[OSM-dev] Various types and means of account blocks

ika-chan! (OpenStreetMap) mapper+dev at minoa.li
Mon Sep 24 16:44:56 UTC 2018

There are two common types of account blocks on MediaWiki, which could form the basis for the proposed reform: 

1. A block where a user cannot edit any page except their own talk page.
2. A block where a user cannot edit any page at all.

So on OSM, it would be:

1. Editing block
2. Full block

I think that should take care of it.

— ika-chan!

> On 24 Sep 2018, at 16:57, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> I would like to start a discussion/brainstorming about the technical
> aspects and means of blocking OSM user accounts.
> First of all, the wider OSM community uses a wealth of communications
> channels, most of which are not even controlled by us; here I just want
> to discuss the actual OSM account and the means of communication
> associated with that.
> Currently an account can be blocked (by the DWG for a limited time, or
> by admins for arbitrary timespans). There's a UI for that (even though I
> think the long-term blocks need manual database fiddling). A blocked
> user cannot edit OSM data. They can, however, still use the various
> communication functions: write personal messages, write or comment on
> diary entries, comment on changesets, and open, close, and comment on
> notes. And they can modify their user page, change their account name,
> and "befriend" other users.
> Currently, if we wanted to keep someone from using these functions, we'd
> have to "suspend" the account altogether, which is almost the same as
> deleting it: The account will not be visible any more, at all, and
> nobody can log in to it (cf. discussion in
> https://github.com/openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website/issues/1946).
> OSM has largely been spared from obnoxious nutcases that you find online
> elsewhere, but our increasing popularity will certainly send a couple of
> them our way in the future.
> Some examples of borderline behaviour that we have seen in the past:
> * user creating tons of playful/funny notes, and modifying his user name
> several times a day
> * user closing 100s of notes without actually doing something about them
> * user "stalking" another user in changeset comments, writing rant-y
> comments in response to everything the other user writes
> * user writing longish, rant-y, unwanted, and off-topic diary comments
> to third party's diary entries
> * user sending legal threats to other users in personal messages
> * user adding a "shit list" to his profile page listing the account
> names of other mappers they don't like
> I wonder what the best way would be to deal with issues like that. The
> ticket I quoted above is from a DWG member suggesting that normal user
> blocks should simply be extended to block all the "communication"
> functions as well. In the discussion it was suggested that someone
> blocked for, say, participating in an edit war, should not necessarily
> be prevented from writing and receiving messages.
> Is the opposite true as well - would/should someone given a cool-off
> period for being a dick in a discussion still be allowed to do mapping?
> Should a normal user block perhaps simply come in two flavours, "block
> mapping only" and "block all"?
> It has been suggested that blocking *all* communication functions might
> be problematic because one thing you might expect from someone you have
> blocked is that they apologise, or set something right, which they might
> not be able to do without the ability to write messages.
> Do we need a full array of permissions - "can change user name", "can
> edit own user page", "can write personal messages", etc. - and the
> ability to short-time suspend any and all of them?
> Thoughts are welcome.
> This also ties in somewhat with a separate discussion, on how a
> prerequisite for allowing children on the platform might be that we can
> disable the "social" functions of an account. In that case it would not
> be a short-term block, but a whole class of accounts that can edit, but
> not participate in discussions (for their own protection). I'm not sure
> that can work at all (given that the ability to contact a mapper is very
> important to us). Maybe such accounts would have to be linked to a
> "responsible" parent account who then gets the messages...
> Bye
> Frederik
> -- 
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
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