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|This page in a nutshell: Assuming Good Faith does not allow vandals to be disruptive in an attempt to Game the system.|
This essay is an attempt to explain why I believe people should be firm when dealing with obvious vandalism that is an attempt to disrupt the project, and not to assume good faith when the editor in the question is being severely disruptive.
A list of particular incidences
Throughout my somewhat brief time at Wikipedia, I have seen countless things that are (albeit impossible), attempts at disrupting the normal activity of Wikipedia:
- I once had the misfortune to be on Huggle at the time a person replaced all of the content on a featured article of the day with grotesque pictures. When I reverted it, he did it again, and then attacked at least 3 other popular pages with the same picture. Finally, he was banned for one week, but not before he ravaged multiple articles, which could possibly expose many Children in Schools to such images. Although, such is the risk I take whenever I click on any web page in Wikipedia (see Wikipedia:Content Disclaimer), it is detrimental to the educational value of the site.
- There have been multiple instances when people have vandalized my user page in attempts to insult or demean me. Nine times out of ten, the vandalism is reverted before I see it, but such attempts usually lead to warnings, not bans. Being uncivil is one thing, being destructive is another.
- Death Threats, no matter how unlikely they are to actually occur, should be grounds for an indefinite ban
Why this should be resolved
- Wikipedia is a popular site, and therefore is currently unable to respond to coordinated and extreme vandalism. It is unlikely, but not impossible, for someone to swarm the site, bringing it down using a DDOS attack, or by a large group of vandals.
- Wikipedia is a popular site, and therefore is visited often. Destructive vandalism can leave readers with a bad taste for the site, and we don't want that
- Quite simply, it is annoying.
Vandalism has been slowed down significantly by tools like Huggle and Twinkle. However, there are more ways to stop it. One of the best ways to stop vandalism would be to instantly block someone if they have added shock images in an article that is totally inappropriate, blanked a page repeatedly disregarding warnings more than once or twice, or done anything else they knew was wrong, they should be blocked, not warned. This would be the same for Death threats as well. Admins should be firm in their punishments to users. We should perhaps create a log of all blocked users however, in case it become necessary to revise it.
It is unfortunate that the way ISPs provide IP addresses causes indefinite bans to be ineffective. Therefore, caution must be taken when banning ANY IP address for longer than a week.
Assume Good Faith
Despite what I have mentioned, it is a good idea for editors to assume good faith unless it is an extraordinary situation. Accidentally blanking a page is acceptable, doing it 10 times is not. Inserting a bad image by mistake is acceptable, obviously inserting it to damage the project or to be a troll is not etc. etc.
Harmless newcomer activity should ALWAYS be considered in good faith; do not bite the newcomers, but harmless is the keyword.