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ZAP lightning bolt icon.png

Zapping a page means to perform the following actions:

  • Redirect the page to a dummy redirect target in the same namespace:
  • Put zap in the edit summary.
  • Follow "What links here" for the zapped page and correct any links, exercising good judgement. If the problem page is caught quickly, there should be few or none of these.
  • Document the zapping on the original page's talk page, including reasons for zapping, and sign.

Advantages to zapping[edit]

  • No bureaucracy: Any user can do this.
  • No extra manual work: No tagging, subpage creation, or other overhead; nothing to close or archive.
  • No confusion: The process is completely transparent. Readers and editors who wind up in the Sandbox can follow the redirect=no link to the original page and thus to its talk. History is preserved.
  • No catastrophe: The action is completely reversible. Mistaken, hasty, or bad-faith zapping can be fixed quickly -- and at any later date.
  • No debate required: The action can still be discussed on the zapped talk page, but such debate is not demanded. We have enough to fight about. Zapping consumes a minimum of editor attention.
  • No voting: VotingIsEvil and a major source of Community strife. This is the wiki way of doing things.
  • Fast: Zapping gets the problem page quickly out of the way of spiders, which is the immediate and important goal.

Potential issues with zapping[edit]

  • No prior consensus. But then, it's not needed. Zapping is reversible. Contested zapping is dealt with the same as any other contested edit -- polite discussion on talk, escalating if needed to an RfC or mediation.
  • Can be done in bad faith. Many edits can be done in bad faith. Calling one's own vandalism "zapping" does not legitimize it. All vandalism is reversible.
  • Can be reversed in bad faith. This is called edit warring, and is always bad. Fortunately, we already have methods in place to track all edits and deal with problem users. These apply here as well.
  • Does not provide sufficient disincentive to creators of poor content. Some users will not be discouraged by anything short of a visit by the WP Black Bag Squad wielding baseball bats. Before we do that, we can start by blocking the problem user's account or IP; escalate to IP range blocking; and if necessary, pursue a court order.
  • Redirecting across namespaces is bad, so don't do it. If you must zap, it's better to redirect to a dummy redirect target in the same namespace. If you add newly-created dummy redirect targets to the list above, you'll avoid needless duplication.

See also[edit]