RationalWiki's 2020 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $3500Goal: $3500

RationalWiki talk:Blocking policy

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I followed the advice of be bold, and wrote some stuff. Thoughts? Also, I would quite like to know who has an activated email here, so we can create a list of people to email if they have been unfairly banned. Warning - do not put your name on this list unless you are prepared to ignore stuff from Jeb Berkeley! --ויִכִּ נתֶּרֶפּרֶתֵּר שְׁלֹום!

I have email enabled. --jtltalk 15:01, 6 July 2007 (CDT)
So do I. Shouldn't all sysops? humanbe in

RationalWiki and the law(l)[edit]

We might want to be a little more specific about what elements of http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/International_Covenant_on_Civil_and_Political_Rights we are most interested in invoking.--Bob's your uncle 16:54, 6 October 2007 (EDT)

All of it.

But mostly Article 18(1)(3) -

'Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.'

... Article 19 ...

'Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals.'

... and Article 20 - 'Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.'

Still, if any alien is lawfully in the territory of a website party to the Covenant (ie us), then we can't expel him or her except in pursuance of a decision reached in accordance with law, which only makes sense, really. -- מְתֻרְגְּמָן וִיקִי שְׁלֹום!

Invalid link which I have no idea how to fix[edit]

Under the title "Help! I've been blocked!" the link email "one of the sysops" gives the message "No such special page". Any ideas please? 17:21, 28 November 2007 (EST)

Looks like someone fixed it. humanUser talk:Human 19:38, 28 November 2007 (EST)

Finite blocking lengths[edit]

Is there an upper limit to the length you could make a finite block? Obviously there is infinite, but is there any limit on making a block really/silly long? I was thinking of hitting the My password is guy's accounts with something like a 314159265358979323846 year block (sans checking Account creation disabled) just for the hell of it. --Edgerunner76 12:56, 9 January 2008 (EST)

I was checking Heat Death of the Universe on Wikipedia and it seems that 314159265358979323846 years could be better called: "'til the stars burn out." --Edgerunner76 13:06, 9 January 2008 (EST)
Curiously, 314159265358979323846 seconds is very nearly ten trillion years. In days, you're roughly at 860 quadrillion years. --Edgerunner76 14:23, 9 January 2008 (EST)

We went through a phase of testing this (by blocking Bohdan, naturally) - it can certainly handle block lengths up to the half-life of a proton, although it gets a bit weird after that. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן שְׁלֹום

I'm getting an image of a deranged mad scientist, working on immortality, and waking up when the stars are dying and cackling, "Now I'll get those bastards back for what they did to me! Now I can edit their wiki again!!" Researcher 13:16, 9 January 2008 (EST)
1036 (the estimated half-life of protons) was a tempting length, but I thought I'd start out small. :) --Edgerunner76 13:20, 9 January 2008 (EST)

We should add some whacky lengths to the drop-down choices. "'til the stars burn out", "Proton decay", "The Rapture", and so on. --Edgerunner76 13:23, 9 January 2008 (EST)

What are ⊆ ℤ?[edit]

Whatever they are, they don't appear right on z computre. Sterilexx 19:45, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Looks ok on mine. I think that is the set of numbers. Real numbers? I can't remember. "where n = number of blocks, x>2, and x ⊆ ℤ." I hope this helped. humanUser talk:Human 20:28, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Still looks like two squares... let me try the other browser...Sterilexx 20:42, 27 January 2008 (EST) (Learns lesson.) Don't use IE, use Firefox... Sterilexx 20:43, 27 January 2008 (EST)

That's a very valuable lesson. :nods: Still, we should probably make sure it displays properly on IE as well. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 21:03, 27 January 2008 (EST)
Why? (haha). I only use IE when I absolutely have to - when a site won't even work on Mozilla. Oh, and to check that my sites work on that POS. humanUser talk:Human 21:16, 27 January 2008 (EST)

Block TOR nodes?[edit]

Having recently been hit with a vandal who uses the TOR network to get new IP addresses, has anyone considered blocking every TOR exit node for... say... 2 months. Repeat each month, so that new nodes showing up will be blocked for 2 months and current nodes would be extended by 1 month? It is possible to get a list of every TOR node from [1]. Getting the exit nodes by clicking the exit filter gives [2] (bottom of the page for csv exports of the data)- currently 1008 IPs. Searching this list for blocked IPs from vandals... of the random 5 IPs that I've looked at in the past 100 blocks, all of them are on the tor exit node list. The question is "do this proactively?" If vandals continue to use the TOR network to harass us, then yes. The list eventually will be built with 1 year blocks as we block individuals again and again. It is a question if this can be done before there are 1000+ accounts created and blocked. There is no good reason to use the Tor network to edit Rational Wiki - checkuser is non existent (outside of access to the machine itself and log files). --Shagie 20:55, 14 December 2008 (EST)

Looks like you have some work ahead of you. Good luck with that. - User \scriptstyle h/2\hbar 21:14, 14 December 2008 (EST)
I'd attack it with WWW::Mechanize... I suspect it is quite doable. Just a matter of "is this a good idea?" and wondering if there are any dissenting opinions... or better ways of doing it... (does tmt have a way of loading this in the back-end without me cluttering up the block log for 1000 lines every N weeks? tor block bot?) Also mechanisms for getting around it - it was an issue at wikipedia [3] [4], and ultimately IP block exceptions. So, the questions to ask and answer:
  1. Is this a good idea?
  2. Is me (shagie) running a tor blocking bot the best way of doing it?
  3. Does tmt have anything to say about this?
--Shagie 01:09, 15 December 2008 (EST)
What happens if CP ever gets someone like Shagie on its side?-caius (soldier) 01:45, 15 December 2008 (EST)
Blocking TOR is a monumentally difficult task (new nodes all the time, etc), so, even in the long term, it may be more profitable to hit them individually. Wikipedia has great legions of bot coders working all the time to tweak the process - I think that with our smaller userbase, individually hitting vandals may be the way forward. If someone wants to vandalise, they basically will, unless we start a Karajou-esque policy of 'ban all new users on sight'. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן וִיקִי שְׁלֹום!
Just for the record, are we talking about FallDown? Pinto's5150 Talk 02:19, 15 December 2008 (EST)
Probably. I mean, I've used Tor nodes to vandalise Rationalwiki. --מְתֻרְגְּמָן וִיקִי שְׁלֹום!
I would consider using a bot to block them all; there are 1008 TOR exit nodes currently enabled - a determined vandal could damage us for several days; Fall Down's been at us for over a week. The fact that new nodes are always being added isn't much of an issue: we could update the list every week or so and anyway the blocking of almost all the nodes would dissuade anyone who isn't willing to spend hours clicking the "new identity" button in Vidalia. I don't think we should start blocking them until we have hard evidence a recurrent vandal is using them; if FD keeps coming through TOR we should start thinking about it. Educated stupid Hoover!
Conservapedia once had people who would help... but they chased us all away. Didn't Trent offer in the past to help them set up their server correctly? I'm not sure anyone has any significant coding ability beyond setting up pre-packaged wikibots (guard dog and edbot). I have yet to see any indication of original thought with writing code. Yes, I am talking about FallDown, but I will also point out that some of his hits were on tor nodes that had vandalized us before. Wikipedia's issue is avoiding too much collateral damage (their original blocking of tor nodes annoyed some chinese dissidents who used tor to edit wikipedia that would otherwise be blocked). Personally, I see no reason why one should edit rational wiki from a tor node. If a few hours of code removes an unrepentant vandal, it is less time than it will take to play whack a mole with tor exit nodes... and ultimately has the same result - all the current tor nodes blocked. The question then becomes one of "is it worth the frustration and aggravation" along with "what good/legitimate reason is there to edit rationalwiki from a tor node?" If this were my box, I'd toss the tor node exit list into hosts.deny and be done with it, but thats my old BOFH tendencies showing... and it doesn't allow for individuals being excluded from the block. --Shagie 02:44, 15 December 2008 (EST)
Well, as we're currently only blocking genuine vandals and twats, and that we're not blanket banned from certain areas (that anyone appears to be aware of) there is no reason that we can't start blocking proxies. But it is putting a blanket ban on things that essentially haven't done any harm (yet). Besides preventing annoyance (individual wandals like FD can't break a wiki, regardless of how much he demanded his Men.Soc or whatever to do so) there's no reason why we should really. It's not like you're preventing people from editing by blocking known proxies, you're just enhancing your ability to enforce bans. ArmondikoVtheist 06:39, 15 December 2008 (EST)

Weaseloid just unblocked a large number of ip addresses for proxies of vandals in passing (not to pick on Weaseloid - just getting a list of ip addresses). Of the list of 25, 7 of them were not on the list of current TOR exit nodes (about half of those 7 matched the first three digits suggesting a dynamic IP being used as a tor exit node). I would suggest that this is not a 'vandal in passing' but rather a persistent vandal using tor nodes to vandalize Rational Wiki. I am still wondering if there is a consensus about blocking tor nodes from editing and what the policy about vandals is. Personally, I don't like cleaning up after vandals abusing proxies. If there is a way to fix it and be done with it, that would be good in my opinion. --Shagie 17:34, 29 December 2008 (EST)

If someone someday hit us with a bot running through Tor that could move faster than we can rollback, maybe. Otherwise, it's not like we're getting worn out keeping the place clean. Blocking IPs just seems silly in general (and aren't there lots of other sources for proxy IPs?) to me. Heck, with the vandal bin, blocking isn't even necessary. When I see a list of year-long blocks on a series of "Frednnn" usernames, I don't see the point at all. A few hours makes anyone go away; if they keep socking up, leaving them unblocked makes it easier to find their "work". I can't remember the last time any vandalism even survived into the PM here (EST) for me to fix myself. ħumanUser talk:Human 19:42, 29 December 2008 (EST)

New blocking practices + duplicate policy pages[edit]

This archaic document badly needs to be updated per the new Community Standards. Before we proceed, is it really necessary to have so many Help pages duplicating stuff in the standards? It makes for more work when we update them, & I'm sure this won't be the last time. Couldn't we just make this, & other policy pages like this, a redirect to the relevant parts of the Community standards? Or alternatively break the Community Standards doewn into several sub-pages? ωεαşεζøίɗWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:22, 7 February 2009 (EST)

I think the CS should be as simple as possible, and link to help pages as much as possible for detail. Or, the CS is the master document, and the help pages detail how to do the dirty work? ħumanUser talk:Human 23:25, 7 February 2009 (EST)
Maybe we could scrap this for a Help:Blocking and vandal binning. - User \scriptstyle\int_{-1}^{1}1/\sqrt{1-x^{2}}dx 23:28, 7 February 2009 (EST)

Examples of rangeblocks[edit]


I guess this is supposed to be MarcusCicero's range.

OrgName: RIPE Network Coordination Centre OrgID: RIPE Address: P.O. Box 10096 City: Amsterdam

NetRange: -

Is this an Internet access provider, or what? Does anyone else use these IP addresses? I think someone said that at least one "other editor/username" does. Even if they don't couldn't the "troll" just pretend to be someone else? ~ Lumenos 21:40, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Other types of rangeblocks[edit]

What does rangeblocking mean? What groups would be blocked if you/we rangeblock? ~ Lumenos 21:40, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

27 December Carpetsmoker[edit]


Any major changes to community standards should be discussed on talkpage first. FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 19:31, 27 December 2015 (UTC)

Doesn't this describe the current status quo? People have been blocked for soliciting doxing (but not actually doxing themselves) and raising legal threats recently... I figured these changes would be uncontroversial ("snowball clause" and all that)... Carpetsmoker (talk) 19:37, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm OK with the change. Discussion pre-change is also supposed to happen, tho. Herr FüzzyCätPötätö (talk/stalk) 20:05, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Liking this edit. Well done.--TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 15:57, 6 January 2016 (UTC)


I don't like that we can ban people for long periods of time due to "Harrassment":

Harassment: Adding purely offensive material, solely for the purpose of causing emotional harm, into a page.

1. I don't believe this is worth a long term block, certainly in the past it hasn't even warranted a block. 2. It will be (and has been) selectively enforced such that harassment of unpopular editors is fine (eg. gators). 3. It has barely been enforced, plenty of harassment (to varying degrees) occurs and will continue to occur in the future. It's likely the reason it hasn't been enforced is that it's impossible to determine what is harassment and what is legitimately criticising an editor's arguments / friendly jokes gone too far / pulling the piss for entertainment purposes. 4. We already have a provision that so called "obvious trolling" can be removed from talk-pages which is generally used by editors to remove negative comments from their talk-pages, the further threat of banning is unnecessary.

I propose that this sentence is removed. If not removed then rephrased such that it is much more prescriptive; for example:

Harassment: After being warned by a moderator, continuing to add offensive material that directly attacks an editor without regards to argument/ideology over extended periods of time (eg. months).

I know the wording isn't exactly right on this, but I think this more accurately reflects the actual practice of banning people for Harassment. Tielec01 (talk) 03:29, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

If no-one wants to comment here I'll go ahead and remove harassment from the list. Tielec01 (talk) 03:43, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, no, nice try - David Gerard (talk) 07:41, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
No to what? Tielec01 (talk) 08:04, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
No to your proposal. Harassment isn't tolerable, no matter who it's directed towards. If you feel someone's been harassing people with impunity, bring it up in the coop. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 07:19, 5 March 2016 (UTC)
What? Why would I do that? Did you read what I wrote above? The point is not that harassment is acceptable, it's that the definition in the page is ambiguous and can be used to ban anyone who says things we don't like. David, thanks for your typically substantive reply with no follow-up. Tielec01 (talk) 05:43, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
I don't see the current language as too vague. If you feel someone has been banned for a spurious reason, the ban can be challenged. Bans aren't so permanent that we need to be extra-careful about the wording of blocking policies. Frederick♠♣♥♦ 06:15, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Edit warring[edit]

The edit warring definition needs a lot of work. According to current policy "[a] fairly short block (hours to days), or a visit to the vandal bin, is preferred" for "[e]dit warring: Reverting the non-obviously-malicious edits of others without explanation or discussion on the talk page." Problems:

  • Edits that are "non-obviously-malicious" get reverted very often, and are usually justified. Just to take one example from recent changes (sorry to the sysop involved), but technically this edit would have been an offence worthy of a short term block. However, even though the original edit was not obviously malicious, the revert was completely justified since the original edit incorrectly changed a quote. Similarly, were these reverted edits "malicious": [5] [6]? I'd say they weren't, but it was still correct to revert them.
  • This definition does not describe edit warring. One revert is hardly an edit war. Surely the definition should state that this is done repeatedly.

I'd personally be in favour of removing edit warring from the short-term block list, but we need a better definition at the very least. CowHouse (talk) 11:49, 6 January 2018 (UTC)

Blocking duration[edit]

We habitually block people indef for things like ban evasion, currently listed as a short block. Either we should rewrite the policy to reflect this, or stop doing it. Also I think there should be some text to cover how to deal with IP address blocks which should always be shorter. Thought? — Dysk (contribs) 12:52, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Bringing this back up, as I'm seeing a lot of vandalism blocks that are marked indefinite, despite the guideline being a couple days to get them to lose interest. Should we change this? ℕoir LeSable (talk) 18:29, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
Ban evasion means they created a new username that is then indef'd. This is not blocking the person indef, it's blocking the username - David Gerard (talk) 08:38, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
@Noir LeSable Aye, as blocking indef for vandalism has now become a common practice. Kiko4564 (talk) 09:20, 1 September 2020 (UTC)

The Duration section[edit]

Seems redundant with the updated policy page. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 21:32, 22 May 2020 (UTC)

Prevent account creation[edit]

Should this box not always be checked? If so, then why can't we alter the policy to state that it always, not just "almost always" should be checked? Kiko4564 (talk) 09:19, 1 September 2020 (UTC)