Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Anti-harassment/Partial block of IPs across categories

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Random proposal◄ Anti-harassment  The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

Partial block of IPs across categories

  • Problem: Editors evading a block/ban often go to the dynamic IP route to continue editing. Sometimes it is not possible to rangeblock that IP across the whole of WP due to collateral damage of blocking good editors.
  • Who would benefit: Anyone who has suffered harassment/hounding/stalking from an IP that continues to pop-up day after day.
  • Proposed solution: Partial blocks should be allowed across a group of categories for a range of IP addresses. For example, blocking range 123.245/ across Category:Black English sportspeople. I've raised this before at WP:VPT, with a reply stating that an article could be removed from the category, and the block wouldn't work. But once the block is in place, then the IP could not edit the page(s) in question to circumvent the partial block. Thanks.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Lugnuts (talk) 08:24, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • It's also possible that such a feature would be used to provide technical implementations of topic bans, though I think on the English Wikipedia there might be disagreement to such an idea. In the IP case, how will this work under the new system of IP addresses being replaced with identifiers (see en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2020-11-01/Op-Ed)? I'd be worried about a tool that relies on the current system of rangeblocks if this may change soon. — Bilorv (talk) 17:42, 17 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • One major concern raised when this was mooted on en-wiki was that articles could be added to a category incorrectly (including wilfully incorrectly) to cause problems for the user. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:43, 18 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Indeed, category blocking was discussed when partials were first implemented and the concern for abuse was why it was not implemented (first). --Izno (talk) 01:04, 21 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anyone gaming the system to add categories to pages to stop others can be dealt with if and when it happens, with continued distruption being stopped with blocks. I think the p/block of IP ranges across categories to stop long-term harassment far outweighs other concerns, and is something that this survey should take very seriously in relation to harassment. Lugnuts (talk) 08:44, 23 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unless you know how to make it clear what is gaming and what is dubious adding (there is a lot of dubious adding to categories in the usual course of things), how to make it rapidly handled, who will do that vetting work and so on, then I'm rather concerned by your fairly sangfroid "can be dealt with if and when it happens" Nosebagbear (talk) 15:54, 2 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I could see this being used for abuse, as it effectively gives non-admins the ability to block partially blocked users from a page by adding a category. Although such attempts would probably be seen relatively quickly, it does still give the ability. On smaller wikis additions of the categories may go unnoticed, so a user could potentially block IPs from pages they don't want them editing. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | enwiki 00:00, 20 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Hi Lugnuts. I work with both the Anti-Harassment Tools team (who built Partial Blocks) and the Community Tech team. We are going to allow this wish to move to voting. However, because of the circular nature of categories on wikis, if implemented, this would work on a single category only and not extend to any sub-categories or sub-sub-categories. There are holes/workarounds here in that someone could remove a category, commit their bad-faith edit, and then move on or even add the category back. Still, it could be implemented so we are allowing it to be voted on with the single category caveat. --AEzell (WMF) (talk) 21:55, 2 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that sounds like a fair compromise. Thank you. Lugnuts (talk) 08:45, 3 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Would it be technically possible to prohibit it for certain users or IP ranges to add or remove categories in general? -- Aspiriniks (talk) 18:39, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
AEzell (WMF), most wikis would disallow circular nesting of categories. Is there not some existing API call that can check for supercategories of a page without choking on the rare cycle? Instead of limiting the depth to 1, you could set it to say 5 and still avoid an infinite loop. Pelagic (talk) 02:00, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another idea would be to make page categories available as abuse filter variables. --Count Count (talk) 19:14, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Make this "list of pages, generated from a snapshot-in-time category membership list" instead of "categories" and I'll support it. This would solve the "any user can add or remove a page from a category, thereby page-blocking/unblocking an IP address from that page, possibly unintentionally" issue. Davidwr/talk 15:44, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • One problem with this is that the search engine does not reliably search within a category using with the incat function. There are often error messages such that the category is too deep. Before something like this is implemented, the search engine should be fixed in order to allow people under the partial block to quickly see which pages they can and cannot edit.-- 01:15, 28 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Support Support Would be quite helpful. Count Count (talk) 19:10, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Your suggestion is obtuse for 2 reasons: #1 Abusive IPs should be (range)banned from using Wikipedia period and #2 They can still remove an article from a category by using a public WI-FI, their mobile data or a VPN that had yet to be banned from Wikipedia. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 19:29, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to clarify, the range-block doesn't work, as it is too big a range, with a lot of collateral damage. Lugnuts (talk) 12:22, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support better than blocking innocents Leftowiki (talk) 00:36, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per MarioSuperstar77. One can just protect the page. Firestar464 (talk) 01:15, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support --Ciao • Bestoernesto 01:45, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support AnotherOnymous (talk) 03:14, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Sthakur88 (talk) 05:00, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support As nom Lugnuts (talk) 12:19, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Em-mustapha User | talk 14:53, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Too easy to make more harm than good. Exceptionally easy to go around it. --Олександр Кравчук (talk) 16:42, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Is a large population of Wikimedia users knowledgeable enough and/or mobile enough for this to do any good? Tyrekecorrea (talk) 14:17, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support SupportWinnerWolf99 talkWhat did I break now? 20:03, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose The nature of categories does not make this practical, and this wishlist request is trying to use technical means to solve a social problem. It relies on a) pages being sufficiently categorized that the topic that an editor is banned from appears in the category hierarchy, and b) that the category hierarchy itself is properly set up (that is, making sure that the categories themselves are in the right categories). Too complicated for too little gain. GeneralNotability (talk) 23:56, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support This reminds me of an LTA, why constantly spammed attack and nonsense categories. This would help defend the wiki from LTAs like this. 4thfile4thrank (talk) 04:18, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Like what GeneralNotability have stated. Too complicated from a technical issue to gain so little. SunDawn (talk) 04:20, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support JPxG (talk) 05:42, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support - yona B. (D) 07:09, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support InShaneee (talk) 08:08, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Tim bates (talk) 15:53, 10 December 2020 (UTC)like Олександр said, easy to harm, easy to avoidReply[reply]
  • Support Support This is a deterrent which won't prevent the most determined of harassers, but it will slow down those who just want to cause trouble until they give up. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 17:03, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support The proposal is excellent, as the partial block by category will prevent IPs from editing on certain pages where they vandalize pages and harass users, solving the problem. WikiFer msg 22:15, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support ArnabSaha (talk) 15:15, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support That's a good idea. Tsaag Valren (talk) 15:38, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Susanna Giaccai (talk) 16:46, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose This is just going to lead to edit warring over categories. Ahecht (TALK
    ) 18:20, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Mounir Touzri (talk) 21:40, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose strongly. This would have a disastrous effect on mobile editors. IP range bans tend to affect mobile users the most, especially those in highly populated areas and those actually moving.Lostinlodos (talk) 22:31, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support It will only solve a part of the problem, but it's worth doing. DGG (talk) 00:45, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per Lostinlodos , Klaas `Z4␟` V:  13:35, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Gce (talk) 18:39, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Khoshhat (talk) 20:37, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support is helpful. --IWI (talk) 20:51, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support The proposal is great and often good, but the digital world is also changing with fast masking. Ravikrishnam (talk) 10:00, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support helps in conflict situations Medea7 (talk) 22:15, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose This is a PoV-pushing / content-control mechanism (whether intended as one or not) disguised as an "anti-harassment" tool. Harassment of users has to do with users not categories of content. We probably do need tools that thwart interaction of IP range X with registered user Y, but this isn't that.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  05:00, 15 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Natemup (talk) 05:08, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Uu70344 (talk) 11:25, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Stephan Hense (talk) 18:45, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Temp3600 (talk) 17:52, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Living in a country where we have 3 major pre-paid mobile operators covering almost all of the population it is just too easy to obtain a new dynamic IP for everyone. On the other hand blocking ranges of those operators means blocking sometimes hundreds if not more of potential good faith editors. Base (talk) 19:24, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Dey.sandip (talk) 15:55, 18 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Astronommica (talk) 08:56, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Excellent idea in my book! Dolotta (talk) 16:23, 20 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Author23 (talk) 19:22, 20 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Kelvin (talk) 09:33, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per GeneralNotability and Lostinlodos. Enjoyer of World (talk) 09:45, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Nachtbold (talk) 11:54, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support David1010 (talk) 11:57, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Schniggendiller (talk) 17:08, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]