Pensapedia:Blocking

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Blocking is the method by which administrators may technically prevent users from editing Pensapedia. Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to Pensapedia, not to punish users.[1]

Any user may request a block at the administrators' noticeboard. Users requesting blocks should supply credible evidence of the circumstances warranting a block. Administrators are never obliged to place a block and are free to investigate the situation themselves.

If you wish to contest a block, see Pensapedia:Appealing a block for further instructions. Except in cases of unambiguous error, administrators should not undo other administrators' blocks without prior discussion; see below.

Purpose and goal[edit]

All blocks ultimately exist to protect the project from harm, and reduce likely future problems. When lesser measures are inadequate, or problematic conduct persists, appropriate use of a block can help achieve this in four important ways:

  1. Preventing imminent or continuing damage and disruption to Pensapedia.
  2. Deterring the continuation of disruptive behavior by making it more difficult to edit.
  3. Encouraging a rapid understanding that the present behavior cannot continue and will not be tolerated.
  4. Encouraging a more productive, congenial editing style within community norms.

Important note – Blocks are intended to reduce the likelihood of future problems, by either removing, or encouraging change in, a source of disruption. They are not intended for use in retaliation, as punishment, or where there is no current conduct issue which is of concern.

For the purposes of protection and encouragement, blocks may escalate in duration to protect Pensapedia while allowing for the cessation of disruptive editing and the return to respected editing.

When blocking may be used[edit]

The following are the most common situations when blocking may be used. This is not an exhaustive list; blocking may be used in other situations, particularly situations addressed by more specific policies dealing with particular issues.

Even though this is not an exhaustive list, if a situation is not listed below, then a block is more likely to be controversial than otherwise. A rule of thumb is when in doubt, do not block; instead, consult other administrators for advice. After placing a block that may be controversial, it is a good idea to make a note of the block at the administrators' noticeboard for sanity checking.

Protection[edit]

A user may be blocked when necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of the Pensapedia Foundation, its users or the public. A block for protection may be necessary in response to:

  • persistently making personal attacks;
  • making personal, professional or legal threats (including outside the Pensapedia site);
  • performing actions that place users in danger;
  • disclosing personal information (whether or not the information is accurate);
  • persistently violating copyrights;
  • persistently posting material contrary to the biographies of living persons policy;
  • accounts that appear to have been compromised, as an emergency measure.

When blocking in response to disclosing personal information or actions that place users in danger, consider notifying the Arbitration Committee (by email) about the block and contacting someone with oversight permissions to request permanent deletion of the material in question.

Disruption[edit]

A user may be blocked when his or her conduct severely disrupts the project; that is, when his or her conduct is inconsistent with a civil, collegial atmosphere and interferes with the process of editors working together harmoniously to create an encyclopedia. A block for disruption may be necessary in response to:

Furthermore, some types of user accounts are considered disruptive and may be blocked:

  • public accounts (where the password is publicly available or shared with a large group);
  • accounts with inappropriate usernames;
  • accounts that appear, based on their edit history, to exist for the sole or primary purpose of promoting a person, company, product, service, or organization in apparent violation of Conflict of interest or anti-spam guidelines.

Open or anonymous proxies[edit]

Open or anonymous proxies are prohibited from editing and may be blocked on sight.

Non-static IPs or hosts that are otherwise not permanent proxies typically warrant blocking for a shorter period of time, as the IP is likely to be reassigned, or the open proxy is likely to be closed. Many Tor proxies, in particular, are "exit nodes" for only a short time; these proxies should generally not be blocked indefinitely without consideration.

When blocking may not be used[edit]

Disputes[edit]

Administrators must not block users with whom they are engaged in a content dispute; instead, they should report the problem to other administrators. Administrators should also be aware of potential conflicts of interest involving pages or subject areas with which they are involved. An exception is made when dealing with unsourced or poorly sourced contentious biographical material about living persons. (See the BLP policy.)

Cool-down blocks[edit]

Brief blocks for the sole purpose of "cooling down" an angry user should not be used, as they inevitably serve to inflame the situation.

Unblocking[edit]

Administrators should not unblock users blocked in good faith by other administrators without first attempting to contact the blocking administrator and discuss the matter with them. It may not necessarily be obvious what the problem necessitating blocking was, and it is a matter of courtesy and common sense to consult the blocking administrator. If the blocking administrator is not available, or if the administrators cannot come to an agreement, then a discussion at the administrators' noticeboard is recommended.

If a block is the result of an unambiguous error and not a judgment call (for example, if the blocking administrator obviously misspelled a username), and the blocking administrator is not available, then it is not necessary to discuss prior to unblocking. Where there is ambiguity, discuss the block before removing it.

Altering block options[edit]

Administrators may unblock a user in order to re-block them with different blocking options selected, where that is necessary (for example, if a block on a registered account is causing significant collateral effects to a shared IP address or a blocked user is abusing the Special:Emailuser function).

Temporary circumstances blocks[edit]

Some types of blocks are used in response to particular temporary circumstances, and should be undone once the circumstance no longer applies:

  • blocks on open or anonymous proxies should be undone once it is confirmed that they have been closed (but be aware some open proxies may be open only at certain times, so careful checking may be needed that it really is apparently no longer in use that way);
  • blocks for making legal threats should be undone once the threats are confirmed permanently withdrawn and no longer outstanding.

Education and warnings[edit]

Everyone was new once, and most of us made mistakes. That's why we welcome newcomers and assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it. We also ask that newcomers make an effort to learn about our policies and guidelines so that they can learn how to avoid making mistakes.

Before a block is imposed, efforts should be made to educate the user about our policies and guidelines, and to warn them when their behaviour conflicts with our policies and guidelines.

Warning is not a prerequisite for blocking (particularly with respect to blocks for protection) but administrators should generally ensure that users are aware of policies, and give them reasonable opportunity to adjust their behaviour accordingly, before blocking. Users who have been made aware of a policy and have had such an opportunity, and accounts whose main or only use is forbidden activity (sock-puppetry, obvious vandalism, personal attack, and so on) may not require further warning.

Implementing blocks[edit]

IP address blocks[edit]

In addition to the advice below, there are special considerations to take into account when blocking IP addresses. IP address blocks can affect many users, and IPs can change. Users intending to block an IP address should at a minimum check for usage of that address, and consider duration carefully. IP addresses should rarely, if ever, be blocked indefinitely.

Duration of blocks[edit]

The purpose of blocking is prevention, not punishment. The duration of blocks should thus be related to the likelihood of a user repeating inappropriate behavior. Longer blocks for repeated and high levels of disruption is to reduce administrative burden; it is under presumption that such users are likely to cause frequent disruption or harm in future. Administrators should consider:

  • the severity of the behavior;
  • whether the user has engaged in that behavior before.

Blocks on shared or dynamic IP addresses are typically shorter than blocks on registered accounts or static IP addresses made in otherwise similar circumstances, to limit side-effects on other users sharing that IP address.

While the duration of a block should vary with the circumstances, there are some broad standards:

  • incidents of disruptive behaviour typically result in 24 hours blocks, longer for successive violations;
  • accounts used primarily for disruption are blocked indefinitely;
  • protective blocks typically last as long as protection is necessary, often indefinitely.

An indefinite block is a block that does not have a fixed duration. Indefinite blocks are usually applied when there is significant disruption or threats of disruption, or major breaches of policy. In such cases an open-ended block may be appropriate to prevent further problems until the matter can be resolved by discussion.

Notes[edit]

  1. Blocks are not punitive in the sense that they aren't retribution. Blocks sometimes are used as a deterrent, to discourage whatever behavior led to the block and encourage a productive editing environment.