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During day-to-day operations, Scratchpad (SP) Administrators routinely block accounts and IP ranges, to reduce or prevent vandalism and other serious, inappropriate behavior. This page explains to blocked users why they may have been blocked and how to request an unblock.

Why was I blocked?

  • You may be an innocent victim of collateral damage, where you are accidentally affected by a block of some other user.
  • Alternatively, your account/IP address may have been blocked because it appears to have been responsible for (or connected to) a serious breach of SP’s policies.

If your account was blocked by mistake, it will be reactivated very quickly, as soon as you let an active Administrator know of the problem. Otherwise, there is a rapid appeal process which obtains quick review by other independent Administrators, and brief discussion of the matter. One aim of blocking in some cases, is to ensure the user learns from the incident, and that the issues do not happen again.

Common questions

What is a block?

A block prevents a user or IP range from editing Scratchpad. (They can still read it). Blocks are used to protect Scratchpad from possible improper use, or other activity that may breach SP policies. Once blocks are over, they become history unless problems recur. Blocks can apply to a user account, an IP, or a range of IPs. Automated features also identify usage which apparently should be blocked; this can be quickly rectified if incorrect.

Should I create a new account to appeal?

No. That is considered block evasion. You get a lot of marks at Scratchpad for being honest and not “playing games”. You would do far better to appeal, on your talk page, under your usual account (and take the block if that’s what is decided), than to be banned for evasion.

Scratchpad has users who were blocked for days or months, accepted it, and were welcomed back and “made good” as respected editors shortly afterwards. Once a block is over, it’s over.

If blocked, you can usually appeal on your talk page, which is only blocked if abused. If you cannot edit your talk page, then the appeal must be made on the Community Central Wiki to an Administrator.

I’ve never done anything wrong and I was blocked! Please advise.

Do you use an ISP or web accelerator that involves shared IPs? Common examples include AOL, Comcast, StarHub, schools, colleges, or Google Web Accelerator. If so, you may have been affected by collateral damage. If you are using AOL (or any of the aforementioned ISPs), please see our advice to AOL users. If you are using Google Web Accelerator (or any other web accelerator that uses shared IPs), please disable it for this site by following these instructions.

I did something a bit wrong, but how do I get unblocked now?

All blocks can be reviewed by, and discussed with, a different, uninvolved Administrator, if requested.

One common requirement for unblocking is simply:

Do you understand that what you did was inappropriate for Scratchpad, and confirm that you will not do it again?

In the case of shorter blocks, especially those given for good cause, the usual answer is just to wait quietly until the block ends. Then, you may once again edit, putting the block in the past — yet, learning from it. A repeat of a previous block is often longer than the first one, so it is important to learn from blocks.

In a way, blocks are intended to guide a user when words have not been sufficient.

It says I’ve been indefinitely blocked. What does that mean and how do I get unblocked?

Note that indefinite does not necessarily mean long or infinite.
It means however long is needed for the user to address the issue. This can be minutes, hours — or indeed the user may never do so.

An indefinite block means the blocking Administrator did not set a time limit on the block. The user needs to discuss the matter with an uninvolved Administrator before any unblock. It could be because the account owner needs to confirm things are okay (and nothing’s wrong). Or, it could be due to some problem needing attention, or the user needing to understand that some particular behavior was inappropriate.

Typical examples are where the account owner must be contacted (e.g., suspected “hacking” of their account), and users whose behavior was severely inappropriate (e.g., threats, “outings”; repeated vandalism or edit warring; repeated failure to listen; etc). Scratchpad is a collegial, consensual community; so, behaviors like these are not acceptable. For some issues, a user may need to stop, learn our site norms, and confirm they will not repeat the behavior (or will edit in accordance with certain conditions), before an unblock can take place.

It says I’ve been autoblocked because of another person whom I don’t even know!

If you use a shared ISP (namely AOL, Comcast, StarHub, schools, colleges, etc.), you may be affected by collateral damage from other users who have edited disruptively. An Administrator will begin to sort this out as soon as it’s brought to their attention — please follow the instructions under the Rectifying an autoblock section on your block page, or alternatively, by following the instructions at Autoblock.

I want to edit Scratchpad, but I keep getting blocked because of others on the same network as me!

If you are an unregistered user, it’s recommended that you create an account. Shared IP addresses such as school and company networks, or proxy servers, are frequently blocked for vandalism often affecting many innocent editors on the same network. However, registered users in good standing can request existing blocks on their IP address be “softened” to only affect anonymous editors on their network so that they may continue contributing.

Ambox notice Notes:  
  1. If your IP address is blocked, you may need to create your account at home, on another computer, or (in rare cases) in another country.
  2. Many rotating IP addresses, of ISPs practicing shared IP addresses, are blocked as being “proxies” or “zombies” because of the large number of different users sharing the IP. On these computers, logged-in users will be autoblocked immediately. If you encounter such a case, please follow the unblocking request steps, or consult an Administrator.

Requesting to be unblocked

Instructions for requesting an unblock will be placed on your talk page, or in the block explanation provided by the system. A quick way to see these instructions, and test if you are still blocked, is to click here, which tries to edit the Sandbox. If you are able to edit the sandbox, then your block has already expired, or been lifted, and nothing more needs doing. If the block is still active, you can resume editing when unblocked, or you can request a review of the block if you believe it is unfair, or that you have put right whatever was the problem. The preferred way to appeal a block is to use the {{unblock|reason}} template on your talkpage, but you can also contact the blocking Administrator or appeal on the Community Central wiki.

Ambox notice See also:

  1. Message seen by blocked users: MediaWiki:Blockedtext
  2. Requests for unblocking: Category:Requests for unblock

What happens next?

When you appeal, other editors — most of whom probably have no involvement in the matter — will review your editing history, which has been logged, as well as the reason for the block and the history leading up to it.

Usually, if it’s a clear-cut case, any uninvolved, independent, Administrator will make a decision. The blocking Administrator must be consulted for their comments on your request (this is a requirement). The process can take minutes or a few hours; for major discussions sometimes it can take more than a day.

Administrators will strongly avoid blocking and unblocking fights (i.e., wheel warring), which would be a serious breach of Administrator policy. For this reason, blocks will not usually be allowed to become a source of conflict; rather, consensus will be sought, by means of a fair and objective examination of the matter and of any policies alleged to have been breached.

Routes to an unblock

The routes to resolve a block are: (1) agreement by the blocking Administrator; (2) a (very rare) override by other Administrators in the rare instance that the block was clearly unjustifiable; or (3) appeal to Scratchpad’s Bureaucrats to discuss and make a formal ruling on the matter.

  • If there is agreement that you may have been blocked unfairly, you may be directly unblocked (if the block was clearly and obviously a mistake), but this is very rare unless there genuinely were no proper grounds for the block. Usually the blocking Administrator’s judgement is respected if there is any question of doubt.
  • You may be unblocked if the blocking Administrator changes their mind or can’t be reached, and an unblock is considered reasonable.
  • When you are unblocked, you may then contact the Bureaucrats if you believe that you were treated unfairly.
  • If an unblocking needs discussion, reaching a consensus may take several days.

Appeal to the Scratchpad Bureaucrats

In principle, any blocked user may appeal their block to the Scratchpad Bureaucrats as a last resort, after other attempts to have the block lifted have failed. In practice, though, the Bureaucrats rarely (if ever) hear cases involving short-term blocks, since most such cases can take longer than the short-term block to reach a final decision. When the short-term block has expired, you may then contact the Bureaucrats if you believe that you were treated unfairly.

Indefinite blocks — that amount to a ban from Scratchpad — may be appealed to the Scratchpad Bureaucrats. Banned users should not create new accounts, or sockpuppets, to file an appeal. Rather, they should contact the Bureaucrats via Community Central for assistance with this process.

Other possible appeal steps

In highly unusual cases, you may wish to seek some form of dispute resolution process while you are still blocked. To do so by editing your talk page (which you can usually do even while blocked).

Abuse of the unblocking process

A usual block prevents users from editing all pages except their personal talk page. Users are allowed to retain editing access to their user talk page in order to have a chance for appeal, and so that they are not shut out completely, and are able to participate at least to some degree at Scratchpad, while the block is active.

Upon seeking the intervention of an uninvolved, arm’s-length Administrator, editing access may be restored to a limited number of other pages (such as those connected with your appeal) pending the formal decision so that the matter (and any evidence, facts, mitigating circumstances, or corrections) can be presented as well.

A minority of editors who are blocked use their remaining privileges poorly, for personal attacks, or to play games, and/or make a point. Inevitably, the response to such actions is simple — editing access is blocked in its entirety and without further discussion, whereas if the user had been responsible and reasonable, an entirely different result might well have happened.

Scratchpad blocks are usually warnings only, and once over, and learned from, unless repeated, they are in the past. Scratchpad and its Administrators and Bureaucrats have a real wish for everyone who is capable of acting responsibly to be able to enjoy editing.

Users who are blocked are asked to use this as a chance to reflect, an opportunity to show their understanding and ability to act responsibly, and a period of time to let the matter pass and be learned from.

See also

Wikipedia This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wikipedia:Appealing a block.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history.
As with Scratchpad, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Licence.