Policy:Blocking

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Until it is completed, it has not become official. Feel free to take part in the development discussion.


Nutshell.png This page in a nutshell: Blocks are used to protect BattleTechWiki and its editors from harm, not from punishment or retribution.



Blocking is how Administrators prevent a user account or IP address/range from editing BattleTechWiki. Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to BattleTechWiki and should not be used as a punitive measure. Block duration varies by situation, and a block may be lifted if the editor agrees to stop the damaging behavior.

All users may request blocks at Administrators or on an Admin's personal talk page. Include credible evidence of blockable offences. Admins are never obliged to place a block. Admins and Bureaucrats may themselves be blocked, with resulting effects on their other powers.

If you disagree with a block, start by discussing it with the blocking admin. Admins should not undo other Admins' blocks without prior discussion, except in limited circumstances.


Contents

[edit] Purpose of blocking

The primary purpose of creating any block is to protect BattleTechWiki and its editors and users from harm. The following list includes the most common grounds, however note that the block reason not being on this list is not in itself a reason to unblock. If blocking for a reason not listed, be sure to note it on Administrators for sanity-checking.

[edit] Protection

A user may be blocked when necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the BattleTechWiki, its users or the public. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Personal attacks which place users in danger (See Policy:No personal attacks)
  • Persistent personal attacks
  • Posting personal details
  • Persistent copyright infringement

[edit] Personal attacks that place users in danger

Blocks may be imposed where threats have been made or actions performed (including actions outside the BattleTechWiki site) that expose BattleTechWiki Editors to political, religious, or other persecution by government, their employer, or anyone else. Blocks of any length of time, including indefinite, may be applied.

Users who post what they believe are the personal details of other users without their consent may be blocked for any length of time, including indefinitely, depending on the severity of the incident, and whether the blocking Admin feels the incident was isolated or is likely to be repeated. This applies whether the personal details are accurate or not.

[edit] Making personal or legal threats against other users

Users who make threats, whether legal, personal, or professional, that in any way are seen as an attempt to intimidate another user may be blocked without warning. If a warning is desirable, the Personal Attacks series of templates can be used. Users who make severe threats can be blocked indefinitely.

See Policy:No personal attacks and Policy:No legal threats for more information.

[edit] Disruption

A user may be blocked when their conduct severely disrupts the project — their conduct is inconsistent with a civil, collegial atmosphere and interferes with the process of Editors working together harmoniously to create an encyclopedia.

Disagreements over content or policy are not disruption, but rather part of the normal functioning of BattleTechWiki and should be handled through dispute resolution procedures. Blocks for disruption should only be placed when a user is in some way making it difficult for others to contribute to BattleTechWiki.

Sysops may block IP addresses or usernames that disrupt the normal functioning of BattleTechWiki, or pose a sufficiently severe threat to it. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Vandalism
  • Excessive reverts
  • Inappropriate usernames (such blocks should not use the Account Creation Disabled blocking feature)
  • Abusive sockpuppet accounts
  • "Public" accounts, where the password is publicly available or shared with a large group

Blocks for general incivility are controversial; "cool-down" blocks are very controversial. Consider whether a 1-hour block will result in 2 months' drama.

Users who aggressively and repeatedly violate fundamental policies may be blocked if there is a consensus among uninvolved users that it is necessary. Such persons should be dealt with kindly and patiently, but should be prevented from wreaking havoc over the period of weeks or months it would take to process an obvious Arbitration request. Remember to note the case on Administrators. Be kind.

[edit] Biographies of living persons

Editors who repeatedly insert unsourced or poorly sourced contentious biographical material about living persons to articles or talk pages may be blocked for disruption. Blocks made for this reason are designed to keep the material off the page until it is written and sourced in accordance with the content policies and should therefore be kept short in the first instance. Repeated infractions should attract longer blocks. Warning and block templates may be placed on the user's talk page: {{blp1}}, {{blp2}}, and {{blp3}}. See the section on disruption above.

[edit] Bans

Main article: Policy:Banning

Banned users are typically blocked from editing all or parts of BattleTechWiki. They may be banned by Admin consensus or singularly by founder Nicjansma.

There have been situations where a user has exhausted the community's patience to the point where he or she finds themselves banned. Administrators who block in these cases should be sure that there is widespread community support for the block, and should note the block on BattleTechWiki:Administrators as part of the review process. Additionally, "community ban" wording should be noted in the block log. With such support, the user is considered banned and must be listed on BattleTechWiki:List of banned users (under "Community"). Community bans must be supported by a strong consensus and should never be enacted based on agreement between a mere handful of Admins or users.

[edit] Evasion of blocks

A blocked user cannot edit any pages other than his/her own talk page. An Admin may restart the block of a user who intentionally evades a block, and may extend the original block if the user commits further blockable acts. Accounts and IPs used in evading a block may also be blocked.

Edits made by blocked users while blocked may be reverted. (Admins can revert all edits from blocked users and re-make the good edits under their own names, to avoid confusing other admins who may be monitoring the same users.)

[edit] Effects of being blocked

Blocked users and IP addresses can still see all BattleTechWiki pages, but the "Edit this page" link brings up a "User is blocked" page with the reason behind the block (as entered by the blocking admin) and how to request unblocking. Links and template includes all work as normal in the "reason" section. Blocked users are also prevented from moving pages or uploading files.

When a blocked user attempts to edit, their IP is "autoblocked", so that the user may not make the same edit anonymously or under a different username. Autoblocks expire after 24 hours — when a username is blocked indefinitely, their IP will be automatically unblocked 24 hours after he or she last attempted to edit a page.

For Admins, being blocked also restricts their ability to use rollback, to delete and undelete pages, and to protect and unprotect pages. They can still add and remove blocks, and bureaucrats can still make someone a sysop.

[edit] Accidental blocks

Users with dynamic IPs will occasionally find that they have been blocked accidentally, because their IP or range was previously used by a vandal or hard-banned user. These blocks may disappear if IP change can be forced. If that is not possible, the block should be reported to the blocking Admin and/or the nearest friendly sysop via email.

Admins can often let the accidentally-blocked Editor through by undoing only the autoblocking of the IP. (Don't forget to let the blocking Admin know of the collateral damage.)

Users who act so as to impersonate a previously banned user, to impersonate a known vandal, or to pretend to be engaging in vandalism, are also likely to be blocked. To avoid this problem, don't do this. Edit so as to demonstrate your trustworthiness, not to put up a fa├žade of untrustworthiness.

[edit] When blocking may not be used

Blocking to gain an advantage in a content dispute is strictly prohibited. Admins must not block Editors with whom they are currently engaged in a content dispute. If in doubt, report the problem to other Admins to act on.

Very brief blocks, for instance of one second, are sometimes used for the purpose of recording warnings or other negative events in a user's block log. This practice can be seen as humiliating, and is not approved, except for making notes that are in the user's own interest. For instance, when a wrongful block has originally been placed, a one-second block can later be added by the same admin in order to record an apology, or acknowledgement of mistake.

Caution should be exercised before blocking users who may be acting in good faith.

[edit] Instructions to admins

[edit] How to block

The "reason" that the administrator fills in will be displayed to the blocked user when he attempts to edit, as well as appearing in the block log and the block list. If it is not for an obvious reason, or if more than one line is needed to explain the block, the administrator may record the block at BattleTechWiki:Administrators.

Users should be notified of blocks on their talk pages. That way, other Editors will be aware that the user is blocked, and will not expect responses to talk page comments.

[edit] Options for IP blocks

Block anonymous users only prevents anonymous users from the target IP address from editing, but allows registered users to edit. Prevent account creation prevents new accounts from being registered from the target IP address. These options have no effect on username blocks.

In some cases, an IP may be shared by administrators who want to be notified before blocks are placed on them (so that they may finish any administrative work). As such, you may want to check the IP's user page or talk page and select "block anonymous users only".

[edit] Guide to blocking times

The block time can be selected from the menu, or entered in the GNU standard format. Alternatively, a block may be "indefinite", meaning the block is permanent, until an Admin explicitly unblocks the account.

If no expiry time is entered, an error message will be displayed.

The times below are convention, based on protection of BattleTechWiki rather than punishment of the offender. They are guidelines — if you have done something clearly blockable, demanding the blocking Admin's head for giving you 3 days instead of 1 is unlikely to be taken seriously.

A block for disruption on a dynamic IP is usually up to 24 hours. Static IPs and logged-in users: start at 1 day, increase gradually if it starts again. Blocks less than 24 hours, often known as cool-down blocks, are more likely to be controversial the shorter they are. Indefinite blocks should not be used on IPs; many IPs are dynamically assigned and change frequently from one person to the next, and even static IP addresses are re-assigned or have different users. Longer IP blocks on the order of months or years can be warranted in cases of long-term recurrent disruption or spamming, but are not to be used for isolated incidents of disruption from IP addresses, nor at first against user accounts that make a mixture of disruptive and useful edits.

Some types of disruption have more established guidelines:

  • Vandalism — Blocks should not be used against isolated incidents of vandalism. Dynamic IPs: up to 24 hours. AOL IPs and range blocks: start at 2 hours, and 1 week at most, to avoid collateral damage. User accounts with persistent violations may be blocked progressively longer and even indefinitely.
  • Personal attacks — Blocks should not normally be used against general incivility or isolated incidents of personal attacks. Again, dynamic IPs: up to 24 hours. AOL IPs and range blocks: start at 2 hours, and 1 week at most, to avoid collateral damage. User accounts with persistent violations may be blocked progressively longer and even indefinitely.
  • 3RR violations — Generally 24 hours in the first instance; longer for repeated or aggravated violations. A notice of the block should be left on the user's talk page.
  • Inappropriate usernames — If malicious (e.g. impersonation of another user), the name should be indefinitely blocked at sight; IP address should be left autoblocked. If not (e.g. name of a celebrity), consider warning a user before blocking and remember to include Template:Template in the "reason" field with a link to any discussion. If the username is not malicious, please uncheck the " Automatically block the last IP address used by this user, and any subsequent addresses they try to edit from" checkbox on the Block page
  • Abusive sockpuppets — New accounts may be blocked for any length of time or permanently; sockpuppets for violating policy should be blocked permanently.
  • Public accounts — These should be blocked with a block message pointing out that public accounts are not needed.
  • Bots — Bots are supposed to be blocked at sight if they do anything they're not cleared for at WP:BOT, or if broken somehow. Initial blocks should last 24 hours, which should be sufficient time to allow the operator of the bot to respond to a talk page message. Remember to disable autoblock, as otherwise you may also block the bot's operator too.
  • Personal attacks which place users in danger — This includes publishing personal details. Blocks are generally indefinite.

[edit] Shared IPs

Before implementing a long-term block on an IP address with a long history of vandalism, please check if it is shared by performing a w:WHOIS and w:Reverse DNS lookup query on the IP to determine if it belongs to a school or a w:proxy server. If a Shared IP's talk page is not already identified or tagged as such, use either the {{SharedIPEDU}} or {{SharedIP}} templates to do so. For anonymous-only blocks of Shared IPs, please consider using {{anonblock}} or {{schoolblock}} as your blocking reason.


[edit] Range blocks

These are sometimes used when a problem user responds to several IP blocks by changing IP address. They will affect at least some legitimate users, so should only be used when the disruptive behavior is frequent and severe enough to make other methods ineffective. Use careful judgement and make them as brief as possible.

You need some knowledge of how networks and IP numbering work, and of binary arithmetic. If you don't, many other admins do - ask on BattleTechWiki:Administrators. See Range blocks.

[edit] Unblocking

Special:Ipblocklist contains a list of all currently blocked users and IPs. Admins will see a link to (unblock) next to each user. After clicking this, you should type in the reason that you are unblocking the user and then click the Unblock this address button.

Admins are technically able to unblock themselves by following this procedure but should absolutely not do so unless they were autoblocked as a result of a block on some other user (or bot) with which they share an IP. Otherwise, if an admin feels they were not blocked for a valid reason, they should contact the blocking Admin or another Admin and ask to be unblocked. Self-unblocking without a convincingly good reason has resulted in several users losing their Admin privileges.

[edit] If you disagree with a block

If you disagree with a block placed by another Admin, do not unblock without first attempting to contact the blocking Admin and discussing the matter. If the blocking Admin is unavailable for comment a discussion on BattleTechWiki:Administrators is recommended. Blocked users sometimes e-mail several Admins claiming to be the victims of an unjust block, and because it is not always obvious from the blocked user's contributions what the problem was, it is a matter of courtesy and common sense to consult the blocking Admin if they are available.

Exceptions to this would be where an unambiguous error has been made (not a judgment call) and the blocking Admin is not online. If the blocking Admin is not available, you should notify the blocking Admin on his or her talk page and possibly a note to BattleTechWiki:Administrators.

[edit] Controversial blocks

Blocks may be damaging when consensus proves elusive. Examples include:

  • blocks of logged-in users with a substantial history of valid contributions, regardless of the reason for the block
  • blocks that, while possibly wise, lack policy basis.
  • short term or cool-down blocks, e.g. if a user is angry about something controversial, blocking that user will rarely cool him or her down

Once you are convinced that a block is warranted, the recommended procedure for controversial blocks is:

  1. Check the facts with care.
  2. Reread appropriate parts of Policy:Blocking.
  3. Contact other Administrators to sanity-check your reasoning, preferably on BattleTechWiki:Administrators.
  4. After receiving feedback, place the block, wording the "reason" message with care and without jargon, and include a link to the user page of the user being blocked.
  5. Place a notice of the block on the talk page of the affected user, with additional rationale, outlining the facts and the part of the blocking policy you feel applies.
  6. Stay around to discuss the block with other BattleTechWiki Editors.
  7. If an act or acts of disruption do not warrant a 1 day block, consider a warning or posting to BattleTechWiki:Administrators before issuing a short term block. (Someone may well block them longer than you would have!)
  8. If in doubt, don't block.

Block wars, in which a user is repeatedly blocked and unblocked, are extremely harmful. They frustrate and disappoint seasoned BattleTechWiki Editors and encourage further bad behavior from the blocked user. If you disagree with a block, discuss the matter with the blocking Admin and others, and try to reach a consensus, rather than unblocking — the blocking Admin is likely to know more about the background of the situation than you do.