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Circumventing policy refers to the intentional use of various tricks to deceptively bypass enforcement of Wikipedia policies, guidelines or detection by other editors of disruptive behavior. Such action may be a serious violation, and shall be handled approriately.
Types of circumvention
Sock puppetry refers to the use of multiple accounts in order to edit disruptively. Forms of disruptive editing via sock puppetry include, but are not limited to vandalism, distortion of consensus, casting multiple "votes" in a deletion discussion, engaging in an edit war with two or more accounts, or evading a block or ban.
The use of multiple accounts productively for a good or neutral purpose is acceptable.
Use of tricks to creating an article one believes will most likely get deleted, but by avoiding new page patrol so the article gets overlooked. This includes:
- First creating a title as a redirect, then later changing it to a bad-faith article. Since redirects are not scrutinized as often by new page patrollers, they will not likely be seen by one if changed to an article after a new page patroller will never get to see the page.
- Creating a seemingly legitimate article, then renaming it to the wanted title of a bad-faith article, and changing it accordingly. Though articles are not owned, this is essentially treating an article as one's own.
- Use of a sock puppet account to mark the page one has created as patrolled.
Most vandalism will be detected and will be quickly reverted. But some acts of vandalism do go unnoticed. There are a number of ways vandals cover their tracks. These include:
- Committing an act of vandalism in one edit, followed by another seemingly legitimate edit to make it appear that the vandalism has been reverted.
- Performing a minor edit that appears in good faith following a bad-faith edit, so only the most recent edit shows up on some watchlists.
- Changing a link so it appears the same on the front, but redirects to an irrelevant or possibly shocking page.
- Using hidden text to add inappropriate content, such as spam or shocking text.
- Adding one or more external links, then using text to make them appear as something different.
- Use of sock puppets to distort consensus in an edit war, or to evade the three-revert rule
- Making a minor edit following the edit to one's own version in order to make it appear the original edit was not made.