Talk:Bans and blocks

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w:User:Morwen[edit]

Blocked w:User:Controlling Us, claiming 'vandalism/trolling'. This is clearly false. The user was trying to discuss Morwn's objections, but Morwen was totally untilling to consider the fact that they he/she might be wrong in her/his assumptions, and, apparently feeling threatened, blocked 'CU'. The user was trying to discuss the situation, that seemed to be the main problem as far as Morwen is concerned. Question our point of view 23:27, 14 May 2004 (UTC)

Good.
(I would add for those who prefer verbosity that if you continue to blatantly post non-factual material into articles, talk pages etc., you will be blocked yet again.) - Hephaestos|§ 23:37, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
I appreciate the sentiment (although I would rather that we kept our opinions of users off this page), but does current policy support admins blocking users for that? Mark Richards 23:48, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
For users whose edit history is all (or virtually all) vandalism, yes. Which is the case here, if you look at the user's contributions. - Hephaestos|§ 23:56, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
I agree that it is not of much value, but it is not what we usually call vandalism. Mark Richards 23:42, 16 May 2004 (UTC)
It is not of any value. It serves to degrade the quality of the articles. I'm not sure what "we" consider vandalism if this isn't it, but I'd encourage folks to judge for themselves whether or not this is. - Hephaestos|§ 00:06, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

What 'we' consider vandalism is spelled out on Wikipedia:Dealing with vandalism and Wikipedia:Blocking policy - I agree with you that the additions were not of much value, but the user did seem to be trying to discuss the matter, in fact, looking at the edit log, it is these discussions that seem to have resulted in the ban, rather than the article edits themselves. The policy suggests a maximum of one month blocks - my point is not really that these edits were valuable, simply that a less heavy handed approach may be more productive in dealing with these issues. Simply reverting the edits would have discouraged someone who was messing around, and may have made them more likely to start contributing something valuable. Mark Richards 00:24, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

The user was not trying to discuss the matter, several other people were trying to discuss the matter with the user, with no rational result (have a look at the user's talk page and its history). All the edits were reverted before the block was put in place. What else should have been tried? - Hephaestos|§ 00:30, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Of the users first 6 edits, 5 were edits on article pages, 1 was a talk page edit. Of the last five, four are on talk pages, discussing the issue, one to a user page. It appears that the user was actually banned for what was said on the talk page, not on the article page. Mark Richards 15:16, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Right, because what was said on the talk page was a confirmation that the user refused to stop the vandalism. - Hephaestos|§ 15:21, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

But they had not, in fact, vandalised any article pages since being warned. Mark Richards 15:27, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

IMO, this is a very significant point. But Mark, as it happens, is mistaken. The edit to w:User:JRR Trollkien came after the warning, and this was an edit of the type that was warned against, not a discussion. Still, it's ironic situation: If we don't block vandals that stop after being warned, then Morwen blocked Controlling Us specifically for vandalising the user page of a troll! ^_^ -- Toby Bartels 20:39, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Curious, I didn't spot that - you're right, it affects the fine point of my case, technically CU received a final warning two minutes before he made the edit to JRRT, although one could argue that two minutes is not really a lot of time to ensure that someone actually receives a message. My general point is that I feel that the way we deal with this kind of case is not very effective. Aggressive action, rather than a certain amount of tollerance, is counterproductive, and will, in the end, feed a cycle of this kind of thing. Mark Richards 20:45, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Fine then, let's hang Morwen out to dry for doing the job she was elected to do. Seems to be the norm around here these days anyway. - Hephaestos|§ 15:37, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

No ones hanging anyone out to dry, this is just a forum to review admin actions. Mark Richards 15:44, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Morwen was engaged in a dispute regarding Controlling Us's insertion of the language, "In the consensus reality of the late 20th / early 21st century western world...," [1] in the article U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. See also Controlling Us's edit to Sex reassignment surgery, [2]. This language could conceivably be added to almost any controversial article. Controlling Us was warned twice [3], then blocked. Essentially he was engaged in a creative approach at variance with the accepted Wikipedia policy which establishes an editorial policy of Neutral Point of View . As with all such creative efforts, one cannot look at its merits but must consider the gross violation of established policy. Therefore Morwen is blameless. Fred Bauder 15:55, May 17, 2004 (UTC)

However, as pointed out above by Mark Richards, Controlling Us, while he did keep arguing, did not make anymore edits of an objectionable nature, all succeeding edits being on talk pages. So, he seems to have been wronged in that respect. So having issued warnings, Morwen should have gone beyond attitude to inquire, using Controlling Us's user contributions, whether the warning had been heeded. Fred Bauder 16:03, May 17, 2004 (UTC)

But see [4] on the user page of w:User:JRR Trollkien where this user identifies himself as JRR Trollkien, whether he is or not. Whether this users name, which also contains the string "troll", is bannable on that account remains undecided, see [5]. Fred Bauder 16:10, May 17, 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure why one should not look at creative approaches on their merits (although in this case my opinion is that this one has few). It seems ridiculous (incidentally, Jimbo has agreed on many occasions) that a user should be banned simply for having the string 'troll' in their name, indeed, this was not the cause mentioned by Morwen. My objection is that this ban seems to have been applied due to the fact that the users' comments on the talk pages annoyed some admins, more than because of any real offense on the article pages. Mark Richards 20:06, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Such things are, in fact, somewhat controversial. Presumably, Morwen blocked not for vandalism (although that is what I would consider the early edits) but for trolling. She concluded (as I did at the time, and still do) that this user was not acting in good faith, on talk pages or otherwise. Defending actions which are obviously indefensible, as this user was doing, is just an attempt to waste the time of everyone involved. If we had accepted the argument Controling Us presented, we would need to add that notice about "consensus reality" to the great majority of Wikipedia article. As this would be both unnecessary and impractical, this was a classic troll. Isomorphic 21:37, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Does current policy support admins blocking users for that? - Hephaestos|§ 21:39, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Not explicitly. Usually the worst cases end up in vandalism and are blocked as such. A number of us were rather hoping that the current arbitration case on w:User:JRR Trollkien would resolve whether "obvious trolls" may be blocked, but it appears that they have chosen to focus on the user name alone, and ignore behavior. I am not especially anxious to go block-happy (I think I have made two blocks ever, for pure vandalism) but it irks me to have truly blatant, undisguised trolls running around stirring up trouble. Well, really I don't care if they're here, but it bugs me when people pay attention to them. Isomorphic 21:55, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, it seems to me that if Morwen did indeed block CU not for vandalism, but because she thought that the user was trying to waste her time, then no, the current policy does not support it. Can I block anyone who I think is trying to waste people's time? I hope not. Mark Richards 21:47, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Then we're not allowed to block users whose sole purpose is to waste everyone's time? If not I'd like to know why the hell not. Our purpose here is to build an encyclopedia, not to cater to the whims of every puerile brat who wants to play games here. - Hephaestos|§ 21:58, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, I would say that the fact that I think that a user is just trying to waste everyone's time is not, in and of itself, reason enough for me to ban them. Mark Richards 22:01, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Then I would say you are wrong. I guess at this point we'll have to agree to disagree. - Hephaestos|§ 22:04, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Can you show me what in the policy indicates that my opinion of their intention is enough to permanently ban them? Mark Richards 22:05, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Could you perhaps explain to me why it is so important to vehemently argue the case of people who are actively trying to damage this encyclopedia? Are you playing devil's advocate? - Hephaestos|§ 22:10, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Well, I think that the use of admin powers to ban users have been gradually creeping over the past few months, something that I disagree with. I am not convinced that all of the users that we ban are 'actively trying to damage the encyclopedia', and would like to see some guidelines for admins about what types of actions should receive what sanction. I am not simply playing devil's advocate - I agree that this user was unhelpful, but think that the remedy was hasty, heavy handed, and will ultimately be more likely to be counter productive. Mark Richards 22:15, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Let's be honest though. How could anyone look at those contributions and believe that user was being anything other than deliberately disruptive? That was no newbie, either. I've dealt with lots of new user as part of the welcoming committee. I know what their edits look like. That was a veteran troll who knew exactly what they were doing. Isomorphic 22:26, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps, anyway, I've said my piece. I believe the remedy was heavy handed and excessive, and that this sort of action is not supported by current policy. If you believe that it should be, then you should seek to change the policy, not justify breaking it. Mark Richards 22:28, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

The question to Heph remains - 'what in the policy allows admins to block users simply because the admin thinks that the user is trying to waste everyone's time'? This is a different question from 'Do you think that this user deserved to be banned'? My concern is that we seem to be increasingly unable to distinguish the two. Mark Richards 23:35, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

My concern is that there is any difference between the two. The more difference between the two exists, the less our policy is achieving its intended goal. - Hephaestos|§ 23:39, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

The arbitration committee had a case handed them on a silver platter, that of "JRR Trollkien", whereby they could have taken the opportunity to issue a ruling on this exact situation. This case is accepted solely "for the purpose of determining whether under existing Wikipedia policy, Wikipedia:Blocking policy, it is acceptable for sysops to ban obvious trolls." Instead, they have apparently turned it into a useless hairsplitting consideration of the username policy. To say I am highly disgusted with this turn of events would be an understatement. - Hephaestos|§ 23:45, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

If anything, there is too little guidance for admins on this. I do not believe that current policy allows admins to act this way. I believe that, instead of behaving as if it did, we should work to develop clear policy. That will prevent abuse, prevent admins from being the butt of resentment, and reduce the heat and light about admin actions. My beef is about action within the grey area, mission creep if you like, in the absence of policy. Mark Richards 01:58, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

In the abscence of guidelines or established precedent, administrators are encouraged to use their good common sense. In this case, Morwen acted exactly as I and many other admins would have. There's nothing to see here; move along. →Raul654 02:02, May 18, 2004 (UTC)

The trouble is that there are guidelines, but they are not being applied. 'Using their common sense' is one thing, but what is happening here is a systematic change in the role of admins from being administrators of community made policy to being judge, jury and executioner without reference to policy. Mark Richards 15:19, 18 May 2004 (UTC)
At Wikipedia, policy usually reflects practice, not the other way around. I've tried to foster some meaningful discussion on this very topic, including a personal invite to you, IIRC, and so far there hasn't been much interest. The written policy is something that Jimbo put together, and he used to make individual exceptions to it. He doesn't have that type of involvement any longer. The arbitration committee feels obligated to interpret existing policy, and does so slowly and narrowly, so we have a gap. Some admins are being bold. I don't think that's bad, though it would be better if we could have a meaningful discussion of ban and block policy and try to come up with guideposts. UninvitedCompany 19:09, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Am happy to be involved in discussions on this - where would be a good place? The idea that people be bold is good, but in the area of who to exclude, I worry about it. Mark Richards 19:41, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

How about m:Bans and blocks? UninvitedCompany 21:32, 18 May 2004 (UTC)

Sure - see you there! ;) Mark Richards 21:33, 18 May 2004 (UTC)


I'm with Mark Richards on this. Unless a user is filling a Talk page with a crap flood, or is altering others' entries on it, I don't see how adding to a Talk page in any way takes away from Wikipedia. And given that the ban isn't based on any published policy, it seems arbitrary and capricious. Maybe I'd agree with Morwen on the substance of Controlling Us's comments, maybe I wouldn't (I haven't seen them), but banning a user for his opinions, on its face seems to me to threaten the openness on which Wikipedia is based. Orthogonal 06:02, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

The problem is, this sort of thing is not harmless when it happens constantly. Trying to deal with extremely obnoxious people saps the energy of useful contributors. User:Jwrosenzweig just announced he'll be taking a break from Wikipedia, and it's largely because of the antics of en:User:Irismeister, who was banned once by the arbitration committee and hasn't reformed in the slightest. Isomorphic 23:11, 19 May 2004 (UTC)


Deleted for no reason?[edit]

This is user SpartanGreg09 I was voting in 2010 Steward polls and I noticed that my signature ws highlighted in red. Maybe a careless again deleted me. My name is red. And my user page, and disucussion is deleted fully. What happened?