor here, I'm sure you are rather indifferent to me as a living human), please bring it to my talk page and I will be happy to discuss it further. Otherwise do please try to stay on topic for this page and this thread, which for reference is about blocking policy and revocation of talk page access during a block. What did I prove, how did I prove it, what is your faint idea Malleus? I think I do know what I'm talking about and your bald assertion doesn't change my mind. Elaborate dude, elaborate. Franamax (talk) 08:40, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
It would be difficult to know where to begin, as what you think you know and what I know to be true are so diametrically opposed. Malleus Fatuorum 06:14, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not talking about a "team of enthusiasts". And I'd particularly resent being labelled as such, myself. What I'm talking about is genuine good-faith editors who really want to find ways of moving out of stalemate and into something productive. It's actually a bit despicable even to think of such people as being "enthusiasts", "fan clubs", "enablers", and all those other demeaning and derogatory labels which get slung around when there are differences of opinion on looking at alternative ways of handling situations and people. What this thread should be about is looking at really genuinely constructive ways of accepting that one size doesn't fit all. It should not be about getting our personality clashes out for an airing. We can surely discuss important issues like this without the associated bared teeth. Pesky (talk) 08:18, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, a user talk page exists for communication to other editors, about a variety of topics. I don't see any rationale for the argument that, should you be blocked from editing articles, you should be simultaneously prohibited from any discussion of any subject other than the narrow circumstances of your block. --SPhilbrick(Talk) 13:36, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, when we start shifting from "protecting the [public face of the] 'pedia from damage by bad edits" to "ostracising / marginalising the editor as a bad person" – "Nyah, nyah! You're not allowed to talk to us any more!" then it really has become a purely punitive measure. Pesky (talk) 03:58, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Its purpose was always and remains "you're down, now I can give you the kicking I've always thought you deserved". Just the way Wikipedia works. Or doesn't. Malleus Fatuorum 06:09, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Just sitting here following the endless debate, one of countless endless debates on a site that was so poorly designed that it went from encyclopaedia to forum in such a small timeframe. The mistakes here are built to last. Lifelong and cannot be undone. I'm not saying a forum is a bad thing, it's great, it's just that the whole build an encyclopaedia is something a 15 y.o. kid will be able to do. To make a complete replacement for wikipedia, to take its place as any kind of information creation resource, it is too easy. Penyulap 09:20, 5 Jul 2012 (UTC)

Yep. -- Avanu (talk) 09:25, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm still seeing people claim that you can force a blocked user to only use the talk page for unblock requests, but I've yet to see anyone point to the policy that allows this. I still maintain that this is flatly wrong and is overstepping the authority of adminship. Until someone points out the authority that grants that all blocked editors can only use the talk page for unblock requests via the policy that empowers this, I can only conclude that there are a lot of admins who are terribly mistaken, have not read or misread the policies on blocking, or for some other reason think this is true when it in fact has no basis in written policy anywhere on Wikipedia. It is a myth. Dennis Brown - © 01:20, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
  • This is right. The policy on locking talk pages derives its authority originally from the protection policy (as well as the banning policy). There's a long tradition of allowing protection of a talk page for disruptive use of the unblock template, but this is not the only source of disruption nor the only use of the talk pages. We generally only lock talk pages when the disruption has risen to the level of 'abuse of the page', or 'disruption' as it's also known, which does not mean not using the page exactly what it was intended for. However be under no illusion, the purpose of the page is now dedicated almost exclusively to working with the user to get the block lifted.

    I mentioned earlier about the discussion which led to my addition of this feature to policy. The archived discussion is here, and there's also another relevant thread also in that archive. It's interesting to see what assumptions made and the language used to describe when this feature should be used. In my opinion a timed expiry of the talk page lock is a much needed option. -- zzuuzz (talk) 07:02, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

  • I can conceive of two types of situation. There must be extreme cases where we really do want to ostracize someone, because their continued acceptance as a member of our community is likely to lead to other reasonable people feeling strong distaste and perhaps not wishing to remain in the community themselves (I'm thinking people guilty of vicious harassment, extreme racism, and the like). In such cases the community spirit might be best served by ensuring that the person is indeed prevented from doing anything on Wikipedia (not much we can do about the rest of the Internet, unfortunately) other than just questioning the correctness of the decision. However in what I guess is the more normal situation, where the block results just from an excess of enthusiasm over good judgement, there seems to be no problem in continuing to allow them to use their talk page for any purpose that would normally be acceptable (since no-one else needs to watch that talk page, or care about its contents, if they don't want to). Victor Yus (talk) 07:41, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Indeed, though long term abuse cases are the more common type in my experience anyway. The former of your situations is a ban. For the latter see WP:PPOL#Blocked_users. The policy talks of "extreme cases of abuse". -- zzuuzz (talk) 08:06, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Expiry times should be standard. Blocks, many of them are used solely out of spite, as an self feeding ego spiral for bad admins. The faster that they can cover their mistakes up with indefs the less likely they have to reflect on their own poor behavior. Not the purpose of a block, but that's often how they are used. Blocks are simply like restraining a patient, when properly done, you are never trying to harm them or hurt them, regardless of what they do to you, it's simply to keep them contained. Blocks on Indonesian Wikipedia are often about 1 hour in duration, long enough for people to calm down and resume discussion.

The concept of an indef block is used more so for burying mistakes than it is for any justifiable purpose. Basically, it prevents good editors from ever returning, while bad editors just sock, and agree never to question the bad block or the admins action, otherwise they'd be banned as a sock naturally. The only paths upon which return is possible are all bad paths made easy for bad editors and bad admins to use, and impossible for good editors to use. Indef blocks are given out for any variety of reasons, none of which are 'will this editor still be disruptive ten years from now'. The aim should be to keep and include everyone, and have them interact properly, like with Acadēmica Orientālis‎, having them abide by the rules so you can keep watch over them with ease, knowing possible trouble areas.

Indef blocking simply helps confuse everyone, so until socks return at a frequency that they cannot be properly judged in the amount of time rationed to each one. So blocks become snap decisions which hide bad editors, hide their past and behavior while the clumsier decisions cause collateral damage. (does anyone need an example ? I made a lovely clear one recently for you). To dig wikipedia out of the mess, adequate time should be taken in proportion to the editors investment in community ties. The more time and effort an editor has made under a single account, the more likely they are to work through any problems an reach a satisfactory solution. That leads to less time keeping an eye on them, better value for the time spent, you know the editor, you know the history, indef blocks are simply a flush button for your memory and everything you've learned so far, and a filter to keep out innocent, high-integrity editors.

Guidelines currently do not take advantage of this, so resources are wasted. Editor retention, permanent loss, and editor churn from being single account editors, to being returning editors forced to sock, who, on each return, are forced to value community ties or community spirit less and less, because each block forces them to break ties and friendships or risk discovery, and so teaches them to value community less and less. Penyulap 08:44, 6 Jul 2012 (UTC)

Penyulap these kind of posts are precisely why your well intentioned (if flawed) proposals are not being supported. Casting aspersions about the whole sysop corp (with imaginary crimes and motivations) is not only a great way to get ignored it's also against the talk page guidelines. *If* your are in fact interested in asking whether blocking and editor retention are linked base your conclusions on evidence not spurious opinion and assumptions of bad faith--Cailil talk 16:11, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure where you're going with this, so tell us how do you feel about some of these ideas
  • I can examine the entire wiki-life cycle by experiencing it for myself, including the desire to leave because of atypical problems
  • Am I not an editor ? Have I not been a fine editor who has contributed a lot to the project in the past, but have become disillusioned ?
  • Is my situation different in any way to the 'editors' that you are supposedly trying to assist, and isn't it better to have one to experiment on and interact with, or do you prefer that I leave, you know, maybe that's a better way to help, for you not to have a good example. Brilliant, go back to the list and try to make contact with each one so you can tell them all one by one that you don't actually want to talk to them.
  • If you don't want to work with editors who have become disillusioned and left Wikipedia, you sure have come to the right Wikiproject.
  • Would you prefer I change methodology and track, producing an editor to whom you will rightly ask "WTF would you know about editor retention, you're happy here and have never had any problems, we need someone with experience, you don't know what your talking about", or you know, become a synthesized emulation of 100 such editors. Then I can churn out pointless comments to the project suggestions agreeing maybe giving them a cupcake will solve everything. zomg.
  • I take the phrase "Putting yourself in their shoes" far too literally.
  • I get the best results by "Putting myself in their shoes"

I have my own reasons for examining in exquisite detail the process of wikipedia editor life-cycle, my observations apply equally well to your project and I'm happy to share, but hey, don't want my help ? say the word. Penyulap 06:05, 7 Jul 2012 (UTC)

N Penyulap has his foot in his mouth, I though this was the editor retention page. Sorry everyone, please enjoy this spectacle I've made of myself. I will leave this here to brighten up the day for those people dying to see this rare spectacle :) Penyulap 06:18, 7 Jul 2012 (UTC)

to respond for this page, if people don't want to listen, they'll find an excuse to do so whether one presents itself or not. Same as if little kids want to tease one another, and can't see a big nose, buck teeth, strange haircut, red hair, or smell anything they'll just say 'you're weird' and be done with it, if people don't want to listen, I couldn't care less. If they want to be mature enough to address the idea regardless of where it originates, they'll get a lot further. Penyulap 06:56, 7 Jul 2012 (UTC)
Pen, one thing that I've learned is that in order to achieve positive change, you have to get others to embrace your ideas. You can't force a square peg into a round hole and make everyone adopt an idea simply because you know it is "Right ©". That is the idea behind the project, to bring everyone together, put the swords down and pick up the plow and work on what we DO agree on first, while we discuss the areas we differ on. It is a slower but more fruitful approach to change. You help me with my ideas and I will help you with yours, then everyone wins. And sometimes, my initial idea was wrong or had flaws, so the more gentle approach allows me to learn along the way, based on other's ideas. That and I'm slowly learning to be a little less verbose, which makes others more willing to read my entire comment, which really helps. Dennis Brown - © 12:01, 9 July 2012 (UTC)


There are some concerns on the policy, and valid reasons to look at changes, and everyone knows I already agree that there are some broken points, but let's not soapbox and turn the page into a forum, please. That actually detracts from the goals. Dennis Brown - © 10:51, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

+1. Given how many times this has been said on this page in relation to the relevant user, involuntary sanctions will be the necessary next step if there is a continued lack of compliance with policy & talk page guidelines; I do hope this final request/warning will be sufficient. Ncmvocalist (talk) 14:04, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
How about rather than making vague veiled threats at nobody in particular, you have the spine to name the person you're referring to. That way everybody who is using the blocking page to discuss blocking policy won't leave, like the wisest ones already did, you won't get the next largest sector to give up figuring 'oh well that's it, the conversation has degenerated into threats namecalling blah blah I'm out of here' and people figuring you MIGHT be referring to them, so they may as well leave too. Dennis is right, but he's not referring to any specific person. Whatever, always comes back to the equation which cannot be changed. Penyulap 19:36, 8 Jul 2012 (UTC)
Chances are that the only user who might feel vaguely "threatened" is that user who is repeatedly not adhering to the requests/warnings referred to; I think others appreciate why it is being said. Also, if people who contribute constructively are leaving, I suspect that it is actually the consequence of the unseemly and/or disruptive conduct which has neither been avoided nor prevented here. Ncmvocalist (talk) 14:43, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
(Jumping back in, then definitely leaving the page.) That's not it in my case, Ncmvocalist. It's boredom and attrition, and you're not helping reduce either. It's dull and timewasting to refer to a Mr X (are more recent arrivals expected to skim the entire page to find him and his "conduct"?) that the clueful are presumed to be able to identify, while refusing to name him yourself. Is there a point to this procedure, or are you just being roundabout for the sake of it? Bishonen | talk 16:27, 9 July 2012 (UTC).
I thought there was Bish...but my bad; clearly I didn't consider how much I have burdened you (or others) by expecting the clueful to skim the sections immediately above, and identify where it is succinctly noted with links: "Penyulap, you've already had warning to stop casting aspersions and abusing the talk space. You're crossing the line here. Nobody is concealing anything - it's time for you to take a step back and drop the stick". And speaking of leaving.... Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:56, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh well, now we're getting somewhere, before this, you were just sitting in a completely dark picture theatre winking at that girl you like. Sure, you knew the message you were trying to convey, but you were the only one. Now, what exactly is the problem with the way I'm participating ? Penyulap 20:29, 9 Jul 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Your proposals don't show an understanding of how Wikipedia works. Most of the time, a consensus forms, and then someone writes down existing practice, or folks realize there are differing practices, so one of the existing ones is "promoted" to policy after discussion.

  1. They often seem to be in response to a particular instance. Wikipedia policies are broad outlines which require judgement and common sense, not a legal code with every possibly listed.
  2. Your discussions points are much too long
  3. There are too many of them.
  4. Wikipedia is becoming fossilized (this is a general comment, not specific to Penyulap). Consider the eternal struggle/debacle in trying to change a few words in WP:V Nobody Ent 23:17, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
My responses are measured in many ways, to identify and divide between those who can reason upon the merits of the arguments, and those who are unable to reason at all because of prejudice for the speaker. I examine where wikipedia does not work, not where you think it does. I can just as easily adjust my tone to sway and dulcify and pander to your approach of 'the way things are done' and that would be called 'operation pointless' in my book, because I want to identify the rational, identify the systemic problems, identify why and how ANI blocks up over the simplest of issues, how veteran editors are mistreated by the validation demanding fixation groupies, all of that. What, you think I am going to analyse wikipedia by simply sifting through 500 terabytes of commentary on these problems that has already been written ? Zomg, I do know something of the economy of effort, easy enough to reinvent myself every 5 minutes and all problems present themselves to me. To some people this is clear and easy to see, with the 'penyulap is an idiot but he's no fool' observations, whereas others never get past the idiot that I have invented. This is how it is supposed to filter, and it's moot just the same, as my observation skills and learning curve are such that I don't need any given persona for very long. Penyulap 08:23, 17 Jul 2012 (UTC)

RfC: third party request for unblock

There is simply no consensus in this RfC for adding any variety of the proposed addition. On the one side is an appeal to editor retention and to an apparent difficulty of figuring out how a blocked editor can be helped, on the other side are arguments about excessive bureaucracy, additional burden on blocking admins, and the already existing review process. In between (and see Dennis Brown's comments, which close the section) are good-faith efforts on behalf of editors to help out what they consider (usually new) editors who get blocked without good reason and having the right to appeal don't know how to do so properly. Lacking a consensus here, these efforts will have to do. Drmies (talk) 15:14, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should this be added

"A third party may request the review of a block at the Administrators' noticeboard."

Penyulap 14:06, 27 Jun (UTC)

  • I think there should be a procedure for review of blockings. Currently, there seems not to be a way to question an overly harsh block simply becuase the block editor is now gone. Maybe he wouldn't be gone if the block wasn't excessively harsh. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 14:18, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I think it warrants a mention as there are differing assumptions on the matter. Penyulap 14:20, 27 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • While I agree in principal that any user should be able to request review of any administrative action that they feel was wrong, I think we should be careful not to burden blocking admins with reviews just because we think they may have been a bit harsh. Review at AN/I or AN should primarily be for cases where the block was fundamentally defective, and the person should not have been blocked at all, or where the block duration was contrary to policy (such as an indef IP block on a first offense). In such clear cases, anyone should be able to request review if, after trying to discuss it with the blocking admin, the issue is unresolved. What we should not do is invite second guessing of admins over discretionary block lengths for conduct that was properly blockable. First, many times a blocked editor who requests an unblock and demonstrates that they understand what they did wrong and will make a good faith effort to avoid similar conduct will be unblocked without the need for an extended discussion. Second, where the blocked editor is not making the request, it can be hard to tell if they even understand why they were blocked. Finally, we want to respect the discretion of the blocking admin, and don't want a process that encourages those with an axe to grind to endlessly drag admins to the drama boards. Monty845 14:42, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
would it be better if the original blocking admin has nothing to do with the review of the block ? Penyulap 14:50, 27 Jun 2012 (UTC)
I would say the blocking admin almost *must* be a part of that process, or must have given an extremely clear rationale for the block, so that people know why it occured. -- Avanu (talk) 14:53, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • As Monty says, there are times a review is warranted. However, many times people use process to harass. Considering that anyone is able to request a block or adverse action against an editor, the converse should also be true. Admins should be able to figure out when something needs to be closed and when it is worth discussing, an easy rule of thumb would be simply when quite a few editors join the request by affirming that it worth discussion. We are, after all, supposed to operate on egalitarian consensus here. -- Avanu (talk) 14:53, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • It should be included, yes. Perhaps with a caveat that abusing the block review request process will result in a WP:BOOMERANG? - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 15:08, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
In way, leaving it open makes it less likely to be abused. If we don't forbid a third party person from making a request, then the assumption is that they can, and if we don't mention it either, people aren't as tempted to use it. There's probably an elegant way to make the point without making it too strongly. -- Avanu (talk) 15:10, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
The assumption is that the can for some people, and the assumption is that they can't for other people, leaving it up to assumption leads to confusion, and policy documents avoid that. Addressing the issue of abuse in some other way, rather than using murky conflicting assumptions of policy to do so, may be less work for everyone in the end. Simply establishing a consensus (on the block) in the usual way, directing new enquiries to the old consensus, and updating it if things change is a familiar path and process which people would have less difficulty with. Penyulap 15:42, 27 Jun 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Best to minimize confusion. I propose a modification of your original wording to this: "An editor in good standing may request that another editor be unblocked by starting a review of the block on the Administrator's Noticeboard. Editors are cautioned that making an excessive number of these requests against consensus may be considered disruption, and may lead to community sanctions against them. No request should be made in this fashion if the blocked editor has an ongoing unblock request on their own talk page, nor if the blocked editor has stated that they do not wish to be unblocked at the present time." - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 16:44, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • No; the blocked user should have indicated they want a block review - the only time a third party would make it is if the user has not been told how to request unblock, but does want to be unblocked. On the issue of block reviews (raised primarily by monty), I have seen several admins improve their approach significantly where although there was a consensus for a block, the consensus was that the duration be changed. If admins are not open to feedback or to occasionally having their actions subject to review or to being responsive to changes in circumstances, then they are not learning from experience. Admins are significantly protected under this policy, but it is not to the point of being immune from comment about the use of their discretion just because some do not consider it significantly problematic enough yet. The idea is to improve and resolve in the early stage rather than wait until it is too late or extreme (by which time the inevitable complaint will be "wish I had a better chance to improve before I developed this habit or got tot his point"). Ncmvocalist (talk) 16:03, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    Actually, the message you get when you're blocked says how to appeal, whether or not the admin adds the template. MediaWiki:Blockedtext --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 16:57, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • If a block is bad, it should not matter if the blocked editor wants to be unblocked or not - if someone goes into jail for stealing stuff in a shop, but turns out to be innocent - it then does not matter whether the person wants to go back to that shop, however, the person should be taken out of jail - here the situation could be that someone is innocent and blocked, but we leave the person guilty because the person may not want to go back to editing (is it me, or could there be BLP issues here ...). If an editor, or a group of editors, think that a block was completely wrong, communication with the blocking admin and/or a community discussion on AN or AN/I (the latter with notification to the blocking admin) is the way forward. That does not mean that the blocking admin is a bad admin - it can just be that a block was applied mistakenly. --Dirk Beetstra T C 17:24, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
would it be fair to say that if the block appears to the blocked party to be impolite or spiteful, then the blocked editor is less likely to appeal, AND the block is less likely to be in harmony with community standards ? Penyulap 18:06, 27 Jun 2012 (UTC)

Does anyone think we should turn this into a full RFC? - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 18:42, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

  • Should we add "If you want to edit an article, you may click the 'Edit' button" too? It seems like we have instructions for every possible scenario these days. causa sui (talk) 19:01, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    Actually, this is in response to a recent debate in just such an WP:AN discussion over whether or not third parties could begin an unblock request/block review. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 19:06, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    How can that even be a question? The fact that they asked the question starts it. Are we to the point where we are going to "procedural decline" a request to review a sysop action because the request was not 'filed' through the 'proper channels' and according to 'procedure'? Should I go speedy delete WP:BURO right now? --causa sui (talk) 19:16, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    *shrug* I have no idea how that idea came up, but it did. And if it's uncontentious to say this, then why not say it? - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 19:24, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Third parties may request a review of a block right after they occur (and often does happen), but they CANNOT request unblock on behalf of someone else, or a review down the road (✉→BWilkins←✎) 19:34, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    Is that to avoid having a sock or meat puppet try to unblock the puppetmaster? - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 19:43, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, I do believe a full RFC is appropriate for this topic. Penyulap 19:52, 27 Jun 2012 (UTC)

[Shift to formal RfC; template removed by closing admin.] Should the above proposed change, "A third party may request the review of a block at the Administrators' noticeboard," or some variation of that change, be added to this policy per the above discussion? - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 19:56, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

  • I would have thought we already do this under the pseudo-policy of "discuss/debate this at the various appropriate forums" like WP:AN, ANI, the user's talk, RP:RFU etc. It's almost like we are opening an RfC on the idea of being able to open an RfC on a user's block, which answers its own question.. Not that I begrudge such an RfC being opened.... S.G.(GH) ping! 22:45, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
    • We do and we don't. Since the official policy doesn't say it one way or the other, some people say "you can do this, no doubt" and some people say "you can't do this at all." Furthermore, it'd be good to establish the "where" and "how" of doing this so that we have a consistent process, and we need to set it up to avoid abuse, especially sock abuse. Above, I proposed a specific variation:
An editor in good standing may request that another editor be unblocked by starting a review of the block on the Administrator's Noticeboard. Editors are cautioned that making an excessive number of these requests against consensus may be considered disruption, and may lead to community sanctions against them. No request should be made in this fashion if the blocked editor has an ongoing unblock request on their own talk page, nor if the blocked editor has stated that they do not wish to be unblocked at the present time.
"In good standing" is the critical phrase. I'd be willing to edit it further to block out non-autoconfirmed editors, and to especially exclude people who were also sanctioned in the same dispute as the blocked editor. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 23:15, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

I see adding this phrase as an invitation to a bottomless pit. First, if a blocked editor wants to be unblocked, he can say so. If for some reason his Talk page rights are revoked, there are procedures for protesting that as well. If he doesn't want it badly enough to follow the procedures, that's his decision. So, what we would really be doing by adding this sentence is inviting everyone to evaluate administrative decisions just because someone thinks it was wrong. As if we don't already have enough procedural quagmires as it is, this would add yet another layer. Moreover, even without the sentence, editors can trot over to ANI or AN and complain about the harshness of some block or some ban or some something. But, with this change, we would send out explicit invitations to do so. Don't we have better things to do?--Bbb23 (talk) 23:47, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

That's a fair point for sure, it would lead to more requests if people knew they could actually make a request. However, this has less to do with the blocked editor. It has a lot more to do with the whole community, not standing around the 'corpse' of their long time buddy. (ok a corpse is dramatic, but haven't you ever seen a good editor lost ?) you may well know what to do, but other good editors do not.
A good editor often has some justifiable pride, or at least self respect, and if they believe they have been badly mistreated by a blocking admin, it might be more about the editor forced to bow down to someone he despises and less about the editor having respect for the wider community. When the block has clear support and backing by the community, demonstrated by many individual voices, rather than assumption alone, doesn't that make the block stronger ? If anyone can say 'that was a good block' then regular editors can show support for our admins, as it is now, it's not as strong.
" editors can trot over to ANI or AN " well, it took me 12 months to find that out. Seeing great editors banned has a demoralising effect upon me, if the system presents itself as unjust, or at least unaccountable, it's not possible to have as much faith in it. If we could give everyone more of a say, we'd give everyone more faith in the system. Penyulap 01:07, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • I would like to propose an alternative version:
Third party requests for block review
Third parties may request a review of a block at WP:AN/I. Third parties considering such a request are advised that:
  • as with any other dispute, before escalating to a noticeboard discussion should first be attempted with the other party to the dispute, in this case the blocking admin
  • Admins are afforded a reasonable amount of discretion when it comes to their use of the tools, review is not meant to second guess that discretion and should be reserved for cases where the block was clearly against policy or is extremely unreasonable in length
  • during the course of a block review, it is likely that the history of the requesting editor will be examined and they should be wary of WP:BOOMERANG
  • Engaging in Sockpuppetry or Block Evasion to submit a request for review is unlikely to be positively received, and may result in additional blocks and/or block extensions. A blocked editor who requests such a review should make the request on their talk page, or in the case talk page access is revoked, through either the Unblock Ticket Request System or Arbcom ban appeals subcommittee, and should not submit it in the guise of a third party request
I think the above would make it clear enough that block reviews should only be requested in the case of really bad blocks and would discourage excessive block review requests. Monty845 00:45, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Heh, you have a lot more faith than I do in the ability of some to read past the first sentence. Looks like a multi-factorial test one might find in a legal decision - not that it isn't admirably written and sensible on its face - it's just a lot of words to wade through. I stick with my simple "no".--Bbb23 (talk) 00:51, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I like it with some small changes. Edit to the first sentence - "In certain cases, third parties may request..." Then replace the second sentence with "Third parties are advised that such requests must be made civilly and in good faith, or risk sanctions of their own." Other than that, there might be some minor copy-editing, though I don't have time right this second to fine-comb it. But I like it. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 01:05, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
It does raise a valid point that blocked editors would exhaust their sock supply / internet cafe visits / friends in a venue where they are expected, rather than in article space. Penyulap 01:10, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
I dunno, the two aren't mutually exclusive.--Bbb23 (talk) 01:22, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand, what I mean to say is, that it creates a sock laundry somewhere away from article space or wherever else they would go, so it is like you say, a price we pay, it does create an extra can of worms, but some fishermen like worms :) and so we get a stronger community by people being able to say 'and stay out !!!!!' or 'just you hang on a moment !!' bringing the admins and editors closer together, and addressing editor retention as well. Penyulap 01:37, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
The fundamental difficulty with permitting – in all but the most limited circumstances – involutary and unsolicited reviews of one's blocks at the instigation of a third party is that sometimes the third party is a jackass.
Suppose that I've been blocked. I figure that I'm too pissed off by the situation to deal with it at the moment, and decide to get a good night's sleep. Twelve hours later, I return to Wikipedia calm and refreshed, willing and able to marshal a coherent and rational argument. I discover that in my absence a third party has taken up my cause, and fought a bitter and acrimonious battle on AN/I while I slept. (The third party may have a previous history with the admin in question, or be a POV-pushing partisan in an area where I edit, or just generally like to stir shit up on noticeboards. They may be acting entirely in good faith, but just be incompetent or overly emotional.) My case gets lost in an inconclusive mess of mutual accusations of bad faith and bickering over tangential issues.
No matter what follows, any appeal I might make has been tainted by the original third-party request. The noticeboards will already be fatigued by my issue; I won't have the opportunity to present my defence to a fresh audience. Not only do I have to respond to questions about my own conduct, but I also have to distance myself from my overzealous supporter(s). What could have been a viable unblock request instead gets closed as 'no consensus'.
I think all experienced Wikipedia editors have been in situations where they've thought of another user "I think you're right, but it would be sooo much easier to agree with you if you knew when to shut up." The well-meaning but inept would be problem enough; throw in the third-party busybodies with their own independent axes to grind and you're asking for real trouble. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 02:11, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
This. Oh, so very This. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 02:30, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
oh god I know where you are coming from there, being, you know, myself. So half the time I'm like should I stick up for this poor editor here, at the risk of making it ten times worse ? like ani right now, I think someone talks too much and said so, bad move right there, me, telling someone else they talk too much ? open my talkpage archive and crash your browser, my archive killed miszabot, twice, so I don't think there will be support there.
Maybe a user can leave a note on their talkpage, that they intend to deal with it, or a limit to say 'only after a week' or a week after the last comment or some such. Penyulap 02:37, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • Question. Are we discussing third party requests in which the third party has already approached the blocking admin? Did I miss that part of the discussion? No snark intended, I looked and could not see where this had been mentioned. Personally, I have no problems discussing blocks I've made. To a point, of course. Watching recent changes I could make a couple dozen blocks a week (or more on occasion). Being interrogated over even a fraction of those could be tiring, but I'm always willing. Tiderolls 02:41, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you'd need to address the block at all, to establish a consensus, it has to be reasonably put forward, and as you made the block, that's the same as say the original editor who put text in an article, it's a given that you support. The only difference might be the level of consensus required, but in clear cases that's easy. 99% of blocks are a no-brainer anyway. Penyulap 11:49, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment Would a reasonable compromise be to require more than one third-party editor in such a request? That would make it slightly harder to bring dilatory requests for unblock. Sort of like requiring a 'second'. -- Avanu (talk) 04:49, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    What sort of mechanic would there be for finding a person to second the request without it rewarding canvasing? Monty845 05:39, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
    do you mean like using a/the block template on the blocked users page?
    Avanu, would it be like finding a regular consensus, or something new ? Penyulap 11:49, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think that this would be a good idea, per TenOfAllTrades above, and simply because if the blocked user does not want to contest the block themselves there is no reason to waste the time of others and produce drama about it.  Sandstein  05:43, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment Many old-timers will tell you that third parties have been requesting unblocks, block reviews—and different variations of those—at AN and AN/I for years. These often happen when a person is mentoring somebody that has been blocked. I think IAR may be sufficient in this case without adding additional wording. (talk) 07:00, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
the price we have been paying in editor retention is too high for keeping this 'secret knowledge', took me more than a year to realise that there is no defined process for a third party unblock, I even made a graphic for my tp as part of the illogic of this secret knowledge. Penyulap 12:05, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • It's a wiki. Yes, there should be more clarity on the issue. I agree with Penyulaps point about editor retention and with IP — except that additional wording probably is needed, to make it clear that anybody can initiate a review on ANI. It has been the case for years that we all have this right, but you see how it took Penyulap 12 months to find out he could even post on AN and ANI? IAR is indeed not enough; what do newbies know about IAR? For those who fear opening the floodgates to "inept" block reviews: Wikipedia doesn't operate on the hierarchic principle "I'm clueful; you're inept; s/he's a jackass". If you start a review and your argument is without merit, it'll either be snowed under or ignored, and you will hopefully have learned something; if it has merit, other people will post in the thread to agree or protest, and depending on consensus it'll either end with an unblock or not. Why should WP:BLOCK call for an extra layer of bureaucracy and rule creep, by (implicitly) saying that you need to ask first? Only admins can block and unblock, but it's certainly not the case that only admins can review stuff on ANI. Be bold: just review. That is the principle that should be inserted into the block policy, for information; because it's unjust that only the wp savvy and the habitués should be aware that ANI is there and that this is one of the ways you can use it.
Please don't let's hear any more about ineptness and jackasses. Jackasses are a problem in all wikipedia processes; we get lots of foolish article edits, and still we allow anybody to post them; people don't have to ask permission first, because it's the encyclopedia anybody can edit. We get many inept FAC nominations, and we still don't have any rule preventing people from posting them. For that matter, ANI itself is clogged up with posts asking admins to block the guy the poster is in conflict with because "he was rude to me by saying my edit was bad". Why should the particular matter of third-party block reviews be elitist and newbie-unfriendly, when we normally strive to keep all our processes free of such thinking, and we normally put up with the (considerable) inconveniences resulting from ignorance or stubbornness? It's still a wiki.
I'll try to formulate suitable informational wording in an hour or two, when I get home, unless somebody gets in there before me (as I'm rather hoping they will). Bishonen | talk 12:20, 28 June 2012 (UTC).
awesome. here is the link to my archive which would be hard to find otherwise, I'll find the userpage I posted the templates at as well, maybe it's of interest as an illustration or for study, of for humour :) Penyulap 13:57, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
here is the discussion, and the history of the user talkpage. Penyulap 14:00, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • Seriously Blocks are only to be undone when they are found to be a) policy non-compliant, or b) the editor submits a WP:GAB-compliant unblock. Admins are trusted to be impartial, and there are often more "background" things that 3rd parties cannot be/are not aware of. Admins are also trusted to implement any blocks using the same logic. WP:IDONTLIKEIT is not a valid reason to request someone else's unblock, and wasting the communities time by reviewing blocks needlessly is indeed a waste. The only time a third party should go to ANI/AN to request a review is when a) they themselves understand the related policy, and b) its policy non-compliant. That is why it's usually an admin who opens up 3rd party reviews. Allowing a 3rd party to actually place an unblock template is an abuse, because it's clearly non GAB-compliant (✉→BWilkins←✎) 12:26, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • There's two situations we should be looking at. 1) The block was appropriate or 2) the block wasn't. If the block was appropriate, the only person who should be able to request an unblock is the blocked editor. In that, they can explain whether they understand the reasons for block and changes they intend to make, i.e. a WP:GAB compliant block request, as per Bwilkins above. If the block was not appropriate, a case can be made (at any time), currently at AN or ANI. This is a perfectly normal review of admin actions, as kww said above. I'm a little unsure as to where the confusion lies. WormTT(talk) 12:36, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I think the confusion is because both Penyulap and Avanu have had wrists slapped regarding this? (✉→BWilkins←✎) 12:41, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I guess I should watch AN/ANI more! WormTT(talk) 12:45, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Hey, BWilkins... when exactly was this wrist slapping that you are talking about? Strange that you should make a comment like that when I haven't even seen the evidence to support it. I don't even know anything about Penylap except via this request, and the third-party request that started all this wasn't even started by *either* of us, it was started by an editor named Arcandam, and I actually have no idea what their motivation was for requesting the unblock, except I assume it seemed like a bad block. I was unaware at that time that a block had even taken place. So, please enlighten us with this "wrist slapping" that we supposedly endured and why it supposedly happened, because as far as I can tell that never happened. -- Avanu (talk) 22:38, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I think there are several incidents that all lead to this actually. However I do not recall getting my wrist or anything else slapped, however, if anyone thinks I do need a slap on my bum, I'll be happy to bare it in their general direction to assist the process. Penyulap 03:53, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • Nothing in my comments should be interpreted as allowing third-parties to actually use {{unblock}}. I just consider my blocks to be reviewable at standard forums.—Kww(talk) 13:35, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm unsure where the confusion lies, too. Bwilkins. Was anything in your post meant to contradict anything in mine? Because I don't see that it does. As for {{unblock}}, I haven't addressed it; obviously, it's not allowed to be placed by third parties. I'm discussing review on AN/ANI, and I think there should be something about it in the policy. Wasting the community's time by reviewing blocks needlessly is a waste of time, yes; so is dealing with inappropriate article edits; so is fixing inept FAC nominations. Should we make those and a host of other stuff permission-only, too? (Rhetorical question.) We waste a lot of time here. It can't be helped, it's a wiki. Bishonen | talk 13:51, 28 June 2012 (UTC).
  • I'd like to formulate alternative text, to encompass the opposition to the proposed changes. Bwilkins, Worm That Turned, you seem to understand the view best, would you help with some text that can be added, so that people can understand better the circumstances in which it is allowed. Something to combine the following for example

'The only time a third party should go to ANI/AN to request a review is when a) they themselves understand the related policy, and b) its policy non-compliant.' and 'the only person who should be able to request an unblock is the blocked editor'

  • that would help clear things up if it can be added to the policy page. Penyulap 06:32, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • I think Kww puts it in an interesting way: "I just consider my blocks to be reviewable at standard forums." From my perspective, this proposal is to clearly and explicitly say that any admin's blocks are reviewable by the community at AN or AN/I. And block-evading, excessively time-wasting, or pointy block review requests should be treated like any other disruptions at those forums. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 14:07, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I've now changed Avanu's proposed wording from
If an editor feels a block has been improperly issued, they can ask for that decision to be reviewed. See Appealing a block for instructions. Administrators are able to "unblock" a user when they feel the block is unwarranted or no longer appropriate.
If an editor feels a block has been improperly issued, they can can initiate a review of that block on WP:ANI. Administrators are able to "unblock" a user when they feel the block is unwarranted or no longer appropriate.
It probably does need some instructions added, and they may be thorny to formulate without too much instruction creep. Please feel free to tweak etc. But the link to Appealing a block really wasn't helpful. The instructions on that page are for the blocked user, and would surely mislead a third party into placing an unblock template on the blocked user's page. Bishonen | talk 14:19, 28 June 2012 (UTC).
I feel that at the moment, the phrase 'third party' is required somewhere in a proposal, to counter the overwhelming first party focus of the docs/policy/guidelines/templates. unless it's the title of the section, sorry, I wasn't clear on that. Penyulap 14:39, 28 Jun 2012 (UTC)
We could just take Bishonen's version and correct "an editor" to "a third-party editor." - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 14:41, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
How about a implied permission via a cautionary statement like: "Third-party editors should take care in filing an unblock request for another editor to ensure that the unblock is desired or warranted." -- Avanu (talk) 15:03, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Both Jorgath's and Avanu's suggestions sound fine to me. Bishonen | talk 15:17, 28 June 2012 (UTC).
  • Comment. Seems like a lot of folks have dived into solution mode. Where is the clear definition of the problem that this solution is intended to solve along with practical examples of where it would be helpful. I'm not seeing it in this discussion, just a lot of ideas and someone diving in and amending a policy page. Leaky Caldron 14:45, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I think the general idea among supporters of this is that since we operate on consensus anyway, there should be no reason that another, perhaps more experienced editor, couldn't file an unblock request on behalf of someone. The decision would still be made by an impartial admin or by a group of editors under the rules of consensus. The worry is that people will be encouraged to file dilatory requests instead of just leaving it alone. -- Avanu (talk) 15:03, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Is this going to be implemented by a narrow consensus on this page or via an RFC as mentioned somewhere above? Leaky Caldron 15:15, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
This is a talkpage RfC, please see these instructions. Penyulap even advertised it on ANI. Though if this drags out, I guess it would be even better to move his announcement to AN. He omitted calling it "RfC" in the header, that's all. I've put that in. (Please nobody try telling me it's obligatory to use the template provided on the RfC page. It isn't.) Bishonen | talk 15:38, 28 June 2012 (UTC).
I had no idea it was the RFC and there is discussion above about whether it requires an RFC. This is a significant policy. Rather than relying on page lurking can I suggest that the community is informed via MediaWiki:Watchlist-details. The RFC on WP:V changes fell foul of precisely this failure to communicate to the wider community last year. Not everyone with a view hangs out at WP:ANI, WP:CENT etc. Leaky Caldron 15:52, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Page lurking? As I mentioned, Penyulap advertised it on ANI. Here. That's how I found out about it, and I should have thought most of the others who have commented here, too. It looks like quite a few people noticed it. Anyway, Jorgath has now asked for it to be put on the watchlists. We'll have to see if it's considered important enough for that. Bishonen | talk 18:49, 28 June 2012 (UTC).
I looked at the nav template at AN and advertised on any board I thought is involved in blocking, however, given that this effects everyone (Newbies, experienced editors who have conflicting views, and editor retention) I agree that it should be suggested for the watchlist. Penyulap 03:32, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • I tend to think this is unnecessary. Currently, a third party can ask for review if they think the admin's actions were inappropriate, out of policy, mistaken or abuse. We see this from time to time as it is, and I support them for even the most borderline cases. This is how we develop consensus on what is block-worthy, and how long of a block is too long. On the other side, if it just a simple "I've learned my lesson, I won't do it again" unblock, then ANI isn't needed, as there is already a process in place and typically the same admin won't respond twice, and multiple requests for unblock (to a point) are generally tolerated. And yes, occassionally, I see 3rd parties asking for review for another editor and present a compelling case, enough so that it is considered there at AN or ANI. My fear is that this policy change would be easy to abuse by some who don't like admins in general, to where blocks are constantly being second guessed, become a source for unnecessary drama, while not actually accomplishing the goal of avoiding bad blocks. There is a fine line between being fully accountable, and having to explain every block action you do that an editor just disagrees with but is otherwise within policy, and this would allow that. Since we already have reviews of questionable blocks at ANI, I don't see the need to change the policy in this overly general way. Dennis Brown - © 19:24, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I don't think anyone has suggested that the request requires a response, wouldn't it sit and go stale like anything else that has no merit, or provoke discussion like anything else does. The primary concerns in raising the issue is twofold, the prevailing confusion that it cannot be done / can be done, as mentioned many times here, and the fact that it can't be found. I searched high and low for it. Looking for a howto in the templates the policies the guidelines, zip. Nada. Nothing. There are some who know how the system works, old timers and experienced editors, and clearly I see in this discussion that they do not agree if it is even allowed. The policy may well be laid out in documents somewhere else however, it would be nice if we could all be clued in on this, so that we can all agree. I should think this page is a lovely place to put such guidance. Penyulap 02:41, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
I don't have a problem with 3rd party requests, per se, but I'm just afraid that the way this is proposed will result in more abuse than benefit. You and I agree that there are bad blocks happening, and I want to find a way to stop them from happening in the first place. I'm not against changing policy, polices are made to be changed and broken, but I just can't support this change. What I would love to see is a more discussion and diffs identifying the problems before we start proposing solutions. There are a number of problems with blocking, I've spoken out in a half dozen places recently about some of them. But the problem is more our culture than our wording. Dennis Brown - © 13:23, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • No. Instruction creep that creates the impression that the only way to get review of a block is on WP:AN. If I am blocked and want to call the attention of another administrator who is familiar with the particulars and history of the case, I will do that. Having it in the policy suggests that people will 'procedural decline' requests to review a block because they weren't 'filed through the proper channels'. If we aren't intending to restrict block reviews to WP:AN, then this adds nothing to the policy. causa sui (talk) 19:36, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Example follow up on my comment above There are a lot of good blocks and a lot of bad blocks and certainly the bad blocks need to be reviewed. My concern is that if we start defining if/when a third party can ask for an unblock, we limit ourselves to only those specific criteria. Here is an example from a year ago when I—as a third party—asked for a block review for somebody else.
If we specifically define if/when a third party can ask for a review, I might not have been able to get that user/range unblocked. That is my concern. (talk) 22:15, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
That is a proper and valid concern, it is important not to narrow the path to asking for a 3PU, we should include that in the language used. Until now, there has been no path or guidance for editors looking for 3pu's, either how, or if they can be done. I'm uncertain how to resolve this single valid concern with the possibility mentioned above by one editor that the person making the 3rd party request might be a jackass :) so I'll leave it to someone else to incorporate, or wait until another editor mentions it as well. As it is, with a clear path now laid out, possibly it is less of a concern ?
For example, if every option was listed, then an editor may attempt all of them systematically. Penyulap 03:25, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • Not now This proposal needs work. Something like this may be ok provided some pointy advice is included, particularly with regard to two issues: (1) Often a good editor who occasionally does bad things gets blocked, and fans of the editor rush around in support. That's great, but what really causes trouble for the editor in the future is if the fans manage to get someone to unblock, when all that needs to happen is that the editor sit out their 24 hours and learn that problems are best avoided. ANI archives are littered with sad cases where someone who would have been very useful to the encyclopedia has incorrectly concluded that they must be right because of their supporters and because their blocks are sometimes overturned—that does the editor no favor as they get the wrong message. (2) There must be some throttling mechanism to avoid admin burn out. The encyclopedia requires admins who will make difficult blocks, and that guarantees there will be a team of opponents to good admins. An easy way to poke such an admin would be for a tag team to create drama around anything less than a crystal-clear block. Johnuniq (talk) 07:22, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • As per pretty much always what TenOfAllTrades said. Recipe for disruption, maybe we should have a League of Advocates (bet no-one's thought of that before), etc. - but most closely I'm thinking what Ten said above. Franamax (talk) 07:38, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
    Wow! I hadn't noticed that post (search for "02:11, 28 June 2012" to see it), and you are right, it is profoundly correct. Johnuniq (talk) 08:21, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Summary so far and proposal

(see main section above) Editors sometimes see someone else blocked and feel that the block was unjust. New editors especially who are looking for guidance on what to do cannot find it. Experienced editors, some who have been on wikipedia for many years, disagree whether or not a third party is allowed to request a review. There has not yet been any suggestion to add text to the policy page to prevent a third party request for a review. The following text, suggested by a few editors above, has been proposed. Penyulap 03:20, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)

Section title Third party request for unblocking

"If a third-party editor feels a block has been improperly issued, they can can request a review of that block on AN or ANI. Administrators are able to "unblock" a user when they feel the block is unwarranted or no longer appropriate."

  • Support I like the idea, as long as we restrict it to editors in good standing to reduce the risk of disruptive socking. Let's tack something onto the end of the proposed wording saying something like "Requests for review posted at other locations will be moved to the administrators' noticeboards". It won't really matter to someone who doesn't read it, but we have enough bureaucracy these days that we should emphasise the importance of moving things around where they'll best be served instead of declining something purely procedurally. Nyttend (talk) 04:10, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Sounds reasonable to me. WormTT(talk) 07:54, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose mainly for reasons of WP:CREEP. Processes exist to request a review of a block and if a block is really so bad a third party can intervene anyway and rattle appropriate cages at WP:AN. In a genuine case there would be ample numbers of willing supporters to ensure that justice is done, without invoking a bureaucracy and potential claims of the 3rd party being either a friend of the victim or opposed to the blocking Admin. for some pre-historic reason, and therefore "involved". Aside from one example above, there is no evidence of the extent of the alleged problem that requires this further layer of formality. Leaky Caldron 09:31, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm confused by your statement. It sounds as if you're saying "We don't need this, because in egregious cases someone can simply go to WP:AN". Isn't that precisely what the proposal would permit if enacted? As it says above, there was a recent case in which an attempt to rattle appropriate cages was declined on procedural grounds. As far as I can see it, this is an attempt to reduce bureaucracy, not to expand it. Nyttend (talk) 13:30, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • The oppose below by Ultra puts this in a very persuasive, neat nutshell. Adding formality adds bureaucracy and to paraphrase Ultra, detracts from the ability of the blocked editor to make their own case. Leaky Caldron 13:41, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose, mostly. I believe a third party - any third party - should be able to go to the blocking admin and ask them to take another look. "I'm not sure you got this block quite right, and here are diffs showing why..." or some such would be perfectly acceptable. I've done that on blocks where I was uninvolved, both before and after becoming an admin. But putting in a formal request? No. We're not judging the eloquence or persuasiveness of a third party, we're supposed to be judging the likelihood of disruption from the blocked editor - and other people's edits offer no insight on that point. Could a third party help the blocked editor craft an unblock request? Sure! Could they advocate for that request? Sure. But they should not be originating it. Half of what I look at with an unblock request is how reasonably the blocked editor can discuss what happened and why - and you get none of that from someone else. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 12:31, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
I disagree that other people are unable to offer any insight. I'd also ask, isn't the nuisance value of questioning 10 blocks a good price to pay so that people know if a rogue admin is being deliberately spiteful, acting outside community standards, and trying to upset the editor who is being blocked unfairly, so that editor will be so disgusted they will have no more to do with wikipedia, that editors do not feel entirely powerless to do anything other than be next in the firing line or injustice ? A rogue admin may well realize that the more he or she upsets the victim, the less likely the decision will ever be judged.
Editor retention starts here, where people can see this place has some semblance of natural justice, by being able to check if a block meets the community standards, rather than a personal vendetta. Penyulap 14:18, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
I would be more convinced if some evidence was produced, not just the anecdotal example of an unregistered user experiencing some temporary injustice. Leaky Caldron 14:30, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
I'd tend to agree. If the issue is that one admin is repeatedly making questionable blocks, then the argument at ANI would focus on that admin. It isn't "This guy should be unblocked even though he did not ask to be and has not edited...", but rather "This admin blocked a bunch of editors who didn't do what he said they did..." or whatever. Nothing here would prevent that review of admin conduct, nor would anything here prevent an overturning of the bad blocks after the fact, if there's consensus at ANI to do so. I had assumed this proposal would deal with valid blocks. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 14:39, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
There's almost no such thing as an actual "rogue admin". It's very rare, and very apparent when it happens. What there is a lot of is admins being sometimes unable to dissociate their roles as editors and as admins when certain topics close to that editor/admin's heart are involved, or when certain editors the admin loathes or favors are involved. Admins are human, not machine. The actual PROBLEM is that some admins exhibit this flaw a bit too often, or do so rarely but in an over-the-top way. Doesn't make them rogues (a term that implies action entirely in one's own interest in a betrayal of the system/community one vowed to serve). The actual problem does however suggest that a clarification here would not be a harmful thing. Especially given that the editor retention problem has not just a lot, but an increasing amount, to do with "good ol' boy's club" behavior by admins. As adminship becomes an increasingly rarefied hat, norms of admin behavior are in increasing danger of diverging from the expectations of the general editorship. (This is no big surprise; entire books have been written on the phenomenon as it applies to police, politicians, academe, etc. It is inevitable, and the only control for it is increased public/community oversight, in every case.) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:07, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

If we are part of a society here, and not a million independent islands, then we must allow for a community to weigh in. It seems that we've gone around and around with a long discussion, and yet this is a very simple and decent request. In courts of law, we don't demand that people make their case alone, unaided. We allow people a competent couselor, an advocate, who acts on their behalf. Saying we must always go it alone here on Wikipedia seems contrary to our policies of Consensus, Civility, and Assumption of Good Faith. Our decisions at Wikipedia are not our own, but are always open to review by others. It isn't just a 'good idea', it's our policy. Treating each other with respect and fairness isn't just a good idea, it is a pillar of our community. And finally, while on a practical level, there will be problem people, we are asked to assume the best, not dwell on the worst, again, by policy.

In short, whether it is approved here in this thread, other editors must always be able to say "I don't think that block was in line with what the community would have wanted." To say that no one can question, no one can help, and we are each left on our own is not a Wikipedia that we should want. -- Avanu (talk) 14:45, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm not aware of any policy that specifically prevents any of the support, help, assistance and advocacy that you have identified above. Leaky Caldron 14:55, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
We do have this policy right now, because anyone can simply claim it is policy, and do (see examples in the discussion above, and clear examples in the discussions I've linked to above). Without clarity on the matter, it is de-facto policy. There is de-facto policy for and against simply because it is not written down. (edit conflict) x 2

the latter is a good example, even with widespread concern over the block, the matter still went stale, for reasons that are obscured from public view. Penyulap 15:30, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)

No, anyone can advocate as you suggest. But, if consensus is that the block was proper and valid as applied to the blocked editor, then that's that. This proposal would add a step after that, where a third party advocate could propose unblocking - "Fine, so he edit warred, could he be unblocked if he agrees to 1RR" or some such. As proposed, an admin could respond "Sure, 1RR, he's unblocked." Under the current practice, the blocked editor himself would need to affirm that they would abide 1RR and are willing to resume editing under such restrictions (and otherwise to edit within policy). And that's the key difference - we need to know from the blocked editor what we're going to get. That has to be a key step. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 15:50, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
When the block is a bad block, that demand has the opposite effect and damages the community, it's called the innocent prisoners dilemma Penyulap 15:57, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm in the middle of a concrete case relating to this issue. A PR person with a conflict of interest created Matthew Lutton. The (new) creator was snippily blocked by an administrator who is a hardline opponent of paid editing, who called it "spam." I appealed on behalf of the blocked editor and another administrator snippily suggested I reconsider my reading of Wikipedia's COI policy — which states that COI editors causing disruption may be blocked. This is not a case of disruption, the article has not been run to speedy or PROD or AFD and is thus, by definition, not "spam." This should be a matter for AN/I. Is it??? Not according to the block appeal rules... That's wrong. Carrite (talk) 15:34, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Question It looks as though this would mean that an Admin wouldn't need community agreement to unblock, they could just use their own judgement. Isn't this saying Admins can wheelwar? Dougweller (talk) 15:59, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Well explain the process to me like I'm an idiot, with articles, if someone makes a bad edit against consensus, do we leave it up to them to fix the problem ? what if they refuse ? at least with a clear path for an editor who feels someone was mistreated, to open a discussion, the community can come on board and back the admin, taking time to explain to the third party that the block wasn't tyrannical or retribution for a personal dislike. I've seen a block where the admin has made what I consider to be derogatory and racist remarks. If that is fine with everyone, if that is the community standard, then I'm happy to accept that, and the fact that we do not have any process by which we can query it, means it is a defacto policy that we cannot question it, and I'm happy to accept that also. Penyulap 17:50, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
    • Reply That part is already there, actually. No, an admin can't wheel-war, because a wheel-war, in my understanding, is not when an admin action is reversed, but when a reversing admin action is in turn reversed. Furthermore, any such action is also subject to admin conduct review at WP:AN/I or elsewhere. - Jorgath (talk) (contribs) 16:07, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose on three grounds: 1) Unnecessary instruction creep (and the fact that this proposal is already accepted practice - anyone can request a review of admin conduct through AN). 2) Blocked users don't need advocates and we don't need to enable more wikilawyering. 3) in line with my previous two notes it's worth remembering that wikipedia is not a bureaucracy, these kind of suggestions while well intentioned don't need to be formalized into policy--Cailil talk 16:34, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As Cailil has summed it up very concisely, I will just I agree fully with all three points. This would be unnecessarily codifying what already exists, opening the door for abuse. Dennis Brown - © 17:09, 29 June 2012 (UTC)
I see nothing in either of your comments that demonstrates an awareness, let alone addresses, editor retention. Penyulap 17:42, 29 Jun 2012 (UTC)
Honestly, my comments here were more based on the concern of the abuse of the system than editor retention. I've been vocal about editor retention in many other venues, I just don't think this addition will achieve the goals you have set, and I fear it is more likely to be used for abuse than good. I'm willing to be persuaded, and work on editor retention with you in general. I agree it is the biggest problems we face here in the mid term and long run. Dennis Brown - © 13:35, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I opposed a long time ago in this thread, and I gave reasons. If anyone cares, now that I'm being "forced" to !vote, they can read them up higher.--Bbb23 (talk) 00:15, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There is no legitimate reason for third parties to insert themselves into a dispute that does not concern them, unless one of the involved parties asks for it.  Sandstein  06:09, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per TenOfAllTrades above this section and Sandstein. T. Canens (talk) 08:17, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Unnecessary and creepy. People can and do discuss blocks that they believe are problematic, often by contacting the blocking admin or another admin they know. Nothing in the policy forbids doing so. Encouraging third parties to initiate reviews at ANI invites the sort of counterproductive activity described by TenOfAllTrades. If a non-admin does bring up a mistaken block at ANI I wouldn't take them out and shoot them, but I would not advertise it as a venue of first resort for questioning a block. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:15, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Why not? It benefits both the admins and the blocked user. Electriccatfish2 (talk) 10:58, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. As Cailil points out (while opposing), third party objection to a block is already permissible. That said, it's clear that some people, both generally and even here in this discussion with others telling them that it's permissible, still believe it isn't permissible, so it would be at least marginally useful to add such a clarification. The idea that doing so would sow some kind of chaos or disruption appears to be me to be an extreme and "terriblizing" claim, for which there is no basis, just a pessimistic assumption that the worst possible outcome will automatically be the actual outcome, which is actually rarely the case on Wikipedia. Nevertheless, the entire matter is not a big issue, and if the consensus is to be policy-change-averse, that is okay; too many people try to change policy too many ways for too many reasons (many of them murky) as it is. Simple clarifications are rarely harmful, however, and are easily undone if they prove problematic. A more "truly wiki" way forward is to permit the change per WP:BOLD and not revert it unless it proves necessary to do so. [Full disclosure: I have previously criticized a block of another user as having been obviously motivated by personal politics, excessively punitive and hostile, and based on disagreement with the blocked user's opinions and attitude rather than on the user violating actual policies. I objected informally in user talk, and it had no effect. I believe that had policy been clearer on it being permissible to do this more formally, I would have done so, after the informal attempt at resolution failed, and further believe that the formal approach would likely have had an effect.] — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 08:40, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

    PS: I don't agree with everything Penulap says (or how!), but this (from a post below) strikes me as undeniably correct: "If it's not here, for all practical purposes it does not exist". There's no compelling reason not to spell out the facts here, since people are obviously confused about the matter. WP:CREEP simply does not apply when some significant percentage of respondents say "third-party input is of course valid", and another significant percentage say "third parties have no business getting involved". There's a direct, diametric opposition in these viewpoints, and each is being expressed by long-time Wikipedians, not just rank noobs. This is thus an example of the clearest kind of case in favor of a policy clarification, pretty much by definition, even if the exact wording may need further discussion. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 09:22, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Support per SMcCandlish (well reasoned, persuasive argument) Nobody Ent 09:31, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support ~~Ebe123~~ → report 03:56, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - Absolutely support. What instruction creep is there?! There's no new procedure, this sort of thing happens regularly as is. There's no reason it shouldn't be expressly mentioned. Instruction creep is crazy new categories, procedures and exceptions. This is hardly any of that. I'm baffled by that concern, which seems to be the primary one. Shadowjams (talk) 21:46, 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per SMcCandlish. Either you're allowed to do it, or you aren't. We shouldn't leave people guessing. I'd not object to the "good standing" requirement though... Hobit (talk) 15:57, 20 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Cailil: there's no need for this instruction creep. Nick-D (talk) 11:27, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Alternate proposal

section title third party requests for unblocking
In the past, uninvolved editors have made appeals against blocks at the AN, ANI, and other noticeboards, as well as the talkpage of the blocked user, the talkpage of the blocking admin, arbcom, and elsewhere. If you are a new editor and have seen a block of a good editor, and think it was unfair and would like to know what you can do to question the block, it is debatable if that can be done at all, your guess is as good as anyone's.

A third party may request the review of a block at the Administrators' noticeboard.

Penyulap 03:09, 30 Jun 2012 (UTC)

  • Well, I guess where people can't so much as agree on what is policy, then the idea that blocks can be appealed and how to do so, would be the kind of thing to put into an essay. Back to square one pretty much, or just leave them guessing, thinking it leaves less work (while not realising that it is less work because they have left the project). whatever. Penyulap 04:36, 30 Jun 2012 (UTC)
    • An essay seems a better way to eventually change policy, as it is easier to change, add, subtract and can be much more dynamic than a policy page, until it reaches a level of consensus that makes it a good example for changing policy. Again, I truly agree with your goals here Penyulap, even if we don't agree on the road that will take us there. Dennis Brown - © 13:29, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Then make a better proposal. Currently, the attempt to address the situation is met with statements like this..

Template use prohibition
Seems like other than the blocked editor posting the unblock template is confusing and disruptive... does this happen frequently enough to make discussion of a formal prohibition worthwhile? Nobody Ent 21:27, 22 May 2012 (UTC)


So make a simple route for a third party newbie editor to follow, rather than enforce the hopelessness and despair they feel when they see innocent editors destroyed. Where you want to extinguish hope by eliminating a clear path for editors to follow to avoid trouble and harm as quoted, it's an offense to civility, it's an offense to reason, it's pointless to point out that it is against the idea that anyone can edit when you lay bear traps in their path, force their path into 'disruptive' behavior when they are simply trying to be decent human beings. You are forcing them to be disruptive against their will. You are forcing them to abandon empathy for their fellow man, my integrity will not allow me to agree with your demands and I'd sooner be a maytr than do as the rest of you do and go along with this insanity, I will not abandon my humanity, I'd sooner die, or in this case welcome with open arms an indef ban. There is always, wikialpha, or any number of Carpathias where people wind back the clock to the better days, and carefully avoid this idiocy. Penyulap 15:27, 30 Jun 2012 (UTC)

my original proposal was the minimalist approach, simply "A third party may request the review of a block at the Administrators' noticeboard." the smallest guide possible for newbies to find their way through the threats issued on their struggle for civility and justice. You've inflated it to the point that nobody is considering upon it's merits, they aren't considering it at all, they are erroneously projecting their fears of 'what could happen' into hysterical extremes, and then !voting on that. Commonsense ironically left the building soon after Bish stopped talking. Penyulap 15:27, 30 Jun 2012 (UTC)

With all due respect to "third party newbie editors", how would they be in a position to accurately know if a block was unfair? There is usually a fairly complex set of issues leading to a block, including the interpretation of content policy which can confound even the most experienced editor. How do you expect a new editor to make a determination of what is or is not unfair? Leaky Caldron 15:41, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
we can just assume they are idiots, is that a safe assumption ? I've amended the proposal. I knew I was smart when I got here, and although Pesky and others would argue with me, I'm getting the feeling that I must have become a complete moron in the last 12 months, because what seems so bloody obviously commonsense is apparently just the opposite, maybe I am from some other planet in a Cosmos far far away. Maybe too much reading Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy and other nonsense has made me think you're all being unreasonable. Penyulap 16:05, 30 Jun 2012 (UTC)
The problem is that the wikilawyers are also smart, and most of the people trying to take advantage of a clear, open door, would be socks. There might be some middle ground here, perhaps something along the lines of "third party requests for unblock should only be attempted when $x (simple, general criteria that isn't too specific), and carry a risk of boomerang to the requesting party if not in good faith" where it is seen as the exception, and not the rule, and authorizing as much as saying it is the exception and has consequences. They are already allowed, for all intent and purposes. I don't know, talking off the top of my head here, trying to find some common ground. Dennis Brown - © 18:21, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Then rather than call it the WP:AN call it the WP:AN/shooting fish in a barrel venue where SPI types will have the time of their life, the cost of having secret business and overt lack of justice is higher by far, others pointed this out. Giving socks a magnet they can't resist is better than showing every honest editor the door. This is the largest multi-editor ownership I've come across so far, the attempt to keep the whole process secret from other editors. shooting fish in a barrel is too obvious, so just call it AN/third party review, a subpage of AN, if at some stage it does become apparent that the end of the world is upon us.
There just is no need to figure out every possibility, most of which are going to be rare, before defining the most basic things. Is it possible ? We still haven't decided if it is allowed at all, let alone any wording. Penyulap 18:38, 30 Jun 2012 (UTC)
To answer your questions: 3rd party requests are allowed in unusual circumstances. Usual circumstances just use the usual methods. Many admins, including myself, are open to looking at unusual circumstances unblock requests at ANI (ie: unfair, out of process, admin involved, out of policy, etc.). This is already done, and myself and others have already said this a few times here. Many of us are very tolerant of the most borderline cases as well. Again, editor retention is something that many of us are concerned with, but it isn't the only thing we are concerned with. Whether I are right or wrong in how I perceive the effect of a policy change, if I think a policy change will cause more problems than it will solve, then I'm generally against it. I took your advice and tried to come up with another proposal but you don't seem to be taking it seriously. Dennis Brown - © 21:49, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Taking it seriously ? this is deeply ingraining the idea that a majority of people here fall into the worst categories, selfish (keeping the knowledge to themselves to confuse newbies) cliquish (wikipedia is not for everyone, only those who have the secret knowledge, which btw we can't even agree on) callously indifferent (oppose because I's an ignoramus who doesn't care to study the matter, I just want you to grab my attention with a brilliant twitter sized idea, you failed) living in fear (I try to stay in the middle of the mob and not think for myself, so whatever the vocal ones say, for example, this will end the world, is true, baaah diiito baaaah diiito). Yes, many people are making sensible suggestions, that's true, I'm not looking for people to agree with me here mind you, I actually don't care if this thing is allowed or not, I'm just asking is it allowed or not, and why is there nothing anywhere that says so. Telling me is not the issue, because you cannot tell people policy one at a time. Chinese whispers do not work. This is the crux of my drive, decide anything at all, I care not what it is, just decide amongst yourselves and have it written down somewhere.
Passing secret knowledge from one person to the next in Chinese whispers doesn't work on wikipedia because people do not want to know who they can trust and who they can't, they want it official. If a newbie knows only one thing, and that one thing is that you can't trust anyone here, then that newbie is a fucking genius.
The solution to giving newbies a clear path is not to tell me, it's to tell them, in the docs, that is what docs are for. Otherwise you get problems, people trying to impose their own bullshit ideas on other people in an abrasive way. I put up with this kind of thing as a newbie for ages, drove me up the wall on the ISS talkpage for 6 months. I see it time and time again. here is an editor politely asking for a link to docs to verify bullshit secret knowledge and guess what, there was no 'consensus' there was no 'decided a while back' there was just bullshit. Write it down somewhere and you don't have arguments breaking out, you don't get squabbles, this is elementary. Telling me what is allowed and what is not allowed is pointless, because I'm just asking for it to be written down, not what you would write down, but that you do write it down. Otherwise next week, 10 different editors are giving 10 different bullshit conflicting versions of the same mess. What is so hard about writing down something.
  • Option one, third party requests are allowed
  • Option two, third party requests are not allowed

Looks simple enough, why is this too much to ask ? (rhetorical question) Penyulap 22:37, 30 Jun 2012 (UTC)

  • No, we will certainly not include this alternate proposal in policy. The proposer is clearly not taking what is being said on board, so if there is someone who would feel offended by it, I'd say it is the Community who he requested comment from. the proposer has been given suggestions about contributing positively towards achieving the goals he states. However, the proposer says above about rather being a martyr than respecting consensus, so unfortunately I think we are now in the territory of wasting time. Ncmvocalist (talk) 02:05, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
you don't have the slightest idea whatsoever about what I think, or what I said I'd be a martyr for. Seriously, it's there in black and white, if you still have no idea after reading it several times and want to suggest I'd rather be a martyr than accept consensus, then maybe you can ask Dennis to explain to you what I wrote there in black and white, or Bish, or Auntie Pesky who will simply TELL you what I think. Zomg, she CAN read my mind, whereas anyone can read what I actually said. But Don't tell her about this RfC, she will kick my a** because of my foul language maybe, but then again, there was all that IRC stuff I heard of, meh. Naa, but Penyulap not accepting consensus, that is so way far off the planet, you might as well tell me I'm a sock or something it's just as much a end of credibility as suggesting I don't accept consensus. Nope if you want to know what I said or what I think, just ask someone I mentioned, or the next random person who walks through the door. Penyulap 03:50, 1 Jul 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, but your conduct and comments have shown every indication of working against the very cause you are supposedly trying to help. This is what is known as being disruption. If it wasn't enough for you to (without any evidence) accuse others of forcing third party newbie editors " be disruptive against their will...[and] to abandon empathy for their fellow man", you also advocated as follows: "my integrity will not allow me to agree with your demands and I'd sooner be a maytr than do as the rest of you do and go along with this insanity, I will not abandon my humanity, I'd sooner die, or in this case welcome with open arms an indef ban". Your responses are just a continuation of you misusing this talk page through advocacy and irrelevancy. Ncmvocalist (talk) 07:14, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Ncmvocalist - Penyulap, Dennis has made some thoughtful and generous comments on your talk page so if you are interested in editor retention I suggest you follow his advice. On the matter at hand your suggestion is well intentioned but not an appropriate addition to policy. Changing the wording wont help I'm afraid--Cailil talk 02:29, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Actually he made them on his talkpage, and whatsisname didn't read what I wrote, so if you agree them you'll be wrong along with him/her, but as to Dennis, who I don't agree with on the crux, I do trust and respect him, our disagreement has nought to do with my respect and trust of him, and yes, I agree he is generous to take the time to explain his views, which aren't helping, even if it is his intention, however it's too complex an issue to explain why that is however. Regardless, the outcome of the RfC is meaningless to me, and the whole 'respect consensus' thing whatever it was, was a real rib tickler. Someone else can mention why if you like. Penyulap 03:50, 1 Jul 2012 (UTC)
  • Something along these lines is very much needed. This discussion seems proof of that. --Nouniquenames (talk) 07:50, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

How about we get back on track, rather than attacking other editors? It is beyond obvious that any editor can ask for the community to weigh in on any block (or any decision for that matter), the major sticking points here appear to center around process and abuse of process. So let's try to think about ways to be flexible and productive and see the other person's point of view, and stay positive. -- Avanu (talk) 12:48, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

If, as you say, it is beyond obvious, what it the point in modifying the policy and process? I think that this is a lame duck proposal and should be closed as no consensus for change. Leaky Caldron 13:34, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
If it is a 'lame duck', and it is clear to all editors that community review is a right, then why are people still debating it, Leaky? I think what we have is people debating how the process should go. I personally feel that it should be spelled out in a manner that is clear to people, although I don't think it has to be *too clear*, but simply clear enough so that administrators do not summarily reject review requests. -- Avanu (talk) 15:32, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Oh by the way, let me explain one of the best reasons for why two people other than the original blocking admin and their blockee could begin a review process. They aren't personally involved.
People who are personally involved in a dispute don't behave as dispassionately and as objectively as those who are outside of it. Why do you think we allow people to have attorneys represent them and why is there the old chestnut "a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client"? I would say it is because if you have nothing personally on the line, you can look at the situation with open eyes and a logical approach. There seems to be agreement above (by most) that anyone can ask for a review of any block, and I've seen many discussions at AN/I where people will defend other editors against a block. The question really seems to come down to a fear of people abusing something if they know it is permitted.
So here's a couple more questions. We allow people to request an unblock, and even tell them they can ask for an unblock as much as they like, unless it becomes disruptive. Who decides when it is disruptive? After all, if an editor is only able to edit their own Talk page, the only way it becomes disruptive is if I allow myself to become disrupted by it. But we do allow editors this discretion. Obviously if we can make the subjective determination in the case of one editor, we can make the same subjective determination in the case of other editors coming to the blockee's aid. I don't see how this is impossible, what I think is really the case, is administrators being worried about a lot more block reviews by making a tiny change to the wording on this page.
As always, taking up the tools is optional, not required. You can simply ignore the request. You can simply deny the request. I think I fully understand why people are hesitant to spell this out, but I don't see how the arguments are all that convincing. You could spell out in policy that the third-party must courteously discuss the block with the blocking admin, or if another block review or unblock request is pending, another one can't be started, etc. In other words, there are perfectly reasonable ways to limit the supposed disruptive potential, and I'm curious why people are simply scared to try this. We already do it, so it is a de facto process on Wikipedia, Penulap simply is asking for clarification so that we are consistent about this. Consistency leads to editor retention indirectly, because people know the rules and have a sense of fairness, even when a block might be unfair. So, let's have some reasonable suggestions to address this, so that we have consistency, and put the issue to bed. -- Avanu (talk) 15:52, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Umm, no, Pennyulap is trying to not abandon their humanity, haven't you been reading? But to address your comments Avanu, first of all, if you wish to put forward a proposal for formal advocacy on behalf of other editors, don't try to slide it in one chip at a time, put it forward as a proper proposal in a proper venue. Or perhaps do just a little research to find out what happened to the previous project that did exactly that, search around for the League of Advocates or whatever it was. It was a bad idea then and it's a bad idea now. Just please don't pretend that you've come up with some brand new great idea. And if you want a reasonable suggestion, so that we have consistency, how about if you just follow where the blue of WP:ADMINABUSE leads you. Right there is all the advice needed, in one convenient spot. Any admin action can be reviewed, at any time, by anyone, first directly with the admin, and then at an appropriate noticeboard. That is already noted in policy - which is what you want, right? Franamax (talk) 06:16, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
If its already noted in policy, then why are we debating? Sounds like we've all got what we need. I don't care for 'League of Advocates', sounds a bit Saturday Morning Cartooney to me, unless there is a secret Cabal of Doom lurking in a nearby swamp. Only thing I want is that we do our best to be fair and be thoughtful, beyond that, we're only human. -- Avanu (talk) 22:18, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Well it is certainly not what I want, winking in the dark, secret knowledge, hiding everything, if it exists it has to be on the bloody page. If it's not here, for all practical purposes it does not exist. Look at this discussion, nobody knows. This is completely fucked up right here. But while we are all here anyway, with nothing better to do, pray tell where is said policy hidden away ? I can't help but think there are a few people here would like to see said policy, because we can't find shit about the topic, and there are a lot of us here. Penyulap 21:56, 2 Jul 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with Penyulap that the "convenient spot" for information helpful to somebody concerned about what they consider a bad block is this page: WP:BLOCK. It's the obvious place to look. There's nothing obvious about WP:ADMINABUSE, that Franamax recommends; that's a "spot" that's easily accessible only to the cognoscenti — the admins, the oldtimers, the regulars. That's what this discussion comes down to, isn't it: do we, or do we not, want to keep the information exclusive to these groups, fearing other, newer users are too likely to be "disruptive" with it? I think we should be trying to avoid and deconstruct wiki hierarchies, not encourage and cement them. (Note, I nevertheless honour Franamax's good intentions, and certainly don't intend to imply that s/he is out to cement hierarchies.) Bishonen | talk 22:44, 2 July 2012 (UTC).
  • Support per BWilkins: "Blocks are only to be undone when they are found to be a) policy non-compliant, or b) the editor submits a WP:GAB-compliant unblock." Third party review initiation is appropriate for anything that is thought to be policy or guideline noncompliant in a particularly unfortunate way: We ask people to ask when they see something they think might be wrong. (talk) 03:06, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Another alternate proposal

Join Wikipedia:WikiProject Editor Retention, which I just started. I think that editor retention is a big problem we face, and rather than hash it out on policy pages in a somewhat random fashion, we should be serious enough about the concerns to create a place to discuss ideas. The Project is NOT mine, only the idea was, so I would welcome and encourage boldness in developing the project. Penyulap has nailed the problem, retention, but it goes beyond just blocking policy, which is why a more centralized place is needed to discuss, so we can take a more holistic approach to solutions. Dennis Brown - © 15:19, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Support but as an and/or alternate, not an exclusive-or alternate. (talk) 02:58, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Thread of interest

There is an ongoing discussion about the manner in which promotional usernames should be blocked. Please participate at Wikipedia talk:Username policy#RfC - Handling promotional usernames to help reach a consensus. NTox · talk 02:12, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Use of talk page while blocked

There is no consensus to make any policy changes, nor is there consensus that a blocked user may not point out issues in other articles. The closest thing to consensus is that this kind of thing needs to be handled on a case-by-case basis and is an area that requires "discretion and common sense" on the part of the admins involved.Non-admin close Hobit (talk) 17:30, 11 September 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

It seems that we haven't spelled out guidelines on talk page use while blocked. Calvin999 (talk · contribs) has been posting instructions for others to edit on his behalf while he is blocked on his talk page. This flies against the spirit of the blocking policy but I don't believe this has spelled out. One of his buddies has pointed that out, challenging what I believe was proper administrative action by Bwilkins (talk · contribs) in revoking talk page access after blocking and after posting editing instructions. WP:MEAT comes close. I believe this should be added to this policy. Toddst1 (talk) 20:01, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

I say that's a good idea, but I believe that is already covered in WP: MEAT. Robby The Penguin (talk) (contribs) 20:07, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I can see why we don't want editors to edit by proxy if they are blocked from editing, but to say "you can only use the talk page for unblock requests", as I've seen a dozen times, is flatly mistaken. Stop them from editing, yes, that is the purpose of the block, to prevent modification to mainspace. If they abuse the talk page to make personal attacks or edit by proxy, warn then block, makes sense. But to limit it to unblock requests only is clearly not within the spirit or letter of any policy. Even indef blocked users are still considered a part of the community, per policy, and putting too many restrictions on the talk page would be inconsistent with that policy. This only alienates editors and feeds into more problems and the loss of otherwise good editors. Many of the best editors have a block or two on the logs, after all. As for WP:MEAT, that is for offwiki communications and wouldn't seem to apply. If we simply view this as bypassing the block by editing by proxy, warn, then block talk page access if forced, it seems pretty simple. But adding "editing by proxy" in the policy somewhere for clarity is worth considering. Dennis Brown - © 20:49, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Arbcom has allowed arbcom blocked editors to participate in good faith discussions on their talk page, see [1] Nobody Ent 21:10, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Thank you! I knew we didn't put onerous restrictions on this, just common sense. Dennis Brown - © 21:46, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I mean communicating isn't the problem, the specific concern was about advocating proxy editing. Toddst1 (talk) 22:55, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
The user did not suggest an edit, they pointed out a problem. Nobody Ent 23:01, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
That is true, although the intent was obvious. That isn't a fine line, and not defined at all. Now that I think about it, proxy editing isn't banned per se, although common sense would seem to say it would be. I have seen instances where it would be proxy editing and it was tolerated, however. In this case, that isn't why Bwilkins took away his talk page access, however. At least the timing says it was his next edit, which I don't completely understand. Dennis Brown - © 23:08, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
I consider that common sense is not enough in this kind of actions. As Dennis says, a user gets blocked to protect mainspace, but their user talk page access should be only revoked if such user abuses of it. How could that happen? If the user commits personal attacks, etc. However, we should spell that in the guideline, so when such actions are needed, they could be properly expressed with a rationale, instead of common sense. —Hahc21 23:36, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
And to be clear, I left a msg on Bwilkins talk page, and I have no doubt he acted in good faith based on my previous experience with him, I just don't fully get why the talk page block was needed. I suspect the lack of clarity here is part of the reason. The reason for most talk page blocks are much more obvious than this. Dennis Brown - © 02:04, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Guys, please look at the blocklog[2] - Toddst1 didn't detail Calvin999's block history above, and the context is actually important. On June 22 2012 Toddst1 blocked Calvin999 for violating WP:OWN. He unblocked on Calvin's agreement to abide by 1RR, Calvin broke this and simultaneously displayed the same WP:OWN issues on June 23rd. In this context Calvin999's coordination of edits is further WP:OWN behaviour and in this instance a removal of talk page access is thoroughly appropriate (if it was me I'd have doubled the block length too FWIW).
    WP:PROXYING is irrelevant as that has to do with banned users, WP:MEAT is a grey area unless the behaviour persists. And in the normal run of the mill editors are not prevented from using their talk page for discussions of content or anything else (as long as they are constructive) however where such comments demonstrate the same behaviour that got them blocked (ie incivility, ownership, outing, legal threats etc etc) then revoking talk page access is appropriate and necessary. We don't need to change policy to reflect that as WP:BLOCK already states that "editing of the user's talk page should be disabled only in the case of continued abuse of the talk page" - Calvin999's retention of a "ownership attitude" after being blocked for it constitutes both recidivism and, with his attempt to coordinate edits from his talk page, talk space abuse--Cailil talk 14:10, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Extrememly well put, Cailil. Toddst1 (talk) 15:51, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I concur and have struck out my previous comment. I was misled by Bwilkins statement " the ONLY reason you have access to this page is to request unblock." which demonstrates a lack of understanding of current practice and common sense. Nobody Ent 19:03, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
that is most of the problem summed up right there, everyone is being misled. Newbies look at that, and so much else and think WTF is this ? Penyulap 20:27, 2 Jul 2012 (UTC)
Erm, Nyttend appears to have come to a different conclusion than the direction this discussion is going and has restored talk page access. I've left him/her a note on his/her talk page. Toddst1 (talk) 20:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Nyttend was acting in good faith here, and I still think that unblocking was proper considering Bwilkins wasn't around. I have left a message previously on this talk page as well. Keep in mind, Calvin wasn't talk page blocked for making the edit request. That was almost two days before the talk page access was restricted. It was blocked just a couple of minutes after Calvin said "I have to say I don't think it's fair to condone me for trying to help remove WP:OR. Also, it was reverted half an hour after you responded to me BWilikins, and over an hour after I first presented it here, so who's to say that someone didn't see this? Regardless, it's been reverted now." so I have to assume that this statement was the reason for the talk page blocking unless someone can explain how it wasn't. It was literally 4 minutes after this post. Dennis Brown - © 16:06, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Proxy editing

We can agree or disagree with Bwilkins' good faith action with Calvin (please continue in the above thread) but I'd really like to get some clarity as to if proxy-editing requests to articles in general (or Xfd discussions etc) by a blocked user are OK. My admin spider-sense says it is not within the spirit of the blocking policy. If so, I think we should note that somewhere - likely on this policy page. Toddst1 (talk) 23:30, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

The spirit of a block is to prevent disruption. If a talk page edit is not disrupting Wikipedia, it should be fine. Saying "someone please look at this, I think it's OR" should not be a problem. No editor is required to take action; no one is required to read a blocked user's talk page (excepting unblock templates). If I (or any other editor) changes the article then the changing editor is responsible. Nobody Ent 23:50, 1 July 2012 (UTC)
No—that's poking people. Johnuniq (talk) 01:18, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more confusing it gets. Proxy editing, ie: directing the actions of someone, is one thing, but the more I think about it, saying things like this, just pointing out a problem, may not really be proxy editing. This does need a bigger discussion. Hadn't thought about it much until now, and looks like many of us haven't as well, but it needs addressing so we can all act in a similar fashion, for the sake of fairness. Dennis Brown - © 01:59, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Poking is when I jab my finger in your chest. If I jab my finger into my chest, that's just making a gesture. Nobody Ent 02:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The more I look at the Sockpuppet/Meatpuppet policy, which was invoked above, the less I think it applies to edits that improve the encyclopedia. I think the problem is that some folks are seeing this as Calvin999/Aaron circumventing his block. But he didn't have a loyal slave to do his bidding, he just said asked for people to fix a problem. Additionally, let's imagine he asked a specific editor instead to look at the problem. "Hey Joe, go fix this WP:OR." Even at that point, it would be Editor Joe who deserves scrutiny. Did he act independently or not? Was it such a no-brainer that anyone would have acted the same? Stretching rules so they apply to these extreme cases seems to go against the intent of the rule, which is to protect against BAD edits, not prevent good edits. Suppose I had an army of sock editors, against whom we could find no bad or problematic edits of any kind? Would we commend that person for their wonderful contributions or be so bureaucratic that we would kick them for having done nothing truly wrong? We're supposed to ultimately be an encyclopedia with no firm rules and no bureaucracy, yet sometimes we seek such precise rules and definitions, and other times we want it all loosely defined so we can stretch the definition like this example. How about we just look for what the best outcome is, and focus on that? Be as consistent as possible, but hey, as the old saying goes, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Let's encourage positive contributions, and handle the rest with fairness and dignity. -- Avanu (talk) 02:57, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
But when we block someone from editing, aren't we telling them to step away from the keyboard? That's really the whole point of a block, for the editor to do something different for a while (to the extent that every block is a cool-down block). Ultimately I think it will come down to admin discretion though, and a judgement call on the likely outcome of the blocked editor's requests. If they are making a one-off spotting of vandalism somewhere, fair enough. If they are trying to edit right through their block and show that they have a sufficiently numerous cabal that they can effectively ignore a block because what they want done will be done anyway, then the preventive power of a simple block is nullified (there is no reason for them to change their behaviour) and TPA revocation is a reasonable escalation. It should be reasonable though. If I'm working with someone on GA candidate [X] and get blocked in a totally different area, putting a list of sources for [X] onto my talk page should be OK. Conversely, and IMO contrary to NE above, asking for review of OR problems in an article is a little too involved in the wiki-guts, and I shouldn't be doing that while blocked. And what if I post 6,000 lines of javascript? Franamax (talk) 06:48, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
What are blocks for? A block isn't a ritual; it's an action taken to mitigate some known risk of damage to articles, or some other kind of disruption.
  • If somebody gets blocked for serious civility problems and continues to snipe from their talkpage then fine, shut that down too; but if they start having more civil discussions on their talkpage then it may be evidence that the earlier problem is going away. If somebody gets blocked for chronic pov-pushing and then use their talkpage to encourage allies or give them pointers, then shut down the talkpage too; but if they direct their passion into suggesting a neutral and properly-sourced edit on that topic, then the encyclopædia benefits.
  • If we prevent any kind of talkpage editing other than unblock requests, the meaning of "indefinite" takes one step closer to "forever", because there is less scope for a blocked editor to to give the community broader confidence that they'll behave better in future.
  • I think that proxy editing isn't inherently bad. If it's a bad edit (ie. repeating what the editor was blocked for), that's bad. But if it's a good edit, then it's not bad - reflexively stopping those edits too is a bit like reflexively reverting all edits by a banned user, even ones which the reverter acknowledges as positive - hence reinstating typos or vandalism or whatever.
Judicial metaphors aren't totally helpful, but I think that being allowed to edit your talkpage but nowhere else is like being in an open prison: There's more chance for prisoners to interact with others in a normal way which may ease reintegration into society; but for the subset of prisoners who jump over the low fence and burgle nearby homes, or shank somebody in the canteen, well, those ones can be sent back to some high-security solitary-confinement cell and the ability to use their talkpage is taken away. bobrayner (talk) 11:24, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Nobody Ent, nobody is required to do anything.
I agree with Avanu because this is a matter of giving people a guide to what will keep them out of trouble, what they can do, rather than guessing.
If you tell a toddler what they cannot do, and give them an endless list of dont's you always go wrong because they have only their own ideas to guide them. you need a list of DO's for them to follow, and they then stay on course and enjoy life as they grow. The focus on you can't do anything because some sock did that, so were not even going to tell you what you can do is killing the possibility that anyone can use wikipedia with what Avanu describes perfectly as "fairness and dignity" I know BWilkins is not nearly as bad as he seems to the untrained eye, but if he keeps going about the right thing the wrong way, it just means 1 sock blocked takes 10 good editors with it, and the sock recycles to take another 10 good editors with it. In the end, he'll have simply nobody but socks left to play with.
Bobrayner uses the phrase 'Judicial metaphors' which may not be perfect, that is true, but they are a fantastic shortcut to understanding, because they are something people already have an idea about. Calling a talkpage a prison cell, saying people can talk to a lawyer there, or say what they like if they don't get out of hand, and if they do, the warden will get the hose and so forth, and if someone wants to visit them and wants to deliver messages, it's ok so long as the letters are perfectly ok, well it's NOT perfect, but it's a fast shortcut to understanding. If some of this was written down in simple guides, then for example wilkins could say WP:PassingMessagesOverTheWall and that page says your trying to be manipulative, while for andy it's like talking to a lawyer, these ideas aren't perfect, but hey, they would put the fire out in a hurry, rather than people just saying "hey that right there is the epitome of hypocrisy" so with no guides, to what is right, or what is the norms, things get screwed up. Penyulap 15:58, 2 Jul 2012 (UTC)

While I was blocked for edit warring last December, I requested that an edit that had been in process when I was blocked be completed, because it didn't relate directly to the substance of the edit war, and after I uploaded some of my en images to Commons, I requested that someone add the NowCommons template for me. Edits such as this don't strike me as problematic, obviously. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 21:07, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

What is a block?

I think it is helpful if remember what a block really is, instead of what we think it is. From WP:BLOCK:

  • Blocking is the method by which administrators technically prevent users from editing Wikipedia. Blocks may be applied to user accounts, to IP addresses, and to ranges of IP addresses, for either a definite or an indefinite time. A blocked user can continue to access Wikipedia, but is unable to edit any page, except (in most cases) their own user talk page.
  • Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to Wikipedia, not to punish users.

Blocks are not prison sentences or punishments, they are last ditch efforts to prevent disruption to the encyclopedia, most importantly, main space, the part we all use. We have to remember that blocked users are NOT banned, they are just as much a part of the community as I am now. A block is solely defined as a necessary restriction placed on editing all pages outside their "home" space, temporarily, for the purpose of preventing disruption. That is all. The policy makes it clear that no other restriction is on them. So when do we take away talk page access?

  • "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 requesting unblock. 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 the talk page. Emphasis in original

If the editor is highly disruptive or in a way that would warrant a strong warning or a block, then obviously it would be acceptable to block access to their talk page for the duration of their block. There must be abuse, which seems to mean continued (multiple or more of the same) actions that would be unacceptable under unblocked circumstances. However, if the act they are doing while blocked, direct or by proxy, is not something you would otherwise issue a warning for, then policy seems to clearly say it is acceptable because no where in the policy is any limitation on use of talk page given. This wasn't obvious to me at first, but the more I read it, the clearer it becomes. Perhaps all of us admins have been a little quick to recommend taking away talk page access, myself included. Dennis Brown - © 19:44, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

How can anyone be "disruptive" on their talk page, a page that nobody is obliged to read? Malleus Fatuorum 20:40, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
You've got a good point and unless they are doing something that would get them blocked anyways (i.e. making personal attacks etc) behaviour on the talk page probably shouldn't be considered disruptive and shouldn't result in talk page access restrictions. Making repeated unblock requests, or using other templates that cause the talk page to appear somewhere else on Wikipedia (i.e. {{help-me}} or edit requests) could also be considered disruptive. Ryan Vesey Review me! 20:45, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
"Disruption" is a word that gets tossed around an awful lot here, but more and more I'm becoming convinced that its meaning here on Wikipedia bears no relation to its meaning in any decent dictionary. Except this one. Malleus Fatuorum 20:53, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I suppose "disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process:" OED would be appropriate. If an editors behaviour causes another editor to stop what they are doing and address it, the behaviour is disruptive. If a blocked editor makes repeated unblock requests, reviewing administrators are forced to address those requests, making it disruptive. My personal attacks message is a bit more round-about, and I suppose it wouldn't be necessary to call it disruption by the OED definition; however, it still is a reason for talk page access to be removed. Ryan Vesey Review me! 21:10, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
With all due respect (see the dictionary I linked to above), that's a rather naive interpretation of disruption. For instance, if I edit a page and that "causes" the main editor to stop whatever they were doing to look at the changes I've made, is that disruption? If there's a real problem with repeated unblock requests, then address that problem by changing the way that unblock requests are handled. Malleus Fatuorum 21:20, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Good point, I suppose under my definition, general things like requesting rollback or making edit requests could be considered "disruptive". I don't think that a change is really needed in the way that unblock requests are handled though. The blocking policy states that "There is no limit to the number of unblock requests that a user may issue. However, disruptive use of the unblock template may prompt an administrator to remove the blocked user's ability to edit their talk page" That instance of disruption is clearly referring to the definition I linked to. Care to clarify how you believe unblock requests should be handled? Are you referencing to the prisoners dilemma referred to above? Ryan Vesey Review me! 21:33, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
The prisoner's dilemma is of course one issue, but I was thinking more fundamentally. Why not centralise unblock requests rather than have them on a user's (perhaps unwatched) talk page? For instance, DYK nominations require the automated creation of a template; if unblock requests were handled similarly then it would be relatively easy to choke their number. Malleus Fatuorum 22:34, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I use the word only because it is the word we use here. My threshold for what is "disruptive" is very different on a user page than it is an article page, which should come as no surprise. This is why I prefer to use the criteria of "if you wouldn't have been warned or blocked for it before you were blocked, then we tolerate it". If the editor is making genuine personal attacks, legal threats or other highly disruptive edits, that is one thing. If they are upset and saying they think the block is unfair or "is bullshit", then no, I'm not inclined to take away talk access. The last talk page access I took away was because the editor was making personal attacks against another editor, which is something I won't tolerate. I had made the block. If she was calling me an "asshat", it wouldn't really bothered me, I expect them to vent a bit. That is the threshold as I see it. And I think that unblock requests ARE centralized, as a category, although it isn't one I watch so the name slips my mind. But they are centralized and anyone can watch them. Dennis Brown - © 22:53, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Here it is Malleus, Category:Requests for unblock. I checked, it is world viewable. Dennis Brown - © 23:00, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Interesting. You obviously never check that page, and I very much doubt that other admins do either, so I suspect that the only reviewers of unblock requests are those admins who already had the talk page on their watch lists. Which doesn't seem like a particularly healthy situation to me. I note as well that when I just looked there were only 12 pages in that category, so this canard of causing disruption by raising multiple unblock requests seems to be just that: bollocks. Malleus Fatuorum 23:07, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I've just added it as a link on my user page. I think I first saw it on Drmies page. Keep in mind, I'm still new to the bit, there are more things I don't know than I do, and more pages I don't watch than do. But I suspect I will try to peek in from time to time. I have gone there and reviewed maybe 2 or 3 unblocks before, and unblocked at least one. Oh, from my experience at SPI (where there is a lot of blocking going on), having to block talk pages is very, very rare indeed. I've probably done it a few times out of my 186 blocks to date, but I can't claim to be typical, nor are SPI blocks. Dennis Brown - © 23:17, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Evidence suggestions there at least several admins who monitor the unblock requests -- the first interaction they have on a given user talk page is either accept or declining unblock reviews. Nobody Ent 23:28, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
It's interesting that many admins don't use it. It is listed in the dashboard. Ryan Vesey Review me! 23:34, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I would think that several in fact do. There aren't that many backlogged there, so someone is watching it. I'm not sure how many or who, however. Dennis Brown - © 00:09, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
What a curious sub-sub-thread this is. How else did you all think unblock requests get addressed? Some sort of adminly magic, which accompanies our preternaturally good health, facial symmetry and charm? To be fair though, there is also an email address to request unblock. But mostly, requesting unblock via the template puts you in a category that people can watch. How else did you guys think it worked? Franamax (talk) 09:45, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
It's also on IRC, #wikipedia-en-unblock (I think), regularly updated by bot. Not that I ever go on IRC any more! WormTT(talk) 09:49, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I didn't and don't think that unblock requests do work, so your question is meaningless as far as I'm concerned Franamax. Malleus Fatuorum 13:14, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
FWIW, unblock requests are one of the things that shows up at Template:Admin dashboard. Before becoming an arbitrator, I used to use that as an overview of work to be done on a regular basis, even though I did not routinely handle unblock requests. Jclemens (talk) 23:05, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Arbitrary Break2

Just write up a guideline draft that suggests the usual help me sort of thing, here is a fine example of how to edit while you are restricted, it looks great, and is not going to attract puppetry related comments.

(example copied from User talk:AndyTheGrump)

This help request has been answered. If you need more help, you can ask another question on your talk page, contact the responding user(s) directly on their user talk page, or consider visiting the Teahouse.

Could someone please post the response below in the appropriate place (Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard#Block_review:_Sceptre_and_AndyTheGrump):

  • Oppose, this attempt to involuntarily 'request an unblock on my behalf'. I have not requested an unblock, have accepted that my behaviour merited a block, and intended to accept the block without appeal. To use an involuntary unblock as 'fairness' to justify unblocking someone else seems to me to be highly questionable - and more so when the block has little time left to run, and this is supposed to 'balance' an unblock for a continuing refusal on Sceptre's part to conform to WP:BLP policy, and to cease using Wikipedia as a platform for a campaign to 'regender' Bradley Manning against Manning's own express wishes. Sceptre's continuing IDHT behaviour should be looked at on its own merits. AndyTheGrump talk 11:36, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
 Done ✉→Bwilkins←✎ 11:44, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. AndyTheGrump talk 11:51, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Looks to me like Arcandam didn't want you left out. You've definitely been a great sport about your block, and I'm looking forward to you being able to get back to your normal grumpy routine. -- Avanu talk 14:40, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

you could ask what guideline they followed, or just use it as an example to draft a guide, or as a basis for policy. Penyulap 02:53, 2 Jul 2012 (UTC)

This is precisely what should be done. We should always accept good-faith requested edits made this way, unless there's some problem with the edit (e.g. can't understand the request, not appropriate for the page in question, etc.) that would cause us to reject the edit if it were made to the page itself by the same editor while unblocked. Think of it as an {{editprotected}} request. In other words, if you wouldn't complain if I made an edit myself, don't object to my using my talk page to aks you to make the same edit while I'm blocked. Blocks are preventative, not punitive, so we should welcome good-faith contributions by blocked people who are following the blocking policy. Nyttend (talk) 19:40, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Could you comment above please in the section talking about TPA? Toddst1 (talk) 20:25, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of blocks

I see a lot of people saying "blocks are preventive not punitive", which is all well and good, without carefully considering just what it is that blocks are seeking to prevent. Distressingly, I see a lot of editors above who are interpreting a block as some sort of minimal speed bump: a trivial inconvenience that a blocked editor is just waiting out, or something that the blocked editor should be able to 'edit around' as much as possible, as long as they aren't directly repeating the actions they took immediately preceding the block. Unfortunately, I think that sort of narrow view misses the point and purpose of a block.

Check out the last 500 blocks placed by Wikipedia admins. You'll notice that the vast, vast majority are long-term or permanent blocks of spam usernames, open proxies and TOR nodes, vandalism-only accounts, and sockpuppets of already-banned editors; only a tiny, tiny minority are of 'regular' editors. In contrast, Wikipedia has something like ten thousand registered editors who are 'active' (making at least one edit per day) and most of them are never blocked. You'll be lucky to find more than a couple of these 'normal', generally-productive editors blocked in any given day. A block isn't a trivial thing; it isn't a normal thing; it isn't a usual thing. Blocks shouldn't – and generally don't – come down because of minor errors; they arise when an editor engages in behavior that a reasonable person would understand could be damaging to the project and/or the community. A block is placed when an editor's conduct departs far enough from Wikipedia's norms that the editor should not continue to edit until the problematic conduct has been addressed. A block isn't 'preventive' in the sense that it aims to prevent a blocked editor from engaging in personal attacks, or legal threats, or BLP violations, or edit warring only for the duration of the block. The purpose of the block is prevent the misconduct long after the block has expired – ideally, forever – by prompting the blocked editor to (re)consider their actions and approach to editing.

Permitting and encouraging blocked editors to edit by proxy, whether in article or project space, badly misses the point of a block. It discourages the sort of reflection that a block might otherwise prompt, and it encourages the community and the blocked editor to incorrectly perceive a block as a minor occurrence or trivial nuisance. With relatively narrow, common-sense exceptions (for example, where the discussion directly addresses the block itself) an editor who is blocked should not be trying to engage in other project work or requesting and encouraging edits by proxy. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 21:16, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

You're living in fantasy land. Malleus Fatuorum 22:29, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
Per WP:BLOCKBANDIFF blocked editors are still part of the community. As noted above, ArbCom is letting a blocked editor use his talk page while ArbCom blocked, and many editors (including some with admin privilege) have interacted with WebHamster (currently indef blocked) . This policy page specifically says talk page access should be revoked for abuse, not use. To claim that attempting to positively interacting with a blocked editor is counterproductive does not miss the point -- treating blocking as a metaphoric solitary confinement does. Nobody Ent 23:47, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
If someone's "editing by proxy", that means someone else is doing the edits, right? Specifically, someone else who isn't blocked, and is therefore (for now at least) trusted to make such edits? I don't see a problem - it's that person's responsibility to decide whether to make those edits or not; the encyclopedia benefits if they are good edits, and they can be reverted (and the "proxy" blocked if necessary) if they are bad edits, just as in the case of any other edits that "proxy" might have decided to make. Victor Yus (talk) 06:05, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Well-said, I agree.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 13:22, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
  • This is an omnibus reply to all the related threads above: I don't believe any codification or new rules are needed here. Many of our policies are deliberately left somwehat vague to allow for discretion and common sense to be used when interpreting them. If you see an admin who consistently does not display either of those qualities, take it up with them, not the blocking policy. Beeblebrox (talk) 18:02, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Apparently common sense is lacking, much like a Vogon's knack for poetry. We've had a zillion paragraphs of debate here on two points that apparently are already supported by policy.
  1. A third party can ask for a review of any block.
  2. A user can use their Talk page while blocked for things other than requesting an unblock.
So why the long debate? If a group of assumed-to-be-rational people can't agree on something they already agree on, how can we expect consistency from a specific admin? -- Avanu (talk) 18:17, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Only admins may resolve unblock requests

Per ANI discussion I have added the following to the policy, at the end of the Block Reviews section [3]:

"Any user may discuss or comment on block reviews, however only administrators may resolve the review (either declining or unblocking)."

I believe that this accurately captures the AN discussion consensus. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 01:41, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Indefinite blocks

Currently the text reads:

"An indefinite block is a block that does not have a definite (or fixed) duration. Indefinite blocks are usually applied when there is significant disruption or threats of disruption, or major breaches of policy."

This used to be the case several years ago, but today the threshold to issue indefinite blocks is a lot lower than that. Count Iblis (talk) 17:59, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

'economy of thought' Penyulap 18:22, 28 Jul 2012 (UTC)
I would have to agree with Count Iblis. It seems even minor infractions result in indefinate blocks these days. Kumioko (talk) 00:44, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
  • It would also seem that the newer the editor, the more likely an indefinite block is, even when the newcomer has a history of good faith contributions. NTox · talk 01:08, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
It may be because the rest of the community is as tired as myself in dealing with disruptive editors. They get blocked, come back and do he same type of edits and result in the departure of good editors when the wear and tear sets in. I have seen good people walk away from Wikipedia out of frustration with inaction against disruption, Snail-speed Puppet Investigations that can last 9 or 10 days, etc. History2007 (talk) 15:53, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Blocked editor's user page

Discussion at the Pump

Currently, the language in the lead of the policy states:

A blocked user can continue to access Wikipedia, but is unable to edit any page, except (in most cases) their own user talk page.

I suggest changing the language to:

A blocked user can continue to access Wikipedia, but is unable to edit any page (including their own user page), except (in most cases) their own user talk page.

I'm not crazy about two parentheticals in one sentence. I would also prefer to make the change somewhere in the body, but I don't see anywhere to make it as there is no section on the effects of a block. I'm open to other ways of clarifying the issue. And, obviously, some may disagree with me that it even needs clarification. (The initial impetus for my question at the Pump came here.)--Bbb23 (talk) 20:01, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

It's been several days, and no one has commented. So, I'm going to make the change. If anyone reverts, please at least provide your rationale here. Thanks.--Bbb23 (talk) 22:09, 6 September 2012 (UTC)
Unrelated question but can they also edit all pages in their userspace, eg. sandboxes, etc., while blocked? – Connormah (talk) 22:52, 13 September 2012 (UTC)
No, a blocked user only has editing ability for their user talk page and nothing else: no articles or subpages or project pages or anything else. The ability to edit one's user talk page exists solely for the ability to request a review of the block, and for no other reason. Editors who abuse that may have that ability removed as well. --Jayron32 02:55, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Well, that might be a little strong. We don't mind blocked users using talk page access to answer questions about copyvios or other serious matters. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:01, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Strange - I seemed to have blocked someone yesterday and it seemed they were still able to edit their sandbox (though I may be imagining things), see User:DSMACGroup & their deleted edits. – Connormah (talk) 03:14, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Nope. The edits to the sandbox were all made before they were blocked. You should probably restore talk page access. The sanbox edits were made between 03:15-03:24 13 September 2012, and the block was issued 03:51 13 September 2012. The user made exactly zero edits to anything between when you first blocked them and when you removed talk page access at 13:47. Have a little serving of fish on the way to restoring their talk page access. --Jayron32 03:20, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Apologies. Not too sure, but my times are totally screwed up - I have those edits being made at 14 something with the block being at 7 something - I will restore talk page access and probably look into my prefs for time settings... – Connormah (talk) 03:24, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I use UTC for all of my Wikipedia time settings, and use the gadget in the preferences menu that puts the UTC clock on the top of every Wikipedia page, just so that I don't make the exact same mistake you just did. Wikipedia doesn't handle it well if you try to do things in your local time zone. --Jayron32 03:32, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
I do have the gadget already, the signatures seem to be in UTC, yet the edit times don't seem to add up..strange... – Connormah (talk) 03:46, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Huh. Seemed I had my local time zone and the UTC gadget, I've fixed that now, hopefully this won't happen again... – Connormah (talk) 03:48, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, I had a problem trying to use UTC and local time zones. Before I became an admin, it was annoying. After I became an admin, it drove me bananas, particlarly at ANEW, so I now use UTC on everything. Not fun for my watchlist, but it's tolerable.--Bbb23 (talk) 16:09, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Indef-blocked user status. How long does it last?

What happens when:

  • A user is indef-blocked, comes back with several puppets over the next month and they are all indef-blocked.
  • The user stays quiet for 6 months or so, and starts again with similar edits.
  • A WP:SPI request says the situation is "stale".

What determines "stale"? Is an indef-block in practice for a given period of time and after that the user can freely start again with a new account or two, dance the same dance, add the same outdated references and questionable sources again and again?

It is obviously intended to be indefinite, but is it in practice?

Clarification will be appreciated. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 15:45, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

You are probably talking about Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Lung salad. That case is still waiting for administrator comments. Rather than engaging in a dialog here about the blocking policy, I suggest contacting the admins who previously blocked anyone in this case. The 'stale' comment by the CU only refers to his inability to find any usable checkuser data on the original account. The new apparent socks could still be blocked on behavior. EdJohnston (talk) 15:58, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Your mind reading did work. So do I understand that:
  • CU has time limits which reduce its effectiveness after a while?
  • If CU does not work, behavior based patterns can be used to suggest a sock puppet identification?
As for contacting the admin, frankly I am too tired of all this to do it now - maybe later. Please see my comment above on this page. The overall effort to deal with disruptive editors is far too high... History2007 (talk) 16:05, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Aren't you an experienced editor (2007)? Some of your questions seem out of place for someone who has been here for a while. Any experienced person should be aware of the limitations of sockpuppet investigations. EdJohnston (talk) 16:43, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
George Bernard Shaw said: Men are wise not in relation to their experience, but in relation to their ability for experience... And yes, I have been here too long... But that situation was resolved. Thanks. History2007 (talk) 16:48, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
You are correct on both points. The usual next question is, "how long do they keep the CU data?", and the answer is "it depends on how irritating the sock is". WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:04, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I think its to be expected that experienced editors don't know about the checkuser limitations. The community seems to have adopted a policy of security through obscurity with regard to the limitations on checkuser data. As a result, those who frequent areas that deal with socks probably have a pretty good idea what the limits are, but many of the rest probably have no idea. Monty845 15:22, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Blocking policy alterations

I am considering making a serious proposal regarding the blocking policy...I've been thinking about this a lot lately and obviously, something has to be done to prevent the blocks/unblocks of registered editors...something that will possibly be adaptable in the software akin to what I worked on when we had semi-protection implemented. At that time, semi-protection was widely panned since we didn't want to be seen as the website not everybody can edit. It was generally revolutionary for its time, the same way a major alteration to the blocking policy/software adjustments might be now. Prior to semi-protection and the development of the vandal bots, the website was literally under seige and it was tough to get article work done. I think the blocking policy is also now something that needs a major overhaul as it simply isn't working, and blocking registered editors just makes for more problems than it solves. I'm still trying to figure out the wording for these adjustments and wondering if I have the time to fight what might be a losing battle and whether something can be done to tweak the block button application. Perhaps a software plug which states that the registered editor has X number of edits and cannot be blocked without consensus. There can be no doubt though that our current set up is broken. Please...before this gets shot down, think a moment about what we can do that might make the blocking policy more realistic and less open to individual interpretation. I really would like to see what others might have to say on this matter.--MONGO 05:57, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

I have just come here thinking the same thing, that there are issues with our blocking policy. I was under the impression that all editors must be warned and given a little time to change before they are blocked (except for legal and death treats). This is my practice even for simple vandalism. Per this though Wikipedia:Blocking_policy#Blocking a warning before hand is optional even if the user in question has made tens of thousands of high quality edits and is in good standing within the community.
We spend so much effort trying to attract new editors with variable success. IMO we also really need to make sure we keep the long term editors we have. Long term editors need to be treated at least as good as simple vandals if not better. I propose we change "optional warning" to "It is required to warn a user before blocking them (with the exception of legal or death threats and obvious sock puppetry)" Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 08:18, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
At a minimum such a change would have to take account of blp. If someone, registered or not, goes off the rails and starts posting blp-violating material across multiple pages he needs to be blocked immediately. Tom Harrison Talk 14:41, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
The accuracy of medical content is just as important as blp issues and I still warn all people before considering blocking them. It is fairly simple really. Someone makes a few really bad edits, you warn them and revert the changes, someone makes more bad edits you block them temporarily. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 21:16, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
As the author of WP:NOTNAS, I'm not sure I'd support institutionalizing that advice. Discretion is important, but so is admin accountability. Toddst1 (talk) 15:30, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
This would give some time for accountability and force all admins to think a little before blocking someone. Blocks can seriously hurt the project as they can drive away some excellent volunteers.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 21:18, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict)While the same could be said of other block reasons, not all BLP violations are the same. There are BLP violations, there are serious BLP violations, and then there are egregious BLP violations. Minor BLP violations happen all the time, such as when a living persons date of birth is in dispute and there are no, or only unreliable sources being used, such a case deserves at lot of warning/discussion before a block should be on the table, maybe even getting to an edit warring block first. Serious BLP violations occur when someone adds negative information that may well be accurate, but that clearly violates BLP due to a lack of citation, or where the article is more negative then is supported by the sources. Such violations still deserve at least a warning before block. Then there are cases where an editor goes entirely off the rails and starts throwing around totally unsubstantiated libelous statements and really nasty personal attacks aimed at the subject, those are the BLP violations where a block without warning may be appropriate even for a vested contributor. The problem is how to draft a policy that provides a consensus requirement for blocks of experienced editors, but still provides sufficient leeway to deal with ongoing conduct that is really egregious, potentially with legal implications. Monty845 15:37, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
The issue this is attempting to address is the fact that we have users who treat blocking as a "ban hammer" or "block hammer". We need measures to encourage greater though before blocking to decrease the drama fallout that occurs afterwords. I see only a couple good reasons to block someone based on a single edit 1) deleting the main page 2) threatening someones life 3) threatening legal action. All the rest everyone deserves a second chance IMO. A chance to show reason as it is easy to misunderstand a single edit. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 21:28, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
I think at the least, we should mandate that no matter how seasoned an editor is, prior to the block they should always get a notification beforehand. Secondly, any block to be overturned must be done only on consensus via posting at AN/I...but my appraoch is actually more radical than that, as I am leaning towards putting some sort of end to blocking registered editors. I know that sounds off the deep end, but its pretty obvois to me that our current system is definitely broken.--MONGO 01:43, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I have to disagree with the idea of mandating review before every block. An obviously mistaken or abusive block, or one that is clearly ill-considered (as determined by the post-block review) should be undone on sight. This (permalink) current arbitration request supports my position. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:42, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Edit quality and contribution counts should not be factors in a block decision, unless the block is specifically to prevent low quality edits from being repeated. Behaviour, contribution quantity, and contribution quality are three separate things that need to be considered separately.—Kww(talk) 02:20, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

What I am proposing is simply that established edits get the same warnings as new editors. That their is one standard which is that all people get a warning and a chance to change before being blocked. There are almost no problems that do not deserve this as a minimum. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 07:00, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Standardizations that all get warnings is fine and I generally agree with that proposal, but....its not uncomnon for the editor just warned to then get even more irritated, not surprisingly. I have a lot of faith in most admins, and I'm not trying to single out anything that has happened recently. However, looking from afar at the general trend, there have been an increasing set of blocks that seem to me to have been done with too much zeal. This is an issue I'm still trying to scope out a way to both make the role of the administrator less confrontational, and the end result of controversial blocks less controversial. As I said at the start of this section, there may be a technical manner in which blocks cannot be applied. I've stated in other areas recently that the number and or quality of edits doesn't give anyone the right to violate polices. I have also stated that most usertalk acrimony is best ignored. Still looking at this to see what is going to make for a more practical blocking policy.MONGO 14:55, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Previous blocks are a warning, though. If I see that someone has been blocked for edit-warring before and I'm thinking about blocking him for edit-warring again, I see no value in warning him again. All it does is start a cycle where the editor edit wars up until receiving the warning notice.—Kww(talk) 15:27, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Why don't admins simply protect the page for a short reminders about editwarring on the page and maybe at AN/I. My goal is to try and put administrators in a position where their actions will create the least pain for all involved.MONGO 15:56, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Because full-protection of a page is a last resort. I'd block a handful of users rather than fully protect a page in nearly all instances. The goal is to allow editors that behave themselves to continue to edit normally and to get editors that are not behaving themselves to either correct their behavior or go away. The only time I would fully protect a page because of an edit war is if the problem is so widespread that I'd be handing out dozens of blocks. To answer the probable next question, yes, most of the blocks I give in such situations are indefinite, and are lifted as soon as the editor agrees to stop participating in the edit war. For a truly well-intentioned editor, the situation is resolved within hours.—Kww(talk) 17:00, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
And I do the exact opposite. Most pages are only edited by a handful of editors. I would fully protect a page to force people to discuss long before banning a handful of editors. IMO this does much less harm to the editor group. One does not need to single anyone out which is impossible without a thorough review of the case. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 19:56, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, if an editor is blocked, they aren't going to be hashing out the content dispute on the article talkpage, their going to be posting unblock notices at their own talkpage. I dint like penalizing others and keeping them from editing an article, so its just a thought. All I'm doing right now is seeing what we can do to improve the block policy by starting with feedback here. I don't know if its currently viable to seek out more input or not.MONGO 20:40, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't/can't "ban" anyone. Saying "you can't edit until you agree to stop edit-warring on article x" shouldn't be a major problem. It's generally resolved within hours, and quite painless.—Kww(talk) 21:32, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
The opposite: it's very painful for people of normal social sensibility. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 16:14, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
If it "shouldn't be a major problem", then it can be addressed by talking rather than blocking. Blocking without talking often means blocking without information, and thus quickly overturned blocks. I'm not at all keen on the notion of indef blocks with requirements as a condition for unblock. "Agree to follow policy" is one thing, but admins may come up with out-of-policy "conditions" once they stray from that. Gimmetoo (talk) 19:46, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
It is a major problem. We sometimes lose excellent editors over this. It creates massive drama. People deserve to at least be warned before hand. Anyway will start a RfC. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 21:43, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Mongo and Doc James on the temporary full-protection vs. blocking a handful of users question. If it's just one editor who is warring against a consensus of other editors, sure, block them for 3RR. If it's just two warring against each other, and it looks like they're doing it in good faith (trying to address each others' concerns, leaving good edit summaries, using the talk page, not attacking each other), a 24-hour page protection and a warning about edit warring beats blocks any day. If it's 4 or more editors, the minor inconvenience of having a protected page doesn't come near the amount of drama and disruption resulting from so many blocks. ~Adjwilley (talk) 00:19, 3 January 2013 (UTC)

Blocked on the whim of a single admin

The following thread had been transferred from Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Editor Retention at the suggestion of Bishonen (below). --Epipelagic (talk) 02:28, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Here is a classic example, fresh off the press, of the current power imbalance that can exist between a dubious admin and a competent content builder. On the one side is arrogance and the sense of being untouchable, and on the other side is the sense of injustice, of being unrecognised, and of hurt. I think this is an important example and cuts to the heart of the editor retention problems.

Long term, experienced editors who have demonstrated overall competence and commitment to content building should never be blocked at the whim of a single admin. Whether blocking is appropriate and on what terms should be decided by a panel of the content builder's peers. Blocking is a useful tool for dealing with vandals and hard core disruptors. It should be used on experienced editors only in exceptional circumstances. Blocking an editor is a deeply humiliating experience, and should never be undertaken lightly, certainly not in the throwaway manner some current admins have. Many editors leave the project after what they perceive is an unjust block.

Over the last few hours there have been a number of these stupid blocks. Some the content developers who were blocked were admins themselves, so the admin system is even biting itself on the arse. As a result, we have lost major content builders, and sorely wounded others.

Here is another example, also fresh off the press, made with no warning on competent content developers, and resulting in the loss of SandyGeorgia.

If these attacks are to continue, they could at least be made a little more workable and benign. Inappropriate blocks made against content developers should be acknowledged by other content developers as wounds that have to be endured by developers. Content developers attacked that way should be marked with awards of honour. Admins will never police themselves, and they are so numerous that they negate any attempts to make them accountable. As a group, they have no will to rationally overhaul the admin system, only to prop up the existing system. The more destructive clowns among admins should be separated from the responsible admins, and treated for what they are by the rest of the community. --Epipelagic (talk) 22:15, 31 December 2012 (UTC)

Very interesting reading, and reassuring to see that one is not alone. I've been given a final final warning by an admin who seems happy to endlessly quote policy yet unwilling to discus how the different policies interact. Edwardx (talk) 23:22, 31 December 2012 (UTC)
I was under the impression that it was standard practice to warn editors before blocking them. Does not appear to be done in a number of these cases. Even simple vandals are given this privilege. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 07:22, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Nope. A lot of users are banned with no warning at all and worse...the blocks are a mistake by the admin. There is little to do put suck it up, shut up and scream your head off when the block log is used against you.--Amadscientist (talk) 07:32, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Well that does not sound fair. I could see a few exceptions like "death threats", "legal threats" and "sock puppets" but other than that. Maybe we need to see if we could get consensus around this? Something like "Before blocking a fellow editor one must verify that they have been warned for a similar issue in the recent past" With of course the exceptions above. Otherwise any admin should be able to come along and revert and the banning admin should be warned. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 07:39, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
I think I saw a discussion on this very issue the other day. Can't remember where, but it was about warning before blocking.--Amadscientist (talk) 07:42, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
IMO it should be mandatory. Do you know where one would propose something like this? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 07:46, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
I looked through my Watchlist and the discusion is here but only in regards to civility blocks.--Amadscientist (talk) 08:08, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks and a similar discuss has been begun here Wikipedia_talk:Blocking_policy#Blocking_policy_alterations Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 08:22, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

There was also this editor, apparently topic banned without notification by an admin, after the admin was approached on an obscure thread by another admin. [4] The accosted editor stopped editing for a couple of months. Contrast this to a current disruption issue, where there is a proper RFC/U, but the individual in question is still editing in the topic area. And don't forget the Perth case, where ArbCom appeared to have desysopped an admin without notification that they were being discussed. The solution seems to be that individual editors seem to be getting more and more aggressive in their rhetoric, stopping just short of incivility. (Unless they are truly disruptive, in which case nothing stops them.) This is creating an editing culture that is contentious rather than a collaborative. So what is the answer, an ombudsman? (ombudswoman?) Neotarf (talk) 10:00, 1 January 2013 (UTC)

Admin can't topic ban someone unilaterally unless there are discretionary sanctions or special sanctions previously agreed to at WP:AN or WP:ARB. For instance, there are special sanctions at MMA currently, so I could topic ban someone from all MMA articles but I have to warn them first. There are some reasons to block without a warning first, ie: socking, gross BLP/vandalism but the vast majority of times, editors should be warned first. Policy doesn't require this however, and it would be very difficult to force admin to warn first via policy for a number of reasons that might not be obvious at first glance. It is impossible to list all the right times to warn first, for starters.
Admin are just as different from each other as non-admin. There is no cabal and certainly a lot of disagreement (and sometimes, vitriol privately) between them regarding how to deal with blocks. Screaming at admin that are quick on the trigger often backfires and makes them dig in. I'm not sure how we encourage more gentle handling by them, except leading by example. More importantly, there are a number of techniques to prevent a block, but it is a lot of work and not every admin is willing or patient enough to learn and use the techniques. Dennis Brown - © Join WER 14:21, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
Well the process can be abused in a number of ways. For example a single admin can impose an editing restriction. For example an editor can be blocked and then unblocked on condition that he avoid a certain area - effectively a topic ban. An admin can use unreasonably wide interpretation of a topic ban to achieve their own ends, and people will be reluctant to get involved (if indeed they can be notified by the wronged editor). All these I have seen occur. Rich Farmbrough, 21:29, 1 January 2013 (UTC).
The admin's note on that talk page looked to me like a warning, and the next action from the admin would be a block. The situation seems to have now been contained by a series of comments from several editors, some more congenial than others. And if you look at something like Talk:Men's rights movement, I made one small edit there, to remove what appeared to be vandalism by a drive-by IP, and I got templated by the involved admin and my name placed on a probation list. Reading the probation page, which contains such uninformative and condescending gems as "We actually know when we cross the line; we are all intelligent people", I interpret to mean the admin has broad latitude to define which edits are "bettering the article" and would block me if I edited there again. As a relatively new user with barely a thousand edits, I don't know what to think. I don't see this stuff spelled out in a policy anywhere, or any way to take an inappropriate block off someone's record. This wikipedia place seems to have hidden landmines all over the place. One dare not set foot in it without a posse. Neotarf (talk) 22:34, 1 January 2013 (UTC)
This is a notification about the status of an article which clearly stated the admin was finding no fault with your edit. NE Ent 00:22, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, right. That template was dumped on my talk page in the context of the same admin making uncivil and unsupported accusations against me and others during a 45,000-word RFC that is now archived. Also note that a request for an ArbCom judgment was lodged involving that page, and the same admin. I had recommended, along with other editors, that the requested title change be the lower cased "Men's rights" instead of "Men's Rights", per WP:TITLE, and the request for the title change be made via Wikipedia:Requested moves instead of RFC. Note the Byzantine wording of the notification, also the fact that some editors are notified and some aren't. Neotarf (talk) 03:45, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Many good points are made above, and I urge you to move this discussion to WT:BLOCK, where MONGO has recently started to get the ball rolling on a proposed policy change that would make such blocks as the OP describes a thing of the past. (Header: "Blocking policy alterations".) No sense in spreading the subject over several boards, and proposing changes to the blocking policy — which is what WT:BLOCK does — is more likey to lead to actual concrete change, than letting off steam here at "editor retention" (though that certainly has its uses also, for consciousness raising). Bishonen | talk 02:19, 2 January 2013 (UTC).

Should ArbCom, where appropriate, restrict the use of the block button by some admins?

Copied from Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard#Arbitration_motion_regarding_User:Hex. Feel free to comment on any of this here but restrict any commentary on the Arbitration Committee/Noticeboard thread to the question of whether it would be appropriate for ArbCom to act on this request. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 09:07, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

During the RfAr and prior AN discussions, Floq, Hex, DHeyward and I discussed the possibility of Hex restricting his use of the block button to cases of obvious vandalism and spamming. In the end, Hex agreed to not use it at all for a year.

There is a lot of discussion on user talk at the moment about inappropriate blocks, and a succession of threads beginning at Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy#Blocking policy alterations. Accurately diagnosing and dealing sensitively and effectively with anything but the simplest behaviour problems demands good social sensibility, intelligence and wisdom. This mix of traits is rarely found in the average person, and more rarely found here. Most of us recognise that RfA is broken; that it is not a good process for determining whether a person has these traits; and that we frequently give the block button to people constitutionally unfit for deciding when to use the block button. (I have no idea whether or not Hex fits that category, his may simply be a case of inexperience.)

Would you please consider, where appropriate, in future cases, restricting the use of the block button by some admins?

(Slightly off-topic for this board but ...) The community needs to decide whether automatically giving the block button to editors who have a genius for page protection, RevDel or AfD is really such a good idea. I think not. The block button needs to be treated as different from other admin permissions because the effects of blocking a content editor can't be undone like a bad RevDel.

Kww said in the abovelinked blocking policy discussion, arguing in favor of the Judge Dredd approach (him deciding who's the trouble-maker on an article talk page, rather than protecting the article), "Saying 'you can't edit until you agree to stop edit-warring on article x' shouldn't be a major problem. It's generally resolved within hours, and quite painless." In expressing this sentiment, or lack of sentiment, he enunciates nicely the problem. He and a number of other socially incompetent admins don't even know about the emotional impact of a block - particularly an unjust block - on content editors. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 04:02, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Before I respond to your question, Anthony, please remove the (as far as I can see) unprovoked personal attack towards Kww from your comments at once. Thank you.
Now then. I do thank Hex for agreeing to a voluntary restriction in this manner, as I do believe it helped diffuse and resolve this situation much more amicably; had he not, I doubt that a case would have been opened anyway in the lack of evidence showing a pattern of misuse of the block button and/or other misconduct (such as that at AN), but in doing so he helped to reassure the community that such an incident will not recur and at the same time more-or-less gave those calling for a desysopping what they actually wanted. As to whether ArbCom would forcibly prevent someone from using a particular facet of the admin tools... I'm not sure. I know we have in the past forbade admins from undertaking actions with respect to a particular topic area and/or user; this more-or-less amounts to a topic ban, something that is routinely done by both ArbCom and the community at large. I do not think, however, that we have forbade any admin from using any particular tool project-wide before. Nor do I think it is terribly likely in the future. Doing so creates a "partial admin;" a notion which has been proposed to and rejected by the community on a number of occasions. Our project's adminship is set up in such a way that for the community to grant a user access to the tools means they are trusting that user to use all of the tools appropriately and knowledgeably in all situations, or at the least recognize when they lack the knowledge or ability to use the tools appropriately in a particular situation, and then refrain from their use. Our community has made clear on several occasions that they see the admin tools as an all-or-nothing setup; for ArbCom to overrule this and impose our own definition of what a particular administrator can and cannot do would be, I believe, a violation of the community's trust in us.
Anyway, this was a long version of me saying that I personally would not support any motion to deny access to the block button from an administrator without removing the rest of their tools... at least, until the community demonstrates that they as a whole would support such a notion. If individual administrators take it upon themselves to restrict their own use of the tools, that is their decision, and one that the community has trusted them to make wisely. Hersfold (t/a/c) 04:33, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I've removed my commentary on Kww. I came back here to do that, actually, without having seen your comment, because it was redundant, and would likely generate unnecessary heat, not because it is a personal attack, whatever that is. We need to be able to discuss frankly and openly the merits and demerits of, particularly, our admins and arbitrators. I have to go out again so will read the remainder of your comment when I get back. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:02, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Anthony, looks like some of that commentary is still there as I write this :P
Hersfold, regarding "Our community has made clear on several occasions that they see the admin tools as an all-or-nothing setup", I'm not sure that the community is so clear about that any more, and I think there would be wide support for Anthony's suggestion. I certainly see it as sensible - the problem of block-happy administrators, as it relates to community morale, community calm and editor retention (and thus, just tangentially, encyclopedia-building), is far more important than the rather detached meta-principle of administrator toolsets being monolithic. Arbcom frequently clashes with the will of the community on all sorts of matters; I suggest this could be an example of arbcom actually doing what the community wants. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 05:20, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm back. Yes, I deleted the redundant introductory comment. Kww's own words make it very plain he's not socially sensible enough to be trusted with blocking anyone but very obvious spammers and vandals, and this is a necessary example that clarifies the point of my comment here. Contrary to Hersfold's apparent belief, it is permitted to discuss the competencies of admins and arbitrators. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 05:53, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, it's still there. It would be nice if Anthonycole would actually read the whole discussion, and recognize that the quoted statement was in regard to editors that had already been previously warned about the edit war or blocked for edit-warring and were continuing to edit-war. Those editors can be presumed to know full well what our policies on edit-warring are and what to expect when they are violated. Understanding that when such editors begin edit-warring again that warnings aren't useful is actually a sign of cognitive skill on my part, and not a lack of social sensibility. If editors don't want to be be blocked for edit-warring, then not edit-warring is a first and necessary step.—Kww(talk) 06:02, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I read the whole discussion. You have, sadly, missed the point, and I suspect you're constitutionally incapable of getting it. Blocking content editors hurts them. It is not painless. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:12, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
This is being discussed elsewhere? It would be better to make a statement here stating how the discussion elsewhere relates to this arbitration action, and then link to the other discussion and invite participation there from here. As opposed to dragging the discussion over there, to here. Carcharoth (talk) 07:36, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
The question of whether ArbCom should, where appropriate, restrict the use of the block button by some admins is not, to my knowledge, being discussed elsewhere. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 08:02, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
So the entire post above can be collapsed to "Would you please consider, where appropriate, in future cases, restricting the use of the block button by some admins?"? This noticeboard talk page isn't really the right place to ask that. Having said that, I'm not entirely sure where the right place to ask would be. It is, as Hersfold notes, something you would likely need to propose somewhere to get community consensus on it (hint: starting such a discussion is only the starting point, you need to publicise it widely enough that enough people take part that the change sticks and isn't reverted when people previously unaware of the discussion start turning up and objecting to it). And then take things from there. I doubt we (ArbCom) will (or should) unilaterally start changing practice without such a discussion. And here is not really the right place for that discussion. Carcharoth (talk) 08:18, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I am addressing the question to you (plural), and this appears to be the right place for that. I'm unaware of anything that would prevent you from acting on this request, should you wish to. Can you please point me to what constrains you? There's a lot of policy here that I haven't read. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 08:37, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
You say Kww is "constitutionally incapable of getting it" about the harm done to folks who are blocked and their 'emotions'. I say that you don't get it that people are responsible for their actions. They hurt themselves by (omg, key word, pay attention) earning the block. Boo hoo hoo if they don't like accepting responsibility for their behavior. Cry me a river.--v/r - TP 19:38, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Would anyone mind if I moved this text to Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 08:13, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Probably best to copy it.  Roger Davies talk 08:40, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Seems reasonable for Arbcom to restrict for periods of time the aspects of the tools that have brought disruption to the users editing. Why not? Admin X is restricted for one year from his page moving work that has caused disruption and community complaints, he/she is however encouraged to continue their good mopping in all other areas. Such a resolution would be far better for the user and the community than completely losing an otherwise beneficial Admin - Youreallycan 09:24, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Absolutely. ArbCom should be allowed to restrict any manner of changing the Wikipedia site, including blocking and other admin actions, as necessary. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 09:37, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Let's not vote. I like this from Roger Pearse: "The system of appointing admins is very broken indeed. Those chosen keep out the most obvious spam, but they also keep out the sort of contributors that Wikipedia should be desperate to attract and retain." --Anthonyhcole (talk) 13:42, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Without commenting on the wisdom of doing do, I think its clear Arbcom does have the authority to restrict the use of the block button. As for whether an admin who can't be trusted to block properly should be allowed to retain any admin tools, I'm not really sure. Monty845 14:35, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Echoing Monty - arbcom CAN do whatever it likes. It doesn't need our approval. The comments from the Arbs above don't say they do - they say creating a new user group of partial sysops has not been approved by the community that's a different topic. Further a sysop who continually abuses the block button should be de-sysoped. Also just to clarify how is this thread connected to the blocking policy? What exactly is proposed to be changed?--Cailil talk
No, I don't think that's true. There are plenty of admins here who do a fine job in AfDs, RevDel, etc but who don't have the social skills necessary to effectively use the block button in any but the most elementary vandalism and spamming cases. I don't see why we should bar them from contributing in areas that fit their skill set. This may be the wrong venue; can you recommend a more appropriate one? This may be the right venue, though, because the discussion above concerns how to deal with problematical blocking. We can do that by more tightly prescribing how you admins use the block button, but we should also address the competency issue by restricting the use of the button by admins who repeatedly demonstrate incompetence. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 18:06, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
That is an understanable, and well intentioned reaction to what recently happened, but ultimately it doesn't help. RfA is for assessing competence with the block button before editors are sysoped. RfC and ArbCom are the venues for raising concerns with sysops who abuse the tools. Such abuse is already not allowed under this policy. And sysops who are found to have been abusive are admonished or desysoped. Also it's not clear what changes to this policy you're suggesting beyond "unbundling the bit" which is not part of this policy. Perhaps WP:ADMIN is a better venue? But TBH it really depends on what you're suggesting and how you word it--Cailil talk 18:38, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
They certainly have the power. It's going to take an Arbcom case where you can demonstrate a pattern of bad blocks that would result in a sanction against an individual admin. You can see from the RFC above that there's not a lot of support for changing the blocking policy to mandate more warnings. As for me being your example of social incompetence, you can feel free to review my block log and discuss any where you have grave doubts about the appropriateness of the block. When I look at your block log, though, I see some early ones that look pretty questionable, but I also see a couple that look to me like the blocking admin was doing a fine job (I know that you profess not to understand what the meaning of "personal attack" is but surely anyone with the social skills necessary to effectively edit Wikipedia would understand that this edit would result in a block, especially since it was your fourth such block). I'm hard put not to see your contributions here as being motivated, at least in part, by a desire to live without fear of being blocked for personal attacks, secure in the knowledge that policy had been modified to ensure that you were only warned about unacceptable behaviour instead of actually being expected to modify it.—Kww(talk) 18:39, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't think I've commented yet on the warn before every block proposal. I agree with you there. It would result in a kind of endless cycle of transgress - warn - wait - transgress - warn - wait - transgress - etc. If we're going to circumscribe your blocking behaviour, we'll have to do better than that. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 20:30, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Anthony, you just have no credibility here.--v/r - TP 20:47, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
You're an admin, right? --Anthonyhcole (talk) 20:52, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm a person with an additional access to tools. Just like all other users here, I am bound to a set of rules. I don't pretend to 'circumscribe' someone else for appropriate actions they took simply because I don't like taking responsibility for my actions. Your argument to Kww is a joke. You say Kww is "socially incompetent" yet you also say "not because it is a personal attack, whatever that is." If you do not know what a personal attack is, you might want to think again about who is socially incompetent.--v/r - TP 21:03, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I would probably let that one slide, under the theory that the requirement against attack can't reasonably be construed as preventing an editor from pointing out what he truly considers to be a problem. The text he claimed not to recognize as an attack was "the singularly offensive and insensitive Kww".—Kww(talk) 21:20, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I addressed this but redacted it when NYB rightly complained about the bickering. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 21:31, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't actually using "socially incompetent" as my example of a personal attack. I was just saying that one cannot call another socially incompetent and also claim not to know what things in a social setting would cause someone else offense.--v/r - TP 21:40, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

  • The Arbitration Committee has the authority, for good cause, to desysop an administrator. I can imagine circumstances in which an administrator has displayed poor judgment in one area, e.g. blocking, but is doing a good job elsewhere, such that I would prefer to restrict his or her use of blocking rather than to desysop outright. The fact that I don't recall a case where this was done suggests this is not a common scenario, but I don't see any reason to say a priori that it's not a remedy that could be voted where warranted. (I will add that the interpersonal back-and-forth above is not helpful.) Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:47, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • As a parallel, didn't one of the cases surrounding Hammersoft restrict his ability to delete image files, while leaving all other admin functions intact?—Kww(talk) 18:52, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • By definition administrators have clue. If an admin screws up blocking, they can be asked to stop blocking, and that will be sufficient. There is no need for formal process. If they can't take friendly advice, then they don't have clue and shouldn't be an administrator at all. ArbCom should not micromanage administrative rights. Jehochman Talk 19:43, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • That's very good and very reassuring Jehochman. In fact quite splendid. Do you mind if I quote that on my user page. --Epipelagic (talk) 21:47, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • It could be something the community requests at AN/I, RfC/U or similar, if an admin problem is brought to its attention. The remedy could be that Admin X should refrain from blocking for 12 months, or deleting, or using whichever tool has caused the problem. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:39, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Yep. It's a finer response that can be used at both ArbCom and community processes. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 20:57, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
So procedurally, if there is consensus at WP:AN (for example) that a particular admin should be banned from using the block button for six months, is that binding? I thought that wasn't possible, but I could've misunderstood. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 10:03, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes - if there is community consensus for such a suggested resolution to an issue - — Preceding unsigned comment added by Youreallycan (talkcontribs) 10:23, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
That seems like the appropriate venue to me. This isn't exactly, but it's very close to the community usurping ArbCom's powers. The difference is our sanctions will be backed up by the personal commitment of the admin, whereas ArbCom's sanctions are ultimately backed up by tool removal. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:56, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
Actually, Wikipedia:Requests for removal of adminship would do the job much better than AN. It is proposed by User:Jc37, who also proposed Wikipedia:Moderators/Proposal, a new user (rights) group that has all the sysop tools except those whose use involves the judgement of editors' behaviour. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 15:59, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
Demiurge, the community could simply decide that it's binding, in the sense that an admin will block the admin who uses the disputed tool within the timeframe, if the community agrees s/he shouldn't use it. I think this would be a good option for some admins: it means the community can take action to limit damage, but it also means there's no need for an RfAr to request desysopping (which is a hassle and might not succeed if there have only been a few mistakes or occasional heavy-handedness). SlimVirgin (talk) 02:27, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
There is currently no policy authorizing a community tool use ban. We would either need a full publicized RFC authorizing the concept, or the AN discussion that authorizes it would need to be much longer, and more broadly attended then all but the most controversial ones are. 10 editors supporting it in a day, which is often enough for a topic ban, would not be enough for this without the prior authorization RFC. Monty845 20:08, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

Anthony, if RfA were broken, it isn't for reasons of the rare misuse of the blocking tool by admins. In fact the bar for adminship has never been so high - so high in fact that some people even complain about it! To learn more about what is actually wrong with RfA please see current discussions at WT:RfA - but there is a lot to read before commenting. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:11, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

3RR blocks

A frequent reason that good-faith editors with otherwise unblemished records get blocked is for 3RR violations. I am not proposing here to change either the intent or the letter of the three-revert rule. However, I've often thought (and occasionally implemented on the rare occasions I close a report on the EW noticeboard) that to block a good contributor from editing anywhere on the site for 24 or 48 hours because he or she got caught up in a dispute on one particular article, is overkill. Wouldn't it be sufficient, in many cases, simply to instruct the editor that he or she is not to edit that article (or perhaps that article and any related articles) for the appropriate time period?

I am aware that this restriction cannot be enforced by the software; there isn't any way I'm aware of to leave User:A unblocked but to disallow User:A from editing Article X (short of protecting it so that no one else can edit it either). Thus, this remedy couldn't be used in every case; if an editor is clearly out of control, a regular block might be required. On the other hand, I would think that most reasonable editors who are told "that's four reverts—in lieu of blocking you, you're not to edit Article X for 24 hours" would abide by the restriction. And if User:A ignored the restriction and edited the article again (especially if he or she reverted again), User:B would presumably report the breach back to the noticeboard and a regular block would follow.

It seems to me that this approach would retain the purposes of the 3RR, without sullying block logs unnecessarily, and without losing the good contributions the blocked editors might make on other topics, and while perhaps allowing the editing dispute to be discussed on the article talkpage without waiting 24 hours.

I'd welcome thoughts on this. If anyone thinks this should be cross-posted somewhere (e.g. the WP:AN3 talkpage), please feel free. Newyorkbrad (talk) 18:53, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

So giving admins the ability to impose a "page ban" of a limited duration, with blocking being the result if violated? Hmm, maybe. Though still thinking about it. - jc37 18:57, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
This is one I wrestle with as well, especially since you see editors caught up in it where they are clearly doing what they think is necessary to protect the article, and what they are reverting may not be clearly vandalism, but is pretty sloppily sourced or inappropriate. Despite the brouhaha above, this is one of the reasons I favor "indef until you agree to stop" blocks. It doesn't keep the block log clean, but does allow the good faith editors to get back to editing rapidly. In general, though, I try to walk away from a 3RR dispute with all blocked or none blocked. The only times it goes asymmetric is if I warn everyone to stop and one continues while the others heed the warning.—Kww(talk) 19:13, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Admins always have had the ability to create an effective page ban. It looks like a warning: "Your editing on this page has been disruptive. I could block you right now, but I will suspend the block as long as you don't edit the page for at least 24 hours." The rules should document that this is an acceptable option which ought to be the first recourse for editors who have clear or nearly clear records. Jehochman Talk 19:47, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
No, no, no. Active admins are a scarce resource; if they start doing this now they're either committing to monitoring the editor for the next 24 hrs, or a talk page stalker has to notice the violation and notify the warning admin or another admin. Way more work for little benefit, plus causes additional issues -- like can another editor go 3rr to revert effective page banned editor? Most importantly, it misses the elephant. The problem isn't the block it's the $*%#$#@! block log, which is used both as a club to beat previously blocked editors with and, in some cases, as evidence of the corruptness and conspiracy of wiki-cabal. What we need is to start thinking about pseudo-redacting a users' block log entries in a manner analogous to revdel and oversight. For example, 3rr blocks could have a "statue of limitations" of six months, accidental blocks and blocks overturned as inappropriate hidden immediately etc. (I think we'd still want to be able to all of an admins block activities). NE Ent 20:04, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
NYB—Would this be useful even if the editor in question reverted a 4th time shortly after a 3rr warning? ie, the editor has already ignored a warning. Or are you contemplating this mostly for situations in which the editor had not just been warned? HaugenErik (talk) 20:46, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
Really I think we are often too quick to resort to a block. I haven't done to much with 3rr warring since becoming an admin, but the cases I have handled that involved experienced editors, admin intervention has generally gotten the parties to stop without resorting to a block. Having a neutral 3rd party intervene, especially with the clout of an admin (not withstanding the no big deal ideology with I support) can often get the parties to cut it out. Actually, I think template 3rr warnings can often be less effective, a personalized message better carries with it the impression that the sender actually looked at what was going on, and still concluded that the recipient needs to stop. The personalized message also seems more likely to trigger dialogue, and many times the lack of dialogue is exactly the problem. While there is value in having a carefully constructed template message that contains accurate information about relevant policies, I question their effectiveness, particularly when it comes to warning experienced editors with them. Monty845 22:45, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
In a more direct response to the question asked by NYB, if an editor respects a 3rr warning, they probably shouldn't be editing the page for 24 hours already. Longer page bans seem problematic, if we can trust an editor to obey the page ban, can't we also trust them to cut out the edit warring? Monty845 22:48, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I often find page protection is a better tool than blocking to stop edit warring, but if 3RR is actually breached I believe the community expects that blocks be issued no matter who is involved. I have always subscribed to the theory that experienced users should be actually be held to the edit warring policy more strictly than newbies because they are almost certainly well aware of it, however I have often used the "I know you know better so please stop or I will have no choice but to block you" approach as well. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:33, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

As an admin, I ignore 3RR; I've never once cited it as a block rationale and never once warned anyone over approaching it. That's because, as far as I can tell, it's a meaningless pointless policy for several reasons, and I'd not object if it was gotten rid of all together. Here's why:

  1. We already have WP:EW, which makes it clear that edit warring is a blockable offense. We don't need a redundant policy which states that edit warring is a blockable offense. There's literally no reason for an admin to need to cite 3RR, since you can refer someone to the edit warring policy. I do warn people, and do block people, for edit warring, which is sufficient.
  2. Regardless of how stridently you word it, and regardless of whether or not you put it in giant flashing red letters or not, people still believe that 3RR is an entitlement, and it represents some holy number. It doesn't and it shouldn't. People don't have a right to 3 reverts, and as others already note, there are some cases where we shouldn't instantly block someone as soon as they hit the limit. Instead, we should just have the edit warring policy, and 3RR should be done away with entirely.

I'm not particularly concerned about block logs or scarlet letters or any of that, what I am concerned with is the lack of utility of the 3RR policy, that it leads to more (not less) arguments about the validity of blocks, that it leads to a sense of entitlement which tends to increase edit warring, rather than put a stop to it, and that it leads admins to block instantly and with little forethought, which is always bad. Instead, admins should be able to look at every case, make judgements on the best course of action, and enact warnings and blocks as necessary to minimize disruption. 3RR helps with none of that. --Jayron32 23:44, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Page protection is under utilized! If there are just 2-3 editors warring, then protect the page and explain why the page is protected on the article talkpage. If there is someone POV pushing against numerous others, then of course 3RR should apply to the POV pusher and after sufficient time has elapsed, and they have been warned about what the consequences are for a 4th revert and violate it anyway, then of course they should be blocked for 3RR. Seems like admin tools 101 to me. What we also need is fewer trigger happy admins. It should be obvious that our blocking policy is either deprecated or poorly understood...blocks were never supposed to be punitive.--MONGO 01:07, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Some improvement is needed as I have seen 3RR used reflexively by a rule-bound admin to block an editor who has created literally hundreds of excellent articles of high encyclopedic value—the editor had got emotionally involved on some article with an SPA. What was particularly irritating was that an onlooker took it to ANI and two admins pushed a "what's wrong with that?" line—edit warring is bad and the rule says block, so block. Several others made comments similar to those above—admins are supposed to help the encyclopedia, and some thought is required before blocking a user, particularly one with thousands of good edits (article protection and warnings was obviously what should have happened in the case I saw). OTOH vigorous enforcement (blocking) is required with topics subject to POV pushing, provided there is reason to believe the editors have been warned in the past and so should know what they are doing. Johnuniq (talk) 01:34, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I am unaware of any definate problems, or controvery, concerning the application of the WP:3RR policy. Have I missed something somewhere?

    Brad is concerned that a site 24+ hour block is overkill. It may be, in some cases, and in those cases I'd expect to see the infringing user post an apology and statement of intended editing in an unblock request. In most cases, I think not. Edit warring is damaging to the editors involved, the editors affected, and the edit history of the page. It is damaging to the project. 3RR appears to be an objective damage prevention tool that any admin may apply with confidence without having to invest time in studying the background. This is good.

    The inability to edit elsewhere is probably good. Edit warring is a failure of emotional control over intellect. Someone who has fallen into that edit mode is probably not in the best state to edit. When someone is sent of the field for aggressive play, it is not a good idea to let them move straight into another game as a substitute. If the editor requests unblocking, then discretion in unblocking is available.

    Honor-based page bans are fine, if the admin is on top of the situation. This should not be expected to be the default situation. If an admin wishes to force an agreement to edit only elsewhere, then fine, but WP:3RR should continue to read as it does.

    Page protection to counter a few edit warriors I personally find very frustrating. On many pages, especially policy pages, there can be way too much unfocused discussion in the absence of concrete edits to study and discuss directly. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 01:57, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

  • - this comment from User:Kww made me LOL - " I favor "indef until you agree to stop" blocks." - Ow noes - a long term block free contributor , volunteer user that got a little heated and involved on a single article reverting some dubious addition more than three times is indefinitely blocked by User:Kww until the user says sorry and promises not to do it again. This kind of authority usage would sent users running from the project. Youreallycan 06:16, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Not the useful ones. The ones that have used multiple accounts to rack up 17 separate blocks for edit-warring and personal attacks, perhaps, but I consider the presence of such editors to be the problem we are trying to solve. Once someone has been blocked for the ninth or tenth time for the same behaviour, what's the point in unblocking them? What reason do we have to believe that they understand what portions of their behaviour are unacceptable?—Kww(talk) 18:13, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
@Kww, you say that being indef-blocked until the user apologises won't send "the useful ones" running from the project. I disagree with you there: the insistence on a grovelling apology (public humiliation) is precisely what is most likely to send useful editors running from the project. It's the apparent requirement for the ass-licking grovelling apology, creeping back with the tail between the legs to beg to be allowed to play again, which will send good people away. That's the mindset which has the "I'm bigger / better / more important than you" feel to it; the "I'm an authority figure" thing. That's where a block is punitive, not preventative. "You won't be allowed back until you grovel". Grovelling shouldn't be required. All that's required is "not doing it again" (if it was really that bad, unquestionably bad). Blocking admins are not in the position of parental figures who have to be obeyed and ass-licked. This is what gets people's backs up; this is what sours people. The "you have to crawl on the carpet to me" mindset; the assumption of a position of personal power. That's kinda obnoxious. We are all members of a community, and some of us have the job of being janitors. Mop-men, not tyrants or dictators or schoolteachers. Not "holier-than-thou"; just preventers of vomit staying in the corridors. Taking the quasi-parental stance is inflicting a punishment; requiring public humiliation is a further punishment. Admins are not here to punish people. The kind of personal arrogance which requires someone to make a grovelling apology is a quality which should rule someone out as being an admin, not rule them in. Power can corrupt some people; the most intelligent and insightful admins will always look for a better way of dealing with something. But the "you have to crawl to me and lick my ass" mindset should result in a desysop because it's the wrong mindset for an admin to have. Adding: a correctly-applied block (applied where, for example, page-protection wouldn't work better, still allowing the editor to work in non-problematic areas) is a correct use of power. Insisting on a grovelling apology is, on the other hand, an abuse of power. Pesky (talk) 07:54, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Adding here: consider something like this, where a good, well-intentioned editor is doing their damnedest to protect the integrity of an article against a POV-pushing sockfarm, and is so busy trying to restrict the damage that it hasn't occurred to them to request page protection (or they've requested it but it hasn't happened yet). They may well have come across the same sockfarm before, in other related articles. The sockfarm may know to a tee what time of day is best to attack the articles, because they and the protecting editor happen to be in a timezone when few other article-watchers are awake. The context here is vital. As is the context of any previous 3RR-block for defending against the same sockfarm. Is is justified to block the editor yet again, without having done some thorough research into exactly what's been happening, and then demand a grovelling apology from the chap or chapess who was doing their utmost to protect the integrity of the content? Protect the article while you research what's actually been happening. And, if you don;t have the time or will to do the necessary research, don't hit the block button, just protect the article to allow someone else to do the research. Pesky (talk) 08:57, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Pesky, many admins don't see it that way, but believe it's fine to humiliate and treat grown and elderly content builders like naughty 4 year olds. For example see here:
"I consider the damage or hurt that folks who get blocked feel are responsible for those feelings. They earned it. I place those folks in the same category as my 4 year old after she cries when I tell her to sit on timeout for jumping on the couches again after I've told her not to."
The way we think on matters like these are ingrained in nurture and genes, and rational engagement is not going to make much difference. Perhaps being a Wikipedia admin is particularly congenial to people who think this way. Anyway I doubt it is possible to get fresh air into the system. Wikipedia has become a MMORPG where people, even children, manipulate other players and behave in ways they would never dare behave if they were face to face with us. --Epipelagic (talk) 09:12, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Wow. That quote displays a singularly disgraceful attitude. It has apparently never occurred to that person that an admin treating an adult editor as a 4 year old is inherently wrong, and that's not considering the possibility that whatever TP may have told some other editor to do may be outside policy and quite justifiably disputed. Do you suspect TP would react well if an admin administratively directed TP to never say anything of another unless you can say something nice? Or if one followed Kww's approach, and indef blocked TP until TP agreed never to say or act as if adults and fellow editors were children? Somehow I don't think TP would be OK with that. Gimmetoo (talk) 18:14, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Pesky, not once in my career as an admin have I asked for a groveling apology, nor would I support any admin that did. The problem is that what is not required is "not doing again", what is required is for the administrator that blocked to have a reasonable belief that it won't happen again. When blocking someone again for the same behaviour that got them blocked before, it's not at all unreasonable to require a statement from the editor that he understands the policy he is running afoul of and won't repeat that. The fact is, even for a short timed block, the normal flow is for the blocked person to reply with an unblock request stating that he won't do it again, which goes against your argument that it's unnecessary grovelling. If it was that humiliating of an experience, most people would just let the 24 hours go by.—Kww(talk) 15:27, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
And what if the admin demands the editor do or say something that policy does not require, and the editor refuses to follow out-of-policy demands as a condition for unblock? Gimmetoo (talk) 18:19, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
That's the reason that the blocking admin is not permitted to deny an unblock request. If the demand is truly unjustified and not covered under WP:IAR, the unblock request will be accepted by another admin. If it's a wholly reasonable request, then the reviewing admin is likely to uphold it. I'm not aware of any such cases where the unblock request was not discussed on the various administrator boards.—Kww(talk) 18:33, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
I'm aware of cases where admins denied unblock requests for blocks they had made - and I don't mean obvious vandals. Gimmetoo (talk) 20:17, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
That's generally pretty questionable. I remember denying one where it was the fourth or fifth request and I judged it to be a case of abusing the talk page, and there was one case in my first few weeks as an admin when I didn't realize it was against policy and I subsequently reverted myself. Such cases certainly warrant discussion. Got some pointers that we could talk about?—Kww(talk) 20:28, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Would take a while to find details. While I can remember an admin or two, I don't recall who they blocked, so finding that would probably involve going through logs. If you agree the behavior is questionable, it doesn't seem worth the effort to find the details. It's not like the admins would ever be sanctioned for it. Gimmetoo (talk) 22:21, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
  • - In regards to Brads Q - I support in isolated edit warring situations that an admin considering blocking could or even should post such a message, I am considering blocking you for edit warring at X for 48 hours , would you as an alternative agree to stay away from the article and associated articles for the same period. This is far better than total blocking for all concerned and for the project. Youreallycan 06:00, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
    Youreallycan, do you think such a message would be useful in cases where a 3rr warning was placed on the user's talk page followed by another edit that crossed 3rr? HaugenErik (talk) 19:43, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
    Per WP:DTTR, yeah probably. Templates are ignored. Personal messages are acknowledged. --Jayron32 21:31, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
    Only problem is that once it becomes common practice, someone will come up with a template for it.—Kww(talk) 21:51, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
  • I have to concur 100% with Jayron32's sentiments and approach. --Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:16, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Trying it Not exactly a WP:3RR situation, but I'm trying the general spirit of the idea here.--v/r - TP 23:26, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
    • Well that worked fine TP - Youreallycan 08:12, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I was blocked for 3RR once (in a case which, interestingly, probably wouldn't have applied now: egregious BLP violation by a now-banned serial POV pusher on Middle Eastern politics). I stopped edit warring. Totally. It's really not that hard. No editor should ever be hitting 3RR, which is two reverts too many for any case except the clearly-marked exceptions. Two reverts in 24 hours is already at the edge of dramaspace: 3 reverts is territory where once had damned well better have a legitimate exception to our edit warring policy prepared: breaking 3RR is a massive clue failure, and if someone's pretty white blocklog gets stained because of it then so be it. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) (talk) 13:42, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

I have to agree. I don't know how anyone who has been previously blocked for edit warring cannot understand that doing it again will just get them blocked again and will not resolve the content issue they were warring over. It's an exceedingly simple premise. Per WP:NOTTHERAPY and WP:CIR, if you can't summon the self control to stop yourself from edit warring and instead approach the problem like a reasonable person then blocking is pretty much all we have to deal with you. Beeblebrox (talk) 19:20, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Support The discussion has wound down, but I want to express support for the idea proposed by Brad. I had seen it before, and liked it then, and still do. The good news is that it doesn't require any change to policy, it is something that admins can do, although this discussion will be helpful in case someone does it, and another admin is wondering why the editor wasn't blocked.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 19:56, 14 January 2013 (UTC)