Guild Wars Wiki talk:Projects/Block appeals

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When creating an appeal page, is the date given the date of the original block, or the date of page creation? User Felix Omni Signature.pngelix Omni 06:53, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

I've clarified it. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 07:11, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

My opinion on this project[edit]

No, no, no, no, no, no, certainly not. Dear lord, Gordon, you want voting? I rarely use both bold and italics together, but voting warrants it. It's an incredibly weak tool that, in the long term, doesn't resolve anything - signatures don't portray a consensus that could apply in future, users don't know why the sysops/bureaucrats think the way they think, and how has discussion -- which is astronomically superior to voting -- failed us in the past? -- pling User Pling sig.png 12:48, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Although I agree with almost everything Pling said above, I would like to ask Pling how our discussion differs from voting at the moment? As was recently said, consensus on this wiki (when neither side in a debate is willing to meet in the middle or when the views are too far apart to compromise upon) is determined by the view of the majority, with the minority view being given fair weight but ultimately being put to one side due to the bigger weight of the majority. (an approach that I don't disagree with I hasten to add). Is that not then in essence somewhat akin to voting, just with alot more words behind it? Again Pling, it's not that I don't agree with your above points, just seeking clarity on this. I do think discussion is by far the better medium of discerning consensus but ultimately when it comes down to issues people can't agree upon, it does end up a vote in everything but name. -- Salome User salome sig2.png 14:13, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm casting Echo on Brains! Seriously, wth? Appealing blocks? Appealing blocks with voting? What the hell are you smoking, man!
I'll try to be half serious here for a moment, the amount of trolling this proposal will generate (if passed) is huge. I for one don't mind, tbh, but if you want to keep this wiki free of drama, second-guessing deserved blocks with a half-assed polling method isn't the way to go. NuVII User NuclearVII signature 3.jpg 16:50, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I keep getting this sinking feeling that we're completely killing off any form of sysop discretion and allowing any and all to come and contest their "block". We already have a system of voting in place thats even better then just signing your name on a piece of wiki page. Its called discussion and consensus. Rarely have I seen a block that needed to be appealed, as I don't see a single sysop that is dumb enough to actually block someone without thinking for at least five seconds. Those blocks that do have to be appealed should go through an arbitration, if I'm not mistaken; the bureaucrats are the ones to decide this, not a list of users or fan votes saying "He's such a good troll and good entertainment, lets keep him for the lulz!" --User Wandering Traveler Sig2.png Wandering Traveler 16:53, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
The only voters are sysops and bureaucrats, if I read this correctly, so... I'm not big on the idea, but you guys seem to be thinking that it's like an election or an RFA. That's not the case. -- FreedomBoundUser Freedom Bound Sig.png 16:55, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem is we'll be seeing everyone and their cat who is blocked coming up wondering how the "abusive admins" were able to do this to them. Provided this even works, I get the feeling we'll be seeing so many bullcrap requests that it won't even be worth it to try to manage. --User Wandering Traveler Sig2.png Wandering Traveler 16:57, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
The potential of lulz is unbelievable. Makes me wanna get some of my sock accounts banned just to force an appeal or two. NuVII User NuclearVII signature 3.jpg 16:58, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Well, the process lasts a minimum of a week, so how many blocks are actually longer than that? That's your number (minus the people that gave up and left). I'd imagine it's not that high. One of the issues I see with this is that it would be used as "evidence" in a reconfirmation, "so and so had 1,2,3 blocks overturned/shortened". Sysops need to have their discretion, and I think this would cut into it. -- FreedomBoundUser Freedom Bound Sig.png 17:00, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't really see that big of an "undermining sysop discretion" issue since only sysops and bureaucrats are eligible to vote. That means if the blockee appeals, and the blocking sysop in question is right to block, I am sure every sysop and bcrat will be standing behind the decision. The problem though, it's that it WILL attract a lot of trolling. It's a really nice concept, but not at all practical in this state unless someone can think up of a way to magick away the trolling and the lulz. Pika Fan 17:07, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Lock the talkpages of the appeal page so that only sysops etc. can use it. Vili 点 User talk:Vili 18:00, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
What's the point? The troll request being entertained is the problem, not the talkpage drama that will manifest in some other area of wiki anyway. Pika Fan 18:05, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
If the sysops and bureaucrats are the only ones involved as such a process, why should it be done publicly on the wiki at all? Make a supr secret Block Appeals forum or something. Vili 点 User talk:Vili 18:08, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
A lack of a public record would lead to suspicion of bias. A sysop only talk page would be fine though. --Dominator Matrix 18:10, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
The problem of the voting remains unsolved. -- pling User Pling sig.png 18:17, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
It's only sysops and bcrats. You can form up the respective fanclubs and alliances should you wish to anyway(bad description, but point still stands). The problem is the troll requests that have to be entertained(and we know feeding trolls is bad), because you can't use sysop discretion to decline appeals since the appeals directly contest the sysop discretion in the first place. Pika Fan 18:24, 6 January 2010 (UTC)


What if it were similar to an RFA? Sysops (and sysops only) have their votes, with their respective opinion, talk goes on the talk page (not necessarily limited to sysops, but a possibility), bureaucrats tally the votes, but it's not a "simple" tally. Still troll-able, but less so, and you get the same effect, but with open discussion / reasoning available. -- FreedomBoundUser Freedom Bound Sig.png 18:30, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Why even bother? Whose blocks are you gonna review? What is the cause behind this proposal? NuVII User NuclearVII signature 3.jpg 19:06, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I ask the same question has the above user; What is the purpose of this project? I am not one to usually get involved in this wiki's politics, but as an admin of many other wikis this type of project is basically saying "to hell with sysop discretion". The element of discretion on blocks is something that sysops have always had here (as well as most other wikis) and have done quite well with it in my opinion. Also, voting? Really? Does this ever get anything done (the right way at least)? I mean the way the 'voting' on the current RFAs go makes them, quite simply, a popularity contest and I don't think that is the appropriate route with the subject of block appeals. --User Phnzdvn sig.png Phnzdvn 19:35, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

The current system[edit]

If the blocked person wishes to appeal their block, they contact the blocking sysop - if they contact another sysop, that sysop would probably direct him to the blocking sysop. If that fails, the user can be directed towards another sysop, who gives their opinion and tries to work something out. Most of it (the first part, at least) takes place off-wiki, but the whole point of a block is that the blocked person can't edit the wiki.

If an ininvolved/unrelated user wants to contest the block, they do the same, except it takes place on-wiki. People discuss, sysops view other sysops' actions, the blocked user still gets their chance of appeal. It works.

There are a few trolls who, when blocked, want to troll the situation, which I think was discussed above. This kind of system serves to help that intention, and lets them disrupt the wiki from the side. The fact that a subpage has to be made regardless of the judgement of the sysop(s), votes have to be made and strictly monitored and counted, and that discussion takes a back seat to voting makes this kind of system inferior to the one described above.

One troll's actions shouldn't require the reshuffling of the way we do things, particularly when the way we do things is already effective, and the result of the reshuffling is arguably less so. I'm guessing this is due to Lena's appeal - which, can I point out, was resolved through discussion between sysops and other users. The consensus ruled in favour of upholding the block. So did arbitration.

And without any semblance of democracy. -- pling User Pling sig.png 19:25, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

I prefer the current system as well. Not only would this add unecessary bureacracy to things that happen very rarely anyway (and will just attrack trolls), and are if really serious resolved quite quickly, but it also involves voting, a concept that is very bad on wikis, no matter how restricted it is. poke | talk 23:21, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
↑ iawtc --Kakarot Talk 01:39, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Using the current system, has a block ever been successfully lifted despite the objection of the original blocking sysop? -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 04:23, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I strongly echo Pling's sentiments above. There's no reason to believe that the proposed system would handle cases any differently (i.e. produce a different result) than they're currently handled, with two very notable exceptions: it replaces consensus with voting and, as others have rightly pointed out, it's mere existence encourages trolls. And frankly, in the very unusual scenario that a block is sufficiently contentious (among the administrators) that consensus simply cannot be reached, I would much prefer that arbcomm become involved rather than handling the dispute via voting. While it's certainly true that arbitration is not as straightforward and clean cut as voting, I think it would set a horrible precedent if we decided that we were going to resort to voting simply because the issue was contentious. with all of that in mind, my question for Gordon is this: what advantages do you believe that this system would have over the current system? — Defiant Elements +talk 04:41, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Is the point whether a block has been lifted? Granted, since the human element is in play, mistakes probably have been made.. but the point isn't whether the system is forgiving. The point is whether the system works -- and that question is entirely separate from whether any blocks have been lifted. — THARKUN User Tharkun sig.png 05:23, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
No, I'm looking for evidence that the current system actually works, and that we aren't just deferring to the original blocking sysop. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 07:38, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Having evidence for that would actually mean that sysops are too stupid (or whatever) to discuss correctly and find consensus ourselves. This however is simply not true. In the rare cases where a different sysop unblocked someone there was always discussion involved and consensus was found (otherwise the block wouldn't have been removed); or the blocking sysop did it himself.
By trying to find "evidence that the current system actually works" you are basically saying, that the system - of discussion - does not work, which is simply not true. poke | talk 09:55, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm looking for evidence of any meaningful difference between the current system and a system in which sysops "own" the blocks they place. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 10:59, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
For the sake of argument, let's say that you're right, that there's something wrong with the current system. What I still don't understand is why you believe that the system you've proposed here (in theory at least, that's what we're "supposed" to be discussing on this talk page, presumably) would be more effective. Could you please share your reasoning? — Defiant Elements +talk 20:03, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
It would allow each block's discossions to be centralized on its' talk page. Under the current system, the discussions for a single block could be split between the admin noticeboard, the admin noticeborad talk page, the talk pages of the blocked user, the blocking sysop and any users involved, the talk page of an arbitration case and their archives with no central index. It would also produce clearer outcomes, under the current system, consensus could mean "most of the people who have participated in the discussion agree", or it could just mean "everyone still participating in the discussion agrees". -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 04:27, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Unless there was also policy made that forbid discussion taking place in other places, it would happen anyway. Likewise, such fractured conversations can already be moved as necessary under the current system. Vili 点 User talk:Vili 04:36, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Major problem with the current block review system[edit]

In my opinion the major problem with the current block review system is not the system itself, but people's attitude to it. People are being demonised for even considering unblocking someone before they do it with threats of immediately reapplying the block if they go ahead and unblock the account. This kind of behaviour is causing far more drama than for example, unblocking a troll, seeing them vandalise or repeat whatever caused them to be blocked in the first place once, then reblocking them. I doubt someone like Salome and I will ever see eye to eye on short term blocks with questions about the validity of the original block, such as the famous Zesbeer incident, but if there was someone blocked permanently or long term for repeated NPA violations who said they had seen the errors of their ways and never would never ever make a mistake again, if a sysop chooses to believe them and after an appropriate amount of time unblock them, instead of "OMG, YOU ARE BEING TROLLED, SUCH A BAD SYSOP, I AM UNBLOCKING IMMEDIATELY AND ALSO STARTING A RECONFIRMATION" we could try waiting and seeing if the person has actually changed and if the sysop who is unblocked was wrong, reblock and THEN chew out the sysop involved. If this is something they do often, reconfirmation could be considered, but I'd like to think someone wouldn't make that mistake very often at all.

Let me talk briefly about my experiences with block reviews:

  1. User:Festooned Twinklepixie: I am apparently a troll and a terrible admin for empowering Grinch's socking and trolling by advocating for this account to be unblocked. Since being unblocked, that account has made one edit, no drama was caused. Most drama was caused during the unblocking discussion. I do not think there will any drama or policy breaches caused by that account in the future, but if they are, feel free to rip me a new one.
  2. Napalm Flame on PvXWiki: After being banned for over a year for troll baiting, disruption, personal attacks and ban evasion, he approached me to ask under what conditions he could come back to the wiki claiming that he had grown up and had various things he wanted to do for the betterment of the wiki. I eventually agreed to unblock him under the condition that he obeyed all policies on the site, especially PvX:NPA, with an immediate 1 month ban for any policy infringement of any magnitude, with re-permabanning if he did not stick to what he said. I also agreed to more aggressively deal with people who were obviously trying to bait him, on the understanding that he would just ignore any baiting. After a day he had some minor policy violation (PvX:1RV on a joke vote or something stupid) which he received a ban for (half the agreed duration because not fucking about in votes is more of a guideline and usually just a warnable offence). About a week into his ban he started ban evading again, so another sysop extended my ban. Then he evaded more and started insulting people, so a third sysop extended my ban. At that point I realised it was a mistake to try and unban him (although for almost a day he was doing what he said he would do and didn't actually start breaking policies until he was banned the first time), so I reinstated the permanent ban. It was actually pretty low drama and he had his chance to show he could behave. Without that chance, there was no incentive for him to ever stop proxying. Apparently for some reason another sysop has decided to give him yet another chance. No rebanning or drama has occurred since. I would not be willing to give him a third chance. I believe Napalm was sincere at the time, it's just not something he could actually do.

Now, let's talk about this in relation to a relevant current situation, Lena. I reviewed his block when asked of me. Lemming was opposed to unblocking. Everyone I talked to was opposed to unblocking. I did not have 100% confidence that Lena was being truthful at all times when talking with me as he was either lying now, or had lied in the past. As such, I was not willing to stick my neck out for him and look like a fool if it all went pear shaped. Now, if Lemming, the blocking sysop, was opposed, but others felt he deserved a chance, I may have tried to give him one, but no one was willing to advocate for him, including me. If however, someone else decided after extended discussions with Lena to unblock him, or Waffles, or Jason, under whatever conditions they see fit, more power to them. If and when it all went to shit, I'd have my noose ready with all of the rest of you, depending on how badly it had gone wrong, but before then I would pretty much leave them to it. That doesn't mean sitting by while someone misses something important, but if they acknowledge that they know about whatever you think they missed and still feel it's the right course of action there isn't actually a lot of harm in letting them try things their way. At the minimum if you let someone fuck up it proves they were wrong and you were right.

I still always advocate talking with the original blocking sysop first. This should really be the absolute minimum step taken before reversing a block. Talking with them doesn't mean you have to convince them that the person should be unblocked, it's about letting them know your reasoning and giving them a chance to convince you that you are being a fool or inform you of anything you might have missed about the block before you go ahead and unblock. I know some people will never ever admit that their block might have been a mistake, but things go a lot worse when you don't even inform them that you are going to unblock before you do. That's pretty rude at the very least. Misery 15:24, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

Agreed on almost everything Miz said above. (although as he said, me and him will always disagree on the short term block review principals.) -- Salome User salome sig2.png 15:34, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
Misery, there are two main problems with what you are saying:
  1. Users are almost never banned here. Only in very extreme cases does someone get blocked for longer than a week; one user being permabanned requires either months to years of trolling after multiple discussions and shorter blocks, or accounts made sorely for disruption (see the "43" account to impersonate User:42), or sock accounts. In other words, when a real user is blocked and then people refuse to unlift his block, the user is not being refused a second change; he or she is being refused a fifth, sixth or more chance beyond what should have been given in the first place.
  2. This is not a social community site. Unbanning an user who does not come back to improve the wiki is not a success; it's not only a waste of time, it's also weakening sysop discretion by telling the few sysops who actually bother to block trolls how their work may be undone regardless of how proper the ban was. We shouldn't care about how many unblocked users who do not contribute to the wiki we have; we should not worry about the bans of users who do not wish to come back to help the wiki; we should not waste the time of contributors who could actually be helping the wiki with discussions about bringing back users who were not assets to this site and likely won't become assets to the wiki any time soon. The purpose of this wiki, and of every single page in here, is to document the game or to improve how we document the game; this project, this discussion and Gordon's crusade against blocks fail to do any of those things, actually hindering them.
Lena's example is perfect to state why this kind of thing doesn't work. He may claim he has changed and whatever, however his own edits of less than one month ago show the same kind of behavior he was banned for. It appears to be impossible to make all sysops actually understand how that edit came from Lena's sock, and so we still have sysops claiming they would be willing to give Lena one more chance, while it's clear he would continue to be a disruption. Erasculio 15:41, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I don't really think we can call Twinklepixie's unblock part of the current system. For one, I think Mgrinshpon only requested an unblock when he was contacted and asked to respond. Gordon's initial objection was based on "why shouldn't I unblock this account" instead of "I think this was a bad block". This recalling eventually led to Mgrinspon getting himself blocked again. I wasn't specifically contacted, but I guess I still saw the page (though not necessarily at the same stage as I would otherwise have, had I been contacted first). -- pling User Pling sig.png 15:48, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not claiming it was, apologies for the confusion. I chose those two examples because they are the only two times that I have unblocked someone where it wasn't a clear-cut "oops, that was a mistake" kind of thing. It is demonstrative and useful in this case because I believe that if there had been no opposition to the unblocking, there would have been no drama, then, now or in the future. I was initially saying that there was no point in even considering unblocking Twinklepixie, until Grinch requested it. That being said, the circumstances around the blocks I have undone are pretty off-topic from the point I am trying to make. If you want to discuss the "Twinklepixie Incident" further, please take it to my talkpage as Auron has already done. I'm not even proposing a specific change, what I am suggesting is that if Gordon wants to change things, he is approaching it from the wrong angle. It's not the lack of specific policy that is causing problems with block reviews, it is the culture surrounding them. I'd also like to point out I'm not advocating unblocking anyone, especially not reversing blocks of users that have no intention of coming back to improve the wiki. Misery 19:46, 7 January 2010 (UTC)
In response to Erasculio's post, under this proposal, block review requests are only supposed to be made no behalf of users who actually want to come back. As for sysop discretion, I don't think the discretion clause was intended to make sysops' actions unquestionable. IMO the primary benefit of the discretion clause is that it explicitly authorizes sysops to react quickly when policy and guidelines are vague, silent or contain a loophole without having to discuss everything in advance or worry about getting in trouble, with the secondary benefit of mitigating blocking-related drama, since the clause can be used to refute any argument that policy doesn't authorize sysops to block, or only authorizes them to block in certain extremely narrow circumstances. Reasonable, competent, intelligent people can disagree. In the interest of fairness and consistancy, I believe there should be some system to mitigate the outlier effect. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 06:05, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Gordon, it's not a matter of intelligence. If a doctor explains you have a disease, you don't tell him he's wrong; at best, you would seek a second opinion, because he is the expert in his field. Sysops have been chosen due to being considered experts in their fields, iow knowing how the community works; it's only logical that someone questioning a sysop would seek another expert (in other words, another sysop). If no other sysop agrees, which means no point of view among those chosen to uphold consensus agrees with the user, it would be pointless to allow the user plea his case to the community.
IMO, you are too worried about being fair and not worried enough about the wiki itself. Allowing users who have been banned for disruption (and extremely massive disruption, given how it takes extraordinary circunstances for someone to be permanently banned here) to at best cause even more disruption after being banned and at worst return to cause more disruption is not a good idea. Erasculio 10:38, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
My point is that, much like how reasonable, competent, intelligent judges and legislators can disagree with eachother on appropriate sentance durations, reasonable, competent, intelligent sysops can disagree with eachother on appropriate block durations. I'm guessing that most of the non-throwaway accounts which have been permabanned belong to kids or other immature people, and that most of them have probably matured or gotten bored with trolling (or personal attacks, or whatever they were banned for) by now. Some of them are probably hardcore trolls. I think that a formal appeal process or a more forgiving blocking system would be more effective at reforming the casual trolls and identifying hardcore trolls. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 13:50, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
Your system takes control of the appeal process' triggers from the judgers and legislators and gives it to the criminals, which is one of its main flaws. The second is how you are forgetting how hard it is to block someone here; we already have a process to identify who are the hardcore trolls, as they are the ones who manage to make so much disruption to the point of being blocked forever. The third is how optimistic you are being; even if we were to follow your point of view and assume the immature users have either matured or gotten bored, neither of those mean they are actually interested in improving the wiki. Unblocking those users would actually be detrimental, as they would not add anything to the wiki and the unblocking process would take away from it; meanwhile, the hardcore trolls would win a new tool which to disrupt the wiki with. Erasculio 13:58, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
In response to your first point, in real life, criminals are generally the ones who get to choose whether they want to get a trial by jury, trial by judge or skip directly to sentencing by pleading guilty. In real life, the only legal alternative to offering a charged criminal a trial is generally to drop charges and release that criminal. In real life, the judge, prosecutor and arresting officer are generally three different people, and the arresting officer and prosecutor don't get to choose the judge. In real life, these rules generally apply to anyone charged with a crime, from the most horrific felony to the pettiest misdemeanour. In response to your second point, the process seems to consist of a sysop permabanning an account, labelling the account holder as a hardcore troll or meatpuppet, or labelling the account as a sockpuppet, followed by most of the other sysops deferring to the original blocking sysop's judgement, which, IMO, gives too much power to whichever sysops are most proactive with the banhammer. In response to your third point, under this appeal system, only the blocked user is supposed to ask for an appeal (either directly or indirectly), and any appeal for an account which has never been used to improve the wiki would almost certainly fail. As I have stated many times before, I do not oppose the permabans of obvious throwaway accounts, I would only vote to lift the blocks on accounts which have actually made contributions. As for optimism, I think you're far too optimistic about the effectiveness of blocks, I'm pretty sure that most hardcore trolls who want to be here are probably here already. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 03:41, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Gordon, but attempting to base an argument on a comparison between blocks on a wiki and the American criminal justice system is simply inane. As far as your second point is concerned, your argument assumes that sysops tend to defer to the sysop who administered the block simply and only because he or she administered the block. It could also just be that we tend to agree on permabans because, on this wiki, by the time someone actually goes ahead and administers a permaban, it's usually pretty obvious that such a ban is necessary. Correlation does not imply causation, etc. Now, I'm not gonna claim that our current system is perfect, because it self-evidently isn't, but that's because no system is perfect (including, I might add, the American criminal justice system ;]). So of course, you're bound to find problems with the current system if all you do is spend your time staring at (arguably) minor flaws. With that in mind, I do not think you've made a strong case for why the particular system you've proposed here would be beneficial to the wiki (relative to the current system). — Defiant Elements +talk 04:41, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
I used a legal system analogy to refute Erasculio's argument by arguing that my proposal would gives the accused more power than criminals get in real-world legal systems. It would probably be more appropriate to compare our block appeal process to Wikipedia's block appeal process. Over there, the standard block appeal seems to be handled primarily by uninvolved sysops, and, in the case of permabans, appealing via a request for arbitration is recommended if the first appeal fails. Over here, the first stage of appeals seems to be informally controlled by the blocking sysop and arbitration isn't even an option. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 10:04, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
No, Gordon, you're wrong. I never said your system gives the accused more power than criminals get in the American legal system; I said your system "takes control of the appeal process' triggers from the judgers and legislators and gives it to the criminals", which is true; if the American legal system also works like that, I'm happy I'm not in the USA, but that's besides the point. Allowing banned users to cause something as big as your block appeal process would just be giving them a huge tool which to troll the wiki with.
You are also wrong by implying (and insisting on it) that the "appeal" is controlled by the blocking sysop. Everyone else has described our system differently, with appeals coming through a decision achieved after a discussion between sysops (which is fitting, since the wiki solves conflict by consensus, which is the same thing here). Is there any permaban in which there was a consensus among sysops to unlift the block (iow, more people than just you wanted to remove the block) and it wasn't unlifted just because the blocking sysop was against it? Erasculio 10:54, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
There seems to be some kind of disagreement on how my system would work in practice, and I suspect that there may also be a disagreement on how my system would work in theory. Could you clarify what you mean by "Allowing banned users to cause something as big as your block appeal process would just be giving them a huge tool which to troll the wiki with."? What's your worst case scenario? -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 05:23, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Easy: Wafflez/Lena drama, only formalized. If you really can't foresee the shitstorm this proposal will cause, then you should study up on your wiki history.
I don't want to sound offensive here Gordon, but are the only one who's apparently (and conveniently) blind to the presented problem with your proposal. NuVII User NuclearVII signature 3.jpg 11:27, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
Could you clarify that statement? I'm sure you didn't mean that the worst case scenario under my proposed system wouldn't be any worse than an incident which actually occured under the current system. Also, which part of the Wafflez/Lena drama are you referring to and what advantage would the current system provide in such a scenario? -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 12:56, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

(Reset indent) Gordon, what is the point of banning users here? We may ban someone to stop vandalism, in which someone makes it harder for others to use the wiki; but those cases are very clear, so only rarely there is any doubt whether someone is a vandal or not. We may ban someone for trolling an user to the point of making said user leave, in which someone hurts the wiki by removing a contributor; but it's so uncommon to see someone really rage-quitting the wiki that this rarely is effective. No, the most effective way to troll here is to cause a situation in which contributors have to stop what they are doing and invest their time in something that is not productive to the wiki; in other words, trolls create drama. Banning those users help to prevent them from causing more drama and, through said drama, disrupt the wiki by wasting time of contributors who could be doing something useful (aka, documenting the game) instead.
Someone who's trolling by creating drama may be doing so out of a misguided point of view (iow, that user actually believes he's right) or on purpose (iwo, that user is interested in disrupting the wiki). Your system is catering to both those groups: with your appeal system, misguided users would easily complain since they think they shouldn't have been banned, and those who want to disrupt the wiki would be given a nice way of creating drama and thus continue to troll even after receiving the strongest tool we have to prevent such drama creation (in other words, a permaban).
And of course, your appeal system, which is strongly biased towards unblocking users (as seen on how you only made it possible to close an appeal if the block is lifted, so it's not possible to refuse an appeal) would also risk allowing users from those groups (who are both disruptive) to return the wiki and thus continue to cause disruption. Considering how uncommon it is for a real user to be blocked (as opposed to accounts clearly made sorely for disruption and sockpuppets), anyone who has been permanently banned has caused such massive disruption that there is little doubt how poor assets to the wiki they were. Therefore, your system has two possible outcomes: it could be exploited by trolls and be a drama-inducing massive waste of time, without unblocking an user; or it could be exploited by trolls and be a drama-inducing massive waste of time while also unblocking a disruptive user. This would be an even larger waste of time considering how, by your own words, "I'm pretty sure that most hardcore trolls who want to be here are probably here already", therefore the idea of even having an appeal process for hardcore trolls (which are the only users who are ever permabanned) is pointless, by your own opinion.
Lena's case caused drama, but that was his fault and your own, Gordon. I don't know what you were expecting when creating an ArbComm request: there was consensus between sysops for the ban (you didn't agree, but then again you are against any permaban), there was no evidence of sysop malconduct, and the case didn't deal with anything beyond what sysops are capable of doing, given how blocking and unblocking are sysop tools. Between those three statements, there was no point in bureaucrats acting, as they have stated when the ArbComm was denied. And while creating the ArbComm request also created drama, the request's talk page didn't have to go in the merit of whether Lena deserved to be banned or not, given how it was only about whether the bureaucrats would accept the case or not; had the bureaucrats accepted the case, then we would have had an even bigger wave of drama. Which incidentally is exactly the big wave of drama your project would create.
Notice how I have began this reply by mentioning how the most effective way of trolls to disrupt the wiki is by causing drama, as they force users to waste their time instead of contributing. Notice how I have ended saying this project is only causing drama; and that's all you are achieving, Gordon. Your campaign against blocking is only causing unnecessary drama and wasting the time of contributors who could be doing something useful instead of wasting time trying to refute an idea that would disrupt the wiki. Erasculio 14:37, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Eras said it all. This proposal should end here. NuVII User NuclearVII signature 3.jpg 15:05, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

Discussions about specific design elements[edit]

I think this discussion would be more productive if we focused on the benefits and drawbacks of specific design elements. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 11:40, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

moved from #Voting
Gordon, there is no point in discussing the smaller points when the big picture is bad. Please don't make me repeat my massive wall of text from above; making it short, your entire idea would be detrimental to the wiki, no matter what the small minutiae are. Erasculio 12:09, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I would think the complete lack of continuing support for this idea from anyone other than you, Gordon, would say something. I don't think this is a case of a vocal minority attacking your otherwise great idea while the majority would love it but just keep forgetting to speak up and support it. I think, rather, your ideas of how blocks should be handled have failed to gain any traction among the relevant userbase (ie, the policy wonks, sysops, and bcrats). Please, let it die: it has clearly not gained support, much less consensus. Continuing to debate the finer points when the system has been rejected seems less than constructive. — THARKUN User Tharkun sig.png 12:52, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to have to agree with both the individuals above. I commend you for your efforts on this project, but some things just do not work. I had thought this proposal would have been brushed to the side as there has yet to be any support for it, but surprisingly Gordon, you are still tweaking it as though a light would shine through the dark clouds hovering above it. Sysop discretion has always been an effective way in handing out fair blocks and blocking durations. Communication within the team and that we can be contacted by the blockee, has always been more then effective in resolving any issues regarding a ban in question. I have yet to see any concrete proof through all the issues of permabanning and blocking in general to support the need for any such document. — Gares 16:12, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Aye, to echo the three above me, I applaud you for your dedication, Gordon, but no tweaks or adjustments could possibly make this work. It's fundamentally flawed, illogical, and open for abuse. calor (talk) 22:11, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
If you don't want to discuss specific aspects of the proposal, don't discuss them. If you want do discuss the merits of discussions on specific points, please put it in the section about discussing instead of the section on voting. If you don't think the proposal should be dicussed at all, don't discuss it, let it gather dust instead of giving my questions to answer, arguments for me to counter or explicit or implicit requests for clarification. As for the question of whether this proposed system should be dropped, it's only been up for about a week and was never officially proposed, it's an inactive project associated with a draft guideline, a project which would not go live unless that guideline was proposed and successfully implemented. Back when the user base was more active, some policies took months to get implemented, and some of the formatting guidelines have taken years to get out of the draft stage. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 06:49, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
"If you don't want to discuss specific aspects of the proposal, don't discuss them": no, I want to discuss how this entire project is detrimental to the wiki.
"If you want do discuss the merits of discussions on specific points, please put it in the section about discussing instead of the section on voting": no, I want to discuss how this entire project is detrimental to the wiki.
"If you don't think the proposal should be dicussed at all, don't discuss it": no, I want to discuss how this entire project is detrimental to the wiki.
"arguments for me to counter": you still haven't countered this. Erasculio 10:25, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Keeping appeals open until they are moot[edit]

The basic idea is that an appeal would be informally "open" as long as an interested sysop is undecided or hasn't gotten around to voting. If all curretly interested sysops have made their decisions, the appeal would be informally "closed" and left to gather dust unless there's another interested sysop. Because appeals would technically remain open as long as the block was in force, no one would have to waste time arguing about whether an appeal should be closed or reopened or whether it was closed or reopened too early. No one could game the system by asking for appeal after appeal, forcing arguments to be rehashed. The main intended benefits are cutting down on "paperwork" and unproductive discussions. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 11:40, 11 January 2010 (UTC)


Voting is intended to have three advantages over discussion. First, it allows the results to be clearly displayed. Second, placing a vote requires far less time and effort than participating in an extensive discussion. Third, any admin who thinks the discussion isn't going anywhere can just vote and leave. -- User Gordon Ecker sig.png Gordon Ecker (talk) 11:40, 11 January 2010 (UTC)

An alternate take on block appeals[edit]

I wrote up a draft of my own guideline for appealing blocks, found here. I would appreciate everyone's views and comments on it. User Felix Omni Signature.pngelix Omni 08:01, 14 January 2010 (UTC)