Submissions:2023/What the block log tells us

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2023.


What the block log tells us


Equity / Inclusion / Community Health, Governance, Research / Science / Medicine

Type of session:



When someone violates the community's rules on Wikipedia, they may be blocked by an administrator. Like the rest of the project, these actions (along with the type of block, duration, and reason) are typically logged and publicly accessible. As part of a larger academic project about content moderation on Wikipedia, I've been analyzing the nearly 20-year-old block log of the English Wikipedia. In this session, I will present some of the patterns, trends, and interesting statistics I've found that may be of interest to the community. How have the number of blocks per year changed over time? What reasons for blocking are more or less prominent now than they were in years past? Is blocking a task that's evenly spread out among admins, or are a small number issuing most of the blocks? How do the reasons for blocking change as we consider users' edit counts? These are intended as example questions -- I still have some data analysis and visualization to do between now and the conference, if it's accepted, and the end result will likely include much more than just these points.

Link to slides

Author name:

Ryan McGrady

E-mail address:

Wikimedia username:


Affiliated organization(s):

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Wikimedia New York City

Estimated time:

20 minutes

Special requests:


Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:


Okay to livestream?

Livestreaming is okay

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)

Lecture (or being assigned to a panel) is preferred due to the amount of information. I'd have to think about whether it would make sense to do it as a lightning talk.