SmashWiki:Blocking guidelines

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Guideline.png This page is a SmashWiki guideline, a principle that suggests how users should contribute and conduct themselves. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. If in doubt, consider discussing changes on the talk page.

Administrators have the ability to block users and IP addresses. Blocked users and IPs cannot edit pages, while they remain able to read pages and look at their source code.

Block reasons

Users and IP addresses may be blocked for a variety of reasons, including and not limited to:

  • Vandalism/Spam
    • Edits clearly made in bad faith
    • Blanking pages or parts of pages
    • Creation of spam pages
  • Repeated policy violations
  • Disruptiveness
    • Constantly remaking a deleted page
    • Overtly negative attitude towards other users
    • Evasion of existing block

Block warnings

For policy violations or disruptiveness, users should be warned by an admin before a block is made. Non-admins can point out that a user is violating a policy or being disruptive, but generally only admins should use language that implies a block is imminent.

If a user continues to do something for which they've been blocked before, a warning is less useful but should still be provided.

For obvious spam or vandalism, warnings are generally fruitless, and indeed discouraged. Excessively blatant violations may also deserve unwarned blocks.

Block lengths

Generally, the length of a block is at the complete discretion of the administrator giving it; there are no hard-and-fast rules about how long blocks should be for specific offenses.

  • Short blocks range from 1 day to a week; 3 days is a common short block length. Short blocks are generally given for minor or first-time offenses.
  • Medium blocks range from a week to a month or two. These tend to be given for more severe first-time offenses or multiple offenses.
  • Long blocks range from a few months to a year. These are generally reserved for users with useful contributions but a colourful block history, or severe/repeated offenses that do not warrant an infinite block.
  • Indefinite blocks (more commonly known as infinite blocks or permabans) are used in cases where a user has been deemed "a lost cause", with no chance of being a useful contributor in the future. This generally results from repeated blatant disregard for policy and never showing any willingness to rehabilitate even after multiple chances. More often, infinite blocks are generally applied to "bad faith accounts", i.e. accounts created with the purpose to only harm the wiki, such as vandal-only accounts, spam accounts, and sockpuppet accounts.

As IP addresses may change over time, long blocks should be applied to them very frugally and only when absolutely necessary; many people in the past have reported being blocked before they even made a single edit, due to inheriting an IP address that was blocked for a prior incident caused by an entirely different person on the same IP. Considering this, IPs should never be infinitely blocked, and generally blocking an IP for over a year is excessive.

Block explanations

Admins are encouraged to explain the reason for a block on the user's talk page, especially if the reason cannot be adequately explained in the reason box when the block is given. This should generally be done by the admin who gave the block, not someone else. However in cases of blatant vandalism, spam, and troll accounts, it is generally not necessary to bother trying to explain on the user's talk page why they're blocked, and indeed such users should be given as little attention as possible.

Block appealing

Historically, it is rare for a user to appeal a block. Should a user wish to do so, they should do so on their talk page, as this is the only page a blocked user can edit. Block-appealing users should make an effort to remain civil; angrily complaining about a block may simply result in having the block extended, or losing the privilege of editing one's own talk page for the duration of the block. Admins will additionally have little patience for blocked users attempting to wikilawyer, and any such attempts to deliberately misconstrue policy or argue innocence via technicalities can be expected to result in the appeal being shut down and talk page rights revoked.

Discussion of a block should generally be limited to the user in question, the administrator who applied the block, other administrators, and possibly other users who were involved in the situation (e.g. the user who was personally attacked, or the user who originally provided a "don't do that" warning). Users not involved should avoid participating in a block discussion.

It is possible to become unintentionally blocked due to inheriting the IP of a blocked user. Should this occur, one should post on their talk page or email an admin their username, the block ID, and their IP.

Note that users with a history of being disruptive may lose the privilege of editing their own talk page and/or using the wiki's email function immediately upon being blocked. A user may also lose the privilege to edit their talk page during a block if they were blocked for behavior on their talk page.

Partial blocks

"Partial blocks" are a relatively new MediaWiki feature that allows a user to be blocked only from specific namespaces or even specific pages, allowing them to continue editing elsewhere. Currently, partial blocks are used only to apply probation to users that are abusing user page privileges. Aside from this, the feature is not expected to see much use. Actively troublesome users such as vandals gain the wiki little benefit from being partially blocked, as they will simply move their troublemaking to whichever pages they are not blocked from, and it is more of a chore for admins to pay attention to.

Range blocks

A range block is a wiki feature which allows simultaneous blocking of a chunk of similar IP addresses. Range blocks are to be used sparingly, only when a persistent bad faith actor evades IP blocks by repeatedly jumping to new IP addresses within a relatively narrow range, and should generally be restricted in length just like individual IP blocks, especially since they're much more likely to catch innocent users in the crossfire. Additionally, when a range block is applied, admins should generally restrict the block to only anonymous users on the IP range and not block account creation, as typically such bad faith actors will not go through the trouble of repeatedly creating new accounts, while it'll allow other users on the IP range to continue operating without hindrance. For one more note, the block explanation should make it clear that it is a IP range block and that those inadvertently caught in the crossfire should contact the administration for assistance.

The Toomai Clause

For the comprehensive essay covering this clause, see User:Toomai/Toomai Clause.

Normally the wiki requires a specific policy-breaking offense committed by a user to warrant a block, or a user otherwise ignoring warnings to stop disruptive behavior. However, SmashWiki's administration ultimately has the power to block a user without any specific on-wiki violation if it's deemed to be in the best interest of the wiki, such as if a user has a long history of minor policy violations and repeatedly skirting the line of acceptable behavior, or when a user commits especially heinous actions outside the wiki that makes them a clear danger to the wiki's userbase. Such blocks should not be handed out lightly though, any block under this clause will typically require discussion and consensus among the administration, or even among the wiki's general userbase, before being enacted.

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