Administrators can block registered and anonymous users (by blocking accounts and individual IP addresses, respectively) to prevent them from editing a wiki. Blocked users can only browse articles. Administrators may choose to restrict a registered user's ability to use their message wall or talk page.
Every community needs to have their own rules set up and block according to them fairly.
Since the rules can vary depending on the community, users can be blocked for many reasons, though blocks are usually given for:
- Vandalism, such as inserting false information.
- Repeatedly adding pages that violate copyright.
- Abusing user rights.
- Harassing or insulting other users.
- Offensive or misleading usernames/avatars and refusing to change them.
- Impersonating another person.
- Breaking other policies.
While each community needs to have its own blocking policies, blocking should not be considered a standard disciplinary measure. Admins are advised to discuss the matter with the user first, warning them about the consequences of their behavior, and only block if the warning does no effect. Blocks are used to prevent damage or disruption, not to punish users.
In most cases, a short block should be enough to resolve the matter. IP addresses should never be blocked for longer periods of time, with an absolute maximum of three months, to avoid situations where a dynamic IP is used by a completely different user and they find themselves unable to edit.
In most cases, local administrators and Fandom staff can block, but in some rare cases other users like moderators have this ability. The definitive way to check is to know the user rights group and see if they have the "block" right listed in Special:ListGroupRights.
For users with this ability you should see the following line for their user group:
- Block other users from editing (
Other groups that can usually block:
Users can be blocked through the Special:Block:
- Enter the username or IP address of the user or IP you want to block.
- Select an expiry time for the block. Blocks are usually best kept as short as possible. You can customize the block duration by typing it in the box. Infinite blocks can be made this way by typing infinite or indefinite in the box.
- Enter a reason for the block. If a suitable reason isn't in the drop-down, then type it into the box below. Remember that the reason will be public, so keep it clear, informative, and polite.
- An IP block will block all users with that IP, whether they are logged in or not. Since IPs can be shared, you can leave logged in users unaffected by the block by leaving the box "Prevent logged-in users from editing from this IP address" in the bottom section of the block page unchecked.
- If a logged-in user is blocked, they can try to evade the block by logging out and editing anonymously. To prevent this, you can set the block to include the IP address that the logged-in user is using. Check the box marked "Automatically block the last IP address used by this user, and any subsequent IPs they try to edit from".
- The blocked user can be prevented from editing their Message Wall by selecting the "Prevent this user from posting on their Message Wall while blocked" option.
- Click "Block this user" to complete the block.
Note that the form also includes useful links that allow you to edit the block reasons template, access the unblock page, or review active blocks.
Blocking the right user
When selecting which user to block, keep in mind:
- Usernames are exact and case sensitive. The easiest way to ensure you're blocking the right user is to copy and paste the username from elsewhere on the wiki into the Block box.
- IP addresses can be blocked using either the IPv4 or IPv6 format. As with usernames, you should only block the exact IP address used by the offending user, or else the block won't work.
- For vandalism or spam coming from very similar IP addresses, a "range block" may be appropriate. However, this should be done sparingly. See the "Should we block ranges?" section on the blocking FAQ page for details.
- You may also request to check user IPs if a range block may be appropriate for your situation or not. See "How can I request an IP check?".
If you feel you have been unfairly blocked and wish to appeal, first contact the person who blocked you. Show them the entire message you get when you attempt to edit a page so that they can investigate the matter and unblock you if they believe the block was made in error.
A list of admins on each community can be found by going to the Special:ListAdmins page on that wiki. If you are unable to edit at all on the wiki, you can leave a message on Community Central to the admin of the wiki you're blocked from.
If the block is upheld, the best course of action is to simply wait out the block, perhaps contributing to a different wiki. Repeatedly asking admins for unblocking or leaving multiple messages to that same end may be considered harassment and have the exact opposite effect.
Administrators can unblock users through Special:Unblock:
- Enter the username or IP adress you want to unblock.
- Write a reason on the box for why are you unblocking the user.
- Click "Remove this block" to complete unblocking.
Common block summaries
The drop-down reasons for blocking are editable at MediaWiki:Ipbreason-dropdown. By default, these include:
- Inserting false information
- Removing content from pages
- Spamming links to external sites
- Inserting nonsense/gibberish into pages
- Intimidating behavior/harassment
- Abusing multiple accounts
- Unacceptable username
- Help:Wiki Rules and Blocking Policy: global blocking policy
- Blocking FAQ: Frequently asked questions about blocking.
- Special:Block: Special page for blocking users.
- Special:Unblock: Special page for unblocking users.
- Special:BlockList: Lists currently blocked addresses and usernames.
- Special:Log/block: Shows all blocks and unblocks.
- Range blocks/IPv6: Mediawiki.org help page about blocking IPv6 ranges.