Wikipedia:Dealing with disruptive or antisocial editors

(Originated by Erich 04:26, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC).)

Development scheduleEdit

The time line for refining and considering this policy:

  1. Editing by all interested parties until about midday UTC September 1, 2004
  2. A minor edit only cooling off period of 48 hours (to prevent any deliberate last-minute subversion of consensus) lasting until midday UTC September 3, 2004
  3. A two week voting period finishing midday UTC September 17, 2004
  4. If there isn't a clear consensus, but hope of reaching one then this cycle may repeat until an acceptable consensus is reached or hope fades.

See also:

  1. Mock Warning Page.
  2. Poll


This policy is intended to place a fair system in the gaps between the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution process, Wikipedia:Banning policy, Wikipedia:Blocking policy, Wikipedia:Dealing with vandalism policy and the Wikipedia:Arbitration Committee. It does not seek to replace any of the above, but allows efficient management of recalcitrant, difficult, problem behavior.

Experienced Wikipedians encourage others to regard this policy as a safety valve or insurance. We should invoke it as rarely as possible.

It may be very helpful to ask ourselves these questions before initiating this formal process:

  1. Do I understand this user's motivation?
    1. Where are they from?
    2. What do they believe?
    3. Why are they behaving like this?
  2. What other steps can be taken?
  3. Does this user just need some advice?
  4. Are there other users involved that are also behaving in an unhelpful manner?
  5. Are my actions truly in the interests of creating an encyclopedia?
  6. Is this an issue that I am able to remain objective about?
  7. Is there somebody I should discuss my concerns with before I take any action?


An ad hoc tribunal of three admins may summarily block a user for 24 hours for repeated violations of Wikipedia policies, if they follow due process. To constitute a blockable offence the behavior must be repeated despite fair warning.

This policy does not at all affect the ability of admins to summarily block persistent vandals.

Due processEdit

Step 1. Try to resolve the problem amicablyEdit

Before any type of warning or direction should be given, effort should be made to resolve the problem amicably. It may be that the user is unaware of the policy in question. Regardless of how obvious you think it should be, point the user to the page describing the policy. If the user is aware of the policy, but disagrees with it, show the user that there is consensus for the policy. To do this you may want to request community involvement. Upon ratification of this policy, a section will be added to Wikipedia:Requests for comment for "Policy disputes". While disputes in this section may include references to user behavior, the focus should be on the policies or guidelines themselves, not any particular user.

While trying to resolve the problem amicably you may find that there is no policy prohibiting the user's behavior. If that is the case, and you believe there can be consensus for such a policy, you should propose one. This blocking policy is not a method to allow a large majority of admins to enforce their own personal rules.

Step 2. Give the user a formal warningEdit

If at least three admins agree that a user is knowingly engaging in behavior which violates a valid policy, they may formally warn a user to cease that behavior ("Notice to cease"). Such a warning may be created by anyone, but it is not in effect until certified by at least three admins per the certification rules below (see "Number of admins required to certify").

The overall tone of the warning should be firm, but respectful. Avoid ranting! Rants do not portray an aura of authority and command. The warning should include, at least:

  • Evidence of policy
  • Evidence that the user was aware of the policy
    • URL to a diff on the user's talk page where the user was shown the policy or guideline
    • If the policy was disputed by the user, a URL to a diff where the consensus was shown
  • Evidence that a user's behavior violated the policy
    • URLs to diffs of problematic edits at least one of which occurred after the user was made aware of the policy
  • a formal request to stop making such edits.
  • signatures with timestamps (type ~~~~)
    • There should be two sections for signatures: certifying admins and objecting admins
  • a notice that any editor who objects to this warning or would otherwise like to comment can use the talk page

This formal warning should be placed in the Wikipedia namespace and linked to from a list of other current notices. The user should be made aware of the warning by a message on his or her user talk page. The purpose of making the warning public is to allow interested users to participate in the process. Admins and non-admins are encouraged to comment on the warning. Only admin votes are binding, but all comments will be considered in the case that the warning is appealed to the arbitration committee.

A notice to cease expires after 60 days.

Step 3. Institution of blockEdit

If a user continues to engage in the problematic behavior after receiving a formal warning, two additional signature sections should be added: "Admins certifying block" and "Admins objecting to block". Upon certification by at least three admins per the certification rules below (see "Number of admins required to certify"), the user shall be blocked for 24 hours. The notice to cease shall be kept in effect after a block is instituted, and in the case additional blocks are needed signature sections shall be added ("Admins certifying block #2", etc).

In the event of a controversial block admins should prioritise clarifying existing policy and counselling wayward colleagues as needed. Preventing future controversy does more for Wikipedia than extended debate to correct what is, in reality, a very short block. However, voting does remain open until the block expires to allow correction of clearly unjustifiable blocks. If, at any point, over half the voting admins disagree with the block, one of them may remove it immediately. If support for the block is regained at the level specified below (3+2d), the user may be reblocked for the remainder of the time.

The Arbitration Committee and Jimbo Wales may also overturn blocks.

Ongoing reviewEdit

All users may make constructive comments on the validity of the warnings and blocks at any point in the process.

Final AppealEdit

Users who do not agree with a block or notice to cease may appeal at any time requesting arbitration. Since blocked users cannot edit to request arbitration, they should instead email an arbitrator. Appeals do not affect the block status.

Number of admins required to certifyEdit

Support Dissent
3 0
5 1
7 2
2d + 3 d

In the absence of dissent from a fellow admin, consensus among three admins allows enforcement. For every admin that dissents, at least two more must support the first three certifying admins. Thus if one admin dissents then at least five must support the block. If two dissent, then seven must support the block, etc.