Users who violate WoWWiki policies may end up being banned and/or blocked from editing WoWWiki, either for a period of time, or indefinitely. A number of guidelines have been generated to help users avoid conflicts with each other.
Wikiquette, particularly, will help in this regard.
What is a ban, what is a block? Edit
Blocking is the technical mechanism used to prevent an account or IP address from editing WoWWiki. While blocks are one mechanism used to enforce bans, they are most often instead used to deal with vandalism and violations of the three-revert rule.
Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption to WoWWiki, not to punish users. Blocks sometimes are used as a deterrent, to discourage whatever behavior led to the block and encourage a productive editing environment.
A ban is a formal revocation of editing privileges on one or more pages in WoWWiki, usually in the scope of an article ban or a topic ban, though they may extend to the entire project. A ban may be temporary or permanent. The standard invitation WoWWiki extends with the statement "edit this page" does not apply to banned users.
WoWWiki's hope for banned users is that they will leave WoWWiki or the affected area with their pride and dignity intact, whether permanently or for the duration of their ban. As such, it is inappropriate to bait banned users, or to take advantage of their ban to mock them.
A user under a ban will be put under a block if they violate the terms of the ban.
Decision to ban, and appealing a ban Edit
An administrator, on seeing disruptive editing, can impose a ban. Unless there is clear evidence of bad faith (eg vandalism) or a direct violation of policy, administrators must assume good faith.
Sample bans might be:
- "You are not allowed to edit articles in this topic area for one month, though you can still participate at discussion pages," or
- "You cannot edit or engage on the talkpage of this one article for the next week," or
- "You are not allowed to post at the talkpages of these three users for one month", and so forth
In most cases, these bans are of limited duration. They may cover the entire wiki, particularly in cases of vandalism or other policy violations. They typically will still permit the user to edit his own talk page, to facilitate appealing the ban. If the user is explicitly banned from using his talk page for purposes other than appealing the ban, this is a part of the ban, and should be made clear when the ban is imposed.
A user may appeal to an administrator to have the ban (and any corresponding block) lifted, through their talk page or other means if they have it. Just as any administrator can issue a ban, any administrator can lift one. Be warned, though, that while you can appeal to administrators other than the one that banned you, this can be a source of conflict between administrators, and should be reserved for cases where there is a belief of bad faith on the part of the administrator.
In some cases, a banned user may be unblocked for the purpose of filing an appeal. In such cases, editing of unrelated pages is grounds for immediate re-blocking.
When reviewing bans, any editor (such as a prior victim of harassment) who may be affected should be informed, so that he or she can participate in the ban review.
Community ban Edit
- If a user has proven to be repeatedly disruptive in one or more areas of WoWWiki, the community may engage in a discussion at a relevant forum under the WoWWiki policy forum. If there is a consensus to site ban a user, site ban should be implemented against the user. Topic ban may be implemented by a consensus of users who are not involved in the underlying dispute. While determining consensus, the strength and quality of the arguments are evaluated.
- If a user has exhausted the community's patience to the point where an administrator has indefinitely blocked the user and no uninvolved administrator is willing to unblock him or her, the user may be considered to be community banned. WoWWiki is small enough that a user may exhaust the supply of active administrators previously uninvolved with that user's disputes.
Editing on behalf of banned users Edit
WoWWikians are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned user, an activity sometimes called "proxying," unless they have independent reasons for making them. Basically, edit "because it is right", not "because the banned user asked you to".
Edits which involve proxying that have not been confirmed to that effect may be reverted. See the Wikipedia entry on Sock puppetry regarding "meatpuppetry".
Evasion and enforcement Edit
WoWWiki's approach to enforcing bans balances a number of competing concerns:
- Maximizing the quality of the encyclopedia
- Avoiding inconvenience or aggravation to any victims of mistaken identity
- Maximizing the number of users who can edit WoWWiki
- Avoiding conflict within the community over banned users
- Dissuading or preventing banned users from editing WoWWiki or the relevant area of the ban
As a result, enforcement has a number of aspects. As with enforcement of other WoWWiki policies, no individual editor is obligated to help enforce any ban.
In the case of project-wide bans, the primary account of any banned user may be entirely blocked for the duration of the ban.
If the banned user creates sock puppet accounts to evade the ban, these usually will be blocked as well. When evasion is a problem, the IP address of a banned user who edits from a static IP address may also be blocked for the duration of the ban.
Restart and extension of ban duration when evasion is attempted Edit
It is customary for the "ban timer" to be reset or extended if a banned user attempts to edit in spite of the ban. No formal consideration is typically necessary. For example, if someone is banned for ten days, but on the sixth day attempts to evade the ban, then the ban timer may be reset from four more days remaining to ten days remaining. So if the user doesn't subsequently evade the ban again, their eventual total duration will have been sixteen days.
Enforcement by reverting edits Edit
Anyone is free to revert any edits made in defiance of a ban. By banning a user, the community has decided that their edits are prima facie unwanted and may be reverted without any further reason. This does not mean that obviously helpful edits (such as fixing typos or undoing vandalism) must be reverted just because they were made by a banned user, but the presumption in ambiguous cases should be to revert. When reverting edits, care should be taken not to reinstate material that may be in violation of core policies such as neutrality and verifiability.
Users are generally expected to refrain from reinstating edits made by banned users in violation of the ban, and such edits may be viewed as 'meatpuppetry'. Users who reinstate such edits take complete responsibility for the content by so doing. It is not possible to revert newly created pages, as there is nothing to revert to. Such pages may be 'speedily deleted'. If the banned editor is the only contributor to the page or its talk page, speedy deletion is probably correct. If other editors have unwittingly made good-faith contributions to the page or its talk page, it is courteous to inform them that the page was created by a banned user, and then decide on a case-by-case basis what to do.
User pages Edit
Notice of a ban may be placed on a banned users' user page, with links to any applicable discussion or decision-making pages. The purpose of this notice is to announce the ban to editors encountering the banned user's edits, and as a courtesy reminder to the banned user.
Indefinitely site-banned users may be restricted from editing their user talk page or using e-mail if they are disruptive.
Banned or blocked users sometimes return to WoWWiki using another user name. Obvious reincarnations are easily dealt with—the account is blocked and contributions are reverted or deleted, as discussed above.
Attempts to coerce actions of users through threats of actions -- legal, physical, or blackmail -- outside the WoWWiki processes, whether onsite or offsite, are grounds for immediate banning.