Wikipedia:Avoid the word "vandal"
This is an essay.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
|This page in a nutshell: Vandals are people who deliberately attempt to damage Wikipedia, not those who make adverse edits.|
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:
- Edits that push a particular point of view
- Edits you don't like
- Edits contrary to your objectives
- Edits that are "clearly wrong" (either according to you, or even in reality)
- Edits that stop you from doing The Most Important Thing Possible.
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 construed as good-faithed.
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.
- Wikipedia:Assume good faith
- Wikipedia:Assume the assumption of good faith
- Wikipedia:No personal attacks – people may consider the term "vandal" an attack
- Wikipedia:Don't call the kettle black (WP:KETTLE)
- Wikipedia:Don't template the regulars
- Wikipedia:Passive Aggressive
- Template:Uw-notvand A warning template for users who misuse vandalism warning templates.