Block and Ban policy

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Forums: Index WoWWiki policy Block and Ban policy

In the course of a discussion elsewhere, I was astonished to be presented with this concept:

When you've been blocked, that usually means you are disallowed from partaking in the normal affairs of the wiki.

My belief has been that being blocked was limited to the specific technical restrictions enforced by the block. I have had no reason to believe that such a sweeping statement as the above was held to be true. More astonishing as the particular page involved was a user's own talk page.

A cursory look to wikipedia located Banning policy and Blocking policy. As I found no equivalent pages here, the discussion cannot be resolved conclusively - there is reasonable doubt about intentions and intended effect.

I very much dislike the open-endedness that not having a written statement on the purposes and intents of blocking and banning permit. Similarly, I found a one-sentence description under "Appealing a block". I found that both unhelpful (I don't use IM) and undescriptive of any process. Such details would easily belong on a "blocking policy" page. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 22:44, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

The aforementioned concept came from here and this. How many policies and guidelines do we need to tailor around Rolandius? My opinion: None. This is a unique case, and we do not need more rules unless we have whole Rolandius sections. What Rolandius does to his talk page says "Hey, I am banned, so can you make these edits for me?" Is this an inherently bad thing? No, some of his suggestions were even taken, but it shows that Rolandius does not changes his ways, even when he can not enact them. To him, a ban seems more of an inconvenience than an impediment. This whole 'Block and Ban policy' will just be used to keep one controversial user treated in a way that keeps the unbiased happy.--SWM2448 23:19, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Right, as admins, we are not in the business of tailoring policy to address one specific user who has been blocked on and off for over a year now. Yes, being blocked is only limited to the technical restrictions enforced by the block, but further abuse (e.g., basically thumbing your nose at the admins by being belligerent on your talk page) may cause more restrictions to be placed. Note that most of the existent vandalism/blocking policy serves only as a guide to admins about how much to tolerate before blocking a certain amount of time - most of it is still left up to the admin. For bans, we generally leave talk pages open for the afore-mentioned appeal, but if the user becomes increasingly belligerent (or basically tries to ignore or evade the block by spamming their talk page) then we shut them down. Feel free to proceed with a policy change vote if you would like, but you should not tie the admins' hands too much, the admins are here to keep the wiki clean, not rule like dictators. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 23:57, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Rolandius is also a special case because he was singled out for blocks and bans without actually violating policy in many cases. There has been too much discussion over Rolandius, but a set of rules for both Rolandius and the admins behavior was set forth and violated by both sides (please don't ask me to document this, but I will if asked). Any suggested proposals on a ban/block policy are welcome. I will add however that one of the reasons for my "sabbatical" are because I got sick of the whole way ban/blocking has been dealt with. I still think WoWWiki is a great site, but it seems to be in decline in my opinion. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 5:20 PM PST 9 Jul 2009
It's true that Rolandius haven't been blocked every time because of violating policy, but does everything he's getting told about have to be specifically on a policy page? His behavior of going into wikilawyering mode after he's been told about something that isn't specifically in a policy page isn't something that should be tolerated, neither is the way he's looking for people's comments when he's bringing up a subject on his own talk page that doesn't belong there. You have to assume that the admins assume good faith when they do that. He's too much of an annoyance and nuisance to be tolerated after everything that he's done to aggravate the admins and other uses of this wiki, whether it is intentional or not. You may not agree with the justification of his ban, after going blanket editing, mass moving of pages, removing of citations and other things. Simply put, we don't want Rolandius here on WoWWiki. --User:Gourra/Sig2 06:16, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Everything he's getting told about? Only if you intend it to be WOWWiki policy. And if you don't, why are you enforcing it as if it were? I suggest, Gourra, what you and SWM are saying is "blocking isn't working, he's still too disruptive for us, we want him banned". But sans a banning policy of any sort, that would be an arbitrary decision (that is: based on individual judgement/discression). Again, look up the wikipedia policies and see how loose they are. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 19:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

It is characteristic of the Rolandius case that everything seems to devolve to "how does this relate to Rolandius?". I declined to initially post the source for the concept precisely because it would quickly devolve to that. I am not precisely pleased to see the accuracy of my prognostication. As I had more than a single point in my intial post, I'll break this into sections, for those particular subjects I would like to see addressed. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 19:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Sorry for posting it then... I was trying to add context, and I did not know it was the wrong context. I ask: "how does this relate to any other user but Rolandius in the history of WoWWiki?". I still think this is a unique case. My answer to the question you posed below: "Would you react the same way to a person NOT under a ban posting the same content in the same place?" No. "Why not?" No one ever has. He wants to edit so much (Likely for the reasons we all do) that he does not simply wait until his ban is up to continuing editing. If anyone else has this attitude, then they are considerably less 'annoying' about it. I am not saying I want him banned, but I do not care at this point and have tried to lay out what I see. If Rolandius and events/processes related to him can truly be removed from this, the wiki may benefit from a page about how blocks and bans are handled, but it is usually common sense.--SWM2448 20:12, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
"Simply put, we don't want Rolandius here on WoWWiki." By "we", you mean around 3 people. Rolandius Paladin (talk - contr) 07:02, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Not helpful to the discussion at hand, Rolandius. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 20:02, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Voice your opinion: Should WoWWiki have a formal ban/block policy at all?

Should WoWWiki have a formal ban/block policy at all?

The poll was created at 19:48 on July 10, 2009, and so far 15 people voted.

This is a poll, not a policy decision. Adjust or add to the voting options as you feel useful to you.

WoWWiki currently has no formally defined policies on blocking, and (as far as I can see) no distinction between blocking and banning. I propose we start with the Wikipedia blocking and banning policies, and incorporate any specific measures mentioned on current policy pages. The goal is to have an objective standard that can both seen as fair and consistent, and permit sufficient room for administrative judgment.

A further vote to accept, modify, or reject policies should be held once the incorporation is completed. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 19:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Appealing a block

Admins: Please describe how one goes about the process. Do you have to appeal directly to the admin who created the block? To ANY admin (or to several)? Are you restricted to using your talk page, or can you use other measures (IM, email if you know it, etc)? What is a reasonable time frame? (IE is it even practical to appeal a 3 or 7 day block, considering that even admins are volunteers here?)--Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 19:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Users can appeal on their talk page (if that is un-blocked), by e-mail (Special:Emailuser if that is unblocked, otherwise direct if the admin provides their e-mail), or by IRC, or whatever (if another avenue of communication is available), to any admin. You can appeal any block, just depends on if it's worth the time to bother with it for both the admin and the user. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 20:00, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
By the way, appealing does happen. However, the speediness of the response is not so reliable. I consider a block that is only documented in the block log comments (which are usually only available to admins) a good grounds to overrturn on an appeal. Since we have no clear policy on blocking and unblocking outside of vandalism and DNP, blocking is also open to abuse. The difference between admin abuse and normal abuse is that trying to address admin abuse usually starts a wheel war. Of course, bureaucrats and higher ups can end wheel wars if they want. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 2:04 PM PST 10 Jul 2009

Pcj - could your comments be added to the section on "appealing a block" on the vandalism page?
Fandyllic - In cases you describe, a comment on the affected user's talk page, documenting the reason for the block or unblock, would that help avert such wars? As well as reducing the profit to "admin shopping". --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 20:02, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Added. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 18:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

The "Misusing a talk page" issue

but if ... (or basically tries to ignore or evade the block by spamming their talk page) then we shut them down.

Please note that I am deliberately separating issues here. Issues of belligerence are in the category of "disruptive behavior", and should (I feel) be discussed separately.

Generally, a talk page -and user talk pages in particular- has been considered "free space". That is, unless actual vandalism or disruption is occurring, a user is free to put what they want on their user page and their talk page. (Some of my own comments on the issue can be found through one of those links SWM listed.)

I feel that this is at distinct odds with the above quote. Pose the question: would you react the same way to a person NOT under a ban posting the same content in the same place. If the answer is "no", then the followup question is "why not?" The answer belongs as part of the discussion on blocking.

I submit that if the answer is "yes", then it becomes not a matter of guidelines, but of policy: The reaction to action X is being blocked from doing that, end of discussion. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 19:26, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Talk pages are generally "free" (minus anything DNP or whatever is blocked wiki-wide). When a user has been blocked, the talk page is one of the avenues left open for appeal, and when a user misuses that privilege (by trying to "continue editing") it can also be taken away. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 19:55, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
How can a blocked user "continue editing" and therefore be accused of misuse? This doesn't make sense to me. Do you mean editing their own talk page? --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 1:56 PM PST 10 Jul 2009
Yes, like Rolandius does. He is not appealing the ban but more trying to subvert it, for him personally it is like he cannot stay away from editing. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 20:59, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
So you're saying an attempt to appeal can also get you banned? --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 3:09 PM PST 10 Jul 2009
No. I am saying using a talk page as a way to continue editing (by requesting other people to do it for you) while being banned is not acceptable. Blocked users are blocked, the user talk page during that block should be mainly left to appeals regarding the ban (as well as possibly responding to any questions given the user by other editors). Perhaps Wikipedia can explain it better: "A minority of editors who are blocked use these privileges poorly, for personal attack or to play games and make a point. Inevitably the response to such actions is simple - editing access is blocked in its entirety and without further discussion, whereas if the user had been responsible and reasonable, an entirely different result might well have happened." If we need a policy to dictate to admins what seems to me to be common sense, then so be it. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 22:20, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
As we've seen many times, "common sense" is a myth. Also, from WoWWiki:About: WoWWiki is not a copy of Wikipedia — we do many things differently.
Regardless of the reason, ban/blocks without an explanation seems like a bad thing. Wikipedia is not without its flaws and in my opinion its administration is one of its major flaws. Unaudited use of Oversight, rampant favoritism, unequal treatment, cabals, using policy to increase errors in articles rather than decrease them, etc. Saying something is common sense is often just a way of saying "if you agree with me." --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 3:31 PM PST 10 Jul 2009
Your fear of Oversight and Wikipedia bureaucracy reeks of conspiracy theories. We are not Wikipedia but a lot of our policies are adopted from them. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 22:34, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Alot of our policies are not adopted from them. Before your time, there was a person who tried to push lots of Wikipedia policy and practice onto Wikipedia. Failing, he left. From my historical view, his failure was good for WoWWiki. Wikipedia is a good model to observe for its successes and its failures. Too many people look at Wikipedia's size and equate that with meaning they've reached some ideal wiki state. I have no opposition to borrowing what works well from Wikipedia, I just don't think the statement "Wikipedia does it this way," should be given more credit than it is due. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 3:40 PM PST 10 Jul 2009
I agree that Wikipedia does some things differently, but still they are a good basis to at least start from. I don't advocate wholesale importing of all Wikipedia policies by any means, but I was trying to explain the way I look at talk page blocking. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 23:04, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

I think you should both be highly involved, if we decide we do need an explicit block and/or ban policy. I pointed to wikipedia as a place to start from simply to avoid chipping my own wheel out of unformed rock. You guys have a better handle on how the tire should look, having been in the trenches already. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 20:02, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

We need to agree on something first. Perhaps a reason there isn't a policy is because there is no consensus yet. I'd like to see some proposals before I comment further. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 6:19 PM PST 13 Jul 2009
Agreed. What is the customary means of developing a policy proposal? How is consensus achieved on it? And how do you ensure enough parties are paying attention to it to make it inclusive enough? --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 18:16, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
See WoWWiki:Policy votes. --PcjWoWWiki admin (TDrop me a line!C58,926 contributions and counting) 18:42, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Or: WoWWiki:Policy status phases. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 5:15 PM PST 20 Jul 2009
Another reference: WoWWiki:Projects. What I see on the votes/status phases pages involves the steps after it is in shape to be voted on. Perhaps I simply view the process oddly, but I'd like for there to be consensus on the form of a policy before it actually goes up for a vote.
To that end: Please view and edit User:Eirik Ratcatcher/Ban and Block policy, each of you, until we are collectively satisfied with it. If you feel it appropriate, transfer it to a 'public' project page and name. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 21:54, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Quick thought: I think "WoWWiki:List of banned users" is covered by WoWWiki:Violations or Special:BlockList.--SWM2448 21:57, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Violations, I would guess as apropos. BlockList sounds like a functional list of the wikiware, and apropos only of Blocks, not bans per se. Feel free to edit my policy project page. That's what it's there for. I just lack courage to put it in a suitable public space. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 22:34, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
I still think a vote to ban/block a user should never be done besides this once. It never needed to be done before, and could cause users to gang up on each other.--SWM2448 22:56, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Given sufficient time, there is no such thing as "once". Perhaps what you are saying is, "I think this instance is exceptional enough to justify a vote, but that this is a first for WoWwiki." Another fact to chew: The active Wikipedia arbitration committee is larger than our pool of active and semiactive administrators together. That's how small we are, or how big they are. It is reasonable that a "one in 5 million" occurrence for them is a "never happened before" to us. --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 23:25, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Could we get a pared down version of User:Eirik Ratcatcher/Ban and Block policy that has less Wikipedia-like infrastructure assumptions? As it is, there are so many exceptions it is hard even to see how to edit it without knowing how the many, many assumptions could change. I'm also concerned about the repeated, but undefined use of the word "uninvolved". This word seems to be used with the presumption that is a good thing (I'm not saying it isn't in some cases), so it really needs to be defined. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 1:36 PM PST 22 Jul 2009

More participation needed

Expecially admins. So far it seems like I'm the only admin who's edited User:Eirik Ratcatcher/Ban and Block policy or commented about it. Comments about how this proposed policy would work if we had it in place today would also be interesting to hear. Personally, I think it would be violated repeatedly in parts, if we had it today. Perhaps that's why some admins don't want to participate. --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 11:32 AM PST 24 Jul 2009

Why don't you or Eiriki (or whoever) just be bold, write it, put it in the mainspace, and start a ratification vote and be done with it. Just Alerting You Small Howbizr(t·c) 9:58 AM, 25 Jul 2009 (EDT)
I don't want to do it and Eirik Ratcatcher specifically said he doesn't want to throw it up without some sort of consensus. I'm pretty sure there isn't one (see Forum:Permaban Rolandius?). --Gengar orange 22x22Beware the sneaky smile! Fandyllic (talk · contr) 12:40 AM PST 26 Jul 2009

Policy on threats?

I would like to justapose User_talk:Stidjen#Vandalism with the languishing and not-yet-presented Ban and Block policy. I have found no reference to such things in existing policies. The closest I have seen refers to "be polite". Have I simply overlooked it? --Eirik Ratcatcher (talk) 21:32, September 24, 2009 (UTC)

It might be covered by WoWWiki:DNP policy#Defamatory_or_false_content, but the word "threat" is not used... Anything that is certain to be intimidating behavior or harassment is not allowed. I also found this guideline.--SWM2448 00:14, September 25, 2009 (UTC)

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