This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was Wookieepedia:Blocking policy made policy - discuss changes on its talk pages. —Silly Dan(talk) 23:11, 25 September 2006 (UTC)
Basically, this topic concerns the creation of a new, unified blocking policy. Under the current system, admins pretty much have free reign (to quote, a "free-for-all") and this is reflected in block lengths. Depending on which admin is online and what mood they are in, vandals can get drastically different lengths of time, even for doing the same thing. Note that what we are proposing is not a set of rules, but rather a set of guidelines for admins to follow. Vandalism is often difficult to pigeon-hole, and much should be left to admin discretion. However, consistent disregard for these guidelines by an admin would be a cause of concern, and perhaps be grounds for action.
This issue was brought up in our last meeting, but we decided to move it over here. Also, at this point, I think it would be best if we brain-stormed for a while before moving to a formal vote, to ensure that all aspects of the situation can be discussed. RMF 14:13, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, to lead this off, I have a few points. First and foremost, we need to lighten up on IP vandals considerably. Although the person's vandalism might deserve a lengthy (or infinite) ban, what we are forgetting is that IPs are most often dynamic – they change each time the cable modem/router/normal modem establishes a connection. So, when we throw down an infinite block, most likely we are only blocking that particular vandal for a few days, until his IP changes (or, if the vandal is tech-savvy at all, until he gets himself a new IP by other means). I propose a system similar to Wikipedia and Uncyc, where blocks build on each other: for the first offense, they get a 24-hr ban. For the second, it gets upped to a week. If the vandal won't let up, it can be extended to a month, but at this point the vandal will probably either have lost interest or changed IPs long before. Under no circumstances should an IP ban last longer than 3 months. It is very easy to check a user's contribs (not to mention the block log), so using a "building policy" of this sort would be very easy. Username blocks should be stricter, as we know that the only person affected by the block is the vandal in question (in most cases at least, autoblocks could be the exception here). Also, for anything but the most serious and blatant vandalism, I think we should warn before blocking (although in the past few weeks we have gotten much better about this). Finally (for now), I propose that we go through Special:Ipblocklist and unblock some of the "infinite" IP blocks from way back. Like I said before, if they continue to vandalize (which is extremely unlikely by now) checking their contribs/block log makes it an easy matter to re-ban them. Thoughts? RMF 14:13, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with this. I also note that, historically, we've allowed registered users to get away with more than anonymous users do, although we punish registered users much more harshly. I'm not so sure about the former, but I agree with the latter, since the connection between a particular person and a registered account is much more likely to be one-to-one. —Silly Dan(talk) 14:28, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
There have been cases where multiple usernames share the same computer (and as such, an IP address). When one was banned, they all were, although I don't know if these cases were glitches in the system. I also propose that intentionally malicious vandalism (i.e. racial slurs, homophobic remarks, inappropriate profane/sexual remarks, etc) be banned infinitly, as these people are most likely not going to clean up their act. Yes there have been a few exceptions, but for the most part, these people just reoffend when their block expires. StarNeptuneTalk to me! 14:55, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
Another problem with permanent blocking of IPs is that I'm sure some people use public computers (at libraries, schools, etc) to contribute. Such computers are by their nature used by at least dozens of different people, and it would hardly be fair for them all to be banned because one is vandal. Red XIV 05:11, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, good point. I would also like to point out that the default autoblock variable is set to 24 hours, so when one username is blocked for 3 months, all the IPs used by that are only blocked for 24 hours. RMF 18:46, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I was wondering about that. Thanks. —Silly Dan(talk) 19:36, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
This is a bit of a loaded question, given that blocked users would have a hard time contacting us, but how many instances have we observed of interested users suffering do to the block on a shared IP (geographic or dynamic)? Also, what do blocked users see? Does it provide them a link to contact someone to learn about why the IP is blocked? --SparqMan 04:25, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
(1) Obviously, I can't give you any hard numbers about instances. I know it has happened on multiple occasions (I hesitate to say "many"), but I also know that many people would simply leave at the sight of the block notice and not try to contact an admin. (2) Blocked users see MediaWiki:Blockedtext (with the appropriate fields filled, of course), though this page needs to be beefed up heavily (compare with Wikipedia's version). As you can see, the only methods of contacting an admin are via e-mail (which requires the blocked user to have verified his e-mail, which is rare) or by posting on his (the blocked user's) talk page (this was added recently, only a couple of weeks ago). Hope this helps. RMF 04:37, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Since blocked users can edit their talk pages, this means that admins who block a user should now watch the blocked user's user page and talk page (possibly after adding the "banned" template.) —Silly Dan(talk) 04:42, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
(Some of) my thoughts on the matter:
The reasons for a block are always going to be subjective. There's no way to determine what constitutes "vandalism" or "abuse" except our own judgment, so people are just going to have to live with that.
We can't really wait for people to show up on the VIP page before we block them. Only a few "power" users ever seem to use that, and a vandal can do a lot of harm before he gets posted there. Sometimes (often) a block is going to be purely at an admin's discretion, with no other prior input on the matter.
One thing we don't need is a multiple-warning system like they have on Wikipedia. They can do multiple warnings because they have eleventeen squijillion administrators, we don't. I think one warning is more than enough.
We need to decide on default bans for certain types of abuse. I feel that malignant vandalism and deliberate fanon should be a week or two, "test" vandalism and well-meaning fanon should be 24-48 hours progressing to a week on a second offense. Again, this will be subjective, but it would be better than the seemingly random system we have now.
No IP should be banned longer than 3 months at a time, and we should make sure an IP isn't a dialup user before we set their time. If anyone doesn't know how to check that, they should ask somebody who can.
Templates and system messages already need to be revamped, and once this policy is complete they'll need an overhaul.
All the admins will need to be made fully aware of the policy once it's codified, and we're going to have to be consistent.
I have more ideas, but I need to make them appear coherent before I post them, which I can't do at the moment. -- Darth Culator 04:52, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
If someone posts fanon without knowing that it's fanon, I don't think they should be banned. Likewise the first time they post fanon prior to being told it's a no-no. And as to malignant vandals - I see no reason to either give them a warning or anything less than an infinite ban. Kuralyov 04:56, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
One warning should be enough for the innocent fanon posters, but they should get a slap on the virtual wrist if they ignore it or don't understand it. And malignant vandals can be perma-banned, but persistent fanoneers may just need a little sense knocked into them. Infinite username bans are fine if necessary, but IPs change on their own or can be made to change. Certain special cases will always be insta-perma-banned, like "on wheels" vandals. -- Darth Culator 05:03, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't like the idea of banning users who accidently add inappropriate info (like fanon or test pages). Heck, I posted a test page incorrectly not too long ago, and I had no idea it was in the wrong place until someone pointed it out to me. Does that mean the next time I screw up I should get a ban? Banning for accidental stuff is just going to put people off. --Rudy 04:40, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Some recent edits to the MediaWiki: namespace have changed the interface in such a way that I have trouble believing that people can post fanon or test pages accidentally. Just look right beneath the edit box: "Submitted content must be from a canon source and verifiable – this means no fanon." and "For testing, please use the Jundland Wastes sandbox instead." If someone ignores those then I have rew reservations about kicking them out the airlock. -- Darth Culator 05:17, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
I infinite ban those who are clearly a threat to the wiki, inc. all sockpuppets of Willys, Pelican, and whatnot. Those are obvious, however when it comes to IPs that are persistent, I admit that I've given plenty of infinite bans to them also, but only as a result of a zero tolerance I go by. Other users that continue to irritate but are not doing too much damage will generally get a lesser ban, from 3 days to 2 weeks. I do agree with the above statements and will support a less random system of bannination. -- Riffsyphon1024 06:07, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I pretty much agree with what's been said above. I'm gonna re-work this a bit and see what y'all think.
Exceptions can be made on these at the admin's discretion (e.g. "on wheels"); these are just guidelines.
Let's start with this and start tweaking it/adding to it.
I think we should be more lenient on fanon, and that's why I've proposed several layers there. 1) Some noobs don't know we don't allow fanon, and 2) even if they do, they may not know what's fanon and what's not.
Should we make it "Vandalism/abuse" in order to include things like what StarNeptune is talking about (racist comments, etc.)?
Am I being too lenient on the vandalism? WhiteBoy 22:41, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I like the framework; my only concern is the still-lengthy IP bans. As I mentioned above, the dynamic nature of IPs makes it likely that any blocks over several days will not affect the actual vandal, but rather some innocent person with the same ISP. In particular, the 24-hr --> 1 month jump seems particularly drastic. I've thrown together a page with my version of the table on User:Rmfitzgerald50/Vandalism (that sounds bad, doesn't it?), though I'm sure many of you will view it as far too lenient. :) I also agree that final authority should be left up to the admin, as stated above – but I also think that consistent and blatant disregard for these guidelines might be grounds for eventual action. RMF 03:01, 1 June 2006 (UTC)
I know about the dynamic IPs, so in affect the 24-hours is their one chance. If we want to give them a warning as you propose, I'm ok with that, but I see it as probably a waste of time and effort, assuming as I say below that the vandalism is obvious. By the time the one month rolls around, they have likely changed IP addresses. If they're from a university or something it will be the same IP even after a month, so we have the three month ban. After three months, hopefully they've moved on to get their kicks from elsewhere. The downside (and the reason we won't do permanent IP bans) is that, in the university example, it potentially blocks everyone from that university from our site. I agree with the last part RMF; my main point there is that if it's obviously part of another attack like "on wheels," the admin can jump directly to #3 or whatever they deem necessary. WhiteBoy 01:43, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
I think we should warn prior to blocking in most cases, though of course there are exceptions (spammers, page movers, etc). So, I guess we're in agreement on that. I'd also like to stress that blocking (in my opinion) should be a preventative measure to prevent future vandalism, not a punitive measure. And regarding blocks: blocked users aren't blocked from reading the site, only from editing it (you probably know this, the wording just seemed vague). RMF 02:20, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
Something I think we may need to define is "what is vandalism?" I usually err on the side of the user...always giving them the benefit of the doubt. I think "could this have been a mistake" or whatever. I know alot of people may think that I tend to be too lenient, but that's OK with me. So when I say "vandalism" above, I'm talking about obvious vandalism: spam, changing articles to nothing but "pwnz0r" 100 times, etc. I don't consider blanking a page to be vandalism, unless it's been done multiple times. Mainly, I'm just wondering, are we all on the same page here? Other examples? WhiteBoy 01:43, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree re: giving users the benefit of the doubt. "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" (from Hanlon's Razor) – I think sums it up pretty well. In terms of vandalism, I define it as any intentional effort to reduce the value of Wookieepedia as a reference tool or to disrupt the functioning/harmony of the community. I recognize this is inherently subjective, and questions are left unanswered – how do we know if something is intentional? who judges if something reduces or increases encyclopedic value? Still, this a topic that deserves discussing, and most likely its own page as well (perhaps Wookieepedia:Vandalism?). I think we should build up our own infrastructure regarding topics like this (and also in the Help: namespace) so we don't always have to link to Wikipedia policy pages. I mean, their pages are all well and good, but our policies are often different and people just end up confused. RMF 02:04, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
This involves adding irrelevant external links to articles: people who add links to Star Wars-related fan pages might not be spamming, obviously.
From Registered users: Indefinite ban, no warning.
From IP addresses: Not sure how long the ban should be in this case, but as this is either a spammer's computer or a hijacked computer, the ban can be fairly long. (Any properly-run ISP, even ones like AOL where users have rapidly changing IP addresses, wouldn't let this happen anyway, right?)
Did I mis-read something? An ISP can't prevent someone from creating a spam link. Anyway, I say we treat spam like vandalism because, in my book, it is. WhiteBoy 02:02, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
They shouldn't be allowing shared IPs to be taken over by automated spambots, is what I meant (although, of course, they do.) —Silly Dan(talk) 23:01, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
If an IP address can be proven using whatever online tools are available (Wikia staffer Sannse directed me to this one) to be an open proxy, it can be blocked indefinitely without warning if any vandalism comes from there. Slap Template:Proxy on the user page as well.
Page move vandals expect to be banned immediately and indefinitely: there's no point in talking to them. Same goes for people using other well-known methods (Pelican guy, Communism guy, anyone who uploads inappropriate images, etc.)
Anyone whose username is an obvious attempt to impersonate a Wikia staffer, a Wookieepedia admin, or one of our well-known users can be blocked immediately, even if all they do is make an innocuous talk page comment. So could any username which contains (*gasp*) very rude words. In these cases, especially when we're talking about apparent impersonation, the Template:Usernameban should be put on the talk page, just in case they were unaware about the similarity in username and genuinely want to contribute (maybe the guy's name really is Jimmy, and he really is Welsh, for instance.)
All other blocks are going to be for minor offenses, and should follow the warn -> short ban -> long ban -> very long ban procedure described above. Make sense to everyone else? —Silly Dan(talk) 20:11, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, sounds good. If there's no objections, I think I'll add some of the agreed-upon items (not only in this section, but also in the ones above) to our actual blocking policy. RMF 20:42, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
I'd rather wait a little longer until the discussion has been played out a little further. It's still pretty much an active discussion, and we want to make sure no one else has comments or thinks of something else we need to cover. WhiteBoy 21:44, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
With the question/exception that I noted above it sounds good to me. WhiteBoy 02:04, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, with no further comments, I vote we accept RMF's proposal. WhiteBoy 01:55, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
I've been provisionally using it anyway. There are only three more things I wanted to add: blanking articles is considered vandalism, but in a few cases it might just be someone who's clueless about our canon policy and/or our deletion template system and/or the existence of the sandbox. Such users may stop if warned. I've also updated MediaWiki:Blockedtext to make note of unblocking templates and our general ban against using other methods to circumvent a ban. I'm not specifically mentioning sockpuppetry and open proxies in case it gives vandals ideas. Finally, I'm sure we all agree that obvious sockpuppets can be banned without warning, since we've been doing that anyway. —Silly Dan(talk) 13:36, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.