User:Evkl/Blocking Policy

This page outlines the processes that Bulbapedia staff follow to address vandalism, inappropriate usernames, bots, and disruptive behavior by technically preventing a user from editing. It moves through three phases: warnings, bans, and blocks.


Warning

Typically, it is standard procedure to warn users that they are at risk of being banned or blocked. The purpose of the Warning policy is to lay out guidelines for issuing warnings. In some cases, it is accepted that users may send warnings to other users. In other cases, staff should manage warnings. Guidelines for both scenarios are discussed below.

Unofficial warnings

Unofficial warnings are messages posted in editing summaries shown in the recent changes. While edit summaries typically tell what kind of edit the user has made, they can also be used to relay a brief message to the user without posting a message on their talk page.

Example:
(diff | hist) . . Article; 02:28 . . (-500) . . ‎User2 (Talk | contribs)‎ (Undo revision 0000000 by User1 (talk) That edit was against policy. Please do not make this kind of edit again.)
(diff | hist) . . Article; 02:28 . . (+500)‎ . . ‎User1 (Talk | contribs)‎

Unofficial warnings are acceptable in most cases, but must follow the code of conduct, so while a user may tell another user to stop an activity or ask them to explain themselves, you may not lash out or attack them via an unofficial warning. Also, note that unofficial warnings do not notify a user, so there is a chance they may not see it if they do not check the recent changes.

User warnings

Certain warnings are acceptable for experienced users to give to newer users without needing to address a member of staff. Examples of these would be: reminding a user to use the preview button, warning a user that they've exceeded the userspace limit, correcting a user on their grammar and etiquette, and reminding users not to remove messages that comply with the Talk page policy. Any other circumstance should be reported to an active staff member to address.

Staff warnings

Staff are empowered to warn users for minor or major offenses. Warnings for major offenses (including but not limited to trolling, harassment, code of conduct violations, or edit warring/reversion) should be the product of staff discussion, and therefore the staff seeks to settle major issues as a group while having one staffer relay the warnings to the user in question. If need be, other staff members may assist in providing warnings. In instances of excessive insubordination, a staff member may temporarily block a user so they're able to effectively post a warning on said user's talk page without interference.

Non-staff should not give out warnings for major offenses. This is referred to as overstating one's authority, or in layman's terms, mini-modding. Users giving warnings to other users for highly serious issues will be warned for taking matters into their own hands and interfering. The warnings they left may also be removed and possibly replaced with a proper warning from a member of staff. If the matter turns into a dispute, users may be blocked.

Walkthrough to warnings

For most offenses, users are typically given three warnings before action is taken against them.

On the first warning, users are to be politely informed that something they're doing is incorrect and are provided instructions on how to correct their mistake. If possible, link to one of Bulbapedia's policies that goes into detail on the correct performance.
The second warning is used to serve as a reminder of the first message and reinforce the rule being violated.
The third warning is left to staff members as it typically informs the user that a block or ban will be issued upon their next offense.

Subsequent to the third warning, appropriate actions will be taken against the offending user to follow the rules—if possible—by the user who gave them their final warning. Users with particularly severe rule violations may receive fewer than three warnings and are not required to receive any warning if the violation is egregious.

Staff members should leave a message on a user's talk page after an incident explaining that action has been taken and what the user must do to overcome these actions.

Warning templates

While it is permitted of users and staff to type up unique messages, we also provide templates that provide default warnings. To use them, simply place a {{subst:____}} on their talk page, with ___ being whatever the name of the template is. For example, preview warnings use {{subst:Preview button}}. Warnings come with section headers, so you do not need to include those in the message. Warning templates are convenient but not always comprehensive; it may in some circumstances be better to type a message specifically for that user as opposed to using a generated message.

Banning

Banning is a way of dealing with disputes and disruptions on Bulbapedia. A ban is an instruction to a user to refrain from editing specific articles, classes of articles, or article sections. Bans only carry weight if issued by a staff member.

Notification

A user must be properly notified of a ban. Administrators must write on the user talk page; they may also issue the notice via email, instant messaging, or other means. The notice must clearly indicate:

  • The duration of the ban
  • The scope of the ban
  • The reason for the ban

Blocking

Blocks can be temporary or indefinite in time and may be applied to:

  • User accounts
  • IP addresses
  • IP address ranges

Blocks can also be applied partially at a page, namespace, or wiki-wide level. A blocked user may continue to access Bulbapedia, but will not have the ability to edit any of its pages because of the block.

Blocking Procedure

If a user fails to follow the policies and guidelines of Bulbapedia, warnings should be issued by a member of staff, guiding them away from inappropriate behavior. A user who does not adhere to warnings and persists in rule-breaking behavior, or substantially violates Bulbapedia's rules, may be blocked.

Depending on the type of offense, staff may use page or namespace (such as User: or Appendix:) blocks. These may be used either as a first resort - for example, preventing a user from editing the userspace, or from editing a specific anime episode article. Alternatively, staff may use blocks to maintain order after a wiki-wide block expires, for example preventing a user from editing a page they were previously edit warring on. In either case, the principles behind the Blocking Policy apply to the Block; it should be proportionate with the issue at hand and well-explained to the user.

Please note that blocking is not the preferred way for a situation to be resolved. A user may be asked by a member of staff to refrain from editing an article or a certain type of article for a period of time. If the user follows these instructions, then no block will be instituted. Failure to comply with this rule will result in a temporary block. Blocks are generally cumulative in nature and will increase in duration for repeat offenses. A user who is blocked for one week due to sockpuppetry (using one or more fake accounts) may be blocked for two weeks or longer on a subsequent offense.

Appealing a block

If a user believes they were unjustly or accidentally blocked, they may submit an appeal to a member of the Editorial Board using the EmailUser feature, via the Bulbagarden Discord server, or via the Bulbagarden forums. In all cases, please include any information you think would be useful in an appeal process.

If using the EmailUser feature, please title the email Bulbapedia block appeal so it is easy for the staff to identify. If possible, contact a member of the Editorial Board or the Editor-in-Chief.

Blocks less than one week in length cannot be appealed, as the appeal review duration would equal or exceed the length of the block.

Rule categories enforced by warnings, bans, and blocks

Rules which, if violated, may lead to action including a warning, ban, or block include:

Ignoring bans

If a user deliberately ignores a ban, the ban may be forcibly enforced using a block. When possible, staff will apply the use of bans as a way to settle disputes without having to intervene through more severe measures. In addition, it is considered ignoring a ban if a user asks others to make edits on the Bulbagarden forums, Discord, or other methods; this also includes social media and platforms not controlled by Bulbagarden.

Vandalism

Users who engage in vandalism, or the deliberate destruction of pages and/or information on pages, will be blocked for an amount of time based on the severity of the incident. Blocks for vandalism may range anywhere from 24 hours to an indefinite or permanent amount of time; serious vandalism will automatically lead to permanent blocks from editing Bulbapedia.

Acts of major vandalism include uploading or adding inappropriate images and replacing pages or sections of pages with inflammatory or profane remarks. Blanking the content from pages or replacing content with nonsense/gibberish is considered another major act of vandalism and will result in a block determined by severity. Deliberately inserting false information to mislead is classed as a major act of vandalism (even if only a few articles are affected) and will result in severe penalties.

Repeated and pointless page creation/modification can be grounds for blocking. Creating a page entitled "MAGIC PEEKACHU", and then another called "MAGIC RAICHOO", and so on, is grounds for a temporary blocking, because it's considered unproductive and clutters the appearance of the wiki.

While the instances above can all be considered vandalism, unless clear evidence of malice exists, assume good faith and do not quickly label fellow users as “vandals” for what simply could have been a mistake and should instead receive warnings where applicable.

Inappropriate usernames

Inappropriate usernames that are in violation of Bulbapedia's username policy will be blocked immediately by Bulbapedia staff. Usernames that are inflammatory, profane, lewd, deliberately confusing, or spammy will be blocked indefinitely without the opportunity to create a new account. Usernames that impersonate famous figures (i.e. Barack Obama) or members of Bulbapedia staff are also considered inappropriate and will be blocked immediately, though the user will generally be allowed to create a new account with an appropriate username.

Edit flooding

If a user is judged as having made many edits in a short time span that do not make constructive improvements to Bulbapedia, staffers may take action to reduce the pace of change. Users may be given a preview warning, where they are instructed to preview their changes before making an edit to the page. If this warning is ignored and edit flooding continues, the user may be forced to preview their changes before making updates.

In some cases, a "cooldown" block may be issued. The length of the block is to be judged by the blocking staff member, but should not exceed 1 day unless the situation is exceptionally severe. During that time, the edits will be reviewed and any unacceptable ones will be reverted. As with other short-term blocks, this cannot be appealed.

Advertising/link spam

Adding links to external or personal websites as a means of advertisement in articles is considered spam and may result in a user being warned; repeated offenses or egregious advertising could lead to the user being blocked. A user is free to use their userpage to advertise, or link to appropriate personal websites and/or blogs.

Edit/revert wars

An edit war occurs when users who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions. Bulbapedia generally treats three reverts/back-and-forth edits to determine if an edit war is taking place, although this guidance is not absolute and in some cases, fewer edits may still be an edit war. For example, fewer than three edits may qualify if there is a pattern of conduct occurring across multiple pages (discussed in detail below) or if edits are targeted at a specific user.

Users engaged in a dispute should reach a consensus or attempt to resolve a dispute on the article's talk page or reaching out to the involved user, rather than edit warring. Additionally, a user can also contact a member of staff to address the issue if another user continuously reverts you and a resolution cannot be reached. All parties involved in an editing or reverting war will be blocked, generally for 3 days for a revert war; this may be expanded if there is a large number of reverts.

Users making similar or identical edits/reverts across multiple pages as part of a larger dispute can also be considered an edit war. Users should follow the above guidance for using talk pages to work through these disputes, rather than edit warring. An issue that spans multiple pages does not need each individual page to be reverted three times to fall under this policy.

The staff are expected to maintain Bulbapedia's style and as such can revert without a warning or discussion on a talk page if they feel it is in keeping with Bulbapedia's interests. Discussions about staff edits/reverts are welcome on talk pages.

Harassment, threats, and violent conduct

Harassment in talk pages or editing wars is grounds for a block. While active, vibrant discussion is necessary and encouraged, harassing other users in talk/discussion pages is a violation of the code of conduct and can result in a block depending on severity. Violent threats and comments which create an unsafe environment may lead to a block without a warning, and depending on the severity of the threat the block can be indefinite.

Additional accounts

Unauthorized additional accounts for the purpose of hiding one's identity, or sockpuppets, are not permitted on Bulbapedia. Additional accounts created to evade bans are blocked indefinitely, and may result in an extension or institution of a block on the primary account.

There are legitimate reasons for creating new accounts when you already have one, for example, if you have strong reasons to want to be dissociated from your past. This does not mean that accounts can be created for the sole purpose of starting fresh. To confirm that the reason is valid, users can reach out to a member of the Editorial Board detailing full reasons. After this request is approved, a new account can be created and the old account should stop being used as soon as possible.

Please contact a member of the Editorial Board to obtain permission to create additional accounts.

Uncivil behavior

A user who does not behave civilly to fellow contributors who are acting in good faith may be blocked to enforce a Wikibreak. Such behavior includes and is not limited to:

  • Always or frequently assuming bad faith.
  • Use of abusive language.
  • Personal attacks on other contributors.

Such behavior is detrimental in a collaborative project such as this and should be avoided. A contributor that fails to change their behavior after being warned several times may be blocked temporarily, or even permanently if need be.

Mini-modding

Users who take it upon themselves to enforce the rules of Bulbapedia can be mini-modding. This typically occurs if users attempt to enforce or interpret rules, or otherwise take away from the community experience through their application of rules to other users. For example, a user warning another user about a violation of the revert policy "if you keep reverting you will get in trouble!" would be a violation of this policy.

This does not apply to users operating in good faith to inform others of the rules; for example, an edit correction adding an "é" to Pokémon (correcting from "Pokemon") with an edit summary informing the user of Bulbapedia's style is not mini-modding. Making the same edit with an edit summary informing the user that if they continue to omit the "é" they could be warned or banned is mini-modding.

Global blocks

Some users who are known to be particularly disruptive or counterproductive may have their Bulbagarden Archives, Bulbanews, Bulbagarden forums, and related accounts hosted on Bulbagarden blocked as well. This is done on a case-by-case basis, but users should be warned that if these accounts are left unblocked, they should not use them to get around the block that has been enforced.

Similarly, blocked users may not use the Bulbawiki forum or Discord to circumvent their block. Users who do this, particularly users who have been permanently banned from the Bulbawiki system, will have their access to this area of the forums removed or may be removed from the Discord server.

An extended block on another Bulbawiki site is performed at the discretion of the Editorial Board based on circumstances related to the user's original block and any subsequent communications that have taken place.

Staff guidance

Staff are expected to follow the following guidance when enforcing the above policies; this is being presented publicly in the interests of transparency.

Impartiality

Individual staff members are expected to be impartial and should recuse themselves from administrative decisions if there could be an appearance of a conflict of interest. This could occur, for instance, if a user reverts a staff member's edits. The staffer should not "pull rank" and revert the edit because they have an interest in their wording or version. In this case, a third (neutral) staff member should be asked to adjudicate the dispute and determine what, if any, warnings or blocks should be issued. The staff member is authorized to return an article to a previous state if the user's edit (or revert) brings an article out of compliance with Bulbapedia policies or standards.

Section Heads on the Editorial Board and the Editor-in-Chief are authorized to make final decisions regarding content and disputes for their own sections.

The guidance in this section does not remove the general expectation that users and staff work through good-faith disagreements about content on the article's talk page.

Staff expectations

Staff are expected to include a comment in the block message that provides an explanation of the offending behavior. Staff should be courteous to individuals who are blocked and not mock or belittle them in the comments. Staff are expected to interact in a responsible manner when using their authority to warn, ban, and block users.

In the event of an unusual issue, Staff should interpret these policies with the goal of maintaining a safe, welcoming, and inclusive community in line with Bulbagarden's values.