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Wikipedia's auto-blocking is wrongly implemented
Friday, December 01, 2006

Wikipedia's editing process is not perfect. After all, letting anyone and everyone update "facts" on the internet is prone to vandalism and inaccuracy. However, Wikipedia's method to police the site is actually ISPism. I mean that Wikipedia's site autoblocks a whole set of IP addresses, and for errors of one, everyone pays.

I update Wiki pages from time to time, as an unregister user. Tonight I tried to do so again, and I found myself autoblocked. I then tried to create an account and, as it happens, I can't do that either because, you guessed it, my IP is blocked.

What is the reason? I'm guessing someone using the same ISP I use messed around with some Wiki pages and Luna Santin decided to block everyone in shooting distance. This is the reason:
    06:38, 1 December 2006 Luna Santin (Talk | contribs) blocked " (contribs)" with an expiry time of 3 days (Continued disruption including trolling and physical threats from this ISP. Please register an account from a different web connection, such as your local library, and log in at home to edit. Sorry.)
Again, I understand that the integrity of the entries has to be maintained, but block everyone because the IP address stars with doesn't make too much sense to me. It's illogical I think, as the ISP company I use is one of the largest in the country and has thousands of users. It would be like arresting everyone in LA because there was a bank robbery in downtown--this example is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. Imagine having all that power in this type of environment. Who knows, maybe someone wrote that Luna smells and he took it out on everyone. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely," some British dude said once (brownie points if you know who).

Aside from creating accounts, I think this would be a worth while endevour to figure out what to do about policing Wikis. And not just anything, but something that actually prevents web-vandalism from the actual perpetrator and not everyone that may "look" similar to the guy or gal that did it.

As far as my contribution goes, I may have something very important to add, but I won't anymore. The world will just never know how to...

11:40 PM | 4 comment(s) |


I just so happen to be the administrator in question; if you'd like to confirm that, feel free to leave me a message on the wiki.

First off, I'm sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. The block in question was slated to expire in about two or three hours from the time of this reply, but I've lifted it in any case -- if nothing else, the symbology of doing so is important.

If it's any consolation, I was not "drunk with power," but was struggling to deal with a very persistent and abusive user who was stalking valuable editors and vandalizing a wide number of articles (more than could be practically protected from editing, another available tool). I've been a user at Wikipedia for some time, and an administrator for several months, but this is the first time I've dealt with these particular issues on such a scale or intensity. Seemingly credible death and rape threats were being issued not only against a particular user, but also against their family members. The only apparently viable options were for the victim user to stop editing Wikipedia, or for a strong action to deter the troll from further abuse.

Before you ask, I did check, and Sympatico is not apparently known for their responsiveness to abuse reports. Very few ISPs are; that's unfortunate for situations such as this, because it might be the best way to actually deal with these sorts of problems.

In any case, I tried a brief rangeblock, at first. The block was set only to block anonymous users, and included simple instructions to register an account an evade the block. When that didn't work, I opted to try a longer one, three days, which is what you ran into.

It's difficult to know ahead of time how much collateral damage such a block will cause. I truly do hate to think that even one person will have to suffer for the unfortunate actions of one abusive user, and in this case the damage was more than I was willing to tolerate. I've lifted the block, and will strive to avoid such actions in the future.

Unlike the apparently faceless admins at many sites, I've found that most enwiki admins are responsive to queries and really do care what their "customers" think. In my case, I'm only human; I have troubles, I get busy or overwhelmed. I do the best I can, but it is inevitable that any person will make mistakes. Chalk it down as a lesson learned.

The block should be removed at this time; if you have any problems editing, feel free to contact me or the unblock-en-l mailing list (you'll see instructions for doing so in the event you're blocked).

Thanks for your time and consideration.
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:03 PM

Thanks Luna for your reply. I wasn't expecting it.

To some extent, I understand the problems with Wikipedia. And for the issues you outlined, it makes sense to take action. It just baffles me why someone would do that. The wiki is of great service, however, email is of great service and look at how much spam one gets.

In truth, I was annoyed at the fact that I couldn't make a minor correction, and then found out that a whole block of Sympatico users were blocked by you. Nothing personal, I just think the logistics are bit over-reaching.

I ended up creating an account, which in the end will likely be only way to allow people updating wiki pages.

With all due respect, Luna Santin is well known as something of a lunatic (pun intended) among Wikipedia administrators. Wikipedia seems to draw power hungry not-too-bright folks who want to run a parking lot, issue orders, and otherwise do what they can't in the "real world".

In one case Luna banned an ISP for "not acting your age".

Whoever Luna Santin is, he, she, or it needs a good spanking and a few more years to grow up.
By Blogger Martin, at 10:11 PM

Satin is a pUNk and basement dwelling
wikifiddler. He bangs away with is keyboard and wikiadmin account 15/24 each day, in a no life scenario.

This punk is joyless a miscreant sociopath, plain and simple.
By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:38 AM

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