Wikipedia:WikiProject User warnings/Usage and layout

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General template usageEdit

All standardized templates take several parameters that are entirely optional. For example, you can use {{s/block}} instead of {{s/block|~~~~|1 hour|vandalism}}; the template will automatically insert generic text. Further, all parameters are designed to be very flexible; you can typically write anything in them, including diff links, in-depth messages, and HTML. A sandbox page is available for testing these templates at User talk:Sandbox for user warnings.

User warning templates introductionEdit

If you spot someone vandalising Wikipedia or making disruptive edits, you should revert their changes to a previous version. You can leave a message on their talk page to notify them that they've violated a policy or guideline, and that you've reverted their changes. There are various user warning templates available to simplify this by outputting a standardised message directly onto the editor's talk page.


There are a wide variety of templates available. These include multi-level templates for vandalism, multi-level templates for disruptive editing, and single issue notices and warnings. There are also templates that administrators can use to advise an editor that they have been blocked from editing.

Multi-level templates for vandalismEdit

It is not always necessary for an editor engaging in vandalism to receive a full 4 warnings before they can be reported or blocked. In cases of gross, extreme, or numerous vandalism it may be appropriate to use the Level 4im warning. Alternatively, in cases of obvious bad faith vandalism, it may be appropriate to use a level 3 warning in the first instance. If an editor continues to vandalize after a Level 4 warning or Level 4im warning, they should be reported to Administrator intervention against vandalism. An administrator will then review their edits and determine if a block is required.

  • Level 1 – A notice – Assumes good faith. Generally includes "Welcome to Wikipedia" or some variant.
  • Level 2 – Caution – No faith assumption, just a note.
  • Level 3 – Warning – Assumes bad faith, cease and desist. Generally includes "Please stop".
  • Level 4 – Final Warning – Assumes bad faith, strong cease and desist, last warning.
  • Level 4im – Only Warning – Assumes bad faith, very strong cease and desist, first and only warning. Generally used in the case of excessive or continuous disruption from a user or specific IP.

Multi-level templates for disruptive editingEdit

It is important to remember that disruptive editing is not vandalism. Although it may be appropriate to warn disruptive editors, it is not appropriate to report them as vandals at Administrator intervention against vandalism. Instead, you should consider the nature of the disruptive editing. If the edits relate to obvious disruption that is not properly defined as vandalism, it may be appropriate to report them to Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. If the nature of the disruptive editing appears to be a content dispute, and an editor continues to engage in such edits, after a level 3 warning; consideration can be given to reporting the matter at a relevant noticeboard.

  • Level 1 – A notice – Assumes good faith. Generally includes "Welcome to Wikipedia" or some variant.
  • Level 2 – Caution – No faith assumption, just a note.
  • Level 3 – Warning – Assumes bad faith, cease and desist. Generally includes "Please stop" or "Stop".

Single issue noticesEdit

Aside from the multi-level templates—which range from a polite pointer to the sandbox, to a stern warning that they desist immediately or face consequences—there are also single issue notices that serve to remind other editors about minor mistakes. These generally cover common editing errors, such as not leaving an edit summary. These notices are not classed as warnings and the actions they advise against almost never result in a block.

Single issue warningsEdit

There are also single issue warnings. Single issue warnings generally serve to advise editors of policy breaches that, if repeated, are likely to result in a block. An example of such an act would be edit warring.

Always subst the templateEdit

If you type the text {{uw-test1}} into a page and save the page, the result will look like this:

  Welcome and thank you for experimenting with Wikipedia. Your test worked, and it has been reverted or removed. Please take a look at the welcome page to learn more about contributing to this encyclopedia. If you would like to experiment further, please use the sandbox instead. Thank you.

In the future, every time you click "Edit this page", the text {{uw-test1}} will always be there, even though the actual text of {{uw-test1}} (shown above) may change over time. However, if you type text {{subst:uw-test1}} and click save, the result will appear the same, but when clicking "Edit this page" to check on the page's source code, you'll see this instead:

{{{icon|[[Image:Information.svg|25px|left]] }}}Welcome, and thank you for experimenting with {{{{{subst|}}}#if:{{{1|}}}|the page [[:{{{1|}}}]] on}} Wikipedia. Your test worked, and it has been [[Help:Reverting|reverted]] or removed. Please take a look at the [[Wikipedia:Introduction|welcome page]] to learn more about contributing to our encyclopedia. If you would like to experiment, please use the [[Wikipedia:Sandbox|sandbox]]. {{{2|}}}<!-- Template:uw-test1 --> 

By placing the text subst: in front of the template name, {{uw-test1}} was substituted. So if {{uw-test1}} changes, the display of the page on which {{uw-test1}} was substituted will not change.


It is best to keep things organized on user talk pages, by using section headers. Type "==April 2020==" above the first warning, adding a new header for each month. Old sections should be removed on anonymous user talk pages after a few months.

  • Warnings may be grouped by date under the heading "==Notices==" or "==Warnings==". Note: If there have been multiple warnings, add the template {{OW}} (or {{Repeated abuse}} if the account has been repeatedly blocked) at the top of the warnings section.
  • User warnings and block messages should be placed without line breaks.
  • Old warnings may be archived into page history when they are no longer useful. Give consideration to the IP's contribution history when deciding how long to leave warnings visible. Always note the archiving of old warnings, but be sure to remember that any editor—including anonymous IPs—may remove messages at will from their own talk page.

Block templatesEdit

Block templates differ from user warning templates in two fundamental ways. First, they're enclosed inside a message box, which means that placing your signature outside the template will place it visually separate from the message. This is resolved by typing out your signature (typically ~~~~) as the first parameter.

The second difference is the order of the parameters: whereas user warning templates are in order of use, block templates are not. This is because some of the parameters are less optional than in user warning templates, and they happen to be at the end.

  • The signature should always be used; although there's an auto-signature as default value, it converts the username link to plain text (i.e., [[User:Pathoschild|Pathoschild]]).
  • The time parameter is almost always used, as it signifies when the block expires.
  • The reason parameter is rarely used, and by default blames the block on vandalism.

As such, although the order of parameters in the templates are time-reason-signature, the template parameters are input as signature-time-reason. This way, you can ignore the more optional parameters by using "{{block|~~~~}}" instead of "{{block|||~~~~}}".

Edits from IP addressesEdit

Some edits originate from anonymous IP addresses. Some people have static addresses (they keep the same address all the time), particularly if they are broadband subscribers. However, many users are assigned random addresses each time they log in to their Internet service provider, or are part of a network of computers that all connect to the Internet via a proxy server with a single IP address. Because of this, a warning posted on the talk page of an IP address may not be received by the person whom you intend it to be received by. When warning IP address users it is a good idea to add Template:SharedIPAdvice after the warning or notice.

Archiving warnings for anonymous usersEdit

Warnings issued to anonymous users become irrelevant after a while. It may be appropriate to archive them in a way that reduces their visibility by putting them in collapsible boxes. This is done by adding the {{Old IP warnings top}} template above the oldest warning or block notice to be hidden and the {{Old IP warnings bottom}} template at the bottom of the most recent one.