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Wikipedia:Bans and blocks

This page should not (yet?) be considered official policy

Most Wikipedians are good contributors, and we encourage people to show good Wikipedia:Wikiquette when dealing with them. For example, we suggest that it is often better to fix bad edits, rather than revert them.

However, some contributors are troublesome, and we wish to encourage them to leave Wikipedia and find another community more suited to their style, or else adapt to the community expectations of Wikipedia, and there are various tools that we use in order to achieve this. We do this not out of a goal of conformity, or a desire to punish "bad" behaviour, but to help build an encyclopedia.

Pure vandals are dealt with slightly differently: see dealing with vandalism.

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Education and peer pressure

Everyone was new once, and most of us made mistakes when new -- misunderstanding things, getting into edit conflicts, accidentally wiping pages, etc. That's why we welcome newcomers and try to gently point out their mistakes, point them to appropriate policy pages, and show them the correct way of doing things. We ask that newcomers be patient while they learn the ropes.

The vast, vast majority of troublesome users rapidly understand what is going on, and either start helping us make an encyclopedia or decide that Wikipedia isn't their scene and depart. However, a few users, for whatever reason, continue to hinder us in our goal of building an encyclopedia. Hence:

Hard bans

Users may be hard banned at any time by Jimbo Wales, our "benevolent dictator". He does this by announcing it on the WikiEN-l mailing list. Discussion of possible bans, existing bans, etc., should take place on a single Wikipedia page - it doesn't particularly matter which one. You are encouraged to move discussion elsewhere to this one page.

All edits by a hard banned user, regardless of their merits, may be reverted by any user, and we ask that users not reinstate any edits made by banned users. However, nobody is obligated to enforce the ban. In addition, hard banned users face technical measures to prevent them editing Wikipedia, such as blocks on IP addresses or usernames. The following text should then be placed on the user's page by someone:

This user has been [[Wikipedia:Bans and blocks|hard banned]] -- see [[User:USER NAME/ban]] for details. All subsequent edits by this user may be reverted. Please do not reinstate any edits made by this user. DATE

The full text of Wales' post should be placed on User:USER NAME/ban[?] with a link to an appropriate URL in the WikiEN-l archive. Some users were banned by Jimbo before the formulation of this policy. These users are still hard banned, though the relevant user pages may not yet be updated. If you are hard banned, please respect your ban and do not post to Wikipedia while it applies. Hard banned users may be unbanned solely at Wales's discretion, following the banned user emailing him to request unbanning.

Wikipedians are encouraged to keep their cool when dealing with hard banned users and any articles that they've edited. We might not always agree with each other, but that's ok, with a little WikiLove.

Newly created articles

It is not possible to revert newly created articles, as there is nothing to revert to. For hard bans, sysops can simply delete the page without listing it on votes for deletion -- non-sysops can blank the page and list it on votes for deletion if they want to be sure that it doesn't get missed.

If someone else has edited the page, deletion is generally not appropriate. Try instead to edit the page to remove or refactor content contributed by the banned user, and keep content conributed by others. If you feel a newly created article may have been deleted in error, list it on wikipedia:votes for undeletion. For example, you might list a page if you think it's a case of mistaken identity, or for some other reason.


Wikipedians should generally refrain from witch hunts of users who may be reincarnations of banned users. However, it's probably reasonable to politely ask so that, in cases of mistaken identity, the new user can quickly set us straight (see below for some of the many kinds of evidence one could use to do this). This is a difficult issue and one that is still under discussion.

If it becomes clear that a new user account is a reincarnation of a hard banned user, then it should be treated as hard banned. A notice of some sort may be added to the top of the user page, or the user page may be redirected to the page of the original account.

If you are the victim of a mistaken identity, please provide some evidence of who you are. This evidence might include a photograph of yourself, or a non-disposable email address, or a work address or telephone number, or a link to your off-Wikipedia home page. If you happen to live in a different country to the banned user, then you could make a few edits when not logged in - this reveals your IP address and demonstrate that your ISP is based in a different country. There are many options available. Your evidence needs only be sufficient to convince the community that there is some reasonable doubt -- it need not be conclusive.

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