This blog is a long time coming and, for some of you, it is the direct result of feedback you’ve given about our policies. Fandom has historically sided with admins on the validity of their local blocks, even if the reasons for the blocks aren't fair. With the onset of our new wiki creation policy’s prohibition of duplicate wikis, the prescribed remedy that users create their own wiki on the same topic is no longer valid, as it fragments communities of editors and readers. Thus, the best long-term solution was to figure out how we can handle instances of bad admins.
For a long time, our stance on local blocks for Fandom wikis was best summarized by the following phrase: admins can block you from a wiki for any reason or no reason at all. The remedy for an infinite block was to create a competing wiki, which hurt the community overall by splitting the contributors, readers, and content over multiple wikis. On Gamepedia, however, we took a more hands on approach to providing remedy: in addition to staff being available to field block review requests, we also had Wiki Managers assigned to every wiki to help as well.
One of our core values at Fandom is We Bring Joy. Joy in celebration of your fandoms. Joy in shared interests and experiences. Joy in supporting each other. Getting locked out of a shared interest by an unfair block conflicts with that mission, so we are taking steps to change that.
While the fully hands-on Gamepedia approach with a Wiki Manager for every wiki is not something that we could scale to all of Fandom, the staff review option for unfair blocks from Gamepedia is a nice middle ground. To get there, we need a standard of fairness. Each wiki needs to have their local rules defined and easily found, so that users understand what is expected of them and blocks can originate from a place of fair consequences.
In order to ensure that all good intentioned contributors have the opportunity to contribute, effective April 1st, the following Wiki Rules and Blocking policy will be enacted globally and all wikis will be required to follow it:
- Community members must be treated with respect. Abusing admin status to harass other community members will not be tolerated
- Violations of this policy may be met with loss of local user rights and, in extreme cases, additional disciplinary action
Wikis ultimately belong to their communities, not any one admin, bureaucrat, or even the founder. An admin has many additional user rights on the wiki platform, but not the right to bully other community members with their local authority or even exclude them entirely for no good reason.
If you are a good admin who issues blocks for legitimate reasons (and 99% of you are good admins), the only change which will affect you might be the one requiring a useful rules page for your wiki(s).
This policy is to ensure that blocking is firmly tied to rules so that users can understand what wiki behavior is acceptable and that blocks make sense. Staff intervention will happen when there is an ongoing problem of blocks unrelated to the rules you have created for the community.
Blocks should be issued to enforce rules in good faith, not as your first reaction to an earnest new user finding your community and perhaps making some missteps in their first engagements. Education should always be the first reaction for such a situation. Linking to your rules page with a warning is a great first step when you encounter an eager new editor who isn’t quite doing things right, but who could become a fantastic contributor.
For more information on setting up good rules for your wikis and how appeals should be handled, visit the new help page for this policy.
To sum things up
This policy change is the result of lots of user feedback. It is another community-first result of having valuable conversations with users from all levels of experience in all different types of wiki communities. I want to give a special thanks to the Community Council and Gamepedia Fellowship for workshopping the policy with me. Their help made this change possible.
At the end of the day, if you’re a fair wiki admin who makes clear rules and enforces them consistently, you don’t have to change a thing. The focus here is to create a culture of clear rule-setting and blocks based on said rules.
Fandom does not provide a platform for bullying or abuse of power, and this policy is a further embodiment of that commitment to our communities.
Note (from the help page): This policy is not retroactive and will not be applied to older blocks.
Will "MisterWoodhouse" Kavanagh Fandom Staff
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