Wikimedia Developer Support

Users silenced for no valid reason


I somehow stumbled on the silenced users list which I would expect to be empty but it actually isn’t. (Silenced users can’t post or reply or do basically anything other than PM admins; it’s much like being blocked on a wiki. Except it’s apparently done automatically by some heuristic.)

There are two totally new users who have been silenced for “New user typed too fast” which seems a bit ridiculous (if the system gently asked them whether they want to spend more time on the post, I could understand that, but basically just disabling the account?), and a third users who has asked a question and behaved in a perfectly normal way, silenced for no reason.

I guess that tells us a couple things:

  • silencing is erratic and best disabled until we actually have a volume of spam that requires it
  • users who are silenced mistakenly don’t reach out to the admins so we should be extra careful about automated defenses
  • the system doesn’t even warn admins when it moderates people (presumably that’s a bug? it’s not really reasonable)


I have changed these default settings in the Spam section of the admin dashboard:

notify mods when user silenced - If a user is automatically silenced, send a message to all moderators. (now checked)

auto silence fast typers on first post - Automatically silence users that do not meet min_first_post_typing_time (now unchecked)

We can apply more changes as new false spam detections arrive. At least now we will get notified as soon as they happen.