Wikipedia talk:Blocking policy/Archive 7

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Idea

I know something else we need to block. I call it blackmarcketing. It's when a person copies completly or almost completley a userpage or article.Fattdoggy 17:45, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

  • And how that is disruptive? >Radiant< 10:42, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Blocking

Blocking people for nonvandalism purposes is a violation of WP:POINT. Thus why is it done? 4.235.147.174 21:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

What disgruntled block-evading user are you? --Deskana (For Great Justice!) 21:11, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Unblock a user function

Why do I, or possibly all users, have the option to unblock a user when looking at their block logs? Is this a Admin function that wouldn't work for non-Admins? John Reaves 08:56, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Blocking in "clear and obvious" cases?

I'm wondering if one aspect of the wording of WP:BP is in fact unhelpfully tight, and should be slightly relaxed.

Some scenarios:

  1. User X and admin Y have been editing on some article. User X engages in repeated clear and obvious vandalism to the article that would usually fall within the exception to 3RR, and this now happens to the point where a block or semi-protection would be usual. Since admin Y is co-editing with user X, he/she is limited to reverting and isn't allowed to apply that block.
  2. User X and admin Y had been co-editing on some article, and after a period of disruption, user X got blocked eventually for some significant breach of policy (WP:SOCK, WP:NPA or similar). User X returns as a sock. Since admin Y was involved in a content dispute with user X, he/she isn't allowed to block the sock but must explain on WP:AN/I to others why the newcomer is a sock, and explain the background of User X's history to others unfamiliar with X, before a block can be set on the new sock.
  3. User X and admin Y are editing on the same page. User X posts clear and obvious defamatory/attacking comments on the page about some other user Z who is also involved in the editing, which given the editor and article history would usually get a suitable block under current practice for WP:NPA. Because they co-edit, admin Y is not allowed to block user X for the matter.

The common theme is, a user who makes what is a clear and obvious breach of some policy, is nonetheless unable to be dealt with by an admin even if the matter is obvious and not contentious, instead he/she must recuse from action.

Usually this is a Good Thing - usual reasons, if it matters someone else will do it, and it prevents edit/wheel wars. But sometimes its a Bad Thing, because like 3RR, when a Bad Action is "clear and obvious" it becomes a problem if it can't be immediately rectified, or it the inability of the admin most aware of the situation to take such action becomes a means to play games.

I'd like to see discussion of whether a "clear and obvious" exception should be included in WP:BP, since this does happen. A proposed wording would be something like:

  • Old:
    Sysops must not block editors with whom they are currently engaged in a content dispute.
  • New:
    Sysops must not block editors with whom they are currently engaged in a content dispute.
    Exceptionally, simple and obvious blocks (such as 3RR, and ongoing clear obvious vandalism or spam) are not usually considered to be contentious. In such cases the risk of miscalculation is upon the admin, who is strongly advised to leave it to others to decide whether to block where possible, in order that their judgement does not come under question.
(The "clear and obvious" wording used for exceptions is a lift from policies such as WP:3RR).
  • Removal of vandalism is not a content dispute. - Mike Rosoft 11:43, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Comments? FT2 (Talk | email) 12:54, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

An admin placing a block almost always acts believing their block to be a clear case where a block should be applied. Which is pretty much the reason for the bar on using a block against someone you're in dispute with. Disputes tend to cloud judgement, and this bar should remain absolute. If it's a 'clear and obvious' case, then another admin will make the block. --Barberio 19:55, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Block account creation

According to the instructions:

Block anonymous users only prevents anonymous users from the target IP address from editing, but allows registered users to edit. Prevent account creation prevents new accounts from being registered from the target IP address. These options have no effect on username blocks.

This doesn't seem to be the case. I have just recently blocked User:Ronhudson.com due to an inappropriate username, and just received an e-mail that he is unable to register a new account. So what effect do these option have on account blocks? Are they applied to the automatic IP blocks, normally lasting a day? - Mike Rosoft 11:43, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Indefinite Blocks

It seems like there doesn't go a day without a controversy rising up from use of an indefinite period block. Maybe there should be some consideration given to if there should be some restrictions, or review, of placing indefinite blocks? There does seem to be a lot of cases where an indefinite block turns into a de facto ban by inertia.

I can't really think of a reason why an individual admin would ever need to immediately place an indefinite block, even in cases of grave personal threats. A week long, or month long, block could be placed while it was investigated, and then if required, an indefinite block placed. But I think it might be time to start requiring indefinite blocks have approval before being placed, not after. --Barberio 23:41, 25 January 2007 (UTC)


I think I'd suggest adding the following text as a section bellow the current one on bans.

Indefinite Blocks

An indefinite block is one where the blocks length of term has been set to 'infinite' or 'indefinite' by the admin placing the block. It is very important to note that indefinite blocks are not community bans, and are not intended to remain a permanent block. An indefinite block should eventually be lifted. Admins should be cautious with applying an indefinite block, and they should be the exception with most cases having blocks with set lengths. Generally, an indefinite block should have occurred only after some discussion in a relevant area such as WP:ANI or WP:AIV. Blocks that have to be applied immediately should not be applied as indefinite blocks, an indefinite block can be placed later as required.

--Barberio 19:49, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Indef blocks on IP ranges are usually avoided, however accounts can be indef blocked if they are vandalism / personal attack only, issue death threats or have inappropriate user names. My understanding is that such blocks can be the subject of an appeal. Personally, I don't think automatically including every single vandalism only account on WP:ANI would be a step forwards. Currently, the practice is to raise the cases that involve more judgement and not bother with the very straightforward - I wasn't aware this approach was causing problems. Addhoc 20:27, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
Issues over use of an Indef block gets raised pretty regularly now on ANI or RfA, so some better guidance appears needed. Indefinite blocks are the highest restriction an admin can place on an account on their own, so should have had some special guidance.
As to if they should have a discussion expected before making an indef block... I really don't think asking admin to make a short note along the lines of
=={{vandal|username}}==
 Persistent vandal. Blocked for 24hr pending indefinite block if no one objects. --~~
somewhere appropriate before making an indef block is a big issue or burden. It doesn't have to be on WP:ANI, just somewhere it'd get third party review. Note, the given example of a "inappropriate user name" is supposed to go through Wikipedia:Requests for comment/User names.
However, that's probably not as important as making clear the difference between an indefinite block and a community ban, and the expectation the indefinite blocks are *not* infinite, and should eventually be removed. Here's a different version without advice to get consensus first.
Indefinite Blocks

An indefinite block is one where the blocks length of term has been set to 'infinite' or 'indefinite' by the admin placing the block. It is very important to note that indefinite blocks are not community bans, and are not intended to remain a permanent block. An indefinite block should eventually be lifted. Admins should be cautious with applying an indefinite block, and a time limited block may be more appropriate. Indefinite blocks should not usually be placed on individual or ranges of IPs.

Indefinite Blocks are almost always appropriate in the following situations,

  • An account used solely to make personal attacks or vandalise articles.
  • Where an editor has made a threat of physical harm.
  • Where the username is an obvious obscenity or slur.

However, when in doubt use a temporary time limited block, and raise the issue of an indefinite block in an appropriate location.

--Barberio 22:20, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Hi Barberio, could you explain why blocks should be lifted regarding accounts (not IPs) that fulfill at least one of the above criteria? Addhoc 19:06, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Because there is a difference between an indefinite block, and a community ban. Indefinite blocks should not become defacto community bans. --Barberio 20:33, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
That's precisely how community bans work, Barberio, and always have as far as I know. An "exhausting the community's patience" ban is simply an indefinite block in which not a single admin thinks it is wise to unblock. -- SCZenz 20:37, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
This contradicts the current banning policy. "Administrators who block in these cases should be sure that there is widespread community support for the block, and should note the block on the Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents as part of the review process. ... Community bans must be supported by a strong consensus and should never be enacted based on agreement between a handful of admins or users." Immediate review on AN/I is a *requirement* of Community Bans, and is not optional. Placing indefinite blocks should not be used as an alternative to this process. --Barberio 20:44, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Barberio, that doesn't explain, in practical terms, why blocks should be lifted regarding accounts (not IPs) that fulfill at least one of the above criteria... Addhoc 21:06, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
In a situation where the user makes a full apology, and a commitment to behave in the future? Blocks are made to protect wikipedia, not as punishment. If they become a repeat offender, then a call for a community ban may be appropriate. --Barberio 21:09, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
That facility already exists in the form of appeals. Addhoc 21:23, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
Indefinite blocks that did not follow the process defined for a community ban, are 'not community bans. There is nothing to appeal, and any admin may lift the block when they feel it's appropriate, and probably should do if the user apologises and commits to not doing it again. --Barberio 21:26, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Based on the above discussion, it does look a lot like the difference between an Indefinite Block and a Comunity Ban needs to be made much clearer. --Barberio 19:27, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to propose adding this to the policy following the bans section,

Indefinite Blocks

An indefinite block is one where the blocks length of term has been set to 'infinite' or 'indefinite' by the admin placing the block. Admins should be cautious with applying an indefinite block, and a time limited block may be more appropriate. Indefinite blocks should not usually be placed on individual or ranges of IPs. When in doubt use a temporary time limited block, and raise the issue of an indefinite block in an appropriate location.

Indefinite Blocks are almost always appropriate in the following situations,

  • An account used solely to make personal attacks or vandalise articles.
  • Where an editor has made a threat of physical harm.
  • Where the username is an obvious obscenity or slur.

Indefinite blocks may be reviewed by other admins at any time, and as with all other blocks should only be applied as precautionary measures not putative ones. Indefinite blocks should only be considered permanent actions against an individual if they are the result of a ban.

--Barberio 19:38, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

No one seems to be objecting to this, should I go ahead and add it? --Barberio 01:30, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Actually, it sounds too weakly worded. Nearly all indefinite blocks are both appropriate and permanent. >Radiant< 10:32, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I suggest you reacquaint yourself with the ban policy. The only permanent blocks are bans, indefinite blocks on their own are no permanent. On their own, blocks are used solely as preventative measures. --Barberio 12:42, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
  • I suggest you reacquaint yourself with actual practice. Impostor accounts, SPA/vandalism accounts and obscene usernames are, de facto, permanently blocked. Threats of physical harm are potentially subject to review and reinterpretation, at least if they're not a SPA. >Radiant< 12:46, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
  • The phrase "An account used solely to make personal attacks or vandalise articles" might need to be reformulated because one could otherwise read it as saying that an account which made one edit, which happens to be vandalism, should (almost always) be blocked indefinitely. The last sentence seems to say that indefinite blocks resulting from a ban are permanent; however, the ban is not necessarily permanent. For the rest, I've no strong opinion on the proposal. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 12:53, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Specific attention to indefinite blocks is a good point, and distinguishing 1/ A long block, for serious misconduct, 2/ A community ban, and 3/ An indefinite block that is allowed to slip into a de facto ban mostly due to inertia, is probably worthwhile.

I suggest the following clarification, which is clean and simple: The main distinction between an indefinite block and a community ban could be defined that the former applies to an account, the latter to a person. Thus a community ban applies where the person should not have access again - they attack, they make threats, they are persistently vandalistic or disruptive, they have exhausted patience. An indef block applies to cases where the account should not be used again - it has an obscene name, it's a sock-account in breach of WP:SOCK, it's an account used by a banned individual. Perhaps the policy could simply be along these lines:

The placing of an indef block is limited to very specific cases - either the account itself is unacceptable (without comment on the user), or else it has been placed in respect of a community ban as noted on WP:LOBU and on WP:AN or WP:ANI, and described as such in the block summary.

Note that an indef block without a community ban would then never need to be appealed, since the person themselves is not prohibited from editing, it is merely that they may not edit through that account. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:21, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Indefinite Blocks

An indefinite block is one where the blocks length of term has been set to 'infinite' or 'indefinite' by the admin placing the block. Admins should be cautious with applying an indefinite block, and a time limited block may be more appropriate. Indefinite blocks should not usually be placed on individual or ranges of IPs. When in doubt use a temporary time limited block, and raise the issue of an indefinite block in an appropriate location.

Indefinite Blocks are almost always appropriate in the following situations,

  • An account used to make personal attacks or vandalise articles.
  • Where an editor has made a threat of physical harm.
  • Where the username is an obvious obscenity or slur.

Indefinite blocks may be reviewed by other admins at any time, and as with all other blocks should only be applied as precautionary measures not putative ones. Indefinite blocks should only be considered permanent actions against an individual if they are the result of a ban. Indefinite blocks may be used to permanently restrict accounts that are in themselves harmful, such as account name obscenity, but this should not be considered a block on the person behind the account.

How about that? --Barberio 13:29, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

  • That's better, although you should probably add a line about impersonation accounts (e.g. User:Berbario, that kind of nonsense) and probably about socks. It may be useful to make a distinction between simple cases (basically SPAs) that are permablocked almost without exception and without controversy, and actual semi-long-term editors that make threats and such. Basically, abusive SPAs or socks are permablocked, actual editors are not. How's this:
Indefinite Blocks

An indefinite block is one where the blocks length of term has been set to 'infinite' or 'indefinite' by the admin placing the block. Indefinite blocks are generally used for abusive single-purpose accounts, e.g. accounts only used to vandalize, make personal attacks, impersonations, or threats, or that have an obscene username. Indefinite blocks should not usually be placed on individual or ranges of IPs.

On accounts that have constructive edits, admins should be cautious with applying an indefinite block, and a time limited block may be more appropriate. When indefinitely blocking such an account, make a note on WP:ANI. Except for blocks made as a result of bans by Jimbo or the ArbCom, indefinite blocks may be reviewed by other admins at any time, and as with all other blocks should only be applied as precautionary measures not putative ones.

I think it's important to distinguish indef blocks (apply to accounts) from bans (apply to users). It solves the problem with a "clean" definition of each. Saying that an abusive user can be banned and also that abusive accounts can be indef blocked is unhelpful, it leads directly back to the same problem of confusing/distinguishing a block from a ban. Solution: - A ban is when an individual is prevented from editing. An indef block is when an account is prevented from being used, eg due to inappropriate name, sock use, or to enforce a ban on its owner. An indef block on an account alone (without ban) doesn't exclude an individual from Wikipedia, a ban does. Simple and clear-cut distinction. See above for more detail. FT2 (Talk | email) 15:27, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the distinction between accounts and users is what needs to be emphasized in the policy. People can review what they like, but don't let's positively encourage anybody to review indefblocks of, say, abuse-only accounts which existed for 23 minutes and made 16 obscene userpage edits before being permanently blocked, because it's actually counterproductive. If the individual behind an abuse-only account reforms and wants to edit constructively, as one would hope happens sometimes, there's not IMO any need to require them to make public penance, apologize, or carry with them a compromised block log. Let them simply create a new account for a clean start. Secondly, it's undesirable to clog up ANI or any page with these huge numbers of obvious permablocks (even I, who by no means go looking for vandals, have done a crapload of them—I wonder how many are made every day?), as that can only distract from the very important task of review of bans of individuals. I endorse Radiant's version (assuming "putative" is a mere typo for "punitive"?). Bishonen | talk 17:52, 31 January 2007 (UTC).

In my opinion, bans and blocks are pretty clearly differentiated above, at #Bans and on the WP:BAN page. My proposed alternative:

Indefinite Blocks

An indefinite block is one where the blocks length of term has been set to 'infinite' or 'indefinite' by the admin placing the block. Indefinite blocks are generally used for abusive single-purpose accounts, e.g. accounts only used to vandalize, make personal attacks, impersonations, or threats, or that have an obscene username. Indefinite blocks should not usually be placed on individual or ranges of IPs.

On accounts that have constructive edits, admins should be cautious with applying an indefinite block, and a time limited block may be more appropriate. When indefinitely blocking such an account, make a note on WP:ANI. Except for blocks made as a result of WP:BAN, indefinite blocks may be reviewed by other admins at any time, and as with all other blocks should only be applied as precautionary measures not punitive ones.

For the difference between a block and a ban, see WP:BAN.

Thoughts?--Aervanath 18:37, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Does not helpfully clarify and distinguish a block on an abusive account/user and a ban on an abusive account/user. Gives the effective impression that for the one problem, there is both block and ban, and that both are possible and not clearly distinguished -- but its terribly important to choose the right one anyhow. That's an unhelpful impression to give.
Right now, what I'd look for is something that makes clear indef blocks and indef bans are not the same. Saying that both can be applied to a situation involving an account or user that is "vandalistic" or makes "personal attacks" does not actually help. It just reiterates the undesired impression that we're confused on terminology or use. The key question is, whether an "indef block" used on an "abusive account" is really a ban created/imposed on the person, or a block of the account (but not of valid editing by the same person under other accounts). A block should be of an account, a ban is of an individual. Key distinction, and very simple. Suggested modified proposal:
Indefinite blocks:

An indefinite block is one where the blocks length of term has been set to 'infinite' or 'indefinite' by the admin placing the block. Indefinite blocks are used to prevent a specific account from editing. This may be because the account itself is not to be used for various reasons, or because the individual who created it is banned or using it as an abusive single purpose account.

Inappropriate usernames , policy-breaching sockpuppets, and single-purpose abusive accounts that have not made significant constructive edits can be indefinitely blocked on sight, and should be noted in the block summary. This includes accounts used predominantly for vandalism, personal attack, or threats. Established users with significant constructive edits should not be indefinitely blocked except when there is a community ban. In all other cases, they should be handled with appropriate time-limited blocks or arbitration. Indefinite blocks should not usually be placed on IP users (whether individual IPs or IP ranges) in order to avoid inadvertantly blocking legitimate users.

FT2 (Talk | email) 22:46, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
While I still think that WP:BLOCK#Bans and WP:BAN are very clear on the distinction, there does seem to be some concensus for re-emphasizing this point about Indefinite Blocks. Since I think that FT2's latest proposal is the best, most clearly-written, and concise option so far, I will support it. --Aervanath 22:56, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

NMAP to check for proxies?!

The suggestion to use NMAP to check for proxies (port scanning) seems dangerous. It may be illegal or seen as such, and the remote site might take other actions, such as dropping all packets to/from where the NMAP "attack" came from.

Perhaps checking with the Administrative Contact (via whois) for the domain would be a prudent first step. --Frank Lofaro Jr. 19:06, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I've commented the paragraph out until someone can come up with a good reason to keep it. Using port scanners is against the AUP of many ISPs, so this kind of advice could get some of our editors into hot water if they follow it. --Barberio 19:42, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

31 hour blocks

31 hour blocks seem to be popular. What's with that? That isn't any multiple of any convenient number of hours or 2n minutes or anything. --Frank Lofaro Jr. 22:01, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

It's one of the default time periods in the drop down menu that you can pick. You either pick one of the defaults or you have to type in a specific time period. NoSeptember 22:07, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
It's a 2^n - 1, but I don't know if that means anything. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:43, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I think the idea is that it has a greater chance of "catching" an editor. If a nasty editor has slightly varying hours (e.g. edits 8-9 p.m. one day, 9-10 the next, varying arbitrarily) then a 24-hour-block instated at, say, 9 p.m. the one day does not actually affect that editor. >Radiant< 10:58, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes, I've always considered the 31 hour block to be the ideal short term "school block" because when you block during school hours you are certain to have the block remain for the entire school day the next day (unless it's Friday :). NoSeptember 19:50, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

reporting by non-admin editors

How does a non-admin editor report someone that might be doing things they can be blocked for? Shrumster 11:28, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Various subpages of the administrators noticeboard, such as WP:AN itself or WP:ANI/WP:3RRV. --Deskana (request backup) 11:33, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Self-blocking to enforce a departure

Until a couple months ago, the page said that "Blocking to enforce a Wikiholiday or departure is specifically prohibited". Do others generally agree with its removal?

I'm curious, because an editor has recently indefinitely blocked themselves, and then requested to be deadmined, effectively leaving them indefinitely blocked with only {{unblock}} as a recourse. I don't have strong feelings on it, though I think that it's in Wikipedia's best interest to have people contribute if they become willing again, that it's against Wikipedia's best interest to prevent people from contributing if they'd otherwise do so, especially when they were (up until very recently) a trusted administrator. --Interiot 16:18, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

  • I am pretty sure a former admin will have the contacts/knowhow to get themselves unblocked, if it was a voluntary block. E-mail, IRC, many admins even talk to others over telephone. So I wouldn't be worried about it from that angle. Personally, I think self-blocking is a needlessly dramatic way to leave... but sometimes even the best of us just get that upset. I guess Centrx is right that it's instruction creep, if there really are no technical problems with self-blocking anymore. I think there should be something to discourage people from requesting de-sysopping, self-blocking and otherwise trying to burn all their bridges in a huff. Most of the time people regret those actions eventually, sometimes the next day. But it should just be friendly advice, not policy. --W.marsh 16:28, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I generally agree with W.marsh. In the past, if a sysop using a dynamic IP blocked themselves, there was a chance that they could prevent a good-faith contributor from editing due to collateral damage. Today, with the availibility of disabling autoblock, this is not a problem. ~ PseudoSudo 16:52, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I have an instinctive dislike of drama. And self blocking is a drama piece... if a person really wants to leave they have a simple remedy, not to visit the URL. Inevitably a significant number will request unblocking or resysopping (if desysopped) when they get past that phase, mood, or reaction (or whatever it is). But as noted, "sometimes even the best of us just get that upset". So the question is between these two views:
  1. Self blocking is unnecessary and allowing it will encourage drama only. Don't allow it.
  2. Self blocking is something people may feel they need to do if upset, but not something we need to take note of. Allow temporary self blocking, on the understanding that all such blocks are not considered meaningful to the project and will be unblocked on request if any admin is prepared to do so (ie as long as they don't wear out patience or there isn't a legitimate basis for blocking).
My $0.02 says I'm happy with either of those. FT2 (Talk | email) 19:38, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Is there a way to stop being on the last warning?

Warning That's what I got I'm desparate. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Daniellerbenesch (talkcontribs) 01:38, 5 February 2007 (UTC).

  • uh just don't vandalize anymore and you'll be okay... --W.marsh 15:19, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Controversial blocks of established users "regardless of the reason"

This section of the policy page says that "blocks of logged-in users with a substantial history of valid contributions" are controversial "regardless of the reason for the block." (Emphasis is mine.) I'm wondering if 3RR blocks are an exception to that? I can see that an established user with a clean block log might feel quite insulted at being blocked in response to an uncivil comment made to another user, so it would probably not be the best way of dealing with that. But I've been looking at WP:AN/3RR (which is how I found this page), and it seems that anyone who makes a fourth revert to an article within 24 hours can be reported and blocked, regardless of that editor's history here. (I note also that an administrator may choose not to block.) I'm reluctant to change the policy page, as it might seem that I'm trying to change policy, but could someone more experienced say if the intention was that 3RR blocks, when applied to established users, should be included in the list of "controversial blocks"? Thanks. ElinorD 21:29, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

  • No, it says they can be controversial regardless of the reason. If you think that isn't clear, feel free to reword. >Radiant< 11:52, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
  • No, because whether a revert should "count towards" 3RR (to use the annoying parlance that policy forces) can be quite controversial sometimes. See the User:RickK block log/leaving drama, he was basically blocked for 3RR as he tried to remove what he considered to be a copyvio from an article. --W.marsh 15:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)