Wikiafripedia:Banning policy

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A ban is a formal prohibition from editing some or all Wikiafripedia pages, or a formal prohibition from making certain types of edits on Wikiafripedia pages. Bans can be imposed for a specified duration or an indefinite duration.

Bans are a possible outcome of dispute resolution. They may be imposed by community consensus, by the Arbitration Committee, or by administrators (in certain topic areas). A ban is normally a site ban (prohibiting all editing), but it may be limited to a page ban, a topic ban (prohibiting edits on pages relating to certain topic areas) or an interaction ban (prohibiting edits that interact with certain other editors).

Bans are different from blocks, which are used by administrators to technically prevent a user account or IP address from editing Wikiafripedia. Blocks are used chiefly to deal with immediate problems such as vandalism, disruptive editing or edit warring. A ban, on the other hand, does not technically prevent editing; however, blocks may be used to enforce bans.

Types of bans[edit source | edit]

The following are the common types of bans; other bans may be used when appropriate.

Site ban[edit source | edit]

Unless otherwise specified, a ban is a site ban. An editor who is site-banned is forbidden from making any edit, anywhere on Wikiafripedia, via any account or as an unregistered user, under any and all circumstances. The only exception is that editors with talk page access may appeal in accordance with the provisions below.

Article ban or page ban[edit source | edit]

An article ban forbids an editor from editing a specific article or set of articles. The text of the ban should state whether the ban includes or excludes the article's talk page. Editors subject to an article ban are free to edit other related pages or discuss the topic elsewhere on Wikiafripedia.

When the word "page" is used in a ban it means any page on Wikiafripedia, including for example user, talk, discussion, file, category or template pages. The word "article" usually refers only to mainspace pages. If any other related pages (such as the page's talk page) are to be covered it will usually be stated explicitly.

Topic ban[edit source | edit]

The purpose of a topic ban is to forbid editors from making edits related to a certain topic area where their contributions have been disruptive, but to allow them to edit the rest of Wikiafripedia. Unless clearly and unambiguously specified otherwise, a topic ban covers all pages (not only articles) broadly related to the topic, as well as the parts of other pages that are related to the topic, as encapsulated in the phrase "broadly construed". For example, if an editor is banned from the topic "weather", this editor is forbidden from editing not only the article Weather, but also everything else that has to do with weather, such as:

  • weather-related articles and lists, such as Wind and List of weather records, and their talk pages;
  • weather-related categories such as all of the categories that are associated with Category:Weather;
  • weather-related project pages, such as WikiProject Meteorology;
  • weather-related parts of other pages, even if the pages as a whole have little or nothing to do with weather: the section entitled "Climate" in the article California, for example, is covered by the topic ban, but the rest of the article is not;
  • discussions or suggestions about weather-related topics anywhere on Wikiafripedia, for instance a deletion discussion concerning an article about a meteorologist, but also including edit summaries and the user's own user and talk pages (including sandboxes).

Interaction ban[edit source | edit]

The purpose of an interaction ban (IBAN) is to stop a conflict between individuals. A one-way interaction ban forbids one user from interacting with another user. A two-way interaction ban forbids both users from interacting with each other. Although the interaction-banned users are generally allowed to edit the same pages or discussions so long as they avoid each other, they are not allowed to interact with each other.

Editors subject to an interaction ban are not permitted to:

  • edit each other's user and user talk pages;
  • reply to each other in discussions;
  • make reference to or comment on each other anywhere on Wikiafripedia, directly or indirectly;
  • undo each other's edits to any page, whether by use of the revert function or by other means;
  • use the thanks extension to respond to each other's edits.

A no-fault two-way interaction ban is often a quick and painless way to prevent a dispute from causing further distress or wider disruption.

Interaction bans are listed at Wikiafripedia:Editing_restrictions#Placed_by_the_Wikiafripedia_community.

Exceptions to limited bans[edit source | edit]

Unless stated otherwise, article, page, topic, or interaction bans do not apply to the following:

  • Reverting obvious vandalism (such as page content being replaced by obscenities) or obvious violations of the policy about biographies of living persons. The key word is "obvious" – that is, cases in which no reasonable person could disagree.
  • Engaging in legitimate and necessary dispute resolution, e.g. addressing a legitimate concern about the ban itself in an appropriate forum. Examples include:
    • asking an administrator to take action against a violation of an interaction ban by another user (but normally not more than once, and only by mentioning the fact of the violation)
    • asking for necessary clarifications about the scope of the ban
    • appealing the ban

As a banned user, if you think your editing is excepted from the ban according to these rules, you should explain why that is so at the time of the edit, for example in the edit summary. When in doubt, do not make the edit. Instead, engage in dispute resolution or ask whoever imposed the ban to clarify.

Decision to ban[edit source | edit]

See also: Category:Banned Wikiafripedia users and Wikiafripedia:Long-term abuse. Note that the absence of editors from these lists does not necessarily mean that they are not banned.

Authority to ban[edit source | edit]

The decision to ban an editor can be made by the following groups or persons:

  1. The Wikiafripedia community can impose a ban by consensus, as described in the section below.
  2. The Arbitration Committee can use a ban as a remedy, usually following a request for arbitration.
  3. The Arbitration Committee may delegate the authority to impose bans. It has authorized administrators to impose "discretionary sanctions" (including bans) in certain topic areas (see Wikiafripedia:Arbitration Committee/Discretionary sanctions).
  4. Jimbo Wales retains the authority to ban editors.
  5. The Wikimedia Foundation has the authority to ban editors (see meta:WMF Global Ban Policy and Category:Wikiafripedians banned by the Wikimedia Foundation), though it has rarely exercised this authority on the English Wikiafripedia individually.
  6. Users may be globally banned from the English Wikiafripedia and all other Wikimedia projects, either by the broader Wikimedia community or by the Wikimedia Foundation. In case of the former, English Wikiafripedia users will be explicitly invited to participate in the Meta-Wiki discussion to ban the user in question.

Except as noted above, individual editors, including administrators, may not directly impose bans.

Community bans and restrictions[edit source | edit]

The community may reach a consensus to impose various types of sanctions on editors:

  • If an editor has proven to be repeatedly disruptive in one or more areas of Wikiafripedia, the community may engage in a discussion to impose a topic ban, interaction ban, site ban, or other editing restriction (which may include a limited-duration or indefinite block) via a consensus of editors who are not involved in the underlying dispute. When determining consensus, the closing administrator will assess the strength and quality of the arguments made.
  • In some cases the community may review a block or an editor's unblock request and reach a consensus of uninvolved editors to endorse the block as a community sanction.
  • Editors who are or remain indefinitely blocked after due consideration by the community are considered "banned by the Wikiafripedia community".

Community sanctions may be discussed on the Wikiafripedia:Administrators' noticeboard (preferred) or on Wikiafripedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. Discussions may be organized via a template to distinguish comments by involved and uninvolved editors, and to allow the subject editor to post a response. Sanction discussions must be kept open for at least 24 hours before any sanction is implemented to allow time for comments from a broad selection of community members.[1] If the discussion appears to have reached a consensus for a particular sanction, an uninvolved administrator closes the discussion, notifies the subject accordingly, and enacts any blocks called for. Except for a site ban, the sanction should be logged at the appropriate venue if necessary, usually Wikiafripedia:Editing restrictions or Wikiafripedia:Long-term abuse. If a block is administered to enforce a community sanction, please include a link to the discussion and note that the block is enforcing a community sanction in the block log.

Editors without usernames may be banned by the community (example), but bans of editors using only IP addresses are rare.

Bans for repeated block evasion[edit source | edit]

Editors who are confirmed by a CheckUser to have engaged in sockpuppetry on at least two occasions after an initial indefinite block that is active, for any reason, are effectively site banned by the Wikiafripedia community.[2] CheckUser findings[3] must be documented on Wikiafripedia before a user is considered banned. Users who have been banned in this way are subject to the same unban conditions as users banned by community discussion.

Administrators or sockpuppet investigations clerks will normally tag the master account's user page with {{sockpuppeteer|checked=yes|banned}}. If the user made substantial good faith contributions before being banned, a notice should be placed on the administrators' noticeboard alerting the community to the ban.

Recidivism may lead to a ban[edit source | edit]

In 2012, the Arbitration Committee decided that "Users who have been sanctioned for improper conduct are expected to avoid repeating it should they continue to participate in the project. Failure to do so may lead to the imposition of increasingly severe sanctions."[4]

Duration of bans[edit source | edit]

Bans are not intended as a short-term measure. Sometimes a ban may be for a fixed period of some months. More often no period is specified, because the ban is a decision that the editor may not edit or participate in the specified matters on this site.

Review and reversal of bans[edit source | edit]

Appeals of bans imposed by the community[edit source | edit]

Bans imposed by the community may be appealed to the community or, where there are serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, to the Arbitration Committee.[5]

  • Editors who are banned from a topic area or certain pages but can otherwise edit, may appeal (and comment in an appeal discussion) on-wiki, either at the administrators' noticeboard, or, if there are serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, by filing a case request.[5]
  • Editors who cannot edit any page except their talk page may:
    • Post an appeal
  1. REDIRECT Template:Template link

template or comment there, by email or other off-site means such as the Unblock Ticket Request System (UTRS), and ask for it to be reposted to the appropriate discussion board. This is a voluntary act and should not be abused or used to excess.

    • Submit an appeal to UTRS and ask an administrator to post it to the appropriate discussion board. This is a voluntary act and should not be abused or used to excess.
    • Where there are serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, appeal by email to the Arbitration Committee. An email appeal must specify the banned editor's Wikiafripedia username and any other usernames he or she has used to edit Wikiafripedia in the past two years. (Using Wikiafripedia's email feature to email Arbitration Committee automatically reveals the account used for sending it.) The appeal should clearly but succinctly explain the reasons the editor feels the ban should be overturned, such as what lessons the editor has learned since the ban or block was imposed, how the editor would conduct himself or herself differently in the future if they are allowed to resume editing, or why they believe the ban was unfair. The editor should also include links to any relevant on-wiki discussions and any other information necessary to understand the grounds for the appeal.
  • Editors unable to edit any page (even their talk page) should appeal through the Unblock Ticket Request System asking an administrator to post their appeal to the appropriate discussion board. This is a voluntary act, and should not be abused or used to excess.
  • In some cases, a banned editor may be unblocked for the purpose of filing an appeal. In such cases, editing of any unrelated page or other matter is grounds for immediate re-blocking. Editors banned by the Arbitration Committee must appeal to the Committee.

Appeal of Arbitration Committee decisions[edit source | edit]

Appeal to the Arbitration Committee[edit source | edit]

  • Editors who are banned from a topic area or certain pages but can otherwise edit, may appeal (and comment in an appeal discussion) on-wiki, by filing an amendment request.
  • Editors who are blocked from editing by the Arbitration Committee can appeal by emailing the Arbitration Committee using the EmailUser function or, if email is disabled, by emailing

    An email appeal must specify the banned editor's Wikiafripedia username and any other usernames he or she has used to edit Wikiafripedia in the past two years. The appeal should clearly but succinctly explain the reasons the editor feels the ban should be overturned, such as what lessons the editor has learned since the ban or block was imposed, how the editor would conduct himself or herself differently in the future if they are allowed to resume editing, or why they believe the ban was unfair. The editor should also include links to any relevant on-wiki discussions and any other information necessary to understand the grounds for the appeal.

Appeal to Jimbo Wales[edit source | edit]

Any arbitration decision may be appealed to Jimbo Wales. While it is not unusual for him to consider an appeal, it is exceedingly unusual for him to overturn such a decision. A topic-banned editor cannot discuss the topic ban or topic on Jimbo's talk page, but is allowed to appeal the topic ban to Jimbo Wales. An appeal should be lodged at his user talk page.

Arbitration enforcement bans[edit source | edit]

The following are the applicable parts from the standard provision for appeals of arbitration enforcement bans:

  1. REDIRECT Template:Blockquote

Evasion and enforcement[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedia'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 editors who can edit Wikiafripedia.
  • Avoiding conflict within the community over banned editors.
  • Dissuading or preventing banned editors from editing Wikiafripedia or the relevant area of the ban.

As a result, enforcement has a number of aspects. While all editors are expected to respect the enforcement of policies by not undermining or sabotaging them, no editor is personally obligated to help enforce any ban.

Bans apply to all editing, good or bad[edit source | edit]

Editors are site-banned only as a last resort, usually for extreme or very persistent problems that have not been resolved by lesser sanctions and that often resulted in considerable disruption or stress to other editors. A site ban is not merely a request to avoid editing "unless they behave". The measure of a site ban is that even if the editor were to make good edits, permitting them to re-join the community is perceived to pose enough risk of disruption, issues, or harm, that they may not edit at all, even if the edits seem good.[6]

A number of banned editors have used "good editing" (such as anti-vandalism edits) tactically, to try and game the banning system, "prove" they cannot be banned, or force editors into the paradox of either allowing banned editing or removing good content. Even if such editors make only good edits, they will be rebanned for evasion.[7]

On very rare occasions, a limited exception may be requested; for example, to participate in a particular discussion.[8]

If there is any doubt whether a limited ban prohibits any specific edit, the banned editor should assume that it does, unless whoever imposed the ban expressly clarifies that it does not. If clarification is not sought before making the edit, the banned editor assumes the risk that an administrator takes a broader view of the scope of the ban and enforces it with a block or other sanction.

Blocks[edit source | edit]

In the case of project-wide bans, the primary account of any banned editor may be entirely blocked for the duration of the ban.

If the banned editor 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 editor who edits from a static IP address may also be blocked for the duration of the ban. If a banned editor evades the ban from a range of addresses, short-term IP blocks may be used.

Reset of ban following evasion[edit source | edit]

It is customary for the "ban timer" to be reset or extended if a banned editor attempts to edit in spite of the ban. No formal consideration is typically necessary. For example, if someone is banned for ten months, but on the sixth month attempts to evade the ban, then the ban timer may be reset from "four months remaining" to "ten months remaining", so if the editor does not subsequently evade the ban again, his or her eventual total duration would be 16 months. Repeated evasion may lead to a longer or more serious sanction.

An editor who has been banned or has had their account blocked, and tries to evade this by creating a new account, is known as a reincarnation of the old account. Obvious reincarnations are easily dealt with—the account is blocked and contributions are reverted or deleted, as discussed above. See sock puppet for policy on dealing with unclear cases.

Edits by and on behalf of banned editors [edit source | edit]

Anyone is free to revert any edits made in violation of a ban, without giving any further reason and without regard to the three-revert rule. This does not mean that edits must be reverted just because they were made by a banned editor (obviously helpful changes, such as fixing typos or undoing vandalism, can be allowed to stand), 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 such core policies as neutrality, verifiability, and biographies of living persons.

Pages created by banned users in violation of their ban, and which have no substantial edits by others, are eligible for speedy deletion under the G5 criterion. If the edits by the good faith editors are substantial, G5 no longer applies.

Since categorization can impact many pages, and deletion of a category without merging can leave pages orphaned, you should carefully consider what to do with categories created by a banned user. Blatantly useless categories can be speedy-deleted, as well as any categories which clearly violate existing category standards. Care should nonetheless be taken to see if articles need to be merged to a parent category before the speedy deletion. Categories created by a banned user which may be useful or fit into a larger category scheme should be tagged for discussion and possible merging using the categories for discussion process instead of deleting them outright.

Proxying[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedians in turn are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned or blocked editor (sometimes called proxy editing or proxying) unless they are able to show that the changes are either verifiable or productive and they have independent reasons for making such edits. Editors who reinstate edits made by a banned or blocked editor take complete responsibility for the content.

New accounts which engage in the same behavior as a banned editor or blocked account in the same context, and who appear to be editing Wikiafripedia solely for that purpose, are subject to the remedies applied to the editor whose behavior they are imitating.[9] See also the policy on sockpuppetry and meatpuppetry.

User pages[edit source | edit]

Banned editors' user and user talk pages should be updated with a notice of the ban, linking to any applicable discussion or decision-making pages. The purpose of this notice is to announce the ban to editors encountering the banned editor's edits. Indefinitely site-banned editors may be restricted from editing their user talk page or using email.

Further enforcement measures[edit source | edit]

Serious, ongoing ban evasion is sometimes dealt with by technical means or by making an abuse complaint with the operator of the network from which the edits originate.

Difference between bans and blocks[edit source | edit]

The standard distinction is that a ban is a social decision about the right to edit; a block is a technically imposed enforcement setting.

The MediaWiki software does not have the capability to prevent editing selectively.[10] Editors who are banned from specific pages or topics must immediately cease editing these pages or topics. If they do not, then a block will be used to enforce the ban. Such a block will necessarily prevent their editing of the entire site, but they are not banned from the site and remain members of the community.

An editor who is "sitebanned" (which may sometimes be described as a "full ban") has been completely ejected from the project. For the duration of their ban, their edits are subject to reversion, although personal attacks towards them remain unacceptable.

Difference between bans and blocks
Category Blocked
(including "indefinite blocks")
Site banned Page/topic banned
Still a member of the community? Yes, although currently unable to edit No Yes
Access to own talk page? Usually allowed unless abused Usually not allowed Yes
Imposing of block/ban May be imposed by any uninvolved admin May be imposed only by the Arbitration Committee, Jimbo Wales, the Wikimedia Foundation (or uninvolved users specifically authorized by one of these), or by community consensus; users may also be banned for repeated block evasion
Appeal and removal of block/ban May be lifted by any uninvolved admin, except CheckUser blocks, Oversight blocks and arbitration enforcement blocks
  • Bans imposed by community consensus or for repeated block evasion may be lifted by community discussion (unless needing ArbCom review)
  • Bans imposed by Arbitration Committee or Jimbo Wales may be lifted by Arbitration Committee or (very rarely) Jimbo Wales
  • Bans imposed by Wikimedia Foundation may be lifted by Foundation; but some are not reversible
Content created during block or ban
(by the user or by someone acting on their behalf)
Edits by the editor or on his or her behalf may be reverted without question (exceptions), and any pages where the blocked/banned editor is both the page's creator and the only substantial contributor may be speedily deleted under CSD#G5. Edits by the editor or on his or her behalf that are clearly within the topic area may be reverted without question (exceptions), and any pages where the banned editor is both the page's creator and the only substantial contributor may be speedily deleted under CSD#G5. If there is any reasonable doubt as to whether the page falls within the topic ban, discussion prior to deletion is generally warranted.

Other considerations[edit source | edit]

Conduct towards banned editors[edit source | edit]

Wikiafripedia's hope for banned editors is that they will leave Wikiafripedia or the affected area with their pride and dignity intact, whether permanently or for the duration of their ban. It is unacceptable to take advantage of banned editors, whether by mocking, baiting, or otherwise abusing them. Personal attacks, outing and other behaviours remain unacceptable even if directed towards a banned editor.

Scope and reciprocity[edit source | edit]

The English-language Wikiafripedia does not have authority over the Meta-Wiki, Wikimedia sister projects, or Wikiafripedias in languages other than English. As such, bans issued by the English Wikiafripedia community or Arbitration Committee are not binding on other projects.

See also[edit source | edit]

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. RfC, February 2018.
  2. March 2018 RfC
  3. CheckUser findings include any statement by a CheckUser connecting specific accounts on the English Wikiafripedia based on private technical evidence. In addition to the standard unban requirements, a CheckUser must also be consulted to unblock users that are CheckUser blocked.
  4. Motion on recidivism, 15 February 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 Note the committee generally considers appeals of community sanctions only if there were serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, as discussed at a past case finding
  6. Examples of use at Requests for Arbitration: by Hersfold, by Newyorkbrad, by Vassyana (line 478+) ("A ban is a ban. It's not uncommon for people to make "good" edits to create a soapbox for disputing their ban and/or thumbing their nose at the project. Let's not enable them").
  7. For example this case.
  8. For example, this motion where a topic-banned editor was allowed to participate in featured content discussions of his (non-contentious) diagrams.
  9. See Wikiafripedia:Requests for arbitration/Agapetos angel#Meatpuppets. See also: Wikiafripedia:Tag team
  10. Although simple page bans could be implemented in software, there is no easy way for software to determine whether an editor is editing in violation of other kinds of ban – on a given topic or issue, interacting with a given editor, or many other kinds of nuanced behavior. Bans require human judgment.