Talk:Global bans

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Archive and freeze for translation?[edit]

Hey folks: I was thinking in prep for the RFC, we should archive the old threads and put a temporary freeze on English edits so the translators can catch up. That sound ok? Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 17:57, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

I would support archiving old discussions in order to have fresh discussions take their place, and I would support freezing the page in order to allow for the translators to catch up. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 03:10, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done -- I fully protected the page for 30 days (will take it down if translations catch up sooner) and archived the threads older than this one. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 17:24, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Hi Steven, why is WMF doing project's policy here? Or did you forgot to change your accounts? ;-) --Saibo (Δ) 14:37, 1 July 2012 (UTC)

Respected users who are also banned[edit]

What about the case of users who have been banned on two or more projects, but are considered to be respected members of another project. Particularly, what if they hold a rollback, admin, etc. flag or would be eligible for such a flag but haven't pursued it? --Philosopher Let us reason together. 19:28, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

I think the answer lies in this part of the policy: "Merely meeting the above minimum criteria does not mean that a global ban is required." Someone can be banned in 100 projects but still be allowed to contribute to another. The point of the two project minimum is to prevent requests for global bans that are completely frivolous, not say that someone must be banned globally for any particular reason. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:41, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be a very bad idea to ban a user globally if the user contributes constructively to some project? I know of one user who is banned on one big project while at the same time being a bureaucrat on another big project, and I think that it would be a very bad idea to completely disallow such users to contribute to Wikimedia projects. --Stefan2 (talk) 22:27, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that is the point of the above statement in the policy. Just because a user is banned on two or three projects does not mean they must be globally banned. If someone brings up a proposal anyway, every community where the person is active has to be notified and given the opportunity to object if they want. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 17:12, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
What happens if there is a clear consensus to ban someone when the views of all projects are considered, but there is also clear consensus from a particular project that the one project doesn't want them banned? Can they be banned from all but the one project, or will the consensus of the larger community override the consensus of the one objecting wiki? Monty845 (talk) 17:42, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I think it should be made clear: it's not a "one wiki, one vote" situation. Like all Requests for Comment, the consensus is between the individual editors participating. What constitutes consensus is up to the Steward who closes the discussion, and since it's not a majority vote, it's not really a question of what happens when 10 people vote one way and 3 vote another. Stewards are chosen for their experience doing work across many of the projects, and extremely trustworthy when it comes to adjudicating cross-wiki disputes and decisions. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 20:13, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I disagree. We should behave as if we were a federation of peoples instead of behaving as if we were a nation-state of one people. Wikimedia isn't just multilingual; it's multinational as well. I like the concept of "one wiki; one vote", and the current numbers at Requests_for_comment/Global_bans give weight to the "one wiki; one vote" point of view. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:00, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I didnt read everything in this case. But let me ask u a question. WP is considered an "open system". As far as I can see, those global bans would be only to support switching to a closed one because each community would like to have their sticky users banned globally. What if an admin of a local community calls for a global ban of a user? If it goes like this: "Bann that user, he is obsolete", then Admins are not only acting locally but globally. Who will be able to certify if there are not any personal reasons behind that wish? It has a snowball effect, u know?--Angel54 5 (talk) 15:24, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The absolute minimum requirement for proposing a global ban is the agreement of two communities to ban the user, so a single person from one project is not able to call for a global ban. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:16, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

RFC ready for translation[edit]

See the draft posted at Request for comment/Global bans. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:15, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Language nitpick[edit]

"A global ban discussion may be invalided when the nominator is clearly not impartial..."

"Invalid" cannot used as a verb in this context. This should read:

"A global ban discussion may be invalid when the nominator is clearly not impartial..."


"A global ban discussion may be invalidated if the nominator is clearly not impartial..."

     Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 20:13, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Good eye. I've simplified it substantially. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 23:15, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

RfC ready (translations still welcome)[edit]

I've dropped a note at the Wikimedia Forum, but most of the key translations are finished for Request for comment/Global bans. We should get started, and if folks can help advertise it locally on the projects, please do so. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 21:45, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

I suggest we conduct its final approval via SecurePoll. It's much more easy, have integrated translations, better security options, will give a clear result and will save Meta folks a lot of job. After an RfC regarding whether this version of the policy is OK, securepoll would do it IMHO. Regards. — MA (audiencia) 22:32, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I've never used SecurePoll, but if it has integrated translations that is a big, big plus. The number one thing slowing this whole process down has been translation. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:40, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I mean the interface. Tho when I was an election scrutineer for enwiki's ArbCom we had links for translating messages and the like. Regards. — MA (audiencia) 23:40, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Should we run smth like a global sitenotice, so that it is visible on all projects?--Ymblanter (talk) 07:49, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Is there any way to translate the headers as well?--Ymblanter (talk) 07:49, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
I was thinking that a banner would be overkill, personally. As for headers: if you want to wrap them inside the ls template, that's the only way I can think of. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 16:55, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

This has been advertised on wikimedia-l, etc. I think this should be promptly put on CentralNotice, as it affects all projects. John Vandenberg (talk) 07:04, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Second. My request for a watchlist notice at enwiki have been ignored so far, unfortunately. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 12:36, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I'll plus one that now Michael. Wikimania is coming up, so I will likely be mostly unavailable to help with setting up CentralNotice, but otherwise I'm open to helping advertise this more. Thanks, Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 17:32, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Unregistered Users[edit]

Is there a discussion anywhere, on Wiki's policy to allow non-registered users the privilege of Editing? It seems to me in my short year of editing, that 99% of our vandalism is from "non-registered users". Why not require registering and eliminate a giant chunk of this ongoing problem? I was invited here by Meta-Wiki. Is my name coming up red because I never posted here before? Pocketthis (talk) 15:24, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Because it doesn't work. See en:Wikipedia:Perennial proposals#Prohibit_anonymous_users_from_editing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:04, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply, I'm sure you won't get angry if I respectfully disagree. This sentence:, "about 76% or 82% of anonymous edits are intended to improve the encyclopedia" may be true, however, those 76-82% would still contribute. Like the article says... "It only takes a few seconds to register". Many Grammar Schools with public computers for the kids are a big part of this problem. Registering may be well beyond their capabilities. It's just too darn simple for a drunk or vandal roaming Wiki and spotting the "Editing Tab" to dive in and wreck our work. That tab should only be visible to a registered user in my humble opinion. This issue was dismissed way to easy by Wiki, and should be reviewed again. I would like to propose a "1 week trial", with no visible editing tag for non registered users, and let's see just how "It doesn't work". Thanks

Pocketthis (talk) 17:23, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

  • One more point I'd like to make. This issue really hit home with me for the first time this week, when an article that I had contributed most of the info on the page to, was replaced by a vandal with 10 sentences of profanity. This article gets over 100,000 views per month. It took over an hour for some good watchdog Samaritan to undo the edit. I did the math. In that hour, hundreds of folks hungry for information on that topic (and counted on Wiki for the answers), were greeted by a page of profanity. This should NEVER happen. Wiki is earning a better reputation each year as an aid in education for the masses; and we owe it to all who would search Wiki, to be "Intact" when they get here. Also, many of those who contribute articles but don't register, are those writing about themselves, (like Hollywood) and don't want to expose that fact. For them, the more anonymous the better. I can't think of one good reason a person would refuse to register to contribute; but I can think of hundreds of reasons why a Vandal would prefer not to. Thanks for allowing me to vent on this pet peeve. Pocketthis (talk) 18:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

This page is for discussing Global bans. If your proposal is that an individual wiki should change its policy, the place for that is on that particular wiki. If your proposal is that WMF wikis as a whole shouldn't allow anonymous editing, Meta:Babel is probably a better place to discuss it. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 19:34, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Thank You, and I apologize for the rant. I was extremely surprised that the only place that 'WAID' could point me to was a one paragraph explanation of why someone on Wiki doesn't think registering will help Vandalism; so I vented here. I realize however, that trying to change a policy that Wiki was founded on is nearly impossible.

As far as the issue at hand on this page... I'm for any rational act that will help keep vandals off of Wiki. Pocketthis (talk) 22:36, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, you're in the wrong place. But since you're here, let me add that it's strange that ClueBot didn't detect the vandalism. What article are you talking about? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:30, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

other thoughts[edit]

I don't fully understand proposal, but I suspect it begins with a false premise. After contributing intensive and informed research on various topics, I have been permanently banned from Wikipedia via one solitary person; not a "community consensus."

The term is pure fantasy used to cover the inevitably and invariably peculiar and generally abusive Wikipedia administrators.

Who ever is suggesting this is probably interested in another petty power play.

Eventually they add up.... Then somewhat later, those who have won power will lose interest or die off..... and the whole project may collapse. Which could be an okay thing. ~~

*Oppose* There is a worry trend where a group of editors spend an inordinate amount of time devising pseudo legal actions when then should just be producing content. Each time is attempts to restrict the free speech of someone they don't like- have they heard of conciliation as a means of co-existance? Not content to limit their power play to one Wp- this one attempts global domination. I oppose in principle and suggest they drop it and do some serious content production. --ClemRutter (talk) 15:14, 22 July 2012 (UTC)
I suspect that you meant to comment at Requests for comment/Global bans. WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:11, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

What if the user does not easily write the language in question?[edit]

What will happen if the user does not easily write the language in question, but writes well enough to be understood.--Jax0677 (talk) 16:53, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

If you write well enough to be understood, then there should be no problem. It's not school work; there is no teacher to mark down errors in your writing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:16, 21 July 2012 (UTC)
Anyway, if someone wants to ban a user, I think that the discussion about this should be held in a language spoken by the user who might end up being banned. In that case, there is no problem. --Stefan2 (talk) 15:47, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Clarifying language would help[edit]

On this item:

1. The user demonstrates an ongoing pattern of cross-wiki abuse (that is not merely vandalism or spam). No global ban is required for uncontroversial cases of cross-wiki vandalism or spam; refer these directly to the Stewards’ global requests noticeboard.

This is not a very transparent framing. Many Wikimedians do not fully understand the difference between a ban, a block, or a lock; without more information, this confusingly appears to state that the most uncontroversially bad behavior need not be interrupted. I would like to see an additional phrase, like this, perhaps:

1. The user demonstrates an ongoing pattern of cross-wiki abuse (that is not merely vandalism or spam). No global ban is required for uncontroversial cases of cross-wiki vandalism or spam, since these may be handled with a block or lock (which may be made by a Steward, without need for extensive discussion). See Steward requests/Global.

-Pete F (talk) 20:47, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I am totally cool with updating to that wording. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 00:07, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree that this would be an improvement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:17, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
+1 --MF-W 21:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
+1 — MA (audiencia) 21:55, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
+1 (Reserving my objections on the RfA page). --Philosopher Let us reason together. 11:55, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
+1 --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:08, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done We should have done this months ago. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:39, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

"Past reasons for requesting a global ban have included"[edit]

The language "Past reasons for requesting a global ban have included" does not limit to that list; it seems designed to leave it open for any number of possible global banning justifications. My concern is that people might enact this policy intending that it be used for those enumerated situations, and then find that it ends up being applied much more broadly. Can we figure out what situations this is likely to be used for, and write it so that its potential application is limited in scope tho those situations? Leucosticte (talk) 21:26, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

I believe that you have accurately identified the goal. That list does not include every acceptable reason. Requests may be made for any reason at all. The community can and will reject request it believes unjustified or inappropriate.
I do not believe that it is good to list every possible reason. We do not want to encourage people to believe that bad behavior is acceptable, so long as it is not one of four particular types of bad behavior. For example, I would not want someone to say, "It's okay to harass and threaten my ex-girlfriend on 25 different WMF projects, because she's not 'a contributor' to any of them, and the global bans policy only says that harassing and threatening contributors is a reason to implement a global ban." I would also not want to make an attempt to list the hundreds of specific behaviors that (at least if carried to an extreme) might result in someone requesting a global ban. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:43, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Isn't part of the point of having all these different projects that it allows each one to have its own community with different standards, and does not allow consensus on one project to override consensus on another? So, for instance, two communities might have different standards as to what constitutes harassment and how harassment allegations are to be adjudicated. Enwiki has decided to put in place an ArbCom that is empowered to decide that a matter is so sensitive that the community shouldn't be informed of the precise nature of the accusation, of the evidence against the accused, of the content of the deliberations concerning the adjudication, or of how the individual Arbitrators voted; they can just say, "The user is banned by the ArbCom."
There are also some wikis where it's pretty easy to get accused of abuse because the sysops have little oversight, or there's a bona fide cabal. E.g., software developers are showing up all the time at, posting a userpage link to their personal software development website as a way of introducing themselves, and getting indef-blocked for spamming. doesn't really have much of a Requests for Comment process in place (I think people would rather be coding than getting involved in such stuff), and the policies on such matters are vague or nonexistent, so the sysops pretty much do what they want, unless another sysop happens to notice, disagree, and revert.
But perhaps there are a few WMF wikis, out of the hundreds, that have figured out a way to avoid banning people who don't need to be banned. Unfortunately, the bans on the other wikis would probably be admissible at meta as sufficient evidence that the user has engaged in cross-wiki abuse to clear the procedural hurdles needed to start debate on his global banning, and he could be banned by consensus at meta against those dissident wikis' wishes. So, why not, instead of having global bans that are binding on every WMF wiki, just make it advisory? A consensus at meta to globally ban a user would put his name on a blacklist, but each wiki would be free to ignore that, if it wished, depending on its policies. Or if a wiki wanted, it could have a policy of automatically regarding globally banned users as locally banned too.
If we are going to have global bans that are binding on local wikis, then we should limit the scope of allowed reasons as strictly as possible. I would favor limiting it what is necessary to protect WMF from legal liability; and because most of the community are not lawyers, those are probably matters for the WMF office to decide, rather than the community. So basically, what we need is already in place, since the WMF office already does globally ban people when a legal matter causes them to deem it necessary. Leucosticte (talk) 08:27, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
It seems that the WMF office decided that they wanted to have a community-based process for global bans. This has already been decided. The only decision we need to make is to decide how the community will make decisions about whether a person will be globally banned. Will it be fairly minimal (as proposed here), or will it be practically impossible (e.g., requiring a signature from the Pope and the President)? Will the community take on as much power for itself as possible (as proposed here) or will it limit itself to considering very few situations, so that as much as possible is handled secretly by the office (as proposed by you)? Those are the decisions we have to make here.
As for your proposal, do you really want the office to take on such a role? They have no obligation to limit themselves to legal necessity. They have no obligation to listen to your defense. They have no obligation to be transparent with the community (and they traditionally have not explained their blocks publicly). The office is legally allowed to ban people whose usernames have the wrong number of letters in them, and we have no agreement from them to be reluctant to ban people. They are even legally allowed to block you and make it look like they've done nothing at all, and the reason you can't login is because you forgot your password. On twenty-five accounts in a row. I think that some of the staff members would be perfectly happy to have "globally ban whoever irritates you, whenever you want, with no oversight or input from the community" added to their job descriptions. Is that what you want? Because I believe that's what we'll end up with, if we don't have a process that gives the community a formal role in the decision making. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:03, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
It is true that Sue did say that she wished we had "a community body with decision-making authority to enact global blocks and bans." I think it's a false dichotomy, though, to say that it comes down to a choice of either having the community handle, say, cases of cross-wiki harassment of non-users or having the office handle those cases. The third option would be to leave those types of cases up to individual wikis. If the harassment doesn't have legal implications, then why does the office need to get involved?
If the office is concerned about individual wikis letting, say, harassers harass freely, then how does it solve the problem to empower the meta community to enact global blocks and bans? If individual wikis can't be trusted to make the right decision, then why would meta be any better at making such decisions? In other words, what makes the larger community a better judge of whether a user needs to be blocked than each of these smaller communities acting independently?
If anything, the smaller communities are better equipped to make decisions for themselves because they can take into account their own unique needs. E.g. suppose a user keeps getting banned from various wikipedias for posting biased political content. That might not be an issue at, say,, which is devoted to documenting software; that user might be capable of being a good contributor there, but a global ban would prevent that.
What evidence is there to suggest that the office is worse at making these decisions than the community? Shall we look at individual cases? I've never seen anyone have a problem with the office that wasn't corrected, but I've seen a lot of people have problems with certain communities. One of those communities is enwiki, whose users would probably tend to dominate discussion at meta since enwiki is the largest and most active project.
So yeah, I'd be inclined to trust the office more than the community. At least at the office, people can get fired for making bad decisions. What happens if a user makes a bad decision as to whether to support or oppose a global banning? Nothing; he is allowed to continue participating in global banning debates, as long as he doesn't break any rules (e.g. by being uncivil). At the office, everyone is accountable ultimately to the CEO; in the community, there is no such accountability. Leucosticte (talk) 16:32, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
That sounds remarkably like, "I trust everyone except the people who banned me". WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:25, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
That would tend to make one not trust a certain process or group, would it not? The self-serving bias tends to make people believe they are in the right; therefore, those who took the contrary view will, from that perspective, be deemed to be in the wrong, and therefore the action they took in accordance with that belief will be deemed to be wrong, which in turn will tend to lead to a perception of a problem that should be corrected; in this case, that problem being the banning system. Of course, those on the other side have their own biases.
It's not just my case that I thought was poorly handled, though; I disagreed with the banning of Suarez too, and I think Abd's banning was also probably unnecessary. And of course there is the ArbCom-supported Wikipedia censorship that has been documented at NewgonWiki. People who have been through the system and seen how the banning and ban appeal processes operate are, in some respects, in a better position to understand the failings of those systems. Those who haven't been through them may not be in as good a position to judge, because those systems are not always transparent. Without transparency, it's hard for outsiders to know whether good procedures are being followed or not.
But "sour grapes" is a bit of an ad hominem argument anyway. Of course it's going to be the people who have bad experiences with something who tend to oppose it. If you buy a product and find that it was a ripoff, is it "sour grapes" if you go around telling everyone how bad it was? Or if you get fired from a job and then try to trash that company's reputation? The bias of such people has to be taken into account, but that doesn't mean there's no truth to what they say. They were there; others were not, so in some ways their information could be better than those who are in a position to be totally objective due to having no involvement. Leucosticte (talk) 17:35, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: Experience tells me that the WMF is hesitant to take any action. The WMF isn't bold. They do their best to avoid controversy and backlash. They won't made the "hard decisions." The only reason that they finally decided to do something is because they were under pressure and, in my opinion, afraid of how the media might react if they didn't take action. The "community", on the other hand, will make bold, hard decisions. The "community" isn't afraid of backlash; they shrug backlash off. the "community" doesn't care about the media; they believe that the media (e.g. Fox News, copyright advocates) is evil. The "community" isn't afraid of becoming fired or being forced to resign. The "community" will ban more people than the WMF. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 18:20, 8 October 2012 (UTC) – Leucosticte isn't the only one who's concerned. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 18:39, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Binding or advisory[edit]

Is there any reason the global bans have to be binding on local wikis rather than advisory? Might we not allow each wiki to decide for itself whether the decision made at meta, and the evidence presented there, warrants banning the user on the local wiki? Some wikis might choose to have a policy of automatically banning globally banned users, while others might choose to have a policy of ignoring global bans altogether, and there could be many positions in between. It seems like this would be more in accordance with wikifederalist principles.

We could simply have a global page for informing the Wikimedia community as a whole of what users have been banned from what projects. That would be an informational resource that local wikis could use for whatever purposes they wished. There would be no need for a global Request for Comment; anyone could simply add the information as soon as a user were banned, and link to the appropriate page on the local wiki providing evidence of the user's being banned.

This could allow local wikis to adopt more nuanced solutions than what a global ban would accomplish. E.g., one of the wikipedias might have a policy that anyone banned from three wikipedias with article counts of more than 1 million would be automatically banned from that wikipedia as well. There are any number of creative possibilities that wikis might adopt if given the freedom to tailor solutions to their unique needs.

This type of advisory or informational system would have a similar function in Wikimedia as a credit rating or reporting system has in a market economy. If you are a businessperson who knows that three prestigious companies have reported being ripped off by a particular customer, you are still free to either engage in a transaction with that customer or not. Perhaps you have reason to believe that the nature of your proposed transaction with him is such that you are safer from being ripped off than those companies were, or you simply have a different idea than those companies do about what it means to be ripped off. E.g., if the customer can give you an explanation for his failure to pay that you find acceptable, then you might do business with him, despite the fact that those companies have vowed never to do business with him again. Leucosticte (talk) 09:09, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, there is a reason why global bans have to be binding on all projects: the Terms of use say that they are.
There could additionally be a "recommended but not required ban" or a "global-except-for-this-project ban" system, but there must be a process for deciding whether to issue a ban on all projects.
There is no requirement that any such ban ever be issued. The community is free to reject every proposal proposed ban on an individual. And the fact is that very, very few current users have been banned on two or more projects, so almost no one could even be nominated. I can only think of one, and his current activity is so limited that it would be pointless. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:13, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
What are the consequences if the community simply refuses to adopt a global banning policy? What would the office do then? Maybe it would lead them to reconsider their stance and change the terms of use.
What is your point in saying that the community is free to reject every proposal? It's debatable whether it's good or bad to have a system that doesn't apply rules the same way consistently; see wikibureaucracy. Wikibureaucracy has been mostly rejected, so people are at the mercy of arbitrary community decisions that ignore all rules. However, one of the few safeguards is that if you get banned from certain wikis, you're not banned from them all. This would weaken that safeguard.
Even if it's only a few cases, that doesn't mean we can necessarily expect that it will remain only a few cases; and these sorts of policies, once established, are notoriously hard to get rid of. I hope it will remain only a few cases, and that limiting the policy's application to those who are banned on more than one wiki will make it not apply to very many people, but who knows. And in any event, it seems likely to do more harm than good in those few cases, and could also contribute toward the development of an anti-wikifederalist trend in policymaking, so I vote against it. Leucosticte (talk) 16:55, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
I have clarified my comment in re rejecting "proposals". The community is free to reject every single proposed ban of any user at all.
I don't know what the office will do if this (or any other) proposed policy is rejected. I wouldn't exactly be surprised if they simply imposed an interim policy by fiat, and then left revisions up to us. As I read the TOU, they actually need to have something in place, whether we want it or not. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:20, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

[wikimedia-l] Global bans RFC closed[edit]

Wasn't linked here it seems.[1] --Nemo 14:44, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

[2], [3], [4], [5] – I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who disagreed with the "divide and conquer" strategy used in the RfC. Dividing the opposition into two camps wasn't a fair tactic. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 15:58, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
It wasn't a "tactic", and I resent the assumption of bad faith implied. It was a completely open attempt to have a Request for Comment that didn't follow the usual stupid, binary pattern where all oppose reasons are the same. There is a big difference between people who are opposed to the idea of such a policy in principle, and those with practical feedback about ways to make it acceptable to them. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk
It wasn't acceptable to nearly half of the !voters. When are their concerns going to be accommodated? When are you going to make use of the feedback? How much has the policy changed since the RfC started. As I've stated in August, "adopt first, change later" won't result in any major changes, only tiny ones. "Adopting first, change later" robs the opposition of its leverage (i.e. its ability to have the changes that they demand met). I doubt that the policy will change much now that it has been adopted without compromise. A more "binary" discussion would probably had forced you to change the proposed policy in order to make acceptable to at least 70% of the community. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 22:02, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps because I have edited it a bunch and am the major author, I think you're forgetting that it's an openly-editable policy subject to revision at any time. Which is precisely why we wanted to have it, as opposed to simply putting all description of global bans directly in to the Terms of Use. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:48, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
I haven't forgotten anything. I know that the policy can be revised, but I also know that it'll be nearly impossible to introduce any major changes. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 23:11, 3 April 2013 (UTC)
Speaking of revisions, I just swapped in the text that Pete F proposed last summer. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:38, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
Just noticed this for the first time. Thanks for doing that WhatamIdoing. For whatever it's worth, I remain astonished that this policy was deemed to have passed in spite of the various legitimate concerns raised and not addressed. -Pete F (talk) 19:00, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

When to review the policy[edit]

When PeterSymonds closed the "global bans" RfC, he or she suggested a trail period followed by a review. Our first global ban discussion concluded yesterday, so I'm wondering when should we have a review. PeterSymonds closed the "global bans" RfC around six month ago. Should we wait another six months? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:23, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

I think we should, to see if any more global ban proposals are made. Already drawing conclusions now is probably too early, if there is only one discussion that happened; in other cases, other points might turn out to be important regarding the policy than in this one. --MF-W 13:40, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
It is rather clear that the proposal against me did not meet the criteria and cannot be considered part of a trial or a test. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:03, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
I think MF-W is probably right that we should wait more. Global bans, per the criteria set out, are designed to be infrequent (either as proposals or successful bans), so giving it some time is a wise idea. I do think that Nemo generally followed the procedures set out correctly, and the requirement for an open discussion as well as cross-wiki notifications about the RFC are what prevented a small cabal from making a decision on whether to ban Ottava. In short: I agree waiting is a good idea, but personally I think in this case the policy helped prevent a hasty global ban, and was thus a successful test of the system. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 00:30, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. Even if the global bans policy hadn't exist, I doubt that a steward would've locked Ottava's account without there first being an extensive discussion by multiple participants from multiple projects. In addition, I don't believe that Nemo bis would've proposed a global ban for Ottava if the policy hadn't exist. What the Ottava Rima global ban discussion does show plainly and clearly is that opponents of the proposed global ban generally prefer having local communities deal with issues to having the global community deal with them. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:49, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
I think assuming that conclusion would be the result in all cases is a mistake, which is why I agree with MF-W that one case doesn't make a trend. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:21, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Steve, it was really, really clear that Nemo hadn't followed the policy. He did not meet the criteria and used it as an excuse to mass spam me and harass me. That is not what the policy exists to do - only those who clearly meet the criteria are supposed to be discussed. Theoretically, he could put you up under the same flimsy rationale. Don't make things up like that or, if you do, don't post it under your WMF account. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:15, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd always thought that we'd review this policy after two "cases" had been discussed. I have no idea why I thought that. I'm pretty sure that we never discussed the specific idea of reviewing after two discussions. However, it (apparently!) seems to me that waiting for two unrelated discussions to close would be a good idea. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:07, 30 August 2013 (UTC)


Is the line "Serious on-wiki fraud or identity theft (not limited to abuse of multiple accounts)" supposed to mean that it includes abuse of multiple accounts and other things as well, or is it supposed to mean that the abuse has to be more serious than mere abuse of multiple accounts. I'm suspecting the latter, but the wording should really be clarified. --Jakob (talk) 20:14, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

"Fraud and identity theft" do not refer to the creation of sock puppets. This is in a section that refers to prior ban discussions. The relevant discussion involved a user who, years ago, apparently, for a sock, put up a photo that was of someone else, a woman. The woman saw the photo and complained. Whether or not this was "serious on wiki fraud or identity theft" is debatable (because no real identity was asserted, i.e., the woman's name was not given, a charge of "identity theft" would not have survived, legally), but most commenting did consider it so. I'm not aware of fraud being involved, but, again, these kinds of claims were made about that user. Very complicated case, and I argued in that discussion that it would set poor precedent. But global bans have not been much used, outside of spammers and blatant vandals, where there is no "global ban" discussion, just administrative action. —Abd (talk) 20:48, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Jakob's edit to the Global bans page. Yes. —Abd (talk) 23:38, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

List of globally banned users[edit]

I have edited the policy page to link to a list of globally banned users, so that discussions of global bans and global bans policy can see precedent and examples of implementation. I self-reverted, because this is an edit to a policy page and should be reviewed before being accepted. I will go ahead and create the subpage, since that's harmless. --Abd (talk) 20:58, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Is it true (notices notwithstanding, unless the notice itself was enacted as policy; I don't see anything to that effect at Requests_for_comment/Global_bans#Option_1) that the page can't be altered at all without first getting community consensus? Or is it only changes to the policy (as opposed to "see also" sections) that require such prior consensus? Either way, self-reverts seem pointless; in the BRD cycle, if you're going to do that, you might as well skip straight to the "discuss" stage and talk about your proposed change. Oh yes, and let's not forget IAR and the wiki way in general, both of which provide a rationale for BRD as opposed to cycles that start with D. Someone should probably revert the revert; obviously I can't do it. Leucosticte (talk) 23:54, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
I have long preferred to use self-reversion for a change that is reasonably likely to be accepted, as I think this one is. It makes it easy to see the effect. Your approval would have been a minimal standard for acceptance, my opinion. However, apparently another user disagrees, though not on the change itself, see below. --Abd (talk) 01:44, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
It is my interpretation and I believe one that Abd shares is that current practice and policy requires consultation with the community before implementing any additional large changes in semantic meaning, especially one concerning additional work for translators who have to review and translate the added line "List of globally banned users". As it is two editors with a mind to insert their change against one who believes differently, we are at the 'no-consensus' stage. That in most usual wiki matters defaults to the most conservative status-quo viewpoint, leading to restoration of the original version of the article. On self-reversion, I will discuss that matter separately on your talkpage. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 00:39, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Well, 2:1 would still be rough consensus. However, so what? Neither I nor Leucosticte will revert TCNSV. The translation effort involved in "List of globally banned users" has got to be absolutely minimal. TCNSV refers to discussion of a change to Admin activity review, by him, that was extensive, not easy to immediately review, and where he actually misinterpreted the policy. This is a bit different, eh? I requested, however, that translation be set up on insertion, I did not know how to do that. This is not at all a change in policy, nor an explanation of it, though. It is merely a link to neutral information, information that I long wanted to know. I thought I knew the answer, but had never actually researched it. Even without the change being made to the page, the list may already be useful. --Abd (talk) 01:44, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Sure. If nothing else, when someone goes to the talk page to complain, "Why isn't there a list of globally banned users?" they might encounter this thread and find the answer. So it's already been useful. Leucosticte (talk) 01:47, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
The pronoun "it" is being used a bit ambiguously, maybe purposefully.[6][7] The edit of which you speak was one Abd described as a "massive edit" as opposed to adding as "see also" item. For the most part, I don't think concerns about what gives the translators extra work are a very high priority; the English version is authoritative and any translations into other languages are a luxury, not a necessity.
This is, at least, how it is at Maybe the norm is different here. The idea with the software and its documentation is to perfect the English version as much as possible, and the translators can catch up at their leisure. Meanwhile, anyone who wants the authoritative version can read it in English. There are a lot of system messages, for instance, that don't have translations in other languages; those default to being displayed in English.
I don't think "most usual wiki matters defaults to the most conservative status-quo viewpoint"; that goes against be bold. I think that, just as it was permissible for you to revert me, it would be permissible for anyone else to revert you. But if they don't, then your edit is considered to be the consensus, per wiki norms. Self-reversion should probably be covered in a mainspace page somewhere, if it isn't already.
I see it as sort of a majority rules thing, combined with a let's-fix-this-ASAP thing. Barring unusual circumstances, each editor gets to make one revert, so whichever side has n+1 editors on its side beats the side that has only n editors on its side. However, after a certain amount of time has passed, people who already used up their revert can try again, and see if others have changed their minds or left the wiki. On the other hand, some people prefer to hash stuff out on talk pages rather than relying so much on the BR part of BRD, since things can get messy when there are dozens are reversions going on. I guess it's a difference of styles, partly. The more minor and/or uncontroversial one anticipates the change will be, I think the safer it is to be bold. Eh, wiki philosophy is so much easier and more clear-cut on smaller wikis! Leucosticte (talk) 01:10, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I could still revert once. Self-reversion is voluntary and does not establish revert warring, at all. But I'm not going to. Basically, anyone who gets excited enough to revert without discussion first, or clear policy being followed, probably should be doing something else more productive. There is no hurry. What was important here, because of a need to reference it elsewhere, was done by creating that subpage with the list of globally banned users. The global bans page is the obvious place to link that page, but the place isn't going to burn down if it isn't done promptly. If there is a problem with the list, now that could be a problem! Please fix it! --Abd (talk) 01:50, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
@Abd: you could probably add your opinion to the self-reversion page Leucosticte created. PiRSquared17 (talk) 04:11, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
I would encourage it. Leucosticte (talk) 04:21, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Do you think we should have this list in the See also section? It should at least be outside of translation units, right? PiRSquared17 (talk) 04:07, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

I think it would be better just to link to a page that lists global ban discussions and their outcomes. Then we don't have to update this page when there's another one. Leucosticte (talk) 04:21, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
That list will be very short, and this saves the reader from having to click through an additional page. We can expand it as necessary, and once it becomes too large, then we can fork the content over from the See Also section onto the separate list page. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 05:36, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

There should be a disclaimer next to the link to the Poetlister discussion that states that that discussion occurred before the "Global bans" policy was adopted. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 12:59, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

And this removal? There are perfectly legitimate reasons to call to attention not only global ban proposals that succeeded but also examples of such proposals that have failed. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 07:07, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I don't believe that we should turn Ottava Rima into a poster child for the "see also" section. The failure of the ban proposal ought to mean that that user should be left alone. Perhaps even Poetlister shouldn't be a poster child either. Maybe the entire idea of having particular discussions about single users in the "see also" section instead of a link to a "List of global ban discussions" (even if it would be short) is a bad one. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 12:54, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I already removed the reference to Ottava Rima as irrelevant and possibly personally offensive to him. It could be argued that Poetlister is also irrelevant, because the current policy was not followed with that RfC, which could be a basis for an attempt to overturn that ban. However, I'm not opening that can of worms. It appears that the WMF, however, has actively supported the global ban of Poetlister. The simple truth is that the only globally banned user, defacto, is Poetlister, and there has been only one ban discussion since that ban discussion. I'd suggest that if someone wants to look at the Poetlister case and try to derive the basis for policy from it, they may end up needing medication. Poetlister did not satisfy the requirements for a global ban per present policy, except in one way: there might be many users who would so argue, as, in fact, they did, quite contrary to the readily available evidence. So much for ban by RfC. Train wreck. Don't get me started.
Back to the point here, yes. A list is much better than a See Also, which will only confuse. Ottava is on the list I created because the list shows all global ban discussions, instead of only closures with a ban. That could be changed. --Abd (talk) 02:33, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
Before anyone reverts please note that most of the time consensus is the not the same as voting, but it can be sometimes.
  • "I already removed the reference to Ottava Rima" Why state what is self-evident in the link I pointed out when it makes your long posts even harder to follow than it already does?
  • "as irrelevant" I don't see it as irrelevant, in fact I think it's a great example of past precedence and practice for global bans, a rare example of seeing the policy in action and how it works. To the readers it sends the message "Before you use this policy to enact a frivolous global ban against someone, please look at these past examples for what kind of arguments are or are not considered by the global Wikimedia community as meriting such a discussion."
  • "and possibly personally offensive to him" Instead of making unfounded assertions about whether or not a person could find something offensive, why don't you go ask them yourself? Besides, that is irrelevant to this policy page; on Wikipedia for example there are archived lists of numerous failed requests for adminship or failed sockpuppetry cases, yet the offensiveness to the subject of such pages does not objectively factor into the inclusion of such lists or pages.
  • "there has been only one ban discussion since that ban discussion" I'm assuming Ottava Rima's case.
  • "I'd suggest that if someone wants to look at the Poetlister case and try to derive the basis for policy from it, they may end up needing medication" Why? I'm reading the history of ban discussions and it's more than obvious the Poetlister case was what led to this policy being enacted. Before Poetlister, there did not exist anyone perceived as being so disruptive across so many different Wikimedia projects as to warrant the need for a global ban discussion enacted against him. And there was no prior need for even such a process, let alone a policy, for many problematic users because none had been perceived as being disruptive enough that such a process might come into existence. What resulted from the discussion was so convoluted that the Foundation did not want to make the hard decisions to ban the guy themself; instead they preferred to leave the responsibilities for problematic users in the hands of 'the community', which eventually led to the Foundation changing the Terms of Use in order to force the issue to develop a global community ban policy. There is a correlation between this page and the Poetlister case, and giving potential readers an easy link to such a case should they wish to research the reasons behind the page's creation makes the policy easier to understand.
  • "Poetlister did not satisfy the requirements for a global ban per present policy" Whether or not he meets the requirements is irrelevant, the fact is his case created a need, artificially or not, to develop the page in question. The policy is not perfect in being clear why he had needed a global ban (see Requests for comment/Global bans for numerous user suggestions for improvement of the page) but it does derive its power from this precedent case.
I've been thinking about using a category page for global ban proposals instead of a list. How does that sound? TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 06:53, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
It sounds good to me. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 16:41, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
A category sounds like a good idea. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:45, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Does any one have any good ideas on what name the category should possess? "Global ban discussions"? "Global ban requests for comments"? "Global ban proposals"? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:20, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Just "Global ban pages" would be fine for people looking for more information, there's no need to have overly specific categorization schemes which just bloat the Category tree further. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 09:13, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm fine with any of those. PiRSquared17 (talk) 13:28, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Category:Global_ban_pages – I've created the category. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 19:02, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

WMF Terms of use bans[edit]

I notice WMF reserves the right to "Ban a user [...] for actions violating these Terms of Use". WMF also refuses to comment on such actions.

I think this page should have a clear note about those bans, as the "Global bans are exclusively applied where [...]" language is misleading. There should also be a pointer to a page explaining WMF policy in this regard – and statistics. What such pages are there?

--LPfi (talk) 12:46, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Recently WMF Global Ban Policy was created to explain this. --Abd (talk) 13:34, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Users globally banned despite the fact that they were blocked on English WP only[edit]

In case admin Vogone is willing to discuss instead of abusing their rollback button, I want to point out that, in fact, at least two of the users mentioned on List of globally banned users were NOT blocked on two or more projects at the timepoint of the global ban, but were banned from the English wiki instead of that. So, as a logical consequence, any of the following corrections of Global bans policy should be implemented:

either 1) The modification I made, namely: one of the mandatory criteria for a global ban is an indefinite block on English wikipedia, OR on at least two of any other WMF projects;

or 2) the introduction to the section "Criteria for global bans" should be changed from "Global bans are only considered when all of the following criteria are met" to "Global bans are only considered when ANY of the following criteria are met",

or 3) the global bans of Beta_M and Dcoetzee were a clear violation of this policy and must be lifted,

or 4) this policy is useless pile of bytes and the page Global bans should be deleted, because Jimbo & WMF, in fact, can ban anyone they want to at any time and without any explanation.

--A.Savin (talk) 14:55, 19 January 2015 (UTC)

There is a basic confusion here. The policy page is only about community-based global bans. (There has only been one, formally declared, and that single one did not follow the policy, which was later written; the WMF has now declared a global ban for the same person, as it previously enforced that ban, without any community consultation; the enforcement was purely about a status offense, not any showing of disruptive behavior (other than allegedly being a globally banned user.) In that case, the user was an administrator as well.
The bans mentioned by A. Savin are WMF-declared bans. It is true that the WMF bans do not comply with the community ban policy. However, they do not change this policy, which does not restrict the WMF. The WMF policy is declared by the WMF, at WMF Global Ban Policy. On the face of it, the WMF may not have followed their own policy, but that's irrelevant here. Nevertheless, I'll comment briefly:
The WMF is the site owner, legally. However, it avoids legal responsibility, except under narrow circumstances, by claiming that site content and management is by the community. The WMF is now showing that it will take legal responsibility. It is willing to bypass community process, and apparently without an emergency. But perhaps there was an emergency; yet it's difficult to assess, because of secrecy, which the WMF claims is necessary. The question is who is being protected, and why the WMF is not willing to negotiate with the community, or, at least, inform it after the fact. Privacy concerns are routinely addressed by restricting information to a special set of users: chosen by the community and disclosed to the WMF as to real-life identity, i.e., all stewards and checkusers.
Any user should be able to waive privacy. Russavia has clearly waived privacy with regard to this affair. The WMF could set up a open appeal process, for users who waive privacy. It may still act to protect the privacy of others, where that is relevant.
And the WMF should clarify the policy, because a global ban, when all precedent would indicate no hazard of that, is a basic violation of human rights, and is likely to, then, create disruption. (It is not "illegal," though it may be a tort.) What actions did Russavia take that violated the TOS, and that he could reasonably know would be seen and treated as such? --Abd (talk) 16:00, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
@A.Savin: I assumed you noticed the difference between a community and a WMF ban, but since B..anyone removed the link to the page describing WMF bans added by Philippe, it was probably unreasonable of me to do so. Sorry for the confusion, I indeed assumed unproductive intentions behind your change and thus made use of the rollback tool the first time I reverted you. Regards, Vogone (talk) 17:07, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
I missed that.[9] Face-palm. The addition did not change the policy at all, it merely added an informative note. However, it did violate the literal language of the policy template. Perhaps the Template should be changed. Template:Policy-global/en. Or perhaps we should allow helpful improvements that do not change the policy, even if the letter of the template is violated. --Abd (talk) 17:39, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose, that obscure must not was handy to revert the recent WMF test edits. Start a RFC to change the text. –Be..anyone (talk) 23:51, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
  • The recent WMF test edits? To me, it looks like the language was useful to Be..anyone and to nobody else. I'm not about to start an RfC over a simple note on a page. Much easier to edit or propose an edit to the template -- or just to the page. But I'll see what sane comments show up. --Abd (talk) 13:15, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I have replaced the See Also link to WMF global ban policy that was added by a WMF account. There have been other accepted edits to the page since the Policy-global template was added. Intention is clear: that template statement, in spite of the literal meaning that can be given to it, does not prohibit all edits to the page. Changing the policy is prohibited without consensus. The added See Also makes no change in policy. It clarifies what has always been true, the WMF has the power to globally lock accounts without community process. Usage has been rare, but it existed before. What was new here was that the locks were announced, whereas, before, they were not, they were quiet (and see w:Wikipedia:Child protection for how Wikipedia handles certain bans), and I've acted on Wikiversity to have third-party reference to one of them suppressed, for privacy reasons. --Abd (talk) 13:30, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Please ban my CsFernandez7 account on all wikis.[edit]

Please ban my CsFernandez7 account on all wikis. 01:14, 1 February 2015 (UTC) 9:13 AM 1. February 2015 (UTC)

Why? I can't find that account on any wiki, and that's not what global bans are for: preventing abuse. PiRSquared17 (talk) 01:19, 1 February 2015 (UTC)