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Blocks are used to deal with vandalism, disruptive behaviour, bots, and inappropriate usernames. Sysops and Patrollers have the ability to block user accounts, as well as their IPs and even ranges of IPs if absolutely necessary. Blocks can be temporary or indefinite (often known as infinite bans or "permabans"). Administrators must take care to follow the proper procedures when using their blocking abilities.



ProcedureEdit

If users fail to follow the rules and policies of the N64dude Wiki, official warnings should be issued, instructing them to stop their inappropriate behaviour. Increasingly severe warnings are issued if users continue to act disruptive towards the other users or destructive towards the wiki's content, and eventually, blocks of increasingly lengthy durations are used in place of more warnings. Some offences are more serious than others and warrant severe warnings or even blocks right away, with no prior notice.

N64dude Wiki:Warning Policy outlines the proper procedure for administering warnings and includes lists of offences and how severe the punishment should be. This includes a number of offences that warrant automatic infinite bans, which will be discussed in detail in the following sections. If a user commits one of these offences, they should be blocked indefinitely, and as explained on the Warning Policy page, if a user received a {{Lastwarn}} and breaks another rule, they should also be blocked, but only temporarily. If a user makes useful contributions as well as the disruptive behaviour that earns them a block, their first block should only last two weeks. Once a user has been blocked and the blocks runs out, they can edit the wiki again, but if they start violating policies and/or breaking rules again, rather than receiving more warnings, they should simply be blocked again, this time for a longer duration. In general, three months should be the length of the second block. Upon returning from that block, if the user still persists with their inappropriate behaviour, they should receive an infinite ban.

However, this progression from two weeks through three months to a permaban is only a rule-of-thumb, and admins may choose to use longer or shorter blocks at any time. Block lengths may also be altered after they are initially given; for example, the admins might extend the second block from three months to indefinite if they discover additional offences committed by the user and decide that they have already used up all their chances to be a proper member of the N64dude Wiki. Blocks may also be shortened or removed altogether if the admins decide that a certain punishment is too severe or if a misunderstanding occurred.



Automatic Permanent BlocksEdit

As mentioned before, MarioWiki:Warning Policy has a list of "Level 4" offences which warrant automatic indefinite blocks, rather than warnings. These offences are discussed in detail in the following sections.



VandalismEdit

See also: N64dude Wiki:Vandalism

If a user joins and promptly starts to vandalize the wiki, they should be blocked. Acts of major vandalism include uploading inappropriate images and replacing pages or sections of pages with inflammatory or profane remarks. Blanking pages is another common form of vandalism, and while it is possible that it could be a new user making a rookie mistake, it probably isn't and they should be blocked, especially if they blank a major page or more than one page. One form of vandalism that must be guarded against is spamming, in which gibberish or advertising is inserted into articles en masse, and must be dealt with as quickly as possible to prevent excessive damage and tedious clean-up work.

However, as mentioned in the Warning Policy, not all acts of vandalism warrant instant bans. Capitalizing words inappropriately, removing chunks of information and adding inappropriate content (such as commentary or very bad writing) are just as likely to be mistakes as concerted efforts to damage the wiki, and should merely be given the Last Warning template at first. Similarly, if a user makes a mix of good edits and bad edits, rather than assuming they are a vandal, they should simply be warned that some of their edits are inappropriate and then monitored for continued bad behaviour, rather than skipping straight to the more severe punishments.



Inappropriate UsernamesEdit

Inflammatory, profane, lewd, deliberately confusing or spammish, excessively lengthy, and other inappropriate usernames are not allowed. Admins can force a namechange by blocking the original, inappropriate account, and explaining in the summary and on the talk page that the user must create a new account. However, if the name is bad enough, the user may simply be banned as a troll/vandal, and not invited to rejoin at all. Bureaucrats will often rename such accounts to something generic, such as "Noname1" or "Null002", so that the spam, flame or vandalism is not readily available on record, especially if the account edited any pages before it was banned.

Usernames that are designed specifically to impersonate or copy legitimate users may be blocked, although Last Warnings should typically be issued first, giving the user a chance to change their name normally. Even this course of action should only be taken if the impersonation is definitely done maliciously. Someone might have simply chosen a name similar to that of another user without having any ill intent whatsoever, which is especially true of names based on generic or common themes relevant to the wiki. For example, a new user calling themself "WarioRules" is probably not trying to impersonate an older user known as "MarioRules", whereas if there is a user known as "WhiteOut" and a new account known as "White0ut" or "WhiteOut2" joins, this is suspicious. The first one could be attempting to pass themselves off as the original user, while the second name could be seen as a form of antagonism towards the user. If a user with a similar name proceeds to copy the original user's signature and/or userpage, or even sign their comments with the original's name, this is definitely a case of impersonation and should be confronted. Impersonators may also try to defame the original users by vandalizing or flaming other users, in which case they can be blocked immediately for those crimes in and of themselves.

SockpuppetingEdit

A user creating more than one account is known as sockpuppeting, and is not allowed. Extra accounts (sockpuppets) should be blocked indefinitely and their talk pages should be deleted.

Users sometimes create sockpuppets to try and start afresh after receiving a warning or a block, in which case, the new sockpuppet account should be blocked and a Last Warning issued to the user. If a User creates a sockpuppet while they are blocked in an attempt to evade their ban and edit the wiki in the meantime, the duration of their block should be extended the first time they are caught doing this. Often, the block length will be doubled and added on to whatever time has already been served; so if a user has been blocked for two weeks and is caught after the first week, they will be blocked for four more weeks after that point, meaning they are banned for a total of five weeks. If the user attempts to evade the block a second time, the ban length should be increased to indefinite, and as always, any more sockpuppets they create should also be banned.

It is possible for users to create other accounts without sockpuppeting in the traditional sense. Users may forget their password and be forced to create a new account, especially if time has passed between their original account's last edit and their new account's creation. If a user had no spots on their record before their "sockpuppeting", and are only editing from their new account, rather than blocking that account, the Admins should block the old, inactive account and let the user know what has happened, confirming that a lost password was the situation and reminding them to not make a habit of making new accounts. Sometimes new users get confused about the account creation process and can end up making multiple accounts before editing at all; in these situations, Admins should wait to see which account begins to edit and block the rest, letting the user know what happened and making it clear that they have to use their chosen account from then on. However, excessive account creation can be a form of disruption, so if a user seems to be making an inordinate amount of accounts, Admins should put a stop to it and block all the old accounts, warning the user that if they continue, all their accounts will end up blocked and they will not be able to edit the wiki.

Finally, siblings are often confused as being sockpuppets. To avoid this, users should acknowledge their siblings immediately upon creation, but admins can also try to avoid misunderstandings by looking at the editing patterns of the two accounts. If neither account has gotten in trouble and both are editing, it is likely different people, as there is no logical reason to divide one's edits between multiple accounts. Admins should still ask the users in question to confirm they are siblings, so that it is on record and will prevent other admins from becoming concerned and having to do their own investigations.

BotsEdit

Bots are currently not allowed (except those created by the wiki's developers) and should be blocked indefinitely upon discovery. This includes accounts created by a bot, with the intention of flooding the wiki with advertising or mindless spam.



"Public" AccountsEdit

There should be one user per account. Siblings and friends should create separate accounts, rather than share one name, as this leads to unnecessary confusion and complications regarding work attribution, talk page discussions and voting (i.e. on N64dude Wiki:Proposals). One person creating an account with the purpose of letting large amounts of people use it, i.e. by posting the password in public, is also not allowed and any accounts like this should be banned immediately, although the IPs of the people that used it should be left unblocked, so that they can create their own, separate accounts.

There is no good reason for more than one person to use a single account. Anyone can quickly create a username, and accounts are not limited to one per computer, household or even e-mail; as mentioned earlier, sometimes siblings or friends can be mistaken as sockpuppets, but if users explain themselves and are diligent about identifying relatives' accounts, any problems that do come up should be dispelled quickly.



When blocking may not be usedEdit

Users who have not broken excessive rules, disrupted the community and/or posed a threat to the wiki should not be blocked, unless there is exceptional widespread community support for a valid reason that is not discussed on this page.

Blocks and permanent bans are punitive measures taken against disserviceable individuals in order to protect the wiki, and they should not be used for any other purpose. Admins should not block themselves in order to force themselves to take leave of the wiki (temporary or otherwise), and users cannot request blocks for themselves, whether it is to take a break or because they want to leave the wiki forever with no option of coming back.

Another potential misuse of blocks is to win confrontations; to avoid these situations, and to ensure that they are not falsely accused of abusing their power in this way, administrators should not block users with whom they are quarreling. For example, if a user who has already received a Last Warning gets into an edit war with a Sysop, while there is grounds for the Sysop to block them, they should let another admin do it, so that it doesn't seem like they simply blocked the user to prevent them from undoing the edits again. It is also possible that an admin can get caught up in the heat of the moment and react too harshly in response to actions made against them, such as permabanning a user with a Last Warning for flaming them, when in reality, they should only be given a two-week block for the offence. Conversely, admins may be too forgiving when dealing with users confronting them for fear of being labelled a power-abuser if they react harshly. In both cases, it is evident that the smarter course of action for the admin involved would be to step back and ask a colleague to intervene.

However, this caution is only necessary when dealing with blocking users who make good edits as well as their misbehaving, and who have received warnings prior to the situation coming to the point where blocking is the next step. If an account deserves an automatic permanent block, any admin can place the ban, even if they were the target of any flaming, spamming, defamatory usernames and malicious impersonation, or any other form of trolling or vandalism. No one will argue that an admin is abusing their powers when they block a vandal, troll, spammer or sockpuppet that is threatening the wiki, its community, and the administrators charged with keeping the peace.


How to BlockEdit

Sysops and Patrollers may go to Special pages and select the "Block user" link. This takes them to Special:Block, which has further instructions. Special:Block is also quickly accessible via the [block] link that appears next to each user on recent changes, and at the top of a user's Contributions page.

Expiry times are set by selecting a block length from a drop down menu that is provided. Situations requiring unique block times (i.e. blocks ending after a non-standard amount of days or at a specific time of day) have never come up, but unique expiry times can be entered, using the GNU standard format (which is described in the tar manual). The option for "infinite" ban can also be found in the drop-down menu, in which case, there is no expiry date, and an admin must physically remove the block if the user is to be allowed back onto the wiki. If an admin does not enter an expiry time when blocking, an error message will be displayed.

The "reason" that the administrator fills in will be displayed to the blocked user when they attempt to edit, and will also appear in the Block Log and the list of blocked accounts and IP addresses. Common reasons are provided in a drop-down menu, but unless the admin is dealing with a simple case of vandalism or trolling, personalized messages outlining the exact reasons for the block are usually given. Sockpuppets are sometimes given links to the original account in their block summary, although this doesn't have to be done when dealing with chronic sockpuppeters already well-known by the admins, and/or when trying to block one or more socks as quickly as possible during an attack on the wiki, which is what the drop-down menu is for.

Finally, there are number of checkboxes present on the blocking page, two of which are automatically checked. "Prevent account creation" should only be unchecked when the user is supposed to create a new account (i.e. during a forced namechange). "Automatically block the last IP address used by this user, and any subsequent IP addresses they try to edit from" should also be unchecked when a user is supposed to create a new account, or when blocking non-malicious sockpuppets (i.e. ones created by accident, or if a user forgot their password and had to make a new account, etc.). Please note that the automatic blocks ("autoblocks") caused by the feature enabled by this second checkbox only last for 24 hours, and is not the same as directly blocking an IP address (see below). The "Prevent user from sending e-mail" box should never be checked except in extreme cases of trolling (i.e. unacceptable e-mails are part of the troll's attack), as e-mail is the main way that users who feel their block was unnecessary get in contact with the admins to try and get the situation rectified. "Hide username from edits and lists" generally does not need to be checked since Bureaucrats physically rename accounts with inappropriate names to clear contributions and lists. Whether the blocking admin wants to check "Watch this user's user and talk pages" is their personal choice; they are not required to do so.

A link to the Block Log is found before the blocking interface, near the top of the page, and links to the user's contributions and to Special:BlockList (as "View existing blocks") can also be found, in the bottom right corner of the page. If the user has been blocked in the past, the log is provided across the bottom of the page, beneath the list of links, for reference purposes. The bottom right list of links also gives the admin the option of unblocking the user (it shows up even if the user isn't currently blocked; see below). A fourth and final link, "Edit block reasons", changes the blocking reasons in the drop-down menu, and is not relevant to individual blocking cases.



Blocking IP AddressesEdit

Admins should avoid blocking IP addresses directly, except when dealing with persistent sockpuppeters who are not stopped by the basic 24-hour IP autoblocks and account creation disabling measures. In these cases, however, the IP addresses should only be blocked for a couple months at most, and never indefinitely, as this could potentially prevent innocent users with the same IP from joining and editing in the future.

Blocking IPs involves the same process as blocking user accounts, but the autoblock and "hide username from edits and lists" checkboxes are not included. Instead, a new checkbox is provided: "Block anonymous users only", which lets registered users edit using the blocked IP, and should always be left checked. "Prevent account creation" is once again present as an automatically checked box, and is the sole purpose for blocking IPs, since the Super Mario Wiki does not allow anonymous edits to be made directly from IP addresses anyway (it did originally, but account creation was made mandatory many years ago due to excessive vandalism). Similarly, the anonymous IPs cannot send e-mails through the wiki, or possess user and user talk pages (unlike other wikis, such as Wikipedia), and so the other two boxes found on IP blocking pages, "Prevent user from sending e-mail" and "Watch this user's user and talk pages" serve no functional a purpose and can be ignored.



Range BlocksEdit

Range blocks are sometimes used when a vandal or disruptive user has been IP blocked on several occasions but responds by using a different IP address. In most cases, range blocks will affect at least some legitimate users. Therefore, range blocks should only be used when the disruptive behavior is frequent and severe enough to make other methods ineffective. This is a matter of judgement, and the likely number of legitimate users that might be affected should always be taken into account prior to implementation.

When used, range blocks should be as brief as possible.

The range block feature is difficult to use correctly because it requires an understanding of binary arithmetic. It has certain limitations inherent in its implementation, requiring the starting and ending IP addresses to be an exact multiple of the distance between them, which must be a power of two. For details, see range blocks.



UnblockingEdit

Special:Ipblocklist contains a list of all currently blocked users and IP addresses, and the Block Log is a record of all blocks that have been made. Administrators will see a link to "unblock" and "change block" next to each user, and as mentioned before, an unblock link can be found on the block page itself. Clicking on "change block" brings the admin back to the normal blocking page, now already filled in with the expiry date and reasons from the user's initial block, which can now be altered. Clicking "unblock" brings the admin to a different page, where all they have to do is enter a reason before unblocking the user. An option to unblock a user is present on the blocking page even if the user is not yet blocked; clicking on this brings the admin to the same unblocking page, however the username is now a variable, rather than being fixed, as is the case when accessing the page via the Block List or Log. Trying to remove a block from the unblocked user will simply result in a harmless, unlogged error.

Administrators may unblock users if:

  • They were blocked in violation of this policy (i.e. blocked for too minor an offence).
  • They were blocked due to a misunderstanding (i.e. sibling confusion).
  • The block has lasted too long.
  • The block was accidental (see below).
  • An inappropriate or insufficient block log needs to be replaced, in which case, the old block is removed and a new one is immediately placed, with the same duration as the original block (most likely infinite), and an improved reason.

Other situations may arise in which it would be prudent to unblock a user: admins must use their common sense and good judgement when dealing with all cases of blocking and unblocking to ensure that the accused are treated fairly and that no rash decisions are made that could endanger the wiki or cause undue hardship to innocent users.

Effects of being blockedEdit

Blocked users can still see all wiki pages, but they cannot edit. Instead, hitting the "edit" link brings them to a notification page, which provides the e-mail that they can contact if they want to protest the block.

The duration of the block depends on the expiry time that was entered at the time of the block, and can be found in the Block Log. If the expiry time is "infinite", the ban will not run out, and the user can only edit again if an admin physically removes the block.

When a blocked user attempts to edit, the IP from which they are editing is "autoblocked", so that they cannot try to go and edit from another account instead. There is an internal autoblock expiry time set to 24 hours, meaning that when a username is blocked indefinitely, their IP will be automatically unblocked 24 hours after they last accessed a page.

Note that blocking does not in any way restrict any feature other than editing and uploading files: blocked users can still read articles, e-mail other users (unless they were specifically blocked from this as well, which is rare), and adjust their watchlists and user preferences. Administrators can continue to use all of their extra abilities, including rollback, managing user rights (Bureaucrats only), and blocking or unblocking, however a situation in which an admin is operating under a block should never arise. If an admin does find themselves blocked, it is accidental and they can unblock themselves. If an admin has to be blocked because they pose a threat to the wiki (i.e. if their account has been hacked), they should first be demoted, so that they cannot unblock themself.

Accidental BlocksEdit

Occasionally, users with floating IPs will find that they have been blocked accidentally, because their present IP was previously used by a banned user. These blocks will disappear if IP change can be forced. If that is not possible, the block should be reported to the first readily available Sysop via e-mail - see the list of Sysops for some likely candidates, or use mwikisysops@gmail.com, which is made explicitly for protesting blocks (or reporting misunderstandings or accidental blocks).

Users who try to impersonate a previously banned user, or who pretend to engage in vandalism are also likely to be blocked as sockpuppets or vandals themselves, even if they were doing it in jest. The logical solution is to simply behave in a way that will not draw unwanted attention and suspicion onto oneself. If users conduct themselves maturely and follow the rules, they will not be blocked: it's as simple as that.

See AlsoEdit

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