Wikipedia:This is not an edit war

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Some situations can look like edit wars, but actually are not. Things can get particularly interesting-looking if several of these situations co-occur simultaneously (as they are wont to do), and yet there is nothing amiss!


Note that reverting people is not normally a nice thing to do!


In rapid editing[edit]

Normal rapid editing

Normal rapid editing could easily be normal wiki-editing. Don't assume it is an edit war upfront.

Two reverts needed instead of one

There are some rapid editing situations related to edit conflicts where 2 reverts might be needed to achieve the effect of a single revert

  • Not paying attention. An editor continues to edit, not noticing that they have been reverted. "(rv) Oi! Wake up! I just reverted you a minute ago!". (it happens)
  • Clarification. "(rv) And I actually meant that you should take it to talk now please!"
  • "Stomp". An editor just got caught in an edit conflict. Sometimes, rather than trying to fit in their edits, an editor will just (lazily) "stomp" over anything that went before, by pushing through their previous edit, without actually resolving. "(ec, Stomp) This just took me an hour to write, so I'll just commit this large change anyway, please integrate". It is particularly tempting to just stomp a revert, since reverts show up as being rather empty in a diff. 2 situations can now occur:
    • Other people have edited in the mean time. So the "stomp" counts as a revert. If there had been previous reverts, you now have 2 reverts.
    • "Stomp"ing a revert could count as reverting a revert.
    • If an editor disagrees with the "stomp"ed version after a revert, they may need to revert again, for a total of 2 reverts.

Different sections or different discussions[edit]

There are situations with multiple editors working on different sections simultaneously or different (heated) discussions simultaneously where coincidentally the sum total of reverts might be rather larger than 3, but where no actual conflict exists.

Rapid bold revert discuss[edit]

When using the Bold Revert Discuss Method, an impatient editor may be tempted to unrevert a revert made by the editor they are discussing with. Due to the current three revert rule, this can only be done at most three times per day on en.wikipedia (or less if one of the other non-editwar contingencies co-occur); other wikis might not have this rule.

If the brd-ing editor unreverts, they risk the other editor re-reverting back anyway, if in fact it turns out that agreement had not yet been reached.

This is why the actual guidance page states that it is wiser to let the other editor unrevert their revert and/or make the first edit, this is to prevent precisely this situation.

Soft protection[edit]

On en.wikipedia, soft protection is a historical procedure that is now coincidentally forbidden, because it requires an indefinite number of reverts. (So don't use it here!)

If you wished to manually protect a page or portion of a page from editing, without resorting to the normal sysop/administrator tools, you could simply watch the page and revert any edit that matched your soft-protection criteria. Or you could use a bot to do the same.

On en.wikipedia, this is no longer permitted since the introduction of the 3 revert rule. So far, no one has tried to convince people to re-introduce it as an exception. possibly because usage had become rare at the time?

Self reverts[edit]

Self reverts where an editor changes their own mind are never part of an edit war, unless that editor is suffering from multiple personality disorder. This kind of situation is (almost) never reported.

Agreed reverts[edit]

Sometimes a group of editors are collaborating well, and change their minds as a group. If everyone is "on the same page" on the topic, a revert might be made at the behest of the team as a whole. These situations are (almost) never reported.