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Wikipedia:Avoid the word "vandal"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One problem newcomers and inexperienced editors have on Wikipedia is using popular terms in a wider variety of circumstances than is appropriate. One such word is "vandal".

According to Wikipedia:Vandalism, vandalism is "editing (or other behavior) deliberately intended to obstruct or defeat the project's purpose, which is to create a free encyclopedia, in a variety of languages, presenting the sum of all human knowledge." This definition is excessively broad, even for the purposes of broad policy coverage. It goes on to restrict what constitutes "vandalism", however, saying emphatically that "[e]ven if misguided, willfully against consensus, or disruptive, any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia is not vandalism."

Note that the definition does not mention:

As a result, the word "vandal" should not be used in reference to any contributor in good standing or to any edits that can arguably be constructed as good-faithed unless such definitions are agreed.

Non-vandalism disruption may also occur. Instead of calling a person committing such disruption a "vandal", you are better off discussing that person's specific edits with them. Comment on the content and substance of the edits or arguments, not the person.

See also