Wikipedia:Revert, block, ignore
|While this essay is not a Wikipedia policy or guideline itself, it is intended to supplement the Wikipedia:Vandalism policy, to which editors should defer in case of inconsistency between that page and this one.|
A frequently used way of dealing with vandalism on Wikipedia is to revert, block, and ignore. The process follows three steps:
- Revert the vandalism on the page, so it appears in its pre-vandalised state.
- Block the user committing the vandalism without comment (or ask an administrator to do it for you).
- Ignore the vandal by not communicating with them via their talk page, even to notify them of the block.
This denies recognition to vandals that might otherwise turn them into long-term abusers. In the past we have neatly categorized vandals and constructed shrines for them on Wikipedia. No longer! Long-term vandals will quickly grow tired when all of their "work" is quietly reverted, their accounts/IPs blocked, and their cries for attention ignored, with no fanfare whatsoever. The prime motivation of serious vandals is to have a long-term effect on the encyclopedia; when they are simply reverted and blocked without so much as the bat of an eyelash and everything continues on as usual, they will go elsewhere.
There is a constant temptation for Wikipedians to play cops and robbers with vandals. Countering vandalism becomes a form of law enforcement. It should be remembered that most vandals are bored individuals with nothing more interesting to do. The best way to dissuade them from vandalising is to convince them that vandalising is boring and has no impact on the community or the encyclopedia. Boredom is Wikipedia's secret weapon. This is done by swift applications of RBI. "Law enforcement" and vandal paranoia themes are thus counterproductive, since they invite the vandal to see himself as a nemesis pitted against Wikipedia. The role-playing game may be enjoyed by the vandal and some Wikipedians alike – but the net effect is to undermine the boredom that will eventually drive the vandal away.
Remember, though, that vandalism is the deliberate attempt to disrupt Wikipedia. Any edit, even if completely against consensus, tendentious and unhelpful, but done because an editor genuinely wanted to improve the project from their point of view, should not involve RBI. In those cases, we want to tell the editor involved why their edits are problematic, because we hope they can improve. Be sure you are facing genuine vandalism, but when you are sure, revert, block and ignore in the knowledge you are helping Wikipedia.