Wikipedia:Centralized discussion/Removing warnings


When users behave in a manner which is outside Wikipedia norms, they are often warned on their talk page. It is generally agreed that users who receive such warnings should not remove them from their talk page if they are valid. However, there is disagreement as to whether action should be taken against people who do, and to what extent. The purpose of this discussion is to attempt to come to a consensus about dealing with the removal of warnings. Please discuss this issue on the talk page.

This topic has had a previous discussion as well, which you may want to review at Wikipedia talk:Removing warnings

Arguments in favour of enforcementEdit

  • Makes it easier to ensure that vandals are given the proper level of warning
  • Makes it easier for administrators to know when to block users who have been repeatedly warned
  • Allows a contributor's problem history to be easily seen at a glance
  • Removing warnings without responding is uncivil and frowned upon, and we enforce other behavioural standards

Arguments against enforcementEdit

  • Removing warnings doesn't hide them, as they can still be seen in the talk page history or in a user's contributions, so they don't need to be displayed
  • A user's talk page is intended as a means to communicate with that user, not as a permanent record of all of that user's past mistakes
  • Enforcement just serves to exacerbate problems because it can:
  • Warnings can be issued by anyone with any pretext
  • Warnings are not informative of why were issued, who issued them (if it's a sysop, a patroller or just a common user) and how to remove/appeal them


  • Is there a difference between vandalism warnings and other warnings (civility, personal attacks, three-revert rule, disruption, etc.)? Why?
  • Ignoring the question of how important it is to revert vandalism as quickly as possible, how important is it to warn vandals as quickly as possible?
  • Should non-logged-in users be treated differently from logged-in users?
  • Should new users be treated differently from experienced users?
    • How should "new" and "experienced" users be defined?
  • How long should warnings need to be left on a talk page?
    • If a user's talk page is long enough that it should be archived, and they then receive a warning, should they still be permitted to archive the page?
  • Should removing warnings be treated as vandalism, making reverts to restore them exempt from the three-revert rule?
  • If a user stops their problem behaviour, is it okay for them to remove the warning, or should it remain there if there's a risk that they may reoffend?
  • What if the sender and receiver of a message disagree as to its validity?
    • How should such disputes be handled, or is it instruction creep to even define a process?
    • Which party, if either, gets the benefit of the doubt?
  • How often do people actually remove warnings?
    • How often are people able to get away with problem behaviour because they remove warnings?
  • Why do people remove warnings?
    • Should we assume good faith?
    • Do they do so out of ignorance, out of embarrassment, as a purposeful attempt to deceive, or for some other reason?
  • If the warning takes the form of a personal attack, can it be removed?
  • Should the results of this discussion be documented as part of an appropriate policy or guideline? If so:
  • Does the previous poll on this subject reflect consensus, or are polls evil and a poor way of determining consensus?
  • Is it acceptable for this discussion to come to a conclusion that contradicts existing policy?
  • Some users are frequently committing personal attacks and harassment. Is it possible to remove such portions from their user talks?