A change was introduced last week in the instructions to blocked users, hopefully reducing the burden on existing fora by sending them to a dedicated mailing list. The new list will be known as unblock-en-l.
The creation of the new mailing list was announced Tuesday by UninvitedCompany, a member of the Wikimedia Communications committee. This step was taken partly to distinguish unblock requests as an internal community matter from the general email traffic from the public handled by the committee via OTRS. The unblock-en-l mailing list is open and those interested in providing a fair hearing to blocked users are welcome to join.
The process for appealing a block has developed a number of options, partly to deal with inadvertent blocks of legitimate editors, which sometimes results because of situations like dynamic IP addresses and ISPs using proxy servers. A change allowing blocked users to edit their own talk pages was made nearly a year ago (see archived story). They may also contact the administrator who imposed the block via the "email this user" function if they have an email set in their user preferences (all admins who impose blocks are expected to have their own email set in preferences for this purpose).
Previously the designated place for appealing a block was the English Wikipedia mailing list, wikiEN-l. This list has very high traffic and there are regular complaints about the signal-to-noise ratio in any case. The tone of discussions there has been criticized as well, with requests sometimes degenerating into an exchange featuring rants on one side and mostly sarcasm and mockery on the other. In advertising the new list, UninvitedCompany encouraged members to "limit themselves to only highly respectful replies even in those cases where the unblock request is wholly without merit."