Wikipedia talk:Edit warring

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Definition of "revert"[edit]

I don't really care much how the word "revert" is defined at Wikipedia. But I am concerned that it be defined consistently, which it apparently is not. This policy says:

However, Help:reverting says:

These definitions are very different. According to the first, for example, any removal of a word that was previously inserted at any time by another editor would qualify. But, according to the second, such removal would not qualify if the removal changes the article to a state it was never in before. So which is it?Anythingyouwant (talk) 20:18, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

The page at Help:Reverting is not part of Wikipedia policy. Someone with a lot of patience could study the history to find out how it acquired the present wording, which is not quite correct, since it differs from WP:EW. I have heard that there was an old definition of a revert that meant to restore a page to a previous version. Such a definition is no longer in current use. EdJohnston (talk) 21:45, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Okay, if nobody beats me to it, I'll try to get Help:Reverting revised to conform with policy. Thanks for the reply.Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:00, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
Anythingyouwant, see the Definition of "Revert" and "Undo", "Does Change = Revert?" and Disastrous discussions; as seen by reading those discussions, the definition of a revert has been discussed a lot at this talk page. Despite a few interpretations that a revert means any change to an article, the vast majority of editors, in my experience, do not interpret a revert in that way. If a revert actually meant that, it would mean that if I went to an article right now and started editing it, I'm making a bunch of reverts and would be over the WP:3RR limit in a matter of minutes. Flyer22 (talk) 23:13, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
If they're consecutive edits then they would only amount to one revert per this policy, right?Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:26, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
So, yes, Help:Reverting has it right and I oppose changing it to what the WP:Edit warring policy states; all that changing it to that will do is contribute to problems, as the discussions I linked to above indicate. Flyer22 (talk) 23:19, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
So, you oppose conforming the non-policy to the policy? That seems topsy-turvy, and I think we can try to do better than that.Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:26, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
No, I oppose your interpretation of the policy and trying to have the correct definition altered to that interpretation; that's topsy-turvy. If you read any of the discussions I linked you to above, you will see that many/most people do not interpret the policy the way you are interpreting it. A revert does not mean every change. But if you are confident that editors generally see a revert that way and that it is beneficial to Wikipedia (despite the previous discussions showing that it is not beneficial to Wikipedia), go ahead and start a WP:RfC on what a revert is here or at Help talk:Reverting. I highly doubt that the vast majority of editors will agree to indicate that a revert means any change. Flyer22 (talk) 23:33, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
I would like to either conform the non-policy to the policy, or instead conform the policy to the non-policy. You seem to agree they are not now in conformity, and that is a recipe for confusion. You said above: "Help:Reverting has it right and I oppose changing it to what the WP:Edit warring policy states." Fine. Do you also oppose changing WP:Edit warring to what Help:Reverting states?Anythingyouwant (talk) 23:40, 12 May 2015 (UTC)
I do not agree that the two pages are not in conformity. You are interpreting the WP:Edit warring policy's wording on what a revert is too strictly, like a few people do. Yes, that interpretation has proven to be a problem, but it's not rampant; I already told you above, "Despite a few interpretations that a revert means any change to an article, the vast majority of editors, in my experience, do not interpret a revert in that way." As for asking me "Do you also oppose changing WP:Edit warring to what Help:Reverting states?"... No, I don't, but such a proposal barely gets anywhere, because of the few editors who do not want the WP:Edit warring policy to clearly state what a revert is, those who then make proposals that don't achieve WP:Consensus, or whatever else. I again refer you to the aforementioned discussions. Have you taken the time to read any of them? This section you've started is a rehash of that. In any case, Help:Reverting is to explain what a revert is, which is why the WP:Edit warring policy links to it. The WP:Edit warring policy is to explain what edit warring is. I'm done discussing this unless another big discussion on the matter results or unless it's taken to Help talk:Reverting; if taken there, I'll mostly repeat what I stated here. Flyer22 (talk) 00:02, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, then, I won't answer your questions if you're done discussing it.  :-)Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:08, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
My view, which I think has a decent following, is that once an edit becomes part of the long term stable content of an article, the initial change to it no longer counts as a revert. Exactly what counts as stable will vary based on the activity of the article. But the help version is wrong as well. If one editor is reverting to the stable version, and the other keeps changing, but to a states it has never been before, both are equally reverts. Its really important to remember the following from WP:3rr The rule is not an entitlement to revert a page a specific number of times. If you are worrying about whether something counts as your 3rd or 4th revert, you are already edit warring and should stop. Monty845 00:50, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for that perspective. Here's how the question arose for me. A particular BLP had constantly been changing but had some elements that were more stable than others. An editor X came along and made some changes, then other editors edited other aspects of the article, then editor X came back and edited some further aspects of the article by making more changes, and so on many times within a 24-hour period. There was no war over any particular edit, really. But still the longstanding work of many editors was being undone using well over three separate strings of consecutive edits in 24 hours. (It may well be that some of the minor edits between those strings were made deliberately to interrupt editor X's consecutive edits.) So I brought 3rr to the attention of that editor, who in turn brought Help:Reverting to my attention. So I'm just trying to figure out what's what. Was there a 3rr violation or not? This particular incident is water under the bridge, but I'd like to know for the future. I often stop editing articles on the assumption that this policy says I have to, and if that assumption is wrong I'd like to know.Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:41, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
If the "minor" edits did not appear to substantively revert editor X's edits, I would treat editor X's edits as if they were consecutive under the rule. So for example, if make a substantial edit to section A, and you come along and you fix a typo in my edit (or make some small change someplace totally different), and then we repeat the pattern with sections B, C, and D; assuming no other intervening edits, in my view we would both be treated as being at 0-1 revert. We don't want to treat clearly collaborative editing as edit warring by unthinkingly applying the precise language of the policy. Now it quickly gets murky once we leave the realm of uncontroversial grammar corrections. Generally I would look for where it becomes clear in the edit history that a dispute is occurring, and start counting reverts from there, starting at 0 or 1. Obviously this is all very subjective, so your actual results will depend on the admin you happen to draw. Monty845 01:48, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
I see, thanks. I'm going to read through the discussions that Flyer22 referred to, and will try to figure out if there is any good reason why the rules should be so murky and subjective. Sometimes murkiness and subjectiveness can be useful, I guess. Cheers.Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:58, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Discussion of text "...rather than trying to resolve the disagreement through discussion"[edit]

Background[edit]

Stickee reverted the following text:

An edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions.

to:

An edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions, rather than trying to resolve the disagreement through discussion.

with the summary:

rather important for the lead sentence


the addition

rather than trying to resolve the disagreement through discussion.

had been deleted by Quessler giving the following reason:

pedagogical appeal inappropriate in factual definition

Arguments[edit]

Murder is the killing of another person without justification or valid excuse, and it is especially the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought.

would it be rather important to add to this definition, as follows:

Murder is the killing of another person without justification or valid excuse, and it is especially the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought, rather than living together peacefully.

Probably not.

Conclusion[edit]

The current version is inferior, it is non-factual and didactic.

Quessler will revert the current version to:

An edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions.

no additional arguments being provided.

Quessler (talk) 15:00, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

  • I don't share Quessler's philosophical concerns with whether the wording "rather than trying to resolve the disagreement through discussion" is logically justified, but I do agree that the wording should be removed, though for a different, and more pragmatic, reason. Time and time again as an administrator I deal with editors asking to have edit-warring blocks lifted, on the grounds that while they were repeatedly reverting, they were also discussing on the article's talk page, so it wasn't edit warring. In other words, there are many editors who think that as long as they post one or two comments on the talk page, they are then free to keep on reverting repeatedly, and they are immune to blocking for edit-warring. Further down the page the advice is offered to discuss on the talk page rather than edit-warring, and that is fine, but to include "rather than trying to resolve the disagreement through discussion" in the definition of what "edit warring" means is both unnecessary and, for the reason I have given, unhelpful. The editor who uses the pseudonym "JamesBWatson" (talk) 16:06, 27 May 2015 (UTC)
    • @JamesBWatson: I've certainly encountered the same issue you have. Perhaps the "rather" implies a false dichotomy between reverting and discussing. Would a better wording be "An edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions,. Editors should try to resolve the disagreement through discussion"? I'm cautious about changing the lead sentence of a core policy which has remained unchanged for 6 years.
To Quessler, it is meant to be "didactic/pedagogical". This page is a conduct policy, which describe how an editor is to behave when contributing to this project. Stickee (talk) 03:31, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure that wording would resolve the issue. I might suggest something more along the lines of An edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page, rather than trying to resolve the disagreement through discussion, repeatedly override each other's contributions. Perhaps it should even read consensus rather than discussion. DonIago (talk) 13:02, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

A proposal for a "better" intro paragraph[edit]

Proposal[edit]

the current version of the lead article paragraph:

An edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions, rather than trying to resolve the disagreement through discussion. Edit warring is unconstructive and creates animosity between editors, making it harder to reach a consensus. Users who engage in edit wars risk being blocked or even banned. Note that an editor who repeatedly restores his or her preferred version is edit warring, whether or not the edits were justifiable: "but my edits were right, so it wasn't edit warring" is no defense.

should be changed to:

An edit war occurs when editors who disagree about the content of a page repeatedly override each other's contributions. Edit warring is unconstructive and unsuitable for putting an article into a stable state. In this context, stability is wikipedia's primary editing goal. Wikipedia intentionally does not distinguish, does not attempt to distinguish between inferior or superior, factually correct or incorrect article states, put differently you should abstain from repeated reverts, even if you "know" that your revert would improve the article's factual consistency, even if your "adversary" was unable to refute, or did not even bother to engage with your arguments on the TALK page: use the constructive alternative mediation procedures open to you, instead.

Rationale[edit]

Instead of indicating the problems of the current version in detail I produced a completely "alternative" version, which for my understanding better "explains" what is really going on, and how "editing warring" is just as much a consequence of policy decisions, as it is of the intransigence or "inconsensuality" of "evil", "incorrigible", "pubescent" editors.

Quessler (talk) 14:38, 30 May 2015 (UTC)

"Wikipedia intentionally does not distinguish, does not attempt to distinguish between... factually correct or incorrect article states..." This is plainly incorrect as deliberately adding incorrect info is treated as vandalism. The rest of the wording does not seem to be an improvement either with awkward phrasings and dubious assertions (stability is wikipedia's primary editing goal). --NeilN talk to me 14:44, 30 May 2015 (UTC)