Bans and blocks/old

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proposed policy for bans and blocks for the en:wikipedia. To be improved and moved to en: when it becomes a bit more polished.

bans is the justification/background for this

Most Wikipedians are good contributors, and we encourage people to show good wikipedia:wikiquette when dealing with them. For example, we suggest that it is better to fix bad edits, rather than revert them.

However, some contributors are troublesome, and we wish to encourage them to leave Wikipedia and find another community more suited to their style, or else adapt to the community expectations of Wikipedia, and there are various tools we use to try and achieve this. We do this not out of a goal of conformity, or a desire to punish "bad" behaviour, but to help build an encyclopedia.

Pure vandals are dealt with slightly differently: see en:Wikipedia:dealing with vandalism.

Education and peer pressure[edit]

Everyone was new once, and most of us made mistakes when new - misunderstanding things, getting into edit conflicts, accidentally wiping pages, etc, etc. That's why we Wikipedia:Welcome, newcomers, and try to gently point out mistakes to newcomers, point them to appropriate policy pages, and show them the correct way to do things. We ask that newcomers be patient while they learn the ropes.

The vast, vast majority of troublesome users rapidly understand what is going on, and either start helping us make an encyclopedia, or decide that wikipedia isn't their scene and depart. However, a few users, for whatever reason, continue to hinder us in our goal of building an encyclopedia. Hence:


General note: please do not flame users who are banned, or who may be banned - the policy of no personal attacks still applies.

Discussion of possible bans, existing bans, etc, should take place on a single Wikipedia page - discussion elsewhere is strongly discouraged, and will be moved to the appropriate place. In the past we've done this on a user talk:USER NAME/ban, though user talk:USER NAME/Peace was semi-seriously suggested as another name. An alternative is to make a subpage of wikipedia:annoying users, such as wikipedia:annoying users/USER NAME. Any of these options are fine, provided there is only one page.

The remainder of this article will refer to this specific page as a /ban page. When a ban is lifted, following any period of parole, the banned user may request deletion of the /ban page at wikipedia:votes for deletion, should they wish to do so.

Soft bans aka Rainclouds[edit]

Users who consistently break community norms or make bad edits to articles may be placed under a "soft ban" or "raincloud". This means:

  • Good edits - mostly reverted, but some may be kept at our discretion, or moved to the user's talk page
  • Bad edits - reverted, or moved to the user's talk page
  • Talk edits - at user's discretion

The decision to soft ban someone is, like most decisions on Wikipedia, a consensus one made by the community as a whole. If the community decides to soft ban a user, the following text should be placed on the user page of a soft banned user, to inform them of their soft ban:

This user is under a [[wikipedia:bans and blocks|soft ban]] - see [[user talk:USER NAME/ban]] for details. All edits by this user may be reverted, though they do not have to be. You may reinstate good edits by this user if you wish. NAME, DATE

Reasons for the ban should be placed on the top of the /ban page. If you wish to act as a character witness for a soft banned user, you should do so there. However, the best way to get a soft ban lifted is for the banned user to take on board the feedback they've been given, and make only good edits. Banned users should not delete the ban notice, but third parties are encouraged to delete a soft ban notice if they feel that it does not reflect the current consensus of the wikipedia community (as expressed on the /ban page). Soft bans are reviewed roughly once a month, and may be lifted depending on behaviour.

If you see a good edit by a soft banned user, you are free to reinstate it. However, please do not reinstate bad edits, and check before reinstating an edit. For example, if a user has been soft banned for continuing to misunderstand or misapply the en:wikipedia:neutral point of view policy, then do not reinstate edits unless either you can vouch for their neutrality, or you have edited them so that they are neutral.

Hard ban[edit]

Users who do not improve in conduct after being placed under a soft ban may be placed under a hard ban. Hard bans are very much a last resort, and the ultimate decision is made by Jimbo Wales, our "benevolent dictator", after reviewing evidence on the /ban page.

All edits by a hard banned user, regardless of their merits, will be reverted. In addition, hard banned users may face technical measures to prevent them editing Wikipedia. The following text should be placed on the user's page by Jimbo, or a representative:

This user is under a [[wikipedia:bans and blocks|hard ban]] - see [[user talk:USER NAME/ban]] for details. All edits by this user will be reverted. Please do not reinstate any edits made by this user.NAME, DATE

If you are hard banned, please respect your ban and do not post to Wikipedia while it applies. Hard banned users may be unbanned following:

  1. Three consecutive months of good behaviour
  2. The banned user requesting unbanning by emailing Jimbo Wales

Good behaviour includes (but is not limited to) not posting to any part of the Wikipedia project (including under pseudonyms) and not threatening Wikipedia contributors. The following text is suitable for a user who has respected their hard ban for three months.

This user was [[wikipedia:bans and blocks|hard banned]] over three months ago - see [[user talk:USER NAME/ban]] for details. The user is welcome to return to Wikipedia, but first they must email [[user:Jimbo Wales|]] to discuss the issues. All edits by this user will be reverted. Please do not reinstate any edits made by this user.NAME, DATE

Users who are unbanned will be on parole - if they start making the same mistakes that lead to their previous ban they are likely to be swiftly soft banned again, and this may lead to another hard ban. Unbanned users are encouraged (but not required) to apologise for any mistakes they feel they may have made, and/or to give assurances that they will behave differently this time round.

Note: hard bans can only be set by Jimbo Wales. Equally, they can only be removed by him. Discussion on both decisions can take place on the /ban page, but the final decision is made by Jimbo. When a decision either way is made, Jimbo, or a representative, will update the /ban page.

Historical bans[edit]

Some users were banned by Jimbo before the formulation of this policy. These users are hard banned, judging from Jimbo's comments, so a hard ban boilerplate text is appropriate.

Newly created articles[edit]

It is not possible to revert newly created articles, as there is nothing to revert to. In the case of soft bans, listing the page on votes for deletion is the appropriate action—this allows a user who wishes to reinstate the page and check it for accuracy or neutrality to do so. In the case of hard bans, sysops can simply delete the page without listing it on votes for deletion. Non-sysops can attach a {{delete}} header to the article.

If someone else has edited the page, deletion is generally not appropriate. Try instead to edit the page to remove or refactor content contributed by the banned user, and keep content conributed by others. If you feel a newly created article may have been deleted in error, list it on wikipedia:votes for undeletion. For example, you might list a page if you think it's a case of mistaken identity, or where the classification of a banned user between soft-banning and hard-banning is controversial.


Wikipedians should generally refrain from witch hunts of users who may be older users coming back under a new name. It's probably reasonable to politely ask, though, so that in cases of mistaken identity the new user can quickly set us straight (see below for some of the many kinds of evidence one could use to do this). If the community consensus is that a new user is probably the reincarnation of an old user, the community may soft ban that user, as described above. Evidence that the user is a reincarnation should be placed at user talk:USER NAME/ban.

If it becomes abundantly clear that a new user account is a reincarnation of a hard banned user, for example if the new user account says "Bwa-ha-ha-ha: I am <NAME> and I have returned!", then the relevant user:, user talk:, and /ban pages should be redirected and merged with the similar pages of the original user account, and the reincarnated user should be treated as hard banned. An appropriate notice may be added to the top of the /ban page.

If you are the victim of a mistaken identity, please provide some evidence of who you are. This evidence might include a photograph of yourself (holding a sign saying "Hi, Wikipedia"!), or a non-disposable email address, or a work address or telephone number, or a link to your off-h2g2 home page. Your evidence needs only be sufficient to convince the community that there is some reasonable doubt - it need not be conclusive.

IP ranges[edit]

Some troublesome users edit from static or dynamic IPs without signing in. In the case of static IPs, soft bans and hard bans can be applied in the normal way to each static IP: something appropriate added to the user:123.456.789.0 page, and so on.

Dynamic IPs, on the other hand, bring seperate problems. In particular, a range of dynamic IPs may contain both good contributors and troublesome contributors. The procedure for soft banning or hard banning users who edit from dynamic IPs is the same, but in general sysops should not block dynamic IPs for more than 24 hours: this reduces the chances of legitimate contributors being inconvenienced.

When reverting edits made by a user from a dynamic IP, some care should be taken to ensure that the edits are probably made by the soft banned or hard banned user in question. add info from mav about his procedure with 142.177 here.


Hard ban as you describe are about logged-in users. It should be mentioned when policy apply to loggued in user and ips. All sysops can hard-ban an ip

you don't mean "hard-ban", you mean "block". All sysops are physically able to block an IP address. However, sysops should only block IP addresses of pure vandals, as described in en:Wikipedia:dealing with vandalism. Sysops should not block IP addresses of legitimate, but troublesome, contributors. There is of course a judgement call in discerning pure vandalism from troublesome contributions. --mrd

I am getting confused. Is there somewhere on en and on meta (which are not the same places), an archive reporting the history of each ban. Who was banned, when, until when (was the ban lifted), whose decision and where is the discussion, what are the reason for the ban...that sort of thing. That is very confusing in particular when it is known by some (but not obvious to others) that user:name1 is in fact user:name2 also (or widely considered to be) or if ip1 is also thought to be ip2, or user:name3.
If there is no such thing as a central place where this is recorded, should that be ?

Yes there should be such a place. So far it is the mailing list archives but that isn't the best place. --Maveric149
No, it is not the best place at all. I also think all these discussions should be public. And that all arguments, from whatever point of view, should be kept and made public (at least wikipedian public). Which is btw why I moved some old french discussions here when one side of the disagreement decided it was no worth keeping and should be deleted.