During day-to-day operations, Wikipedia administrators routinely block accounts and IP ranges to reduce or prevent vandalism and other serious inappropriate behavior. This page explains to blocked users why they may have been blocked, as well as how to request an unblock.

Why was I blocked?

If your account was blocked by mistake, it will be reactivated very quickly, as soon as you let an administrator know of the problem. Otherwise, there is a rapid appeal process which obtains quick review by other independent administrators, and brief discussion of the matter. One aim of blocking in some cases is to ensure the user learns from the incident, and that the issues don't happen again.

Common questions

  1. What is a block?
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    A block prevents a user account, an IP address, or a range of IP addresses from editing Wikipedia. Blocked users can still read Wikipedia; they just cannot make edits. Blocks are used to protect Wikipedia from possible improper use, or other activity that may breach Wikipedia's editorial policies. Once a block expires, the user can edit as before, and the event becomes history unless problems recur. Automated features also identify usage which apparently should be blocked; this can be quickly rectified if incorrect.

  2. I don't understand why I was blocked.
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    You may have breached a behavior rule without knowing it. The block notice contains the reason why an administrator has blocked you from editing, usually with a link to a policy or guideline; read it carefully and try to understand how your behavior did not follow the policy. A block is not intended as punishment; it's meant to prevent you from making further disruptive edits, either in good faith or as vandalism. If you can show that you won't continue the behavior, the block should be lifted.

    If you don't understand some detail of the policy, you can ask the administrator that blocked you for any clarification about their actions, and they're expected to answer your questions. Don't make such requests within the unblock request, though, as it should be used only when you already understand the reasons for the block and are ready to appeal and explain.

  3. Should I create a new account to appeal? Should I edit anonymously when my account is blocked?
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    No. That is considered evasion. You will receive fair treatment and respect on Wikipedia for being honest and not "playing games". You'll do far better to appeal under your usual account (and accept the block if that's what is decided) than to be sanctioned and further blocked for evasion.

    Wikipedia has users who were blocked for days or months, accepted it, and were welcomed back and "made good" as respected editors shortly afterwards. Once a block is over, it's over.

  4. I've never done anything wrong and I was blocked! Please advise.
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    Do you use an ISP or web accelerator that involves shared IP addresses? Common examples include Comcast, StarHub, schools, and colleges. Or are you connecting from a public wi-fi network or using mobile data? If any of these is the case, you may have been affected by collateral damage.

    In such cases, you should request an account to be created for you so that you can edit despite the block, which only affects users who are not logged in.

  5. I did something a bit wrong, but how do I get unblocked now?
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    All blocks can be reviewed by, and discussed with, a different administrator who is not involved, if requested.

    One common requirement for unblocking is simply "do you understand that what you did was inappropriate for this site, and confirm that you won't do it again".

    In the case of shorter blocks, especially for good cause, the usual answer is to wait quietly until the block ends, then you may continue editing, putting it in the past – but learning from it. A subsequent block for repeated behavior is often longer than the previous block, so it is important to learn from blocks – in a way, blocks are intended to guide a user when words, notices, messages, and warnings don't seem sufficient.

  6. It says I've been "indefinitely" blocked. What does that mean and how do I get unblocked?
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    "Indefinite" does not necessarily mean "forever" or "infinite". It means "however long is needed for the user to address the issue".
    This can be minutes, hours – or indeed the user may never do so.

    An indefinite block means the blocking administrator did not set a time limit or expiration for the block. The user needs to discuss the matter with an administrator before any unblock will occur. It could be because the user needs to confirm things are okay and that nothing's wrong, or it could be due to some problem needing attention, or a problem that is deemed to need the user to acknowledge that they understand that a behavior was inappropriate before being unblocked.

    Typical examples are where the account owner must be contacted (e.g. suspected "hacking" of their account), and users whose behavior was severely inappropriate (e.g. threats, "outings", repeated vandalism or edit warring, repeated failure to listen, etc.). Wikipedia is an encyclopedia community, so behaviors like these are not acceptable. For some issues, a user may need to stop, learn our site norms, and confirm they will not repeat the behavior (or will edit in accordance with certain conditions), before an unblock can take place.

  7. It says I've been "autoblocked" because of another person whom I don't even know!
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    See this page for an explanation of how autoblocks work. If you use a shared ISP (namely Comcast, StarHub, schools, colleges, etc.), you may be affected by collateral damage from other users who have edited disruptively. An administrator will sort this out as soon as it's drawn to their attention – please follow the instructions under the "Autoblocked?" section on your block page, or alternatively here.

  8. I want to edit Wikipedia, but I keep getting blocked because of others on the same network as me!
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    If you are an unregistered user, it's recommended that you create an account. Shared IP addresses such as school and company networks or proxy servers are frequently blocked for vandalism which often affects many innocent editors on the same network. However, registered users in good standing can request existing blocks on their IP address be "softened" to only affect anonymous editors on their network so that they may continue contributing. See also Wikipedia:Why create an account?.

    Note: If your IP address is blocked, you may need to create your account at home, on another computer, phone or tablet using a different connection, or (in rare cases) in another country. You can also request that an account be created for you.
    Note: Many rotating IP addresses of ISPs practising shared IP addresses are blocked as being "proxies" or "zombies" because of the large number of different users sharing the IP. On these computers, logged-in users will be automatically blocked immediately. If you encounter such a case, please follow the unblocking request steps or consult a CheckUser or administrator.

Requesting to be unblocked

Further information: Wikipedia:Guide to appealing blocks

The preferred way to appeal a block is to place ((unblock|reason=Your reason here ~~~~)) on your talk page, which is only blocked if abused. If you cannot edit your talk page, you can appeal via the Unblock Ticket Request System. If there is something about your block you cannot discuss publicly, you can email the Arbitration Committee (see below).

To test if you are still blocked, click here which tries to edit the Sandbox. If you are allowed to edit the sandbox, your block has already expired or been lifted and nothing more needs doing. If the block is still active, you can resume editing when unblocked, or you can request a review of the block if you believe it is unfair or that you have put right whatever was the problem. Note that this only checks for sitewide blocks, not partial blocks. Users can check for partial blocks by viewing their contributions page or by entering their name on the block list.

Useful links for helping blocked users:   Message seen by blocked users: MediaWiki:Blockedtext (partial blocks: MediaWiki:Blockedtext-partial)   Requests for unblocking: Category:Requests for unblock

What happens next

When you appeal, other editors – most of whom probably have no involvement in the matter – will review your editing history, which has been logged, as well as the reason for the block and the history leading up to it. Editors may leave comments on your talk page regarding your appeal.

Usually, if it's a clear cut case, any uninvolved (independent) administrator will make a decision. The blocking administrator may be consulted for their comments on your request (this is a common courtesy). The process can take hours or a few days; for major discussions sometimes it can take a week or more.

Administrators will carefully avoid blocking and unblocking fights, which are a serious breach of administrator policy. For this reason, blocks will not usually be allowed to become a source of conflict; rather, consensus will be sought, by means of a fair and objective examination of the matter and of any policies alleged to have been breached.

Routes to unblock

Blocks can be reversed with the agreement by the blocking admin, an override by other admins in the case that the block was clearly unjustifiable, or (in very rare cases) on appeal to the Arbitration Committee.

Types of appeal

In all cases, unblock requests should be submitted on your user talk page. Generally speaking, unblock requests will be one of the following two types:

  1. Requests for unblock in the event of a case of mistaken identity, misunderstanding, or other irregularity;
  2. Appeals for clemency, in which the appellant acknowledges the conduct that led to their block and requests a second chance.

If the appeal is of the first type, you should use the unblock template on your talk page or submit a request to the Unblock Ticket Request System (UTRS). If you are partially blocked from using certain Wikipedia functions, you can also submit an appeal on the administrator noticeboard. If the appeal is of the second type, you should use the unblock template on your talk page, and only use UTRS if you cannot edit your talk page.[1]

Direct appeal

Appeals will usually take place on your user talk page; use the unblock template on your talk page to initiate this process:

Other methods of appeal

In highly unusual cases, you may wish to utilize the dispute resolution process while you are still blocked. To do so, you may contact other Wikipedians by e-mail, or by editing your talk page (which you can usually do even if blocked).

Users may not appeal blocks to the Arbitration Committee by email, except if:

Abuse of the unblocking process

A usual block prevents users from editing all pages except their user talk page, in order to have a chance for appeal, and so that they are not shut out completely and are able to participate at least to some degree in Wikipedia, while the block is active.

Upon a request to seek arbitration, editing access may be restored to a limited number of other pages (such as those connected with their appeal) pending the formal decision, so that the matter (and any evidence, facts, mitigating circumstances, or corrections) can be presented as well.

A minority of editors who are blocked use these privileges poorly, for personal attack or to play games and make a point. Inevitably the response to such actions is simple – editing access is blocked in its entirety and without further discussion, whereas if the user had been responsible and reasonable, an entirely different result might well have happened.

Wikipedia blocks are usually warnings only. Once they are over and learned from, they are in the past (unless repeated). Wikipedia and its administrators and arbitration committee have a real wish for everyone who is capable of acting responsibly to be able to enjoy editing.

Users who are blocked are asked to use this as a chance to reflect, an opportunity to show their understanding and ability to act responsibly, and a period of time to let the matter pass and be learned from.

Users who have lost the ability to request unblocking on their talk pages may then do so at UTRS. Unfortunately, they may continue to abuse the appeal process via that venue as well, and may be banned from UTRS, for six months if a Standard offer is still possible, or indefinitely in the most egregious instances.

Appeal by a third party

Blocks may be appealed only by the editor subject to the block. Third party appeals of blocks are generally not permitted. However, some exceptions are permitted for block reviews. An administrator may choose to refer their own block for review, particularly if it might be controversial. Any editor may request community review of blocks they believe are out-of-policy, though they should attempt to discuss their concerns with the blocking admin first. Such reviews are not considered block appeals, and if the review results in the block being endorsed it is not converted into a community ban.

See also

  1. ^ For transparency, unblock requests and discussions should happen in user talk pages unless private information is involved. If you cannot edit your talk page, an administrator may restore your talk page access and direct the appeal to user talk page if appropriate.