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Community health initiative/Allow users to restrict which user groups can send them direct emails

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This page documents a feature the Wikimedia Foundation's Anti-Harassment Tools team has built. Development of this feature is complete.

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Tracked in Phabricator:
Task T138165

The WMF's Anti-Harassment Tools team introduced a user preference which allows users to restrict which user groups can send them emails. This feature aims to equip individual users with a tool to curb harassment they may be experiencing.


Existing user preferences

Confirming an email address is not required — users can have a Wikimedia account without an email address. Therefore, on-wiki workflows need to succeed for users who can be contacted via email. When a user provides and confirms their email address, direct emails are enabled for them by default.

The existing email preferences are:

  • Allow or disallow email from all other users with confirmed email addresses
  • Prohibit emails from specific usernames (via Email Mute)

Preferences are global and must manually be set on every wiki.

Requests from the community

This functionality has already been requested and discussed in a 2016 IdeaLab proposal and a 2016 Community Wishlist proposal.


This feature released the first week of 2018, and is available under the 'Email options' section of the 'User profile' tab of Special:Preferences.

The feature to restrict emails on wikis where a user had never edited (phab:T178842) was also released the first week of 2018 but was reverted the third week of 2018 after some corner-case uses were discovered. There are no plans to bring it back at any time in the future.


On wikis where a user has 1+ edits[edit]

  • In the 'Email options' of the 'User profile' tab of Special:Preferences, add a new tickbox preference
    • Label: Allow emails from brand-new users
    • If the 'Allow users to email me' preference is unticked (off) this preference should be disabled and not toggleable (display as grey.)
  • If the user has this preference ticked (on) the Special:EmailUser feature should work exactly as it does today.
  • If the user has this preference unticked (off):
    • Users in the autoconfirmed group should be able to use the Special:EmailUser feature as it exactly does today.
    • Users not in the autoconfirmed group:
  • For the initial release, the default for new accounts (when their email address is confirmed) should be ticked (on)

Use cases[edit]

  • A malicious user is repeatedly creating new socks to send Apples harassing emails. Instead of disabling all emails (which blocks Apples from potentially receiving useful emails), Apples can restrict brand new accounts from contacting them.

See also[edit]