Wiktionary:Blocking policy

See also Help:Interacting with other users
This is a Wiktionary policy, guideline or common practices page. The portion of it which is policy may not be modified without a VOTE.
Policies – Entries: CFI - EL - NORM - NPOV - QUOTE - REDIR - DELETE. Languages: LT - AXX. Others: BLOCK - BOTS - VOTES.

This policy page consists of two sections: (a) policy, the statement of binding policy; (b) explanation, a non-binding explanation of the policy, and guidelines showing how the policy is usually applied. The only binding section is “policy”. The section “policy” is not merely the policy in a nutshell but rather the complete statement of the policy itself.


The blocking policy itself is as follows:

  1. The block tool should only be used to prevent edits that will, directly or indirectly, hinder or harm the progress of the English Wiktionary.
  2. It should not be used unless less drastic means of stopping these edits are, by the assessment of the blocking administrator, highly unlikely to succeed.


There is deliberately no hard-and-fast rule about what is considered to hinder or harm our progress. Clear examples of such behaviour include:

  • Deliberately harming our content by deleting useful things or adding useless content or pages.
  • Persistently wasting other editors’ time by making many edits that have to be undone, cleaned up, or otherwise modified to make them correct.
  • Causing our editors distress by directly insulting them or by being continually impolite towards them.

There are few other means of protecting Wiktionary; the most obvious is by discussion on the users’ talk pages. Some effort should be made to explain to people why their edits are considered incorrect, however a short block can be given if they clearly won’t listen. In cases where a user has had something explained to them, an explicit warning should be given to them before blocking them; this can show that they have no intention of mending their ways.


When patrolling recent changes, it is likely you will want to block some users instantly, normally when they clearly have no intent to be productive.


  • Those editing apparently for the primary purpose of adding offensive or promotional material.
  • People making many bad edits in short order.
  • Accounts with usernames that are offensive, similar to established accounts’, or promotional.

However, there are people who make innocent mistakes; they should not be blocked instantly:

  • People making one or two unhelpful edits.
  • Those adding protologisms, or Wikipedia-style articles.

Such an account can be blocked if its user ignores a single request to desist or explanation of what that user is doing wrong.

Tricky issues

It is rare, but occasionally there will be a seasoned contributor, even an administrator, who is causing trouble; such cases must be handled with diplomacy. It is not acceptable to block a whitelisted user or an administrator unless they already know they will be blocked for their actions. In most cases they will not know they will be blocked unless they have received an explicit warning or are deliberately and maliciously ignoring current practice.

Block length

Logged in accounts: Anonymous editors only Prevent account creation
  • Blatant or confirmed sockpuppets created for the purpose of vandalism or block evasion.
  • Abuse, plagiarism, persona non grata type blocks, based on community consensus.
  • Bad username accounts, including: email addresses, exploitative names, copycats, offensive names, etc.
  • CheckUser-identified bad sockpuppets.
> 1 month Third blocks for persistent or repeat offenders. N/A N/A
7–31 days Second blocks for persistent or repeat offenders. N/A N/A
1–7 days Primary blocks for behavior which is counter to policy, productivity or community. N/A N/A
<24 hours These blocks should rarely be given out, but if attempts to communicate with another community member fail, a very short term block can be issued. N/A N/A

For anonymous IP addresses, the 99% case is non-recurring stupidity. Don’t waste your time doing research on the IP if the IP has not been blocked before: block one day, anon-users/prevent-creation only. If it recurs (block log has entries), then look closer:

Anonymous contributors: static or semi-static vs. dynamic IPs Anonymous editors only Prevent account creation
infinite Never. Open proxies and zombies are blocked globally not locally. NO! YES!
>1 month IPs which have been blocked for shorter durations before, and have returned: probable static IPs. No YES
7–31 days Vandalism which would be blocked for this duration on a registered account, on what is probably a static IP. No Yes
1–7 days Most anonymous vandalism which is from DSL/Cable ISP (SBC/Comcast/RR) IPs. Yes Yes
<24 hours Large ISP (AOL/BT) IPs engaged in any sort of vandalism. Yes No

Range blocks

See Wiktionary:Range blocks for when and how to block a range of IP addresses.

Partial blocks

As of 17 June, 2019 it is possible to block users from editing specific pages or a specific namespace.

  • One possible use to provide partial implementation of an interaction ban, eg, by blocking a user from editing another user’s talk page.
  • Another possible use is to prevent a user or IP address from editing a specific page. This might be superior in some cases to blocking all users except administrators or those with specific editing powers from editing the page.

See Community health initiative/Partial blocks at meta.wikimedia for more.

Appeals for unblocking

Blocked users can request unblocking by posting a filled-out {{Template:unblock}} on their own user talk page. Uninvolved editors may discuss the block, and the blocking administrator may be asked to comment. Because the purpose of an unblock request is to obtain review from a third party, blocking administrators should not decline unblock requests from users they have blocked, but except in cases of unambiguous error or significant change in circumstances, administrators should avoid unblocking without first attempting to contact the blocking administrator to discuss the matter. If the blocking administrator is not available, or if cannot come to an agreement, a discussion at the Beer parlour is recommended.

See also