How to Block Disruptive Users on wikiHow

"Assume good faith" is a rule of thumb for all wiki editors, but when a page is blanked and replaced with a string of profanity multiple times even after warnings, one must recognize that nonconstructive edits have been made. Users who continue to make nonconstructive edits despite repeated coaching and warnings should be blocked for violating wikiHow guidelines when they post spam, hate speech, inappropriate content, nonsense, or vandalism. wikiHow Administrators can block disruptive users. If you are not an administrator, but you believe a block needs to be considered, please read these instructions. Then post on the wikiHow:Administrator Notice Board so an administrator can apply the block.


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    Leave a very friendly warning first. People just testing wiki editing can receive {{test}} and those who do seem to be deliberately messing with us can get {{warning}}. Resist your natural reaction to lash out at troublemakers. Doing so only gives people the attention they crave and may give them incentives to produce more problems for us.
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    Evaluate what kind of edit has been made to decide whether it is a mistake, an experiment or an unambiguously destructive edit.
    • Don't block mistakes, honest errors, and experiments unless they are persistent. Poor edits that might not necessarily be malicious such as blanking the page (which can be accidental), adding bad information, testing our open editing (eg. "does this work?" or "shfjkdh") or vanity page creation do not qualify as harmful edits. In most cases it is best not to warn these editors and only proceed to blocking if the disruptive editors persist.
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    • Block nonconstructive editors as last resort, when they are repeat offenders after being coached and warned. A destructive edit is defined as one where the vandal is very clearly trying to maliciously destroy the page by adding obscenities, insults, etc. Harmful edits may also include the creation of articles that require speedy deletion.
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    If you are not an administrator, leave a message on the wikiHow Administrator Notice Board requesting the user be blocked. If you are an admin, proceed with the block as follows:
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    Click "block" next to the offending user's user name or IP address in Recent Changes or page history. Choose the following variables:
    • IP Address or username - This is entered automatically. But you can change it if you need to block someone else.
    • Expiry field. Enter a duration for the block. The Default is set to "other". Click on it to select a common block duration; if necessary, you can enter other time not in the list under the next variable "Other time". Best practices for block duration are posted at wikiHow:Block Times. In general block durations are up to admin discretion within the following time limits. Clearly harmful editors who never edit constructively can be blocked for up to 1 month without warning. People who have been blocked and then become repeat offenders or people who have been warned previously can be blocked for up to 6 months. That said, many admins block for only 1-7 days for first offenders. Be careful about blocking shared IP addresses for prolonged periods.
    • Reason: an optional field to briefly explain why you are blocking the user. The default is set to "Other Reason". Click on that to select a common block reason, such as Abusive comments, Adding spam links, Creating speedy articles, Malicious Sockpuppet, Spambot, Trolling, Vandalism, Under 13. If your reason(s) for blocking is not covered on the list, write in additional reasons under the next variable "Other/Additional Reason". For example, you might note that the user "spammed multiple articles" or "continuous vandalism after warning".
    • Checkboxes. There are four boxes, with the first three checked and the last one unchecked by default. It's usually best to leave them as is, but it can vary.
      • Block anonymous users only - Always check this box. It prevents good faith registered users who share the IP from being blocked.
      • Prevent account creation - This prevents vandals from creating an account to continue their disruption. That said, try not to check this on known shared IPs like AOL or schools.
      • Automatically block the last IP address used by this user, and any subsequent addresses they try to edit from - This option prevents malicious edits from registered users editing at any IP they attempt to edit from.
      • Prevent user from sending e-mail - Please use this only for excessive abuse of e-mailing privileges or serious offenders. When in doubt, it is best to leave this unchecked to allow the user the option to request unblocking.
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    Click Block This User to finalize the action.
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    Write the {{blocked|reason}} template on their talk page. If the destructive editor repeats a destructive edit, then feel free to block again for any time period up to six months.
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    Check the contribution history of the offender and ascertain that all problems the offender has caused have been rectified.
    • When someone is found to have made a malicious edit (as opposed to a mischievous edit or an edit of error), any administrator becomes entitled, at his or her discretion, to rollback or delete all recent edits made by said vandal, including any new articles posted.


  • Accidental blocks can be rectified by following the instructions at how to Unblock a User on wikiHow.
  • Blocked users can appeal a block by emailing "blocked -at-". A wikiHow volunteer will read the emails and reverse a block if justified.
  • The full wikiHow block log is available here.
  • Remember that the goal of blocking is not to punish, scold, shame, avenge or exert admin power. Please block only to prevent continued disruption on wikiHow.
  • If blocking due to age being under thirteen, use the {{under13}} tag when you notify the user.


  • Don't write anything hurtful (like shame on you) on the user's talk page when you block the user because if you do the user may feel discouraged. Just because a user has to be blocked doesn't mean the user is a bad person. The user may not yet have learned and decided to abide by wikiHow policies. Also, you may leave the user the link to Cope After Getting Blocked on wikiHow.
  • Blocking users is a serious matter which wikiHow does not take lightly. An admin should never block in anger or out of selfish motivations. Please carefully consider the value of free expression against the perceived benefit to the community before taking action against disruptive users. However, do not hesitate to curtail negative activities. If the offense is clear, take appropriate action and block assertively. The success of any community depends on principled leadership.
  • Try to keep the block as short as possible, so as to maximize the chances of the user coming back after thinking about the rules. Read block times for more info.
  • If you realize the block was wrong please unblock the user quickly and leave a message on the user's talk page or in an email, saying you are very sorry for your error.
  • Blocking a user because of hatred is completely unacceptable as it will only lead to getting your adminship decommissioned, and a block may be levied on you. Blocking a user because of hatred is never helpful.

Article Info

Categories: Being an Admin