Wikipedia:Guide to appealing blocks

Users may be blocked from editing by Wikipedia administrators to prevent damage or disruption to Wikipedia. Blocks are lifted if they are not (or no longer) necessary to prevent such damage or disruption.

You, as a blocked editor, are responsible for convincing administrators:

It also helps to clearly state your reasons for requesting an unblock because:

More technical and procedural guidance can be found at Wikipedia:Appealing a block.

It's important that you understand the reasons why the administrator blocked you before starting an unblock request. A block is not intended as punishment; it's meant to prevent you from making disruptive edits, either in good faith or as vandalism.

It may help with your unblock request if you understand how they are reviewed, and by whom.

Try to make it as easy as possible for the reviewing administrator to see why your block is not or no longer needed. Be clear, using easily readable English. Administrators are volunteers, and may have limited time or patience for trying to find out what you mean to say.

To effectively contest your block, you must understand the reason for it. Also, if the reviewing administrator concludes that the block was justified, you will not be unblocked unless the reviewing administrator is convinced that you understand what you are blocked for, and that you will not do it again.

You are informed about the block reason in two ways. First, the blocking administrator provides a brief reason that you will see when you try to make an edit. Second, the administrator may leave a message explaining your block on your user talk page. These messages should include the names or abbreviations of those of our site rules (the "policies and guidelines") that the blocking administrator believes you have violated.

Before you make an unblock request, you should attentively read the policies and guidelines named in your block reason. They are usually one or more from among the following: vandalism, sockpuppetry, edit warring, violating the three-revert rule, spamming, editing with a conflict of interest or having a prohibited username. You should also review the blocking policy. If you have read these pages and don't understand, then a first step might be to request a clearer explanation. Attempts to work with others and understand their concerns will be seen positively.

As a user requesting to be unblocked, it is your responsibility to explain why you believe your block violates Wikipedia's blocking policy or should otherwise be reversed. Specifically:

You are blocked because of concerns about actions that are a problem. Responding by threats or attempts that show gross lack of understanding makes it worse; it suggests you will not learn in the future.

You are blocked because of what you did, not because of what others did. For this reason:

If you are blocked for something you did wrong, and especially if you are blocked for a long time, you are more likely to be unblocked if you:

In most cases, if others disagree with your request then it's best to accept it. Rarely, a situation may have become so heated or words exchanged, or there may be a genuine reason to worry that the blocking admin has misunderstood or is being extremely unfair. Do not "rant", "flame" or attack others even if you feel attacked yourself. It is the worst thing you can do.

If you have good cause for worrying, it is far better to check you have briefly and calmly made clear your concern and any evidence, and just ask for other independent opinions. Administrators asked to independently review a matter will come to it fresh - often more than one will respond - and may be able to explain or help. They will also consider whether or not the blocking admin appears to have acted reasonably, and what they think has to happen. If they disagree with you, then this can be useful reassurance that the initial view was not unreasonable.

Requests such as these are likely to be denied. If made repeatedly, they may lead to your block being extended or removal of talk page access by either a change of block settings or your talk page being protected from editing.

Special rules apply to users who have been blocked because they violated an Arbitration Committee decision, or restrictions imposed on them (such as discretionary sanctions) by administrators in accordance with an Arbitration Committee decision.

Appeals may be made only by the editor under sanction and only for a currently active sanction. Requests for modification of page restrictions may be made by any editor. The process has three possible stages (see "Important notes" below). The editor may:

No administrator may modify or remove a sanction placed by another administrator without:

Administrators modifying sanctions out of process may at the discretion of the committee be desysopped.

Nothing in this section prevents an administrator from replacing an existing sanction issued by another administrator with a new sanction if fresh misconduct has taken place after the existing sanction was applied.

Administrators are free to modify sanctions placed by former administrators – that is, editors who do not have the administrator permission enabled (due to a temporary or permanent relinquishment or desysop) – without regard to the requirements of this section. If an administrator modifies a sanction placed by a former administrator, the administrator who made the modification becomes the "enforcing administrator". If a former administrator regains the tools, the provisions of this section again apply to their unmodified enforcement actions.

(i) the clear and substantial consensus of (a) uninvolved administrators at AE or (b) uninvolved editors at AN or
is required. If consensus at AE or AN is unclear, the status quo prevails.

A reviewing administrator acting alone, therefore, is not allowed to undo another administrator's arbitration enforcement block. (This does not preclude the blocking administrator from accepting an unblock request from the blocked editor.)

Banned users, too, have special rules for their appeals. See WP:UNBAN for procedures of ban appeal.

If you state in your request that the edits that led to your block were made by someone else who accessed your account, we will have to leave it blocked. You may have changed the password, but unless they've met you at a meetup or otherwise know you personally, administrators have no way of knowing that you are indeed back in control of your account. (And even if you meet someone in person, without seeing some strong evidence like a passport, how can you prove they are who they claim to be?)

For this reason, if your account is blocked as compromised, do not make unblock requests unless you can demonstrate that you have regained control of your account. Instead:

If you create a new account while you are blocked not only because your old account is compromised, but also for other reasons, your new account will likely also be blocked to prevent you from evading the block of your old account. In this case, you will need to request to be unblocked with your new account and address the other reasons for which your old account was blocked.

Accusations of sockpuppetry result in many blocks and almost as many unblock requests, as Wikipedia policy calls for the sockpuppet account to be blocked indefinitely and the sockpuppeteer to be blocked for some length of time (possibly also indefinitely). Users confirmed or believed to have engaged in the practice must request unblock at their main account.[1] Meatpuppets will be blocked indefinitely, too ... don't edit on behalf of someone else, no matter how well you may know them.

Reviewing admins will usually defer to the blocking admin in a sockpuppetry-based block, especially if the sock account has minimal edits. Even without the use of the Checkuser tool, or with a result of "unrelated", an account that makes the same edits as a different blocked account, has the same linguistic peculiarities and the same general interests may remain blocked under the "quacks like a duck" test.

Wikipedia admins can never be absolutely sure about sockpuppetry, and the most abusive users can be very devious in attempting to evade detection. If you are improperly blocked for sockpuppetry, you should realize that it may not always be easy or even possible to correct the situation.

If you actually are guilty of sockpuppetry, and want to get a second chance at editing, please do as follows:

See also guides for appealing CheckUser blocks and bans for repeated abuse of multiple accounts (you should still follow the advice above if you are guilty of sockpuppetry).

A small number of administrators also known as functionaries have access to additional technical tools. The CheckUser tool may be used in special circumstances to determine whether multiple accounts or IP addresses are used by the same person. The Arbitration Committee has the procedure to be followed with respect to the review of blocks based on CheckUser data as follows:

The Arbitration Committee would like to remind administrators that those with Checkuser permission may sometimes block accounts as a result of findings that involve confidential Checkuser data. When such blocks are appealed, non-Checkuser administrators will generally not be privy to all the information that the Checkuser relied on in deciding to block. Moreover, in many cases the Checkuser may not be able to share such information because doing so would violate the privacy policy.

Therefore, in most cases, , which will address such appeals as promptly as possible. If an administrator believes that a Checkuser block has been made in error, the administrator should first discuss the matter with the Checkuser in question, and if a satisfactory resolution is not reached, should email the committee. As appropriate, the matter will be handled by the Arbitration Committee as a whole, or by an individual arbitrator designated by the committee [2]. When an unblock is appropriate – either because the reviews disagree with the initial checkuser findings, or for other reasons – it will be granted.

appeals from blocks designated as "Checkuser block" should be referred to the Arbitration Committee

This policy applies only to blocks designated as "Checkuser blocks", that is as blocks relying on confidential checkuser findings. It does not apply to ordinary blocks by an administrator who happens to be a Checkuser, but is not relying on checkuser data in deciding to block. These blocks may be reviewed on-wiki or on unblock-l, the same as any other block. Checkusers are reminded that because designating a block as a "Checkuser block" means that it cannot be reviewed on-wiki or on unblock-l, this term should only be used when confidential information has been used in the blocking decision.

Do not make an unblock request that includes a request for checkuser to "prove your innocence" ... as indicated at Sockpuppet investigations those are so rarely done that you're better off not asking (besides, it is difficult to use it to prove that two editors are different people). Most administrators consider such an unblock request a sure sign of a sock account (particularly one with very few edits otherwise) and will decline on that basis.

A similar situation applies to blocks relating to Oversight. If your block relates to Oversight issues, then it concerns edits or log actions you have made which had to be suppressed. This is an extreme form of deletion used for removing potentially defamatory material, serious copyright violations, and non-public personal information including but not limited to addresses, phone numbers, or identities of pseudonymous or anonymous individuals who have not made their identity public. Suppressed edits and log entries can only be viewed by Oversighters, and like CheckUser-based blocks, Oversight blocks can also neither be reviewed on-wiki or on unblock-l for similar privacy related reasons, nor be reviewed by most administrators. The Arbitration Committee has stated:

Appeals of blocks that have been marked by an oversighter as oversight blocks should be sent to the oversight team via email (Oversight-l@lists.wikimedia.org) to be decided by the English Wikipedia oversighters, or to the Arbitration Committee. Blocks may still be marked by the blocking oversighter as appealable only to the Arbitration Committee, per , in which case appeals must only be directed to the Arbitration Committee.

Many established users who request unblock do so because they have been blocked for edit warring. They often post lengthy explanations, with many linked diffs, of why they did not actually violate the three-revert rule. If this is what you intend to do, be advised that such unblock requests often take longer to review than others. Given that many edit warring blocks are for a short duration (36 hours or less), long and detailed unblock requests will often go unanswered or will take so long to investigate that the block will expire on its own. Also, be aware that 3RR is seen as an "electric fence" and that with VERY few exceptions (such as reverts of patent nonsense/vandalism or of egregious libel violations) most admins see any violation of the three-revert rule as justifiably blockable. Being "right" is not an exception to the three-revert rule, and claiming that your version is the "better" version is not a reason that will get you unblocked.

Also, be aware that there are many situations in which it is possible to be blocked for edit warring even if you did not break the "three revert rule". For example, if you have made the same revert a large number of times over a long period, you may be blocked even if there was never a period of 24 hours in which you made four reverts. Also, any sequence of edits that violates the "spirit", if not the "letter", of the three-revert rule are just as worthy of a block. Intentionally gaming the system by waiting 24 hours before your fourth revert, or subtly changing your version each time so it is not a perfect revert, or otherwise edit warring over the article is seen to be editing in bad faith, and your block is unlikely to be lifted in these cases, even if you did not revert more than three times in 24 hours.

Accounts with usernames that do not conform to the username policy are often blocked indefinitely, regardless of their editing behavior. Most commonly this is because of a name that wholly or closely matches the subject of an article or a link added as spam or otherwise in violation of the external links policy.

Most such accounts are soft-blocked, meaning a new account may be created while the old one is blocked. This is done because it is the account name, not the behavior of the person behind it, which is the problem. While it is possible to request a change in username, this takes a little longer and requires that a user with global rename access do so. Whichever method you choose, it is a good idea to have some review of the proposed new username first, to avoid ending up in the same quandary.

An account with a username that uses hateful or obscene language or otherwise indicates disruptive or provocative intent will be hard blocked, meaning that an unblock request will be required.

Accounts that seem to exist only to promote somebody or something ("spamming") are normally indefinitely blocked, because Wikipedia may not be used for promotional purposes. Such promotion may include posting articles that read like advertisements or inserting inappropriate links to other websites.

As an advertising-only account, you will not be unblocked unless you indicate that you will stop your promotional activities. In addition, you must convince administrators that you intend to make constructive contributions to Wikipedia that are unrelated to the subject of your promotion if unblocked. To do so, your unblock request should include specific examples of productive edits that you would like to make.

A number of blocks exist because they are preventing abuse from a given source, such as a proxy server or a particular ISP used by many people. In such cases some users will be responsible for the problem; others may be unavoidably blocked by the solution.

An administrator or checkuser will investigate and consider whether it is likely this has happened.

Wikipedia policy on open proxies is clear: editing through them is blocked without exception once identified. While some users can use them to circumvent censorship or filters, they have been used far too many times by far too many blocked vandals for Wikipedians to assume good faith on their part. This includes Tor nodes. If your server has been blocked as an open proxy, you will probably need to edit via another connection: in most cases, proxies are "hard blocked", which prevents even logged-in users from using the connection to edit.

The only way such a block can be lifted is if it can be determined that it is no longer an open proxy, or was erroneously identified as one. If you believe this to be the case, say so in your unblock request and the administrator will refer it to the open proxies project, where verified users can determine if it is indeed an open proxy.

Occasionally readers who have never or rarely edited before, or not from that location, with no intention of registering an account, click on edit only to find that editing from their IP address is blocked, for something they didn't do. If you are here because this happened to you, there are two possibilities.