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Escalating Blocking


Some contributors are not following the projects rules and policies and there is a risk they could disrupt elements of the project. You are unsure how to tackle the bad behaviour or how to best implement the relevant Published Policies.


You need to be able to take action to handle malicious or problematic activity, but without discouraging contributors by being too heavy handed.


Providing an escalating approach to sanctions gives contributors fair warning about what is happening. Create a blocking policy that can be implemented step by step, depending on the seriousness of the problem. It can range from warning messages and temporary bans all the way to total and permanent bans.

  • It is not always obvious if contributors are ignoring policy purposefully or inadvertently. Don’t assume contributors are malicious but do try to spot and learn from obvious malicious cases.
  • Heavy-handed reactions to problematic activity can harm the development of the community and discourage contributors from participating.
  • It is important for a contributor to understand why their privileges on the project may be taken away, and what they can do to recover them.
  • It is fair to give contributors warning before blocking or banning them to ensure that their side of the story is heard and taken into account.
  • So that contributors can both anticipate and understand decisions, ensure the project’s Published Policies are clear, accessible and well signposted.

Open Street Map

Take a look at OpenStreetMap’s policy on vandalism.

Related patterns

Published Policies

Collaboration across distributed groups requires clarity around rules, policies and procedures.

Warning Messages

A contributor is behaving in a way that raises questions about their understanding of your Published Policies.

Temporary Block

A contributor has contravened a policy and it is necessary to stop them from contributing for a short period of time.

Localised Block

A contributor is not adhering to the project’s Published Policies, but this is only happening when contributing to a certain topic.

Permanent Ban

It is necessary to prevent a contributor from making any contributions to the entire database

Attributable Contributions

Without knowing the source of individual contributions it can be harder to monitor, converse with and recognise the work of the community

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