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SP:GAB


This is a guide to making unblock requests.

Users may be blocked from editing by Scratchpad Administrators to prevent damage or disruption to Scratchpad (SP). Blocks are lifted when, and if, they are no longer necessary to prevent such damage or disruption.

You, as a blocked editor, are responsible for convincing Administrators:

  • that the block is in fact not necessary to prevent damage or disruption (i.e., that the block violates our blocking policy); or:
  • that the block is no longer necessary because you understand why you were blocked, that you will not do it again, and you will make productive contributions only; or:
  • that your conduct (under any registered account or IP address) is not connected in any way with the block (this can happen if a block is aimed at resolving a separate situation and you are unintentionally blocked as a consequence because you fall within the same IP range).

It also helps to clearly state your reasons for requesting an unblock because:

  • If the background or reason isn’t clear, your request may be declined out of hand.
  • In complicated situations, the reviewing Administrator may not want to spend a long time reading your whole talk page and all of your contributions. Information and evidence not in your unblock request, therefore, may not be read.
  • If you make repeated, invalid, or offensive unblock requests, your talk page may be protected from editing which makes it even more difficult for you to request unblocking.

To make an unblock request, paste the following text to the bottom of your user talk page:

{{unblock|1=Insert your reason to be unblocked here}}

Don’t forget to insert your own reason. We will discuss its composition below. If you find that you cannot edit your talk page, email your unblock request to an Administrator or Bureaucrat.

More technical and procedural guidance can be found at Scratchpad:Appealing a block.


What happens when I request unblock?

It may help with your unblock request if you understand how they are reviewed, and by whom.

  • After you save the unblock request to your talk page, it is automatically placed in a category for Administrator attention. Administrators routinely check this category. Any of them may read your request, and decide to take action on it, or leave it for another Administrator to look at. Scratchpad has very few sysops, and it is preferred that the reviewing sysop and the blocking sysop not be the same person. Because of conflict of interest, any review should be carried out by an Administrator other than the one who blocked you. Be patient.
  • An Administrator reviewing your request will likely look over several logs (e.g., your contributions; comments by others; and past issues, warnings, or blocks if any) to get an idea what happened and whether the reviewer thinks the block was merited. These logs, with the exception of deleted contributions, are viewable by any user. S/he will look carefully at the reasons given for the block, and at the unblock request, and the policies that support each. The aim in every case is to reduce disruption, damage, and similar issues from affecting Scratchpad.
  • Reviewing Administrators must always consult with the blocking Administrator to discuss the background to the block. Depending on the availability of the blocking Administrator, this may place your request on hold. If considering unblock, Administrative etiquette requires the reviewing Administrator to inform the blocking Administrator and allow an opportunity for comment.
  • Often you will find more than one user commenting on your block, or a mini-discussion happening. The Administrator who blocked you may contribute, but any decision will be made by the reviewing Administrator who will take all points made into account.
  • If your request is accepted, the reviewing Administrator will leave a templated response on your talk page and unblock. If it is declined, s/he will give his/her reasons in an edit to the request template.

Composing your request to be unblocked

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In practice, a high proportion of unblock requests are declined. This is because almost all blocks are found to be justified. If yours is the rare exception, you should try to make it as easy as possible for the reviewing Administrator to understand why. Administrators are volunteers: They may not want to make more of an effort in reviewing your request than you did in writing it.

Understand your block

To effectively contest your block, you must understand the reason for it. Also, if the reviewing Administrator concludes that the block was justified, you will not be unblocked unless the reviewing Administrator is convinced that you understand why you were blocked, and that you will not do it again.

You are informed about the block reason in two ways. First, the blocking Administrator provides a brief reason that you will see when you try to make an edit. Second, the blocking Administrator may leave a message explaining your block on your user talk page. These messages should include the names or abbreviations of those of our site rules (the “policies and guidelines”) that the blocking Administrator believes you have violated.

Before you make an unblock request, you should attentively read the policies and guidelines named in your block reason. They are usually one or more from among the following: vandalism, sockpuppetry, edit warring, violating the three-revert rule, spamming, having a prohibited username, etc. You should also review the blocking policy.

Give a good reason for your unblock

As a user requesting to be unblocked, it is your responsibility to explain clearly and briefly, in easily readable English, why your block violated Scratchpad’s blocking policy. Specifically:

  1. Be brief. Administrators will often decline to read requests that are too long. (See WP:TLDR.)
  2. Stay calm. The use of profanities, ramblings, ALL CAPS SCREAMING, and personal attacks will lead to the decline of your unblock request without further review of your edit history. The block duration may also be extended.
  3. State what is wrong about your block. It is not enough to merely say that the block was “wrong” or “unfair”. You must explain why it was wrong, and why the block violated the blocking policy.
  4. Address the block reason. As explained above, you have been informed about the reason for your block. You must address this reason in your request. This means that you must either explain why the block reason does not apply to your case, or you must convince the reviewing Administrator that you won’t do it again.
  5. Give evidence. If you state that you did or did not do something, please provide a link in the form of a differential edit (“diff”) if possible.
  6. Don’t behave as you think lawyers do. Unblock requests are not legal proceedings. As explained in more detail here, a ban or block is a revocation or suspension of your privilege to edit this privately owned website. Any legal right you may have to freedom of speech does not prevent us from enacting and enforcing our own policies and guidelines. We may also check which IP address you edit from, and which other accounts use it, where this is necessary to prevent abuse.
  7. Do not threaten legal action. Such threats almost always, by themselves, result in an indefinite block.

Talk about yourself, not others

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You are blocked because of what you did, and not because of what others did. For this reason, in your unblock request:

  1. Do not complain about other people, such as editors you may have been in a conflict with, or the blocking Administrator. Any disagreements with others should be addressed through dispute resolution mediated by an Administrator after you are unblocked. But, your unblock request is not the place for this. The only thing that your unblock request is to address is why you did not in fact disrupt Scratchpad, or why you will no longer do so. Unblock requests that contain personal attacks or incivility against others will be declined.
  2. Do not excuse what you did with what others did. Two wrongs do not make a right. An unblock request that just asks Administrators to block another editor will be declined.
  3. Assume good faith. It is theoretically possible that the other editors who may have reported you, and the Administrator who blocked you, and everybody involved, are part of a diabolical conspiracy against someone half a world away they’ve never met in person. But, they probably are not. And, an unblock request that presumes they are will probably not be accepted.
  4. Assume the assumption of good faith. The Administrator who blocked you probably tried to assume good faith on your part, as did any Administrator who has reviewed previous unblock requests, and as will the Administrator who will review your current request. It is needless to remind anyone beforehand to assume good faith, and to accuse the blocking Administrator of having failed to do so.

Agree to behave

If you are blocked for something you did wrong, and especially if you are blocked for a long time, you are more likely to be unblocked if you:

  1. Admit to it. All your contributions and activities at Scratchpad are logged. There is no point in denying something that you did do, because your edits can and will be checked.
  2. Make people trust you again. Promise, credibly, believably, that you will stop doing whatever got you blocked. Earn back our trust by proposing improvements to pages.
  3. Don’t do it again. If you were blocked for an offensive statement or legal threat, do not repeat it in your unblock request. Even if you feel that your conduct did not deserve a block, evidently at least one Administrator disagrees with you on that point. Assume that the reviewing Administrator will agree with the block, and write your request in a way that cannot give further offence.
  4. Tell us why you are here. Say how you intend to participate on, and help improve, Scratchpad after you are unblocked.

Examples of bad unblock requests

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Requests such as these are likely to be denied. If made repeatedly, they may lead to your block being extended, or removal of talk page access by either a change of block settings or your talk page being protected from editing.

Special situations

Blocks directed at you, as an editor

==== Arbitration enforcement blocks ==== Special rules apply to users who have been blocked because they violated an Active Bureaucrats Group decision — a decision taken by the Group acting in its capacity as Admin Tools Wiki’s Arbitration Committee (“ArbCom”) — or restrictions imposed on them (such as discretionary sanctions) by Administrators in accordance with an ArbCom decision.

In a relevant 2010 Wikipedia decision, Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee held:

Administrators are prohibited from reversing or overturning (explicitly or in substance) any action taken by another administrator pursuant to the terms of an active arbitration remedy, and explicitly noted as being taken to enforce said remedy, except:

(a) with the written authorization of the Committee, or
(b) following a clear, substantial, and active consensus of uninvolved editors at a community discussion noticeboard … If consensus in such discussions is hard to judge or unclear, the parties should submit a request for clarification on the proper page.

Any administrator that overturns an enforcement action outside of these circumstances shall be subject to appropriate sanctions, up to and including desysopping, at the discretion of the Committee.

A reviewing Administrator acting alone, therefore, is not allowed to undo your arbitration enforcement block. To request that such a block be lifted, you may:

  • address your appeal by e-mail to the blocking Administrator (using Special:EmailUser/<username>), or
  • address your appeal by e-mail to the Active Bureaucrats Group (at atwcrats-l@usclec.net), or
  • make an unblock request using {{unblock}} that specifically asks the reviewing Administrator to initiate a community discussion about your appeal. You should prepare the appeal in the form provided by the template {{Arbitration enforcement appeal}} on your talk page, below the unblock request, so that the reviewing Administrator may simply copy it to the appropriate community forum. You are not entitled to a community review of your block. The reviewing Administrator may decline to initiate a community discussion if you do not prepare a convincing appeal before making your unblock request.

Banned users

Banned users have special rules for their appeals.

  • Those banned by Jimbo Wales, or Wikia Staff, must appeal either to him, or to Wikia Staff.
  • Users banned by the Scratchpad Administrators must appeal to the admin group.
  • Users banned by the Scratchpad Community are normally unblocked only after a community discussion at the Noticeboard determines whether there is consensus to lift the ban.

Ambox notice.svg Note:  While most Administrator decisions ban users for a year at most, the Scratchpad Community may decide on its own to extend the ban to indefinite after it expires.

Compromised accounts

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If you state in your request that the edits which led to your block were made by someone else (for example, your little brother) who accessed your account without your knowledge or permission, we will have to leave it blocked. You may have changed the password, but Administrators have no way of knowing if it was even you who did this.

For this reason, if your account is blocked as compromised, do not make unblock requests. Instead:

  • Create a new account and make sure to choose a strong password. If an autoblock prevents you from doing that, use a computer in a different location (that is, with a different IP address).
  • With your first edits, clearly identify the new account as a successor account of the blocked account, for example by adding the code {{User Previous Acct|1=old username}} to the user page of the new account (replace “old username” with the username of the blocked account).
    Ambox important.svg Important: If you do not do this, your new account may be blocked as a sockpuppet.
  • Follow the advice in Wikipedia’s “Personal security practices” to prevent your new account from becoming compromised again.

If you create a new account while you are blocked not only because your old account is compromised, but also for other reasons, your new account will likely also be blocked to prevent you from evading the block of your old account. In this case, you will need to request to be unblocked with your new account and address the other reasons for which your old account was blocked.

Sockpuppetry blocks

Accusations of sockpuppetry result in many blocks and almost as many unblock requests, as Scratchpad policy calls for the sockpuppet account to be blocked indefinitely, and the sockpuppeteer to be blocked for some length of time (possibly also indefinitely). Users confirmed or believed to have engaged in the practice must request unblock at their main account.

Meatpuppets will be blocked indefinitely, too → Do not edit on behalf of someone else, no matter how well you may know them.

Reviewing Administrators will usually defer to the blocking Administrator in a sockpuppetry-based block, especially if the sock account has minimal edits. Even without the use of the CheckUser tool, or with a result of “unrelated”, an account that makes the same edits as a different blocked account, has the same linguistic peculiarities, and the same general interests, may remain blocked under the “quacks like a duck” test.

Scratchpad Administrators can never be absolutely sure about sockpuppetry, and the most abusive users can be very devious in attempting to evade detection. If you are improperly blocked for sockpuppetry, you should realize that it may not always be easy, or even possible, to correct the situation.

If you actually are guilty of sockpuppetry, and want to get a second chance at editing, please do as follows:

  1. Refrain from making any edits, using any account or anonymously, for a significant period of time. SIX (6) months is recommended.
  2. Make the unblock request from your original account. Sockpuppeteers aren’t often unblocked — since they’ve acted dishonestly, it’s hard to believe them — but the Administrators certainly aren’t going to unblock the sockpuppet account.

CheckUser-based blocks

The CheckUser tool may be used in special circumstances to determine whether multiple accounts or IP addresses are being used by the same person. At Scratchpad, no one has direct access to the CheckUser tool. Nevertheless, if an Administrator suspects that two or more accounts (any combination of registered and anonymous) are related, s/he may want to have this confirmed by use of CheckUser. In such circumstances, the Administrator is to contact a Bureaucrat to consult on the matter. Should the Bureaucrat agree that a CheckUser is required, then the Administrator may contact Wikia Staff. If Staff confirm that there is a CheckUser-verified relationship between the accounts, then the Administrator may take appropriate action.

Scratchpad’s Bureaucrats would like to remind reviewing Administrators that those obtaining CheckUser reports may sometimes block accounts as a result of findings that involve confidential CheckUser data. When such blocks are appealed, reviewing Administrators will generally not be privy to all the information that the CheckUser-informed blocking Administrator relied on in deciding to block. Moreover, in many cases the CheckUser-informed blocking Administrator may not be able to share such information because doing so would violate the privacy policy.

Therefore, in most cases, appeals from blocks designated as “Checkuser block” (or some such phrasing) should be referred to a Bureaucrat, who will address such appeals as promptly as possible. If an Administrator believes that a Checkuser-based block has been made in error, that Administrator should first discuss the matter with the CheckUser-informed blocking Administrator in question, and if a satisfactory resolution is not reached, should contact a Bureaucrat. As appropriate, the matter will be handled by the Bureaucrats as a group, or by an individual Bureaucrat designated by the group. When an unblock is appropriate — either because the review disagrees with the initial CheckUser findings, or for other reasons — it will be granted.

This policy applies only to blocks designated as “Checkuser block” (or some such phrasing), blocks relying on confidential CheckUser findings. Administrators are reminded that because designating a block as a “Checkuser block” (or some such phrasing) means that it cannot be reviewed on-wiki, this term should only be used when confidential information has been used in the blocking decision.

Do not make an unblock request that includes a request for CheckUser to “prove your innocence”: Such reviews are so rarely done that you’re better off not asking (besides, the tool is difficult to use it to prove that two editors are different people). Most Administrators consider such an unblock request a sure sign of a sock account (particularly one with very few edits otherwise), and will decline on that basis.

Edit warring (“Three-revert rule”) blocks

Many established users who request unblock do so because they have been blocked for violating the three-revert rule (i.e., are involved in an edit war). They often post lengthy explanations, with many linked diffs, of why they did not actually violate the rule. If this is what you intend to do, be advised that such unblock requests often take longer to review than others. Given that many 3RR blocks are of short duration (36 hours or less), long and detailed unblock requests will often go unanswered, or will take so long to investigate that the block will expire on its own.

Also, be aware that 3RR is seen as an “electric fence” and that with VERY few exceptions (such as reverts of patent nonsense/vandalism, or of egregious libel violations), most Administrators see any violation of the three-revert rule as justifiably blockable. Being “right” is not an exception to the three-revert rule, and claiming that your version is the “better” version is not a reason that will get you unblocked.

Also, be aware that any sequence of edits that violates the “spirit”, if not the “letter”, of the three-revert rule is just as worthy of a block. Intentionally gaming the system by waiting 24 hours between your third and fourth revert, or subtly changing your version each time so it is not a perfect revert, or otherwise edit warring over the article, is seen to be editing in bad faith, and your block is unlikely to be lifted in these cases, even if you did not technically revert more than three times in 24 hours.

“Bad username” blocks

Accounts with usernames that do not conform to the username policy are often blocked indefinitely, regardless of their editing behavior. Most commonly this is because of a name that wholly or closely matches the subject of an article, or a link added as spam, or is otherwise in violation of the external links policy.

Most such accounts are soft-blocked, meaning a new account may be created despite the old one being blocked. This is done because it is the account name, not the behavior of the person behind it, which is the problem. While it is possible to request a change in username, this takes a little longer and requires Wikia Staff to perform the transaction. Whichever method you choose, it is a good idea to have first reviewed the new username you are proposing, to avoid ending up in the same quandary.

An account with a username that uses hateful or obscene language, or otherwise indicates disruptive or provocative intent, will be hard-blocked, meaning that an unblock request will be required.

Advertising-only accounts

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Accounts that seem to exist only to promote somebody or something (“spamming”) are normally indefinitely blocked, because Scratchpad may not be used for promotional purposes. Such promotion may include posting articles that read like advertisements, or inserting inappropriate links to other websites.

As an advertising-only account, you will not be unblocked unless you indicate that you will stop your promotional activities. In addition, you must convince Administrators that you intend to make constructive contributions to Scratchpad that are unrelated to the subject of your promotion if unblocked. To do so, your unblock request should include specific examples of productive edits that you would like to make.

Blocks directed at a problem generally (“collateral damage”)

A number of blocks exist because they are preventing abuse from a given source, such as a proxy server or a particular ISP used by many people. In such cases, some users will be responsible for the problem, while others may be unavoidably blocked by the solution.

An Administrator or CheckUser will investigate and consider whether it is likely this has happened.

Open proxy blocks

The Scratchpad’s policy on open proxies is clear: Editing through open proxies is blocked without exception, once identified. While some users can use them to circumvent censorship or filters, they have been used far too many times, by far too many blocked vandals, for Wikians to assume good faith on their part. This includes Tor nodes. If your server has been blocked as an open proxy, you will probably need to edit via another connection: In most cases, proxies are “hard blocked”, which prevents even logged-in users from using the connection to edit.

The only way such a block can be lifted is if it can be determined that it is no longer an open proxy, or was erroneously identified as one. If you believe this to be the case, say so in your unblock request and the reviewing Administrator will confer with a Bureaucrat/Staff, where verified users can determine if it is indeed an open proxy.

Shared IP blocks/Range blocks

Occasionally, readers who have never, or rarely, edited before, or not from that location, with no intention of registering an account, click on Edit only to find that editing from their IP address is blocked, for something they didn’t do. If you are here because this happened to you, there are two possibilities.

  • Range block. Scratchpad Administrators can choose to block a range of IP addresses rather than just a single one. This is done if a vandal, sockpuppeteer, or otherwise disruptive user has taken advantage of dynamic IPs or other situation (such as some LANs) where it is possible to evade blocks by hopping from IP to IP, or physically moving from one terminal to another. Yes, this inconveniences many users (the long-term rangeblocks imposed on some large ranges mean that, in certain geographic areas, some users cannot edit without using a registered account). But, the Scratchpad community does not apply this sanction lightly. And, while some rangeblocks may be reduced in scope if they were imposed on too many users, the rangeblock is only ever applied when other methods of protecting the project and its users have failed.
  • Shared IP block. This affects large institutions, most commonly schools, that route all their Internet traffic through one or two servers. Since many users can edit through them, and we have no way of knowing if a vandal or disruptive user on a shared IP has been prevented from doing so again, or what security arrangements are in place on the other end, Administrators are wary of unblocking shared IPs. Those that are blocked (again, primarily schools), are commonly blocked repeatedly and for long periods (up to a year at a time) for blatant vandalism. If the reviewing Administrator sees that reflected in the talk page, block log, and edit history, the unblock request will likely be declined.
    • If you are the systems administrator at a site with a shared IP, and you are able to identify and take action against users whose conduct at Scratchpad led to the block, we may consider an unblock if you can prove this. Most commonly, though, the best solution for Scratchpad and users alike is to simply create a registered account and edit with it. This can be done by connecting to Scratchpad through another internet connection that is not blocked.

See also

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wikipedia:Guide to appealing blocks.
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.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.