Grants talk:IdeaLab/Upgraded Blocked User Reinstatement System

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In so many ways, no[edit]

This is a really, really bad idea. Allowing disruptive users to effectively unblock themselves by taking a behind-the-scenes quiz (because we all know that everyone is completely honest when taking anonymous online quizzes...) opens the floodgates to ridiculous levels of abuse; we already have to work night and day to keep Wikipedia free of vandalism, sockpuppetry, and abuse, and you're suggesting that we should lift blocks based on the blocked user giving themselves permission to edit again?
I get that finding yourself blocked sucks. I get that the process of asking for an unblock is not as smooth as most blocked users would like it to be. But this proposal all but does away with he purpose of blocks altogether, in which case we might as well hang up our hats, rename Wikipedia to Uncylopedia, and leave the vandals to their fun. Utterly unworkable idea, strongest possible oppose. Yunshui (talk) 21:20, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

@Yunshui:I think you completely misunderstood what I wrote, and I apologize if that is due to bad writing on my part. The quiz has absolutely nothing to do with being unblocked. It is simply a way to gather feedback about the system. Users will be unblocked if they meet certain criteria, like say a minimum number of constructive edits on other wikis, an unblock request on their talk page, and providing a list of articles they want to edit and what they would do if given the opportunity. Most users are unblocked for that stuff anyway. I simply want to make it official so that blocked users are not completely left to chance with regard to whether or not they discover the right policy articles. They should be given the relevant information in a message from a bot, and the unblock policies should be more clearly explained. That way blocked users won't have to make a request and watch sysops vote about things that the person they are voting about doesn't even understand. Instead, they'll follow a set of procedures that insure everything runs smoothly. We don't need to be afraid about vandals getting unblocked, because it's pretty safe to assume that internet trolls won't go through all the criteria. Besides, if they are that dedicated, they can get unblocked even with the current system by editing another wiki for six months and sending an unblock request. The problem is that people who want to contribute constructively don't even know that they can do that. J.A.R.N.Y.🗣 22:43, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
The problem with any attempt to create hard-and-fast rules for unblocking as that as soon as you create them, trolls will find ways to game them. And as for the relevant information, this page already does that and the standard blocking templates used in the vast majority of cases also explains the reason behind the block and how to appeal. We also have the UTRS system for off-wiki appeals. I just don’t see how this fixes anything. It’s also pretty vague on the details. You also seem to be suggesting that we do away with indefinite blocks, which I can assure is going to get a hard no from not just the community but the Foundation. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:10, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

@Beeblebrox:Right now, unblocking is done by sending in an unblock request. However, simply sending one in does not do the trick. The problem with the current system is that it does not make clear how to get from an unblock request that will definitely not be accepted to one that might. While Wikipedia:Appealing a block does give relevant information about the technical aspects of getting unblocked, it does little in the way of explaining how a blocked user should proceed. Wikipedia:Guide to appealing blocks is somewhat better, but it doesn't address the things that need to be done to get your request accepted. It just says how to format the request. What is especially worrisome is that Wikipedia:Standard offer is practically a stub and incredibly vague.

"When an editor gets hit with a site ban or an indefinite block, one of the things they usually wonder is where things go from there. Is there any way to return to good standing? Or are they on the outs forever?"
Shouldn't that be the first thing that they are told. Why are we assuming that they will stumble upon this article?

"The standard offer is not necessarily binding. However, most administrators and the community accept it as a common route to having a block reviewed."
That sounds good at first until you read the fine print that reveals things aren't as straightforward as they seem.
"It doesn't extend to extremes, and it is ultimately up to the administrative community (on a case-by-case basis) whether the blocked or banned editor is eligible at all."
Turns out, it isn't much of an assurance of anything. Sysops still have to vote as to whether or not 6 months of compliance is telling of a willingness to edit constructively.

The standard offer page needs to be shown to all blocked users, and it needs to be improved to be less confusing.

"The six-month threshold can be adjustable under special circumstances. If an editor shows an unusually good insight into the circumstances that led to the block, and sets out a credible proposal for how they will deal with those issues in future, then a return might be considered sooner."
What special circumstances? How does one show unusually good insight into the circumstances that led to the block, and sets out a credible proposal for how they will deal with those issues in future?

Also, I was told not to remove declined unblock requests from my userpage. With this knowledge in hand, I removed a request that hadn't been declined, but rather had been closed because I made it incorrectly and had to redo it. This led to my being told that I risk losing the right to edit my talk page. If that is the policy, why not just say that I can't remove any requests, not just declined ones?

No part of the current system is intuitive. It needs to change. J.A.R.N.Y.🗣 23:40, 23 July 2018 (UTC)(Edit-Something I forgot to mention. There is nothing inherently wrong with indefinite blocks. They will simply be replaced as a consequence of a system where users are told what to do to get unblocked, and approximately how long it will take. The result will be a block by the same name but with a set of instructions saying things like, "to get unblocked, edit another wiki for 6 months during which you will be required to have at least 500 edits. After that, you can follow the instructions here (insert links to above mentioned articles). ... That is just a sample of what the beginning of the instructions will look like. As you can see, the block isn't really indefinite because the user controls when it ends. Yes, a troll can decide to be an angel for 6 months in order to be able to vandalize for 5 more minutes before being blocked again, but realistically, none will. Besides, they can do that now. I just want to make it easier for actual editors that need help getting back on their feet.) J.A.R.N.Y.🗣 23:58, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

It sounds like you want to make the standard offer binding, which, again, is going to be a hard no from both the community and the Foundation. I also question why this is here, asking for material support from the foundation when you would need widespread consensus from the en.wp community before undertaking this project. In short, in my estimation this has no chance of going anywhere and even less chance of receiving a grant since it is directly contrary to long established policy and practice on the project it is aimed at. Beeblebrox (talk) 02:13, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
@Beeblebrox:I am not looking for a material grant. I simply need sysops to be onboard so that they can change official policy. If this is the wrong place to post this, than please let me know where it will be more appropriate.
Firstly, I do not need the standard offer to become binding. I just want to change the way we unblock users by introducing a system of well explained procedures to replace ad hoc decisions made on the spur of the moment by sysops. This will provide an explicit set of guidelines for blocked users to follow. If there is no way to incorporate the standard offer into that idea, than it can remain an essay.
Secondly, I don’t know why you claim that such a proposal would be a hard no. A vote about turning the standard offer into a guideline received 2:1 support. Of course, it isn’t really relevant as I explained above. J.A.R.N.Y.🗣 02:52, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

Clarification of idea[edit]

In response to the above posts, I would like to clarify a few things.

It took me 6 months and 2 weeks to get unblocked. However, the standard offer only takes 6 months. So, what was I doing for 2 weeks? The answer is that I was navigating through a series of articles, researching information about how to get unblocked. It is absurd that the current system allows for that. It should take no longer than a half hour at most.

I started by submitting an unblock request using the UTRS system. This request was closed because it can only be used by editors that don't have access to their talk page. I resubmitted the request correctly, but was declined and told to try the standard offer. In response, I started editing Wikiquote while still using my talk page to clarify things I didn't understand. I removed the closed (but not declined request) only to be told that even though I was only told not to remove declined requests because other sysops will want to see why I was declined, the actual policy is that all requests can't be removed. I explained the misunderstanding on my talk page, but I didn't know about pinging, so I had no way to bring it to anyone's attention. I used a help me template to get more information, but it was changed by another user to an admin help request. Then, I used another admin help request to learn how to initiate the standard offer. I was told that I needed to stop using my talk page (my only source of communication with other editors) in order to start the 6 month countdown.

All of this is ridiculous. One well written message from a bot could have explained all of this. You don't need to agree with all of my exact ideas. However, all I am really proposing is that we upgrade the system. Please take some time to consider this before dismissing it because you don't want internet trolls to take advantage of it. J.A.R.N.Y.🗣 01:19, 24 July 2018 (UTC)

I’ve reviewed your case, including the UTRS request. It seems you were making a largely semantic argument about something that didn’t really matter (whether or not you had the right to remove the closed UTRS request) and now you want the foundation to give you a grant to do something about it? Seems like a gross over reaction and very premature considering you’ve not tried, so far as I can see, to just get some clarifying edits to the relevant pages. Beeblebrox (talk) 02:39, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
I am not making this request because of that particular incident. I am making it because the system as a whole is flawed. That is just a personal experience I had that I find annoying because it wasn’t just a case of information not being supplied but of supplied information being wrong. Secondly, I do not need or want a grant. I understand then that this may have been the wrong place to post this request and I would appreciate if you could direct me to another area in the Foundation that is more suited to this. I have posted a complaint on the standard offer talk page, but this isn’t really about the badly written quasi-policy pages. It’s about a system that I feel should be run differently. J.A.R.N.Y.🗣 02:58, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
That you personally do not like the system does not mean that it is flawed. Your experience is a single data point in a veritable galaxy of blocked users. If you feel that the unblock system on en-wiki should be overhauled then it is your prerogative to suggest that - on en-wiki (at the Village Pump, ideally). I can tell you straight away, however, that any suggestion of automating the unblock process will be shot down just as surely as every suggestion for automating the blocking process has been in the past. Human - or at least administrator - evaluation is absolutely necessary for such things. Yunshui (talk) 07:46, 24 July 2018 (UTC)
I've thought it over and I'm willing to acquiesce that my idea needs more work before it can be implemented. I'm going to refine it and post it to the Wikipedia Village Pump. Thanks for providing feedback. J.A.R.N.Y.🗣 19:11, 24 July 2018 (UTC)