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Wikipedia:Cleaning up vandalism

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Cleaning Up Vandalism

This page offers an introduction to cleaning up vandalism on Wikipedia. For the WikiProject on vandalism cleanup, see the Counter-Vandalism Unit.

A few things for current and aspiring vandal-fighters to keep in mind:

  • Good-faith efforts to improve the encyclopedia are not vandalism, even if they are misguided or ill-considered.
  • Content disputes are not vandalism. They should be dealt with by following the dispute resolution procedure.
  • Most edits by new or unregistered contributors are NOT vandalism. Check out the content added or removed. Don't revert blindly, and remember not to bite the newcomers.
  • Edits that appear to be in bad faith should not be considered vandalism until they can be proven such at a later time.
  • Learn about what motivates a vandal.

How to help

  • Anyone can help! Whenever you spot a page that has been vandalised, you are encouraged to edit it and clean it up, and/or warn the vandal using an appropriate warning template. See What to do if you spot vandalism below.
  • If you find yourself cleaning up vandalism frequently, you might be interested in patrolling recent changes. Note that participation is entirely voluntary. Also, you are not required to enlist anywhere.
  • There are various tools to help you. See the Tools section below.

What to do if you spot vandalism

This guide only applies to vandalism as defined by official policy.

1. Revert the vandalism by viewing the page's history and selecting the most recent version of the page prior to the vandalism. Use an edit summary such as 'rvv' or 'reverted vandalism' and click on the button "Publish changes".

See also the section below for tools to help with reverting.

2. Warn the vandal. Access the vandal's talk page and warn them using an appropriate template.

See this overview of the most commonly used warning templates and this table for a wider selection of warning templates.

3. Report vandals who continue to vandalise after having received a final warning. Most cases of vandalism should be reported to WP:AIV. Cases that are not simple vandalism can be reported to WP:AN/I. WP:LTA may be used for reporting particular vandals who persistently return (e.g. via sockpuppets).

Keep in mind...

Some useful reminders:

  • Civility is one of the pillars of Wikipedia. Avoid being rude, no matter how aggressive or obnoxious the vandal is. Some of them may want you to become angry and lose your temper: Don't fall for that!
  • Don't bite the newcomers. Not all bad edits are necessarily intentional vandalism. Some of them may just be test edits by newer editors.
  • On many ISPs, IP addresses are shared by many users, so be extra-careful not to be rude in your messages, as people seeing them may not be the same ones who vandalised.
  • Content disputes are not vandalism: If a user is adding biased content or you disagree with the information added, that doesn't mean the editor is vandalising. This includes violations of Wikipedia's Neutral Point of View policy. Corollary: 3RR rule still applies since it's not blatant vandalism. Instead of constantly reverting, discuss edits on talk pages and obtain community consensus. See resolving disputes.


The following is a list of tools and resources available for those who want to clean up with a more systematic approach.


Screenshot of Wikipedia recent changes IRC feed

The old school way is to load recent changes and check the (diff) links. It can be filtered according to featured articles, good articles, living people, new accounts' contribs, IPs' contribs, mobile contribs (as these are more prone to vandalism, see Help:Recent changes), and even by likelihood of being damaging or bad-faith. Searching for pages by their namespace and specific tags (e.g. VisualEditor, possible BLP issue or vandalism, etc.) can also be done. If they contain harmful edits, you revert to the previous version. However, the high volume of edits that occur each second makes this difficult to accomplish most of the time, and several tools have been created to simplify the process:

  • Huggle is a fast diff browser which parses edits from users and sorts them by predicted level of vandalism. Once identified, malicious edits can be reverted in the click of a button. Due to the fast-paced nature of the program, users on the English Wikipedia must have the rollback permission to use it; however, this is not a requirement on other wikis.
  • IRC Bots report at the #cvn-wp-en connect channel on the Libera Chat network list suspected vandalism edits (for example: blankings, edits made by blacklisted users, etc.).
  • Lupin's Anti-Vandal Tool monitors the RSS feed and flags edits with common vandalism terms. It also has a live spellcheck feature.
  • RCMap geolocates anonymous edits from the IRC live feed and displays them on a world map, with links to diffs. Supports multiple languages in a unified interface.
    Please be aware that this program is not hosted on Wikimedia Foundation servers
  • RC Patrol is a lightweight script that makes it easier to patrol recent changes. After installing, visit this page. The script uses ORES to automatically determine whether the edit needs review. You need rollback or admin permissions to use the script, just like with Huggle.
  • RedWarn patrol can be activated by any user of RedWarn on the recent changes page, quick reviewing and one-click rollback of disruptive edits.
  • SWViewer (direct link) is a user-friendly webapp with simple and intuitive UI that enables you to monitor recent changes in real-time. It also provides features to monitor multiple wikis at the same time. In order to use the application, rollback permission is required.
  • AntiVandal is another web-based vandalism monitoring tool, similar to Huggle in User Interface. It can be used to quickly revert vandalism and warn the vandal using escalating or 4im only warning templates. Users can also directly report vandals to Administrator Intervention against Vandalism after sufficient warning has been given. Rollback or admin permission is required to use the script.
  • WatchlistBot is an XMPP bot that sends messages in realtime when articles are modified. Users with a Jabber account can subscribe to the bot and watch both articles and users.
  • WikipediaVision is a web-based world map visualization of unregistered edits to the English (and the German, French, Spanish, Swedish) Wikipedia, almost the same time as they happen.
    Please be aware that this program is not hosted on Wikimedia Foundation servers

Rollback tools

These tools extend the rollback feature by allowing you to specify a summary when using rollback. They may also offer additional features:

Rollback-like scripts

These tools can be used to achieve the same effect as rollback if you do not have it.

  • RC patrol script gives non-administrators revert, filter, and popup tools while using the monobook skin.
  • RC review script for today's featured article gives all editors access to see recent changes in the featured article appearing on the Main page
    Please be aware that this program is not hosted on Wikimedia Foundation servers
  • Navigation popups are a set of utilities that appear when hovering over wikilinks. Particularly, hovering over links of old versions provides a "revert" link.
  • Twinkle gives both non-administrators and administrators three types of rollback functions. Other functions include a full library of speedy deletion functions, user warnings, pseudo-automatic reporting of vandals, and more.
  • RedWarn, like Twinkle, gives both non-administrators and administrators nearly twenty types of rollback functions, including a "rollback preview" and "quick rollback".
  • Ultraviolet also provides several different types of rollback functions for both non-administrators and administrators, like RedWarn.
  • mobileUndo (new version) a script which allows you to revert when using the mobile interface.

Special pages

  • User:Adam1213/warn is a page that simplifies the process of warning vandals by allowing warnings to be submitted to specific users directly from the page.

Task Forces

IRC channels

Note that these are not operated by or affiliated with Wikipedia.

  • #cvn-wp-en connect Primary RC bot listing (Activity feed only, discussion takes place in #wikipedia-en connect)
    For a list of bot commands, see CVNBot Documentation. To use these commands, you must have a NickServ registration, and be voiced by a channel operator.
  • #wikimedia-unifications connect Account creations
  • #cvn-commons-uploads connect File uploads
  • #cvn-wp-en-cluenet connect Channel that reroutes information from ClueNet. (Read-only, only staff and bots can speak)

Discord server

A Discord server has been started to help coordinate anti-vandalism response - please consider joining.

Vandalism Detection Score Services

  • WMF ORES is a web service and API that provides machine learning as a service for Wikimedia projects maintained by the Scoring Platform team. The system is designed to help automate critical wiki-work – for example, vandalism detection and removal. Currently, the two general types of scores that ORES generates are in the context of “edit quality” and “article quality.”[1]


  • Template:Vandalism information, a tool used as an indication of the current overall level of vandalism that is taking place on Wikipedia. On the page, click the edit button below the vandalism meter to change its level from 5 to 1 and/or add a short comment; 5 indicates very low levels of vandalism, and 1 indicates extremely high. You can add the vandalism information template to your userpage to stay up to date. See Template talk:Vandalism information for different styles.
  • Countervandalism Network, volunteer group that operates the "#cvn-" channels. This group is not owned by or affiliated with Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Wikilink scripts enable you to double click on [[wikilinks]] within IRC clients. Useful if doing patrol on the IRC channels.
  • There are other scripts that may be handy while doing cleanup (not necessarily vandalism cleanup). Check them at WikiProject User scripts/Scripts (WP:JS)
  • Template:Toolbar experiments, a tool to help with finding test edits in articles.


  1. ^ "ORES - MediaWiki". www.mediawiki.org. Retrieved 2019-07-24.

Dealing with vandalism