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A ban is a formal prohibition from editing some or all pages on the English Wikipedia, or a formal prohibition from making certain types of edits on Wikipedia pages. Bans can be imposed for a specified or an indefinite duration.

Bans are a possible outcome of dispute resolution. They may be imposed by a consensus of the community, by the Arbitration Committee, the Wikimedia Foundation, or by administrators (in certain topic areas). A ban is normally a site ban (prohibiting all editing), but it may be limited to a page ban, a topic ban (prohibiting edits on pages relating to certain topic areas) or an interaction ban (prohibiting edits that interact with certain other editors). In certain cases, global bans, which prohibit the editing of any Wikimedia Foundation wiki, can be issued.

Bans are different from blocks, which are used by administrators to technically prevent a user account or IP address from editing Wikipedia. Blocks are used chiefly to deal with immediate problems such as vandalism, disruptive editing or edit warring. A ban, on the other hand, does not technically prevent editing; however, blocks may be used to enforce bans.

Types of bans

The following are the common types of bans; other bans may be used when appropriate:

Site ban

Unless otherwise specified, a ban is a site ban. An editor who is site-banned is forbidden from making any edit, anywhere on Wikipedia, via any account or as an unregistered user, under any and all circumstances. The only exception is that editors with talk page access may appeal in accordance with the provisions below.

Article ban or page ban

An article ban forbids an editor from editing a specific article or set of articles. The text of the ban should state whether the ban includes or excludes the article's talk page. Editors subject to an article ban are free to edit other related pages or discuss the topic elsewhere on Wikipedia. Article bans may be enforced using partial blocks from the affected pages.

When the word "page" is used in a ban, it means any page on Wikipedia, including for example user, talk, discussion, file, category or template pages. The word "article" usually refers only to mainspace pages. If any other related pages (such as the page's talk page) are to be covered it will usually be stated explicitly.

Topic ban

The purpose of a topic ban is to forbid editors from making edits related to a certain topic area where their contributions have been disruptive, but to allow them to edit the rest of Wikipedia. Unless clearly and unambiguously specified otherwise, a topic ban covers all pages (not only articles) broadly related to the topic, as well as the parts of other pages that are related to the topic, as encapsulated in the phrase "broadly construed". For example, if an editor is banned from the topic "weather", this editor is forbidden from editing not only the article Weather, but also everything else that has to do with weather, such as:

A list of currently active editing restrictions (including topic bans) can be found here.

Interaction ban

The purpose of an interaction ban (IBAN) is to stop a conflict between individuals. A one-way interaction ban forbids one user from interacting with another user. A two-way interaction ban forbids both users from interacting with each other. Although the interaction-banned users are generally allowed to edit the same pages or discussions so long as they avoid each other, they are not allowed to interact with each other.

For example, if Bar is banned from interacting with Foo, Bar would not be allowed to:

  • edit Foo's user and talk pages;
  • reply to Foo in discussions;
  • mention @Foo by linking to their user page;
  • make reference to or comment on Foo anywhere on Wikipedia, directly or indirectly;
  • undo Foo's edits to any page, whether by use of the revert function or by other means;
  • use the thanks extension to respond to Foo's edits.

A no-fault two-way interaction ban is often a quick and painless way to prevent a dispute from causing further distress or wider disruption.

Interaction bans are listed at Wikipedia:Editing restrictions.

Exceptions to limited bans

Unless stated otherwise, article, page, topic, or interaction bans do not apply to the following:

  1. Reverting obvious vandalism (such as page content being replaced by obscenities) or obvious violations of the policy about biographies of living persons. The key word is "obvious" – that is, cases in which no reasonable person could disagree.[1]
  2. Engaging in legitimate and necessary dispute resolution, e.g. addressing a legitimate concern about the ban itself in an appropriate forum. Examples include:
    • asking an administrator to take action against a violation of an interaction ban by another user (but normally not more than once, and only by mentioning the fact of the violation)
    • asking for necessary clarifications about the scope of the ban
    • appealing the ban

As a banned user, if you think your editing is exempted from the ban according to these rules, you should explain why that is so at the time of the edit, for example in the edit summary. When in doubt, do not make the edit. Instead, engage in dispute resolution or ask whoever imposed the ban to clarify.

Global ban

The Wikimedia community, or the Wikimedia foundation, may impose a global ban on editors. A global ban prohibits an editor from making any edit under any circumstance to any Wikimedia project.

Decision to ban

See also: Category:Banned Wikipedia users, Wikipedia:Editing restrictions and Wikipedia:Long-term abuse. Note that the absence of editors from these lists does not necessarily mean that they are not banned.

Authority to ban

The decision to ban an editor can be made by the following groups or persons:

  1. The Wikipedia community can impose a ban by consensus, as described in § Community bans and restrictions.
  2. The Arbitration Committee can impose a ban, usually in response to a request for arbitration.
  3. Both the Arbitration Committee and the Wikipedia community may delegate the authority to impose bans. They have authorized administrators to impose editing restrictions (including bans) in certain topic areas (see Wikipedia:Contentious topics and Wikipedia:General sanctions).
  4. Individual administrators may impose unblock conditions (such as page, topic, and interaction bans) with the agreement of the blocked user.
  5. The Wikimedia Foundation has the authority to ban editors (see meta:WMF Global Ban Policy and Category:Wikipedians banned by the Wikimedia Foundation).
  6. Users may be globally banned from the English Wikipedia and all other Wikimedia projects, either by the broader Wikimedia community or by the Wikimedia Foundation. In the case of the former, English Wikipedia users will be explicitly invited to participate in the Meta-Wiki discussion to ban the user in question.

Except as noted above, individual editors, including administrators, may not directly impose bans.

Community bans and restrictions

The community may reach a consensus to impose various types of sanctions on editors:

  • If an editor has proven to be repeatedly disruptive in one or more areas of Wikipedia, the community may impose a time-limited or indefinite topic ban, interaction ban, site ban, or other editing restriction(s) via a consensus of editors who are not involved in the underlying dispute. When determining consensus, the closing administrator will assess the strength and quality of the arguments made.
  • In some cases the community may review a block or an editor's unblock request and reach a consensus of uninvolved editors to endorse the block as a community sanction.
  • Editors who are indefinitely blocked by community consensus, or remain indefinitely blocked after due consideration by the community, are considered "banned by the Wikipedia community".[2]
    • Exception: A third-party block review that results in a normal administrator block being endorsed is not converted into a community ban.[3]

Community sanctions may be discussed on the Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard (preferred) or on Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents. Discussions may be organized via a template to distinguish comments by involved and uninvolved editors, and to allow the subject editor to post a response. Sanction discussions must be kept open for at least 24 hours before any sanction is implemented to allow time for comments from a broad selection of community members.[4] For site bans, the discussion must be kept open for 72 hours except in cases where there is limited opposition and the outcome is obvious after 24 hours.[5] If the discussion appears to have reached a consensus for a particular sanction, an uninvolved administrator closes the discussion, notifies the subject accordingly, and enacts any blocks called for. Except for a site ban, the sanction should be logged at the appropriate venue if necessary, usually Wikipedia:Editing restrictions or Wikipedia:Long-term abuse. If a block is administered to enforce a community sanction, please include a link to the discussion and note that the block is enforcing a community sanction in the block log. All granted user rights groups of an indefinitely site-banned editor should be removed.[6]

Editors without usernames may be banned by the community (example), but bans of editors using only IP addresses are rare.

Bans for repeated block evasion

Editors who are confirmed by a CheckUser to have engaged in sockpuppetry on at least two occasions after an initial indefinite block that is active, for any reason, are to be considered site banned by the English Wikipedia community.[7] CheckUser findings[8] must be documented on Wikipedia before a user is considered banned. Users who have been banned in this way are subject to the same unban conditions as users banned by community discussion.

Administrators or sockpuppet investigations clerks will normally tag the master account's user page with {{sockpuppeteer|checked=yes|banned}}. If the user made substantial good faith contributions before being banned, a notice should be placed on the administrators' noticeboard alerting the community to the ban.

Recidivism may lead to a ban

In 2012, the Arbitration Committee decided that "Users who have been sanctioned for improper conduct are expected to avoid repeating it should they continue to participate in the project. Failure to do so may lead to the imposition of increasingly severe sanctions."[9]

Duration of bans

Bans are not intended as a short-term measure. Sometimes a ban may be for a fixed period of some months. More often no period is specified, because the ban is a decision that the editor may not edit or participate in the specified matters on this site.

Review and reversal of bans

Appeals of bans imposed by the community

Bans imposed by the community may be appealed to the community or, where there are serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, to the Arbitration Committee.[10]

  • Editors who are banned from a topic area or certain pages but can otherwise edit, may appeal (and comment in an appeal discussion) on-wiki, either at the administrators' noticeboard, or, if there are serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, by filing a case request.[10]
  • Editors who cannot edit any page except their own talk page may:
    • Post an appeal {{unblock}} template or comment there, by email or other off-site means such as the Unblock Ticket Request System (UTRS), and ask for it to be reposted to the appropriate discussion board. This is a voluntary act and should not be abused or used to excess.
    • Submit an appeal to UTRS and ask an administrator to post it to the appropriate discussion board. This is a voluntary act and should not be abused or used to excess.
    • Where there are serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, appeal by email to the Arbitration Committee. An email appeal must specify the banned editor's Wikipedia username and any other usernames they have used to edit Wikipedia in the past two years. (Using Wikipedia's email feature to email Arbitration Committee automatically reveals the account used for sending it.) The appeal should clearly but succinctly explain the reasons the editor feels the ban should be overturned, such as what lessons the editor has learned since the ban or block was imposed, how the editor would conduct themself differently in the future if they are allowed to resume editing, or why they believe the ban was unfair. The editor should also include links to any relevant on-wiki discussions and any other information necessary to understand the grounds for the appeal.
  • Editors unable to edit any page (even their own talk page) should appeal through the Unblock Ticket Request System asking an administrator to post their appeal to the appropriate discussion board. This is a voluntary act, and should not be abused or used to excess.
  • In some cases, a banned editor may be unblocked for the purpose of filing an appeal. In such cases, editing of any unrelated page or other matter is grounds for immediate re-blocking. Editors banned by the Arbitration Committee must appeal to the Committee (see below).

Appeal of Arbitration Committee decisions

  • Editors who are banned from a topic area or certain pages but can otherwise edit, may appeal (and comment in an appeal discussion) on-wiki, by filing an amendment request.
  • Editors who are blocked from editing by the Arbitration Committee can appeal by emailing the Arbitration Committee using the EmailUser function or, if email is disabled, by emailing arbcom-en@wikimedia.org.

    An email appeal must specify the banned editor's Wikipedia username and any other usernames they have used to edit Wikipedia in the past two years. The appeal should clearly but succinctly explain the reasons the editor feels the ban should be overturned, such as what lessons the editor has learned since the ban or block was imposed, how the editor would conduct themself differently in the future if they are allowed to resume editing, or why they believe the ban was unfair. The editor should also include links to any relevant on-wiki discussions and any other information necessary to understand the grounds for the appeal.

Arbitration enforcement bans

The following are the applicable parts from the standard provision for appeals of arbitration enforcement bans:

Appeals by sanctioned editors

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

  1. ask the enforcing administrator to reconsider their original decision;
  2. request review at the arbitration enforcement noticeboard ("AE") or at the administrators’ noticeboard ("AN"); and
  3. submit a request for amendment at "ARCA". If the editor is blocked, the appeal may be made by email through Special:EmailUser/Arbitration Committee (or, if email access is revoked, to arbcom-en@wikimedia.org).

Important notes:

  1. For a request to succeed, either

    (i) the clear and substantial consensus of (a) uninvolved administrators at AE or (b) uninvolved editors at AN or
    (ii) a passing motion of arbitrators at ARCA

    is required. If consensus at AE or AN is unclear, the status quo prevails.

  2. While asking the enforcing administrator and seeking reviews at AN or AE are not mandatory prior to seeking a decision from the committee, once the committee has reviewed a request, further substantive review at any forum is barred. The sole exception is editors under an active sanction who may still request an easing or removal of the sanction on the grounds that said sanction is no longer needed, but such requests may be made only once every six months, or whatever longer period the committee may specify.
  3. These provisions apply only to discretionary sanctions placed by administrators and to blocks placed by administrators to enforce arbitration case decisions. They do not apply to sanctions directly authorised by the committee, and enacted either by arbitrators or by arbitration clerks, or to special functionary blocks of whatever nature.

Evasion and enforcement

Wikipedia's approach to enforcing bans balances a number of competing concerns:

  • Maximizing the quality of the encyclopedia.
  • Avoiding inconvenience or aggravation to any victims of mistaken identity.
  • Maximizing the number of editors who can edit Wikipedia.
  • Avoiding conflict within the community over banned editors.
  • Dissuading or preventing banned editors from editing Wikipedia or the relevant area of the ban.

As a result, enforcement has a number of aspects. While all editors are expected to respect the enforcement of policies by not undermining or sabotaging them, no editor is personally obligated to help enforce any ban.

Bans apply to all editing, good or bad

Editors are site-banned or topic-banned only as a last resort, usually for extreme or very persistent problems that have not been resolved by lesser sanctions and that often result in considerable disruption or stress to other editors. A ban is not merely a request to avoid editing "unless they behave". The measure of a ban is that even if the editor were to make good or good-faith edits, permitting them to edit in those areas is perceived to pose enough risk of disruption, issues, or harm, to the page or to the project, that they may not edit at all, even if the edits seem good.[11]

A number of site-banned editors have used "good editing" (such as anti-vandalism edits) tactically, to try and game the banning system, "prove" they cannot be banned, or force editors into the paradox of either allowing banned editing or removing good content. Even if such editors make only good edits, they will be rebanned for evasion.[12]

On very rare occasions, a limited exception may be requested; for example, to participate in a particular discussion.[13]

If there is any doubt whether a limited ban prohibits any specific edit, the banned editor should assume that it does, unless whoever imposed the ban expressly clarifies that it does not. If clarification is not sought before making the edit, the banned editor assumes the risk that an administrator takes a broader view of the scope of the ban and enforces it with a block or other sanction.


In the case of project-wide bans, the primary account of any banned editor may be entirely blocked for the duration of the ban. Partial bans may be backed up by partial blocks, but note that the scope of a ban is defined by its wording and not by the presence of partial blocks. Users that violate the terms of a partial ban may be site-wide blocked to enforce the ban.

If the banned editor creates sockpuppet accounts to evade the ban, these usually will be blocked as well. When evasion is a problem, the IP address of a banned editor who edits from a static IP address may also be blocked for the duration of the ban. If a banned editor evades the ban from a range of addresses, short-term IP blocks may be used.

Reset of ban following evasion

It is customary for the "ban timer" to be reset or extended if a banned editor attempts to edit in spite of the ban. No formal consideration is typically necessary. For example, if someone is banned for ten months, but on the sixth month attempts to evade the ban, then the ban timer may be reset from "four months remaining" to "ten months remaining", so if the editor does not subsequently evade the ban again, their eventual total duration would be 16 months. Repeated evasion may lead to a longer or more serious sanction.

An editor who has been banned or has had their account blocked, and tries to evade this by creating a new account, is known as a reincarnation of the old account. Obvious reincarnations are easily dealt with—the account is blocked and contributions are reverted or deleted, as discussed above. See sockpuppet for policy on dealing with unclear cases.

Edits by and on behalf of banned and blocked editors

Anyone is free to revert any edits made in violation of a ban or block, without giving any further reason and without regard to the three-revert rule. This does not mean that edits must be reverted just because they were made by a banned editor (changes that are obviously helpful, such as fixing typos or undoing vandalism, can be allowed to stand), but the presumption in ambiguous cases should be to revert.

When reverting edits, care should be taken not to reinstate material that may be in violation of such core policies as neutrality, verifiability, and biographies of living persons.

Pages created by banned or blocked users in violation of their ban or block, and which have no substantial edits by others, are eligible for speedy deletion under the G5 criterion. If the edits by the good faith editors are substantial, G5 no longer applies.

Since categorization can impact many pages, and deletion of a category without merging can leave pages orphaned, you should carefully consider what to do with categories created by a banned or blocked user. Blatantly useless categories can be speedy-deleted, as well as any categories which clearly violate existing category standards. Care should nonetheless be taken to see if articles need to be merged to a parent category before the speedy deletion. Categories created by a banned user which may be useful or fit into a larger category scheme can be tagged for discussion and possible merging using the categories for discussion process instead of deleting them outright.


Editors in turn are not permitted to post or edit material at the direction of a banned or blocked editor (sometimes called proxy editing or proxying) unless they are able to show that the changes are productive and they have independent reasons for making such edits. Editors who reinstate edits made by a banned or blocked editor take complete responsibility for the content.

New accounts which engage in the same behavior as a banned or blocked editor in the same context, and who appear to be editing Wikipedia solely for that purpose, are subject to the remedies applied to the editor whose behavior they are imitating.[14] See the policy on sockpuppetry and meatpuppetry.

User pages

Site banned and global banned editors' user and user talk pages should be updated with a notice of the ban, linking to any applicable discussion or decision-making pages. The purpose of this notice is to announce the ban to editors encountering the banned editor's edits.

Further enforcement measures

Serious, ongoing ban evasion is sometimes dealt with by technical means or by making an abuse complaint with the operator of the network from which the edits originate.

Indefinitely site-banned editors may be restricted from editing their user talk page or using email.

Difference between bans and blocks

The standard distinction is that a ban is a social decision about the right to edit; a block is a technically imposed enforcement setting. Blocks are much more common than bans; in 2023, more than 80,000 accounts were blocked.[15]

The MediaWiki software allows the ability to block editing of individual pages, known as a 'partial block', and sometimes this is used as a means of enforcing a specific set of ban conditions. However, bans such as topic bans or interaction bans still require human judgement to enforce and assess, and the presence or not of a partial block in furtherance of a topic ban or interaction ban should not be seen as a limitation on the scope of such a ban, which is defined by the wording of the ban and not of the presence or not of partial blocks. Editors who are banned from specific pages or topics must immediately cease editing these pages or topics. If they do not, then a block will be used to enforce the ban. Such a block will necessarily prevent their editing of the entire site, but they are not banned from the site and remain members of the community.

An editor who is "sitebanned" (which may sometimes be described as a "full ban") has been completely ejected from the project. For the duration of their ban, their edits are subject to reversion, although personal attacks towards them remain unacceptable.

Difference between bans and blocks
Type of sanction Partial blocks Site blocked
(including "indefinite blocks")
Page/topic banned Site banned
Scope of block/ban Specific pages, namespaces, or tools specified in the blocking form Entire site (talk page access may be allowed to discuss or appeal the block) Specific pages, users, tools, topics, or other categories in the wording of the ban Entire site (talk page access may be allowed to appeal the ban)
Imposing of block/ban May be imposed by any uninvolved admin in accordance with the blocking policy. May be imposed only by the Arbitration Committee, the Wikimedia Foundation, or by community consensus (or uninvolved administrators specifically authorized by one of these); users may also be banned for repeated block evasion. In the event an indefinitely blocked editor has continued to be disruptive and no administrator is willing to unblock, that editor is considered to be de facto banned.
Appeal of block/ban May be appealed to the administators' noticeboard, via the {{unblock}} template, or via UTRS. May be appealed by placing the {{unblock}} template on one's own talk page, or by submitting a UTRS ticket. May be appealed at the appropriate time to the administrators' noticeboard (for community bans), by filing an amendment request (for arbitration bans), or to the Wikimedia Foundation (for Foundation imposed bans).
  • Community bans, except those where the nature of the ban is unsuitable for public discussion, may be appealed at the appropriate time by using the {{unblock}} template on one's own talk page or by submitting an appeal to WP:UTRS, by which an administrator will copy the appeal to the appropriate venue.
  • Site bans imposed by the Arbitration Committee can only be appealed to the Committee by email.
  • Site bans imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation can only be appealed to the Wikimedia Foundation, but not all WMF bans are appealable.
Removal of block/ban May be lifted by any uninvolved admin, except CheckUser blocks, Oversight blocks, arbitration enforcement blocks and blocks by the Arbitration Committee
  • Bans imposed by community consensus or for repeated block evasion may be lifted by community discussion (unless needing ArbCom review)
  • Bans imposed by the Arbitration Committee may be lifted by the Arbitration Committee
  • Bans imposed by the Wikimedia Foundation may be lifted by the Foundation
Content created during block or ban
(by the user or by someone acting on their behalf)
Edits in violation of the block or ban may be reverted (exceptions). Pages created in violation of the block or ban that lack non-violating contributions and content may be speedily deleted under CSD#G5.

Other considerations

Conduct towards banned editors

Wikipedia's hope for banned editors is that they will leave Wikipedia or the affected area with their pride and dignity intact, whether permanently or for the duration of their ban. It is unacceptable to take advantage of banned editors, whether by mocking, baiting, or otherwise abusing them. Personal attacks, outing, and other prohibited behaviours remain unacceptable even if directed towards a banned editor.

Scope and reciprocity

The English-language Wikipedia does not have authority over the Meta-Wiki, Wikimedia sister projects, or Wikipedias in languages other than English. As such, bans issued by the English Wikipedia community or Arbitration Committee have no effect on other projects.

See also


  1. ^ If someone is banned from the Wikipedia namespace, administrative boards, or is under a similar restriction, this exception does not allow for reporting vandalism to administrative noticeboards. (See discussion.)
  2. ^ RfC, May 2017
  3. ^ RfC, April 2021
  4. ^ RfC, February 2018
  5. ^ RfC, July 2020
  6. ^ See 2023 RfC
  7. ^ March 2018 RfC
  8. ^ CheckUser findings include any statement by a CheckUser connecting specific accounts on the English Wikipedia based on private technical evidence. In addition to the standard unban requirements, a CheckUser must also be consulted to unblock users that are CheckUser blocked.
  9. ^ Motion on recidivism, 15 February 2012
  10. ^ a b Note the committee generally considers appeals of community sanctions only if there were serious questions about the validity of the ban discussion or its closure, as discussed at a past case finding
  11. ^ Examples of use at Requests for Arbitration: by Hersfold, by Newyorkbrad, by Vassyana (line 478+) ("A ban is a ban. It's not uncommon for people to make "good" edits to create a soapbox for disputing their ban and/or thumbing their nose at the project. Let's not enable them").
  12. ^ For example this case.
  13. ^ For example, this motion where a topic-banned editor was allowed to participate in featured content discussions of his (non-contentious) diagrams.
  14. ^ See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Agapetos angel § Meatpuppets. See also: Wikipedia:Tag team
  15. ^ quarry:query/80159 found that 73,528 (3.7%) editors who created an account in 2023 had been blocked at least once during (or shortly after) that year; quarry:query/80167 found that 82,865 total (new and older) accounts were blocked at least once during the year.