Wikipedia:Patent nonsense

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Wikipedia writers and editors contribute a lot of brilliant prose, but occasionally some patent nonsense. This falls into two categories:

  1. Total nonsense, e.g. text that purposefully has no meaning at all (lorem ipsum) and random text (banging on the keyboard).
  2. Content that, while apparently intended to mean something, is so confusing that no reasonable person can be expected to make any sense of it. See word salad. If the meaning cannot be identified, it is impossible to accurately copy-edit the text.

Not to be confused with ... [edit]

The following should not be speedily deleted as patent nonsense (though some might meet other speedy-deletion criteria). There are other ways to deal with these things: editing to fix the problem(s); possibly reverting or tagging; or see the deletion policy.

Dealing with patent nonsense[edit]

There are various ways to deal with total nonsense—use your good judgment to decide which is most appropriate:

  • Replace it with a well-written article.
  • Move it to the page's talk page.
  • Move it to the user's talk page.
  • Remove it from the article if there is any acceptable content left in the article after that. Often patent nonsense is easy to undo.

Do consider that it might have been a test edit, and don't bite the newbies by calling them vandals in this case, but instead warn them with a personal note or by using the uw-test series of warning templates (Template:Uw-test1). Where vandal intent is clear warn using the uw-vandalism series of warning templates, and report them as vandals if they continue.

However, if a user objects because they believe the content is not patent nonsense, discuss the issue and try to reach a consensus. In particular, if someone offers to rework the "nonsense" into worthwhile content, please allow them reasonable time to do so.

If a page contains nothing but patent nonsense:

  • First, examine the page history to determine whether the patent nonsense present replaced other earlier content. If so, restore the page to the latest revision before the content was replaced by patent nonsense. Warn users responsible for introducing patent nonsense as above.
  • Otherwise, identify it for speedy deletion by placing {{db-g1}} or {{db-nonsense}} at the top of the page. Warn and report as above.

See also[edit]