Blocking is a last resort measure used to prevent disruptive contributions from being made to the UESPWiki. A blocked editor (or blocked IP address) is prevented from editing the site, but still has full access to read the entire site. Blocking is an action that can only be implemented by administrators or blockers (editors given restricted block rights by administrators). If any editor feels that a block is needed, a request can be made on the Administrator Noticeboard. In cases where immediate action is needed, editors may also choose to contact the administrators or blockers on their respective talk pages.
Blocking is only considered to be an appropriate measure when a user or anonymous IP address has repeatedly made contributions that are clearly disruptive to the site or to other contributors to the site. Examples of blockable offenses include Vandalism, gross violations of Etiquette (such as personal attacks or threats), posting copyrighted or plagiarized material, or otherwise violating site policies (Wikipedia provides more a comprehensive listing).
Blocking is not an appropriate measure in cases such as disagreements over a page's contents or format; see Consensus and Etiquette for suggestions on how to respond to less serious issues that may occur.
Blocking an Account
The steps that are usually taken in response to blockable offenses are:
- Warn — If an editor commits a blockable offense, a warning should be placed on the editor's (or IP address') talk page before implementing any block. This warning should include a clear statement that continuing the offensive actions will lead to a block. Any registered editor on the wiki can give a warning if they believe that someone else's actions warrant it; a warning should be posted before making a request for further action on the Administrator Noticeboard.
- Temporary Block — If the editor (or IP address) continues to commit blockable offenses after a warning has been posted, a one week block of the account should be implemented by an administrator. Repeated offenses before a warning is posted do not count; at least one offense should have been committed after the editor can be reasonably expected to have read the posted warning. A new message should be posted on the editor's talk page providing the reason for the block. In the case that an administrator is not available, a blocker may issue a block for up to six hours.
- Permanent Block — If the disruptive edits resume after the temporary block has expired, the account should be permanently blocked. A message to that effect should be added to the editor's talk page, providing an explanation for why the block was necessary.
Although this three-step process is the normal procedure, administrators have the authority to bypass one or more steps at their discretion. In extreme cases Blockers may also use their discretion to bypass a warning and immediately block an editor/IP. Misuse of this exception may result in removal of the Blockers rights and a warning. Circumstances where such actions may be warranted include:
- Editors (or IP addresses) that are in the process of vandalizing multiple pages on the site can be immediately blocked: if an administrator believes that there is a strong possibility that more vandalism is imminent, a block is warranted to prevent any more damage to the site. The block should be a temporary block (typically 12-36 hours duration; the expiration of the block should be set for a time when the administrator knows that he or she will be able to monitor the site in case activity resumes). An explanation should be posted on the user talk page, along with a warning that the account will be blocked if the activity resumes.
- An anonymous IP address that has been used solely for the purpose of posting spam, and has posted spam on more than one occasion, can be blocked permanently without any warning or temporary block. This action is reserved for cases of unambiguous spam, namely posting multiple links for the purpose of advertising something completely unrelated to the Elder Scrolls. Spammers, or IP addresses that have been hacked by spammers, are not tolerated.
- An anonymous IP address that is identified as an Open Proxy or Zombie Computer can be immediately and permanently blocked, without warning. This is in accordance with Wikipedia policy, in particular because such proxies can be used to circumvent restrictions placed on known vandals. Open proxies may be identified based on posted lists of identified open proxies (e.g., Wikipedia's), because the same IP address has been blocked by Wikipedia as open proxy, or because a google search shows that the IP is being advertised as an open proxy on any one of several sites that direct users to available open proxies. Blocks of open proxies should only block anonymous users; logged-in users are permitted to access the site via open proxies.
- An editor that personally attacks any member of the community will immediately be permanently blocked. This includes threats and/or clearly abusive language that are directed towards any other editor. Generic insults of the web site and non-targeted profanities are also not acceptable behavior, but generally can be dealt with using the standard three-step process. Permanent banning is reserved for extreme and unambiguous cases.
- Any account that is created with an unacceptable user name should immediately be permanently blocked. Unacceptable user names include ones that contain obscenities or ones that attempt to impersonate other community members. When blocking, the administrator should be sure to uncheck the box "Prevent account creation." The editor should be informed on their talk page that the account was blocked because the name was inappropriate, but that if they wish to contribute to the wiki they may create a new account with a more acceptable name.
Given the creativity demonstrated by past vandals, it is very likely that in the future other unanticipated situations may arise in which the three-step process needs to be bypassed. Although a decision to block an account should not be made lightly, administrators have full authority to block an account if they feel that it is necessary to maintain the integrity of the site.
When blocking an account, the administrator should attempt to provide a concise explanation for the block in the "reason" section. This reason will be displayed in several places, for example on the page that appears when the blocked user attempts to make an edit.
Blocked accounts are still able to view all pages on the site. These accounts are also able to edit their user talk page, i.e., the page on which the warnings and notices about blocking have all been posted. The user talk page is made available for edits so that the editor (or any user of that IP address) can ask for clarification about why the block was implemented, or can appeal the block. Administrators (or other editors) will respond to any reasonable questions that are posted on a blocked user's talk page. However, all editors are advised to simply ignore any comments posted by a blocked user that are likely intended to bait a discussion; i.e., "Do not feed the trolls".
All warnings and blocking notices are posted on the user talk page to ensure that the editor is aware of the message. Any message on an editor's talk page will cause a bright orange message to appear the next time the editor accesses any wiki page, so even editors who are not familiar with the wiki system are provided clear notification. Editors are unlikely to be aware of messages posted anywhere else.
If a user deletes or in any way modifies a posted warning, block notification, unblocking discussion, or other official message, section protection should be added to all official messages on that talk page. Note that even if a message is altered, it continues to be valid: the page's edit history provides verifiable evidence of the message's original text. Continued attempts to tamper with the messages are considered to be disruptive behavior and therefore can be grounds for further administrative action.
If a blocked user continues to disrupt his/her talk page (e.g., posts abusive comments or other clearly inappropriate material, attempts to tamper with official messages even after section protection), it may be necessary to protect the talk page to completely prevent the user's continued unacceptable behavior. In the case of anonymous IP addresses, the protection should only be temporary; after at least one week has passed, any administrator may remove the protection on an IP address' talk page. Since many IP addresses are shared or dynamically assigned, the talk page needs to be made available in case there are other contributors who wish to use the same IP address.
Removal of Warnings and Block Messages
In cases where the editor has acknowledged and made efforts to correct the original problem(s), official notices may be archived (never removed) to a <User talk page>/Warnings page after 6 months provided that there is consensus among the Administrators to allow the move. A link to the Warnings page must also be provided on the talk page in an easy-to-see location, as would normally be done with any other archive. This will allow Administrators to easily view recent history, and know where to look for older history.
Any blocked user can appeal the block by adding a request for an appeal to their user talk page. An administrator or other editor will then post a notice on the Administrator Noticeboard linking back to the user's talk page so that the community is aware of the appeal and can discuss its merits, while also allowing the blocked editor to respond to any concerns or questions. All registered editors are free to contribute to the discussion. After at least a week of discussion, an administrator will make a decision; by default, the administrator who initially placed the block is responsible for making the decision, but depending on the circumstances a different administrator may do so. Ideally, this should be a consensus decision, rather than a vote; in cases where a vote is necessary, the deciding administrator may choose to give more weight to votes made by administrators and trusted editors. If there is disagreement among administrators, Daveh should be asked to make the final decision.
When appealing a block, the blocked user should include some reasons justifying the appeal. The initial appeal is the blocked user's main opportunity to address the community that will make the decision. Appeals that address the following questions are more likely to succeed:
- Why do you need the ability to edit (not just read) wiki pages?
- What pages are you considering editing in the near future?
- Can you provide concrete examples of some revisions you would like to make? Provide the actual paragraphs you would like to add, or a rewritten version of any paragraphs that you believe need to be revised.
The first appeal made by any blocked account will always be put to a community discussion using the above procedure. However, repeated appeals made by the same account will be ignored unless the new appeal provides substantial new information, such as concrete examples of proposed contributions to the wiki.
If an appeal is successful (i.e., the community feels that the contributor should be allowed to edit the wiki), the contributor will be expected to set up a registered account (if an account rather than an IP address was blocked, the existing account will work). The IP address will be unblocked at least long enough to allow the account to be created. If any new disruptive edits are made anonymously using that IP address, the block on the IP address will be reinstated, but this time being sure to check the "Block anonymous users only" option. This should allow the registered editor to contribute while blocking any disruptive contributors who share the same IP address.
The following are links to relevant Wikipedia pages. Although UESPWiki's blocking policy differs from Wikipedia's (e.g., we allow permanent blocks on anonymous IP addresses), there are also many similarities. In cases where more detailed information is desired, Wikipedia is a useful reference and may be assumed to be relevant to UESPWiki unless this page states otherwise.