Wikibooks:Policies and guidelines/Vote/Blocking policy

Please review the policy under discussion before voting.

Key PointsEdit

  • Definitions of who and when to block
  • How to handle unblocking and unblock requests
  • Proper demeanor when handling a block situation and admin responsibilities
  • Discusses how and when to unblock, and how to handle an unblock request
  • Specifies who can block/unblock to prevent wheel wars among admins


  • Only registered users with at least 20 edits can vote.
  • Vote ends one week after the last posting or consensus has clearly been reached.
  • Add votes in the format #~~~~


I'm closing this vote as failed and the proposal as needing more work. --darklama 17:41, 6 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. withinfocus 15:26, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Whiteknight (talk) (projects) 15:33, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Webaware talk 15:46, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Celestianpower 22:05, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. --Panic 18:57, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. Xania  talk 20:21, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. --SB_Johnny | talk 16:09, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. dark lama 14:34, 22 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. Herby talk thyme 16:00, 22 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. Iamunknown 03:01, 25 April 2007 (UTC) Precludes non-administrators in discussions, too many absolutisms, does not indicate that blocking should be to protect Wikibooks and should not be a punitive action or that blocking should not be used by administrators to gain an upper hand in a content dispute.Reply[reply]



(Moved from my talk page) I'm content with the policy except on the unblock and probably the Be Bold wording. --Panic 04:54, 17 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What specifically about those things do you not like? constructive criticism is very valuable in matters like this. --Whiteknight (talk) (projects) 19:00, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Selection of the method or the process shouldn't be so clearly stated as depending only on the administrator that performed the block (he may not be available or unwilling to support the action, the only escape route is point 3 and finding a supporting administrator/user to post the request for evaluation may be seen as going against the original administrator, the one that performed the action. Because of that fact some sort of careful wording needs to be in place, users aren't obligated to interfere but the actual wording makes very hard to anyone to give any help, it makes it seem very confrontational) and a safeguard should be given to good-behavior or to help people that were wrongly blocked, for example if a user has been contributing and was blocked on a "personal interpretation" of policy or even claiming to have been victim of miss ID, we should be inclusive and give freedom to the user to further validate the block reason (engage in actions that are clearly specified) or work within the rules and so prove good will to participate. --Panic 19:17, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The idea behind preferring an admin to undo his own block is to prevent wheel-warring, or admins fighting with each other. If we say that an admin can't' unblock a blocked user, it will prevent admins from trying. If the mess with your block, panic, showed us anything, it's that lots of admins are willing to use that block tool without getting consensus first. A few people probably could have gotten in trouble over that incident, but because of the heat of the moment a few mistakes were excused.
Also, this policy provides a section all about unblocking, where a user can edit their talk page to request an unblock and to work to that goal in a civil and orderly way. Without this policy, there is no proceedure for unblocking a person, and for alot of blocked people that means that there will be no hope whatsoever of returning. --Whiteknight (talk) (projects) 20:48, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not happy with this policy. I don't like "Wikibooks also does not have a "three strike" rule, so a vandal may be blocked immediately following their first offense". I feel we should do our part to encourage people onto the project and we should never block for a first offence. Also "unblocking users is not an area where admins should be bold in making unilateral decisions" is not exactly a great statement either. Blocks are normally "bold" decisions as we don't have a straw poll before we block someone. Likewise it's possible for an unblock to be a bold decision also. Many administrators will refuse to get involved in such discussions meaning that consensus will be difficult to achieve. Also I disagree with blocking open proxies as these are used for many valid reasons especially in countries where Wikibooks is blocked and countries where Internet use is heavily monitored. Xania  talk 20:25, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whether we like it or not, we do block vandals on their first offense. You also have to pay attention to the distinction between a "vandal" and a user who makes a problem edit. When we talk about blocking on the first offense, we are talking about vandals, not difficult, misguided, or new users.
And as to the boldness thing, I think that being bold in blocking is a terrible thing. You do not block without strong justification, you do not unblock without the same, and when in doubt you always ask for help or even try to reach consensus. Admins being bold and blocking/unblocking leads to dangerous wheel wars, and frankly I think that admins who do that should be de-admined on the spot. The open proxy thing is not even up for debate.
Besides the addition of the section on unblocking (which we dont have a process for yet), and the warning against wheel warring, there isn't anything in this policy that changes the way we do things around here. Opposing this policy wont stop the open proxy blocks, it wont stop people from blocking vandals on their first offense, and it wont stop admins from being reprimanded for wheel-warring. --Whiteknight (talk) (projects) 20:43, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Great arguement :) So basically is there any point in voting on this policy if you say that nothing will change and we can't debate the open proxy blocks? And who says we can't debate such a thing anyway? One other point I take issue with is permanent blocks which should NEVER happen unless they are serial spammers - everyone can be reformed. Xania  talk 20:49, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is mostly just an instance of writing policy to reflect current community actions. Alot of this content was spun off of the WB:ADMIN policy, in an effort to make that policy smaller and more nimble (it's easier to make changes to multiple smaller documents then to a single all-important one). That's part of the reason why many things won't change, because alot of this is already policy. The unblock thing i think is really important to add, even if we dont accept this entire proposal. If we don't reach consensus on this proposal, I will definately want to add the ublock section to the WB:ADMIN policy.
As to the open proxy thing, i suppose we can debate it but i dont know if there is a point. I need some clarification on that, but i'm pretty sure that blocking open proxies is a WMF policy, not a local one. I'm under the impression that it isnt something that we can change. --Whiteknight (talk) (projects) 21:05, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Xania, I support the 3RR if that is what you are referring to but I have a problem with that (it can be easily bypassed) I had posted about that on the talk page of the policy, and I know Whiteknight opposes it, but the text clearly blocks any block at first offense (expressly stated), as for the open proxy, the text is very permissive but states that they can be blocked on sight (if a user gives a good enough reason I believe that it would be a base for unblock (good will), I will keep my vote of support (at least this text will avoid blocks like the ones performed on me in the past) and addresses some information that wasn't present, but I will change my vote if it will help rewrite it to address for instance the 3RR (I like it as a final resolution to edit disputes, it preserves the status quo and would have resolved my problems (but would also remove the need for discussion, what can be seen as good and bad). --Panic 23:02, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Any user who uses sock puppets or meat puppets to try to influence discussion or decisions, or breaks any policy or guideline should be blocked indefinitely along with all their sock puppets and meat puppet accounts." Does this really mean what it says, and is that really the intent? To parse: Any user who uses sock puppets (and) breaks any guideline 'should' be blocked indefinitely. I can't agree to that. --xixtas talk 23:29, 20 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good catch, "uses sock puppets or meat puppets to try to influence discussion or decisions" would be a valid block and probably "should be blocked indefinitely" (note that should isn't equal to must and protection is given to the first offense, it goes beyond questionable behavior to with intent try to fix a discussion, since with the actual way the decission process is run, numbers do have importance), using a puppet to break a policy or even a guideline also demonstrates bad intentions, any user can break guidelines if a good enough justification is given (almost any justification can be used but for the change to be reversed the community would have to opose it, and most will not result in a block if the user is clear about his intentions, ie: not using a puppet), and any block is granted acess to the unblock so if a wrong block is performed in step 3 the community can lift it). So the idea is to prevent a misrepresentation of actions only, but probably a rewording could make it clearer, probably stating "community discussions or decisions" as for policy (they can't be broken and using a puppet to do it seem acting in an even higher level of bad intention)... --Panic 00:09, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So then fix it ... Small things like this are not show-stoppers. That really is minor. -withinfocus 01:23, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess consensus will be the ultimate solution to this, but I think you fundamentally misunderstand the role blocking holds on wikis. I expected you to understand not being bold about unblocking quite clearly after the Panic "block saga" since that was a very jeopardizing action. Being bold in that situation makes admins like rogues and we can't have that. Like Whiteknight said this is a policy that's already being used essentially and is becoming formalized; we're just trying to write it down. -withinfocus 01:27, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Under the letter of this policy, SB_Johnny (who has sock puppets) should be blocked indefinitely if he is uncivil (which he has been in the past). This is absolutely not the way the policy is currently applied. --xixtas talk 03:13, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You made a small grammatical change to reflect what the user who originally wrote that section actually meant. I fully believe that was a misunderstanding of the use of comma and was probably just overlooked. Having those two logically separate actions in the section about puppets is obviously just an error. The vote now includes this change which I thank you for correcting. A section about puppets clearly should discuss actions related to puppets and the current diff reflects what admins do and have done in the past. -withinfocus 05:41, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I voted "oppose"... not that I think it's a bad policy, but because having any policy on blocking serves no other purpose than to open us up to wikilawyering. en.Wikipedia has blocking policies (several, in fact), and they are plagued by this. Commons has no policies on this, and we do pretty well (and commons is almost as large as en.Wikipedia now!) --SB_Johnny | talk 16:12, 21 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I voted "oppose", because I don't think this should be a policy, but rather a guideline as has been discussed previously on the talk page for the proposal. --dark lama 14:34, 22 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  Comment I think this policy is nowhere near having consensus. Even with the "minor" change I advocated for, I still have major reservations about this policy (well expressed by SB_Johnny and darklama). I think we would be better served with a much more general document. I think that's clear and we should pull this policy from voting and head back to the consensus building process. --xixtas talk 15:21, 22 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Then clear the page and all that if you wish. It's amazing how little gets done when something here is in a workable state and how much show-stopping criticism arises when it's time to make a real decision. I guess the solution is to have voting and discussion on voting and discussion to see if we can do more voting and discussion. -withinfocus 15:47, 22 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Gee, I wonder why this kind of reaction is directed at me instead of someone who actually has voted against the policy? (Not really, the reason why is obvious.) --xixtas talk 03:36, 23 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Under the guideline for voting my vote would have no effect at this stage so I will only comment. The project is almost four years old and it is only because there has been little real trouble that it has got away with not having a policy on blocking (or a real voting policy for that matter). If we had a real method of voting, such as is used in the world in general, where a specified majority (51%, 60% etc.) would cause a decision to be made, then the blocking policy could be as simple as: "An admin may block a user for a specified time for the following violations.... A user may appeal, if the subsequent vote upholds the appeal the block will be lifted.". This is democracy - governing bodies make decisions and the masses approve or reject them with a majority vote.

It seems to me that the lack of a voting policy is pivotal to the problems that we are having in dealing with any problem. RobinH 08:18, 2 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In practice other wikis do not necessarily have blocking policies and get by fine (Commons for example with far greater traffic). While I know there have been difficulties here all admin actions are "public" and reversible. --Herby talk thyme 08:25, 2 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]