Wikipedia talk:Vandalism/Archive 7

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Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8


Suggestion To Track Vandalism/Changes

As the scope of wikipedia is growing and as every user can not watch 'watchlist' all the day, it is suggested that if there is some change in contents of topic on user watchlist, then wikipedia should email 'user watchlist' immediatly to the user to keep track of vandalism and changes. If user does not want immediate email, User should be given choice how often he/she receive email in one day.

This way almost all users will be involved to track vandalism if change is negative and improve quality of article if the change is positive.

Some articles does not change everyday and gradually creators of that articles stop watching watchlist, visiting wikipedia site. If after their departure some change occurs, then the creators of that article have no way to know it.

For administrators, some changes may seem like contribution because of lack of knowledge on that specific subject. But for experts it may be irrelevent or that of poor quality.

viran 11:52, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

I get many changes on my watchlist each day, so it would be useless for me, but it might be something that could be added under 'preferences' as long as it didn't put too much strain on the system. Richard001 23:22, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

'Vandelism' term being banded around - by non-domain experts - could be construed as Libel

It is funny that as an Internationally rated chess player, annotating the four key decisive wins of Anand in the Mexico City tournament (where he recently became Chess world champion) is described as "Vandalism" by Ryan Delaney, and then stamped in the history of edits of the Anand page.

Is Wiki so full of itself now, that it does not recognise the International chess rating system, and basically *Anonymous* people in the Chess world can report "Vandalism" which is actually the work of Internationally rated chess players? What is Ryan Delaney's chess rating?! Why is he a self-declared judge on chess content - or mutlimedia game annotations?!

Perhaps in the definition of "Vandalism" it is important to recognise the subject domain - and seek to find authorities within that domain. The current emphasis seems to be on people such as Ryan Delaney as a self-declared authority in Chess labelling things as "Vandalism" when in fact it is he who is purpetrating Vandalism by the content link removals.

Again, I am left disappointed for where Wiki is going, and I think it is almost libellous how the term "Vandalism" is being implied to the history section of certain documents. Vandalism applied to the content of domain experts - this is where I question whether Wiki is heading for disaster - because this my frends is starting to become libellous - make no mistake about it. When you start abusing domain experts and calling them vandals, I would suggest is not a very good path to tread on.

In the case in question, I uploaded multimedia game annnotations of the four decisive wins of Anand on youtube. Does Wiki have a place for multimedia videos? If so, where is it? If not, what is the harm of using the External links section of the Anand page to have links to those multimedia annotations? One of my vidoes is featured on - their consultation rest of world game. Most of my videos get 5 star ratings on youtube. I am a qualified chess player, and my videos are enjoyed by many. And yet I am accused of vandalism, by putting links to my multimedia game annotations. Is this fair?

Check my Youtube videos for yourselves:-

Kingscrusher 12:39, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

This page is for discussion of Wikipedia's policy on vandalism. What you have here is a content dispute. Please follow Wikipedia:Dispute resolution and discuss the links at Talk:Viswanathan Anand#Removal of YouTube video links, not here. Hut 8.5 14:47, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Question About Removing Item from Talk page

Question in reference to this page:

Talk: Stoughton Massachusetts

The original Editor that posted this comment did so with good intentions, as they removed what appeared to be an Unverifiable Personal Statement from the related article. It is likely the original edit they removed was actually just vandalism. There was no real dispute to this removal, and the removal happened a while back. So the question is, how long should the comment remain on the discussion page? There have been a copule of editors that have tried to remove this comment, as its existence in the talk page itself could be construed as kind of a form of vandalism because the original vandalism now lives on...

So my question is, should the comment on the talk page be left as is, pruned, or archived? Does the original poster of the comment need to be involved in the decision?

--Ratboy37 23:25, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't have to be, but I don't think it would hurt to just delete it. I often remove superfluous material myself. It's unlikely anyone will try to add that back, so there seems little reason to keep it. Richard001 00:04, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Statistics on vandalism

Has there been any statistical analysis of pages vandalised by category? I "would guess" that experimentation/mistyping/misinterpretation of information would be random across articles, but differ for "general" and "specialist knowledge" pages. "Vandalism and creative rewriting" would be confined to a much smaller percentage, while "present office holders" will attract more vandalism than their predecessors (being non-controversial). Jackiespeel 17:20, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Hmm. I know there's the list of most vandalized pages. And there's the Vandalism Studies. I'd go from there and see what kind of info you can find. Useight 05:53, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

The name of this policy is an ethnic slur

A very common ethnic slur, particularly on Wikipedia, but that doesn't make it any better. Jacob Haller 21:31, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Not at all, Jacob; The word entered the language, obviously, because of common Vandal practice to destroy everything pertaining to the enemy, on sight. Yes, yes, I know that that is a gross simplification; still, that was the motive behind the inclusion of 'vandal' as one who damages or destroys. Consider the cases of 'sadism' and 'sadist' - I am quite certain that the Marquis would be outraged by the definition of these terms(or perhaps not?), but this sort of thing happens all of the time. How would a Goth feel about being connected to 'goth' behaviour and accoutremént? I also rather doubt that there are any Vandals left to take exception, so your argument seems rather moot to me. Kindest regards, --Lyricmac 04:19, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
I tried warning one trasher, however, the template automatically inserted the ethnic slur into the warning. I therefore removed my warning. Jacob Haller 16:26, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps you could make up your own special set of templates, replacing the word 'vandalism' with 'defacement' or 'sabotage', though you may want to thoroughly research the etymology of these words as well. Richard001 04:21, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Pages Vandalised for no reason

The Burger King article has been vandalised and was vandelised for no reason,you think its been enough that the article has been vandilesd?Sometimes pepole vandalis them for no reason,they got to know Wikipedia is not a crystal ball.Sorry for my spelling.--Someguyudontknow 01:20, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Very little vandalism is done for any reason. If you have an issue with that article, you'll have to discuss it on the talk page or ask for protection if needed. Complaining about vandalism just wastes time and gives the vandals reward for their work. Richard001 02:08, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Category:IP addresses used for vandalism

Hey all,
After a discussion with User:Jc37, I've changed the desciption for Category:IP addresses used for vandalism to read that all IPs being used for blatant vandalism should be added to the category, for referencing when dealing with future edits by these IPs. I am currently defining "blatant vandal" as an IP that has received at least a level 2 vandalism warning. However, the description also stipulates that shared IP addresses, because of their inconsistent nature being controlled by multiple people, should not be added, as it might cause bias against them and the loss of good faith, constructive edits. Now, I know that not many people check this page that often, so I will be spamming this notice in multiple vandalism-related areas; however, I will redirect discussion here. I would like to get some community input into making this an official policy to keep better track of our unregistered voters. Thanks! GlassCobra 03:48, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with this change. As far as I know, the only thing that feeds into this category now (besides manually adding it) is {{repeatvandal}} - which is only used for IPs that have been blocked repeatedly which includes many shared IPs. Right now, the AIV bots will indicate if an IP reported there is in this category. If this change is made, that would be reported for almost every IP address reported there, which would defeat the purpose. Why do we need a category for every IP address given a level 2 warning? Besides the AIV bots, what uses this category? What about dynamic IPs? What happens when they change owner and the new owner automatically gets the bad reputation? I'm afraid I just don't see the reason behind this. As it stands, it is an indication that an IP is most likely static and its owner is a vandal or it is a shared IP with plenty of people who like to vandalize using it. If this change is made, it would literally put every IP address who vandalizes in the future into it. Why do we want that? Mr.Z-man 01:18, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
I disagree also. It would, over time, make the category meaningless. Almost every dynamic IP will eventually end up here. Vandalism form an IP is not particularly surprising. Only those semi-static IPs that are recurrent vandals are useful in the category. GRBerry 14:42, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
Also, I don't see how this would work. The easiest way would be to put the category in all the warnings (level 2 and above) but that would have the effect of categorizing shared IPs and registered users too. The only way I can see is to put the category on the page manually (which would require an extra step for warning vandals) or to create separate warning templates for non-shared IPs. Either way we would have to change the way everyone warns vandals, not an easy task. Mr.Z-man 17:47, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
How about a cat that only included recent vandals from the last day or two? That could be effective against moderately dynamic IPs. Having them appear a different colour in page histories etc during this time could make them easier to spot. Richard001 22:06, 17 October 2007 (UTC)
I could (and did) create a possible addition to the templates that would put a page into a category for only 2 days after the template is added (using ParserFunctions). I tested it with 2 minutes, it should work for 2 days as well.(I'll know in 2 days) There does seem to be a bit of a bug though; I think its just a caching issue. It might not be as much of a problem over 2 days. Mr.Z-man 03:17, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Never mind, the cached version won't expire for a month unless someone manually purges it. This won't work unless someone gets a bot to do it by removing the category after it has been on a page for 2 days (it could still be added by the templates). You can make a request at WP:BOTREQ. Mr.Z-man 04:07, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I see your point about the category becoming useless; I admit, I hadn't taken everything into consideration. I do like the idea of having a bot that would patrol the category, though. Would this be possible? GlassCobra 18:52, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Personally, it doesn't matter to me what the criteria is, as long as there is criteria, else, as someone else mentioned, this will become a voluminous, nearly useless category. - jc37 18:26, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I think the traditional standard for using the {{repeatvandal}} template is that the IP has been blocked multiple times. This seems the most useful. I don't think that it will bite newbies who happen to share the IP, as they have probably already experienced a block due to other vandals, and their talk page will be full of warnings anyway. If it is a shared IP there should also be the appropriate sharedIP talk page header, such as {{ISP}}, which explains that editors shouldn't take it personally. -- zzuuzz (talk) 18:37, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
The bot suggestion was if you wanted a list of all vandals who were active in the past couple days. It should be possible (though I couldn't do it); a category would have to be added to all of the warning templates so that the category is added to a page when a warning is given. The bot would check the timestamps added with the templates and if the most recent timestamp was >48 hours ago or the user is blocked, it removes the category from the page. The bot would have to run daily at the least, using the pages in the category as the list of pages to check. I still don't see how helpful it will be though. I've reverted the change to Category:IP addresses used for vandalism. If we do use a category to categorize recent vandals, it should be a different one. Mr.Z-man 20:28, 18 October 2007 (UTC)
L2 is far too low. If one person makes on edit from an IP along the lines of "This page is crap, someone fix it!", an over-zealous warn-er may hit them with an L2 tag... and get them listed as an "IP address[] used for vandalism" ? I agree with the person suggesting that repetitious blocks be the best criteria. 19:15, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't have any problem listing such a person as a vandal. Such edits only degrade the whole project. In fact, I'd give them a blatant vandalism warning myself. Richard001 23:03, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Can vandalism be remedied by protection?

Is protecting articles for weeks (2,3,...) a right remedy against vandalism - especially the unpredictable random one, and not wars - or should blocking individual vandals be used instead, because protecting is detrimental to editing up to grinding it to stop, where anonymous editors are the edit driving force, please? Additionally, vandalism can be provoked or made up from IP addresses by editors violating WP:OWN just to instigate protection in order to restrict anonymous editors. For an example click here, and for clarifying the vandalism definition to easier identify vandals see Wikipedia talk:Vandalism#Make it less vague, define "deliberate" & "good-faith effort". - 04:53, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

Copied from Wikipedia talk:Protection policy#Can vandalism be remedied by protection? by - (talk) 17:31, 18 November 2007 (UTC):

Blocking takes precedence over protection. But in many cases, the IPs are dynamic or there are just too many different IPs to block without creating more collateral damage (for example, a while ago we blocked an IP that was used by every person in a country, I think it was Qatar). Sometimes a user is making a bunch of new accounts or they did, so the best way to stop them all is to semiprotect. -Royalguard11(T·R!) 20:49, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
So, it seems that: Yes, as the last resort, when other remedies were exhausted or could not have been applied. That policy is reasonable in theory, but how it has been followed? I can give you two examples of articles being often (over)protected: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Not a single vandal has been blocked, and I found just one warned and not even blocked (User:! Both the articles were overprotected and the protection was subsequently lowered after a tedious process that nobody would pursue; I did it, but only twice, just to exemplify the abuse of protection policy, as a rule rather than exception (see Talk:Diego Rivera#Protecting Diego Rivera for 20 days... excessive and abusive??? and Talk:Frida Kahlo#"Protecting" the article for 2 weeks - too much!!!) caused - I think - by "taking shortcuts" by sysops not careful enough. My point is that the protection policy was (and still is) systematically abused, and - so - I have proposed improvement to the vandalism definition (Wikipedia talk:Vandalism#Make it less vague, define "deliberate" & "good-faith effort") to clarify subject of blocking to make it reality rather than theory. - (talk) 03:38, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Make it less vague, define "deliberate" & "good-faith effort"

Wp:vandalism#Warnings suggests several warnings for unintentional vandalism, as: unintentional vandalism/test, unintentional removal of content, writing nonsense, etc., but there is no clear standard - neither in the intro (lead) nor in the somehow vague Types of vandalism - allowing to distinguish them from similar, but non-vandalism mistakes. So, based on the definition of vandalism in "Black's Law Dictionary", I propose to add such a standard to WP:VANDALISM, as the following changes:

Sec. I. Add the following definition of "deliberate" at the end of the first paragraph of the lead (intro):

"Deliberate" means not only intentional, but also with reckless and senseless ignorance (of what appropriate content is) to a degree comparable with intent.[1] Comparability with intent derives from conscious disregarding of what is right in content in the attitude like "what do I care... to think, look, check, read, etc.", e.g. changing without explanation a correct sentence into incoherent text, i.e. changing on a whim and neglecting reading the change made. Such ignorant damage or destruction (of content) is equivalent to intentional one, hence considered as vandalism (though possibly unintentional - assuming good-faith - similarly to writing nonsense without explanation).

Sec. II. Change the last word ("vandalism") of the second paragraph of the lead (intro) to "damage or destruction of content", because you cannot define vandalism using the word "vandalism", or - in other words - you cannot define a term by itself, e.g. water is... water. - 17:35, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Sec. III. Expand the "good-faith effort" description by adding the following explanation at the end of the second paragraph of the lead (intro) as the third paragraph instead of the existing one, which will become the fouth paragraph insted:

But, good-faith effort means good-faith and effort. Reckless and senseless ignorance (equivalent to: "what do I care... to think, look, check, read, etc.") cannot be qualified as effort, but its lack only. Such ignorance also is synonymous with bad-faith, since there is no disregard of what is right (such ignorance is) in good-faith or neutral. So, changing without explanation a correct sentence into incoherent text, i.e. changing on a whim and neglecting reading the change made, is an example of such a lack of effort qualified as vandalism. Reckless and senseless ignorance cannot be excused by good-faith assumption, because such a loophole would allow for abusive writing nonsense, damaging text, etc. under the pretext of ignorance, whereas ignorance is not defense (excuse) since the ancient Romans times. Hence, the importance of giving a valid reason by writing explanation in Edit summary qualifying as good-faith effort (because having it proves good-faith, and giving it proves effort). First of all though, writing explanation in Edit summary forces the editor not only to have a valid reason, but also to spell it out for others for not to be accused of vandalism, when the edit's good-faith intention is not obvious, since it is the obligation of editor to demonstrate good-faith effort, rather than of others - puzzled by his edit - to prove its lack. - 03:54, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Examples: For examples click here (diffs are in the middle). - 04:03, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

I can't really see the point in this. Policy pages are not legal documents, and don't need to be - editors are expected to exercise some measure of common sense in interpreting them. Hut 8.5 19:45, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
How clarifying a murky and difficult aspect of a policy (stated as, e.g. "Not all vandalism is obvious") will not make easier following or interpreting the policy or will be anything else than beneficial to it, please? In other words, how making more clear "a standard that all users should follow" (in the header of, e.g. WP:VANDALISM), which has an undeveloped part per its own statement (e.g. "Not all vandalism is obvious"; seemingly asking for improvement), will not benefit that standard by making it easier to follow and interpret, please? Will not such clarifications reduce misunderstanding, mistakes, bad judgment, or even abuses in following or interpreting the policies, please?
Moreover Hut 8.5, if you "can't really see the point in this" (as you said), does it prove that such point does not exist except that only you can't see it, please? In other words, your personal opinion is against formal logic (not seeing something doesn't disprove it) and so... common sense. Hence, a funny coincident is that, despite the WP:VANDALISM advice (that "For example, adding a personal opinion to an article once is not vandalism — it's just not helpful, and should be removed or restated.") you just stated such a personal opinion (not helpful ever!). Since perception of common sense is personal, and only that can be used, where there is no clarity in policies, therefore relying just on "common sense in interpreting them" is highly unreliable even from seasoned administrators, as your above private opinion proved contradicting itself. In other words, clarifications to the policies are very beneficial, because many (including administrators) may not understand policies (which - so - should be as clear as possible), and relying just on "common sense in interpreting them" (as you said) may not be enough... by a wide margin, which your not helpful personal opinion (i.e your perception of common sense) proves.
So, thanks for your very important input-example actually supporting the proposal even against your intention. - 21:23, 6 November 2007 (UTC)
So, Wikipedia is happy with the number of disputes, which part may be a result of the somehow vague description of the WP:VANDALISM standard expressed even within it by the words "Not all vandalism is obvious", please? - 04:24, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
This seems pretty uncontroversial. "Not all vandalism is obvious" means just that: some vandalism is obvious (e.g. replacing a page with obscenities). Some is not (e.g. changing the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide from 375 ppm to 3 ppm). Both can represent a deliberate attempt to damage the encyclopedia. Disputes surrounding the meaning of vandalism generally occur when editors mislabel stubborness, content disputes, or differing concepts on how to improve the encyclopedia as vandalism. This issue is well-covered in the policy. Do you have any examples of disputes "which part may be a result of the somehow vague description" of vandalism? MastCell Talk 23:09, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
"Not all vandalism is obvious" in the intro just invites abuse, because it also informs (and - so - suggests and instructs) that, if editor wants to vandalize with impunity, then the editor needs only to make it not obvious to get away with it! Replacing 375 ppm with 3 ppm is obvious and out of question, but when editor maliciously deletes, e.g. the reference [1] from the Sec. I above, but also writes in the edit summary a fake (WITHOUT VALID REASON) excuse (e.g. "I haven't heart about it" or "it is not needed or important" or "it is better this way " or "I see it for the first time", "let's discuss it first", etc.) than - despite that it was just malicious - it is not vandalism per the intro's sentence "Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is NOT vandalism.", because good-faith is not defined, so there is no distinction between faked and genuine good-faith and - so - fakes are excused too, if the editor was smart enough to put it in. Do you want me to vandalize something per the above prescription to show it, or you can imagine such vandalism from the description alone, or you do not believe that it will be unnoticed, or you believe that it can be unnoticed, but such vandalism is acceptable, please?
- 21:46, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I concur with Josh. Not a useful change.
James F. (talk) 18:53, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
I agree with 70.18.*, people can (and often do) too easily use WP:VANDALISM as an excuse to call each other's good faith edits as vandalism. A good clarification might be in order. In fact, I would agree that the sentence is not really helpful, as the existence non-obvious vandalism is, unfortunately, obvious. Perhaps we can state something like "good faith edits are not vandalism" or use MastCell's very example. I dunno. 03:13, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I meant the opposite, namely that, if editor wants to commit even primitive vandalism, it is enough to write a fake (WITHOUT VALID REASON) excuse in the edit summary, and editor is excused by the intro's sentence "Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is NOT vandalism.", because good-faith is not defined, so there is no distinction between faked and genuine good-faith and - so - fakes are excused too. In other words, a lack of definition of good-faith allows to use a good-faith sounding excuse to cover up vandalism. Such fake excuses may include: "I haven't heart about it" or "it is not needed or important" or "it is better this way " or "I see it for the first time", "let's discuss it first", etc. - all possibly in good-faith, but also not. They may suggest good-faith, but - in fact - can be cover-ups for a smart, but abusive, editor just looking for attention or to tease, or jealous of or not understand someone's edit, but not wanting to find out on his own (why trouble myself, when I can trouble somebody else), etc.
My point is, wouldn't be just better to add the above definitions of "deliberate" & "good-faith effort" to protect especially a weak minority of editors, who cannot defend their edits against such (sneaky) vandalism without such clear definitions (because they don't have time, or don't know how, or don't know Wikipedia well, etc.), please? It is like abolishing the slavery, which benefited the majority, but was utterly unfair for the minority.
- 21:46, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
Just one little chime-in: I agree that the definition of vandalism should never include the word 'vandalism' as a material part. Epthorn 07:20, 10 November 2007 (UTC)
I included that obvious vandalism definition error (Sec. II above) to test editors' (including sysops' and arbitrators' ) ability to reason and their good-faith will; if they did not see that obvious error, then they - most likely - would have problems to see the other more important issues - less obvious and moral, like abolishing the slavery (see above). The arbitrators and sysops do not seem to be sensitive to that issue of injustice for a minority of editors, but benefiting a majority. It is a moral issue, and not only a matter of convenience.
- 21:46, 10 November 2007 (UTC)


  1. ^ Black, Henry (1990). Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed. ed.). St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co. pp. p. 1553. ISBN-10: 0-314-76271-X or 0-314-77165-4 deluxe. 

Clearing storage

Is it possible to save space by removing bad versions of an article (due to vandalism, of course) from your (Wikipedia's) drives, while keeping track of the IP address of the vandal? 00:18, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

I do not think so, as the editor information is stored with the edit information, though deleted versions can be removed at any time (though the editor/IP information does disappear with it). SmileToday☺(talk to me , My edits) 03:00, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

are bots considered vandalism?

they prevent people from editing pages even though they are not officially locked Megapaw (talk) 22:16, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

They don't prevent editing of pages in general. It's just that if some IP or new user vandalises a page and a bot recognises unusual patterns typical of vandalism (insults, vast deletions etc), it can undo the vandalism efficiently. Sciurinæ (talk) 22:21, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Please unlock

I would like to add some cleverly hidden vandalism as a meta-joke in the "types of vandalism" list. Please unlock the article so that I may do so. -- (talk) 00:05, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

 Declined. Not a place for jokery. bibliomaniac15 00:17, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Long lasting vandalism

In the past couple of days I've noticed a number of instances of vandalism that have survived for quite some time. Here are some examples. [1] [2] [3] In the first two cases there were two acts of vandalism in a row, followed by a revert of the second act only. In the second case ClueBot performed the incomplete revert. In the third case, the sentence "christianity is better than jewish" was deleted by a well-meaning IP, who , unfortunately, didn't restore the large block of deleted text. The first two acts of vandalism survived for days and the third for a month and a half. See my edits on the edit history for the reversions. Is there any way that policies or procedures might be amended to help deal with this sort of thing? --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 09:07, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Not all vandalism is overt. Read about "sneaky vandalism" on the page WP:Vandalism. That's probably what it is.Hellno2 (talk) 16:10, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Anonymous users = vandalism. Force registration for all updates

My experience of monitoring military-related articles is that vandalism is done by unregistered users, apparently bored kids making "silly" rather than "malicious" changes. I feel that only allowing registered users to make changes would go a long way to eliminating this class of vandalism. I see no value in allowing unregistered users to update Wikipedia - if they can't be bothered registering and signing in they can have little commitment or carefully considered content to contribute. Registration will filter out these spur-of-the moment silly updates. I think that this class of vandal is not committed enough to bother to sign in or register.

Recommendation - allow only registered users who have provided a valid email address, and confirmed it, to update Wikipedia. Also - important articles (i.e. on major events or people who have affected history) should only be updateable by users with a reputation for quality - gained by making a number (e.g. 10) updates to minor articles. Otherwise Wikipedia will be swamped by vandalism, vanity articles and plain hot air. Rcbutcher (talk) 01:59, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

This has been suggested many times before. You may be interested in m:Anonymous users should not be allowed to edit articles and some of the graphs here. While most vandalism is done by anonymous users, most anonymous edits are not vandalism. Mr.Z-man 02:11, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The fact that anons can edit is a firm stand Wikipedia takes established by the J-man himself. Besides, there are plenty of positively contributing IPs around. bibliomaniac15 02:15, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The fact that most anonymous users are not vandals does not refute or negate the reality that most vandalism is done by anonymous users. It is a separate unrelated assertion, a fallacy of the type "most people who die of lung cancer are smokers, but most smokers do not get lung cancer, therefor smoking does not cause lung cancer". Further, I don't see how the fact that Jimmy Wales supports uncontrolled anonymous edits somehow overrides the damage anonymous bombing of pages is doing to Wikipedia. Likewise, I don't see how the fact that there are many good anonymous contributions overrides the anonymous bombing damage. The number of pages I have had to revert recently, and presumably the number left undetected and unreverted, can only make this a somewhat unreliable "encyclopedia" - the danger is with the more intelligent bomber, who changes the odd number or date here and there, this is extremely difficult to filter. Across the range of military and political articles I keep my eye on, there are a number of userids which I trust based on the quality of their previous contributions, mostly serious and worthwhile input. I couldn't have any such confidence with IP numbers. The anonymous edits, even when not obvious vandalism, tend to be superfluous stuff that adds nothing to the article. The evidence indicates that committed people with real research behind their input will take the time (2 minutes ?) to create an account, and will do so if asked to. In fact, I think people will be more ready to devote their time and knowledge to Wikipedia if they have evidence of a quality-control system that means they are not wasting their time contributing something that will eventually be corrupted.Rcbutcher (talk) 12:06, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
If we are assessing the value of unregistered contributions, then we should study what unregistered users do, and for every unregistered vandalism edit there are two or three constructive ones. I just went to Special:Recentchanges and opened up the top five anonymous edits. Two were vandalism (and one of those was reverted in under a minute, the other I reverted). The others consisted of adding a wikilink, adding a minor point that was not already in the article, and a legitimate comment on a discussion page. These are not the sort of edits where you can easily see the user creating an account - if you read an article and see a typo, it's unlikely that you're going to register an account just to fix it, but it is possible that you will click on the edit button and fix it anonymously. This is very encouraging to newcomers - I made my first edit as an unregistered user, and many (perhaps even most) Wikipedians will have done the same. Jimmy Wales' opinions on the subject are relevant because he has decreed (at m:Foundation issues) that unregistered users should be allowed to edit, and consensus at the English Wikipedia cannot change that. You are also assuming that unregistered vandals won't simply register an account. Whilst I can't see newcomers registering in order to fix a typo, I have seen many, many accounts used solely for vandalism, even when the vandal could have operated anonymously and I strongly suspect that vandals will start registering if we disable unregistered editing. Besides, if they are unregistered we can find out a surprising amount about them - where they are, what their ISP is etc (see Wikiscanner) and organisations with high levels of vandalism (mainly schools) can have the ability to edit restricted. Wikipedia is not being overwhelmed by vandalism (only about 20% of all edits are vandalism or reversion of vandalism), and at present the benefits of unregistered editing outweigh the drawbacks. Hut 8.5 14:16, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
If a registered account vandalized two out of five of its edits, how long would it last before being indefinitely blocked? Torc2 (talk) 23:48, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Note that the foundation issues are not decreed by Jimbo, but rather represent a long-standing consensus within the community itself. --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:29, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

A better way to deal with anonymous users is not to ban them, but to better police them. I have made observations of anonymous users myself, and found that while they do commit a lot of vandalism, they make quite a lot of useful contributions, too. If a human can analyze all such changes soon after they are made and weed the bad ones from the good, the value of anonymous edits can be seen.
Just be aware that no edits are truly anonymous. When such an edit is made, the IP address used is recorded, and by clicking on it, it is possible to view other edits made by the same IP address. The only real difference is therefore a name versus a number. The only way to truly conceal one's identity is to use a public computer, such as one at a library. The system currently in use is quite secure, but not perfect.
There seems to be confusion about what an IP address is and what it tells us. An IP address is a number that gets dynamically assigned to a computer when it connects to a network. The computer will probably be assigned a different number each time it connects. Internet Service providers (such as Cox or AOL) have many, even thousands, of these numbers, but it is possible for the service provider to trace back which of their customers was connected using a particular IP number at a particular time, if grounds exist for doing so. Evidence must be given to support the request, as it is an invasion of privacy for an Internet provider to disclose personal information. The process of disclosure is not "automatic" or instant. Large public and semi-public institutions such as internet cafes, libraries, schools, universities etc. etc. likewise assign IP numbers dynamically and most users do not have to "sign in" or personally identify themselves to use the computers, hence users are truly anonymous. All we know is that an unknown person at a certain PC committed the vandalism. Hence, there is absolutely no way for Wikipedia to "track" an anonymous user's edits as the IP number is not unique to an individual or computer. An IP number may be used by somebody in Manhattan now and by somebody in Queens 5 minutes later. There is no way to judge whether the user identified by an IP address is malicious or trustable like we can with a userid. I would suggest that to say that an IP number identifies an individual is naive and illogical.Rcbutcher (talk) 00:09, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
A userid is just as anonymous, people don't need to provide any personal info when registering and there is nothing to stop them from creating as many accounts as they wish so the only thing that can be used to trace them is the IP that they do their editing from, except with registered users we would have to make a case for checkuser to be used to block their IP or IP range. Mr.Z-man 07:23, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
When we say "anonymous" in this context we mean that we have no means of tracking a malicious user if all we know is the IP addresses that user has had - we have no way of tracking, relating or analysing all the edits that user has made, as a whole - so we can't ban the user. ALL Wikipedia users are LEGALLY anonymous, even those who create userids - we don't know their real names, all we know about them is what they care to divulge on their user page. If they provide an email address all we have is just that, an email address, we don't know who owns it or reads the mailbox. What we need clarity on here is an understanding of the advantages of forcing users to create a userid and provide an email address before they are allowed to make edits. 1. It filters out lazy idiots. 2. It filters out spur-of-the-moment edits. 3. In general it locks users in to a single id, i.e. 1 email address, 1 userid. That allows tracking of malicious users by their user Id. 4. Banning a userid effectively bans the individual, as they are unlikely to have multiple email addresses. You can't ban an IP address. 5. Improves confidence of legitimate Wikipedia contributors, who will then be able to concentrate on providing content rather than cleaning up malicious anonymous edits as at present. 6.Allows collaboration and mutual trust to be built up by contributors within the same field, as they get to know and value the contributions made by other userids. That can't happen with IP addresses. Rcbutcher (talk) 08:21, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
"It filters out spur-of-the-moment edits" - That's an advantage? Most users don't come in thinking "I'm going to do some research and write an FA," they fix a typo, add a bit of content, or write a stub. Wikipedia thrives on spur-of-the-moment editing. You can register more than one account with the same email address and we currently don't require people to provide or confirm an email address to register either. Free email services like Gmail and Hotmail make it easy to get multiple email addresses. "In general it locks users in to a single id" - The users who are going to be the exception to this are going to be the malicious ones. We can rangeblock a range of IPs for an extended time if there is too much vandalism, an autoblock on an IP applied when a registered user is blocked only lasts 24 hours. Mr.Z-man 08:42, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
I am suggesting that Wikipedia should force all users to provide and confirm an email address, and not accept Hotmail, Gmail and suchlike spamhaven addresses. Many bulletin boards now enforce this kind of thing, precisely to get rid of trolls and troublemakers. In fact a sports fan bulletin board I subscribe to only allows newcomers to post to a probation board until the moderators are satisfied the newcomer is legitimate. And that's on a nobrainer sportsfan site ! Surely we need at least that much quality control for an encyclopedia ? I suggest Wikipedia only accept the kind of email address that people can only have 1 of, such as their college email, business address, Internet service provider etc. Regarding spontaneous updates - this is an encyclopedia. Based on research and collation of published sources. Nothing spontaneous about that. Typo and grammar corrections are obviously important and welcome, but secondary to the integrity of the information itself. Regarding rangeblocking IP addresses - you can't kick out an entire school or college or public library because some jerk used one of their computers.Rcbutcher (talk) 12:14, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
Many anonymous editors may simply be unfamiliar with the registration process, or may have a user ID, but forgot to sign in. At the same time, there is quite a lot of vandalism from registered users, either who are new, have sockpuppet accounts for that purpose, or who have been long registered and have a history of useful contributions, but suddenly gone mad (the other day, I found an example of just that). Either way, you can never completely eliminate vandalism; you can only revert it when it happens.Hellno2 (talk) 15:51, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Nobody's suggesting that it would totally eliminate vandalism. The point is that registration is really a trivial effort, but it's still enough to deter much (if not most) of the vandalism we see. A vandalism-only registered account is pretty easy to spot, track, and block. Shared IPs aren't. Anonymous users still get all the benefits of being able to use Wikipedia, so I don't see how this is all that unreasonable a requirement. Torc2 (talk) 21:43, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Mandatory registration deters all editing, both vandalism and content creation. How many people are still unaware that their registration holds real value? I am reluctant to register on any website, and you should be too.

Roughly half of all useful edits are done by anons, and obviously most or all our regular editors are recruited from the anon pool; weren't you?

Wikipedia currently has "patrolled" flags activated, so we can systematically check every new edit with little chance of duplication of effort. (a "show random unpatrolled article" button would still be nice though).

Finally, not all IP addresses are dynamic. More wealthy or better connected internet users use static IP addresses, and are therefore potentially actually less anonymous. People who really want to go wild can even associate their IP address with a DNS entry (dns is something akin to "the internet phone book"), where you can sometimes find their home address, phone number, or even GPS coordinates (LOC_record)! This is done by reverse lookup --Kim Bruning (talk) 13:53, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

ps: Dynamic IP addresses are not assigned for 5 minutes, or all the user's connections would drop every 5 minutes, which would be a fairly bad quality of service :-P. Typical periods might be several hours to once per 24 hours, or even longer. On some ISPs you can get a new IP address every time you reconnect to the service. This is a feature that is occasionally abused by certain dedicated vandals. --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:27, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

pps: Note that professionals and college professors and similar are more likely to post anonymously, to protect their reputations. --Kim Bruning (talk) 14:30, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Results on constructive IP edits are skewed by long-standing editors & administrators who purposely or forgetfully do not sign in & create new pages, do housecleaning, etc. Why might they purposefully use IPs? maybe to catch a break from their "official" role? (can they still use admin tools?) Would they be worse off if they had to sign in? should they be permitted ONE second account to "go incognito"? perhaps --JimWae (talk) 20:33, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
That is very rare. Most experienced editors will only edit from an IP when they forget to log in, which will be once in a blue moon. The vast, vast majority of unregistered editors do not have an account to sign in to. Hut 8.5 20:39, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I just did a check of recent changes & the IP changes I saw could only be made by people quite familiar with editing here --JimWae (talk) 20:42, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
    • And some anons are familiar; almost 80% of anon edits are normal, non-reverted edits. I've seen cases of people who edit regularly but just don't want to register for one reason or another or they edit on such an infrequent basis that they don't bother. MediaWiki is also a popular software for wiki websistes so they may have used it elsewhere. And we try to make it as easy as possible, you can pick up the basics without reading any rules or help pages and just looking at the raw page text. As far as opening a second account, users can have as many helpful accounts as they wish. WP:SOCK only prohibits multiple accounts for malicious purposes or having multiple admin accounts. Mr.Z-man 00:27, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
      • What is your source for the 80% figure? Would you allow a registered user to continue editing if 1 out of 5 of his edits was vandalism? Torc2 (talk) 05:31, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
        • My source is this analysis of Wikipedia edits and log actions. The detection method used isn't perfect, but it should be fairly accurate. No I would not allow a registered editor to continue editing if 1 in 5 of his edits was vandalism. Luckily for us, we can block the bad IPs and leave the good ones unblocked. You can't treat a body of thousands of people as one unit. Mr.Z-man 08:01, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
          • With the basically unlimited number of IPs available to most vandals and the current reluctance to ban IPs because they might be shared, the idea that we can simply ban "bad IPs" is essentially meaningless. Far from being a defense of anonymous users, saying that 20% of all IP edits are reverted, and that an anonymous IP is four times more likely to be reverted than a registered user is a really strong argument for banning anonymous IPs. For that matter, how diligent are editors going to be about finding and including sources for their edits if they're too lazy to register a name? Torc2 (talk) 09:10, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Would it make any difference if 4 out of 5 were vandalism? On the pages on my watchlist (over 1100) very few IP edits improve the article - most are vandalism. A significant number are completely housekeeping - like removing extra spaces, putting in optional hyphens (which nobody bothers to revert), some wikilinking - and other stuff that bots could do --JimWae (talk) 21:13, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
It would certainly make a difference if 4 out of 5 anon edits were vandalism. The fact remains that no statistical study has ever returned a level of anything like that. Just because an edit is housekeeping isn't a reason to block people from doing it (and I don't know of any bot that could do wikilinking or adding hyphens). This is exactly the sort of edit we would lose if we forced people to register - who's going to register an account just to fix one typo/hyphen?
If you look at this article, chances are it's not going to be written in large chunks by one or two experienced editors. It's going to be written by people making minor changes, adding something here, fixing something there. These are exactly the sort of edits we would lose with more restrictive editing requirements. Hut 8.5 21:30, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Cute. Of course, that directed me to this article, which had one constructive anon edit in 2005, and two vandal anon edits since. And it appears none of the reg'd edits have been reverted. Torc2 (talk) 21:36, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
That "one constructive edit" wrote most of the article. One of those vandals was reverted within seconds, and the other one didn't last very long. Hut 8.5 07:30, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
OK, let's look at that "one constructive edit" that wrote "most of the article." Well, in 2005, "most of the article" was two unsourced sentences long and an external link. I suspect the article would have been written within days anyway by somebody willing to do a modecum of legwork. But let's give the anon user who contributed so well the benefit of the doubt. What was his or her overall impact on Wikipedia? They created the articlette on Exposed (MuchMusic TV series - that's a plus. Since then their body of work has earned seven warnings, and they've been blocked...not once, not twice!, not five times!!, not ten...!!! How many?!? The've been blocked for vandalism SIXTEEN times!!! That's probably a minus. And, for extra irony, the last block placed on this account was by you personally, Hut 8.5, for a full year. Torc2 (talk) 10:42, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
We have no idea that it was the same person. In fact, given that it's a school IP address (which is why I was able to block it for so long) it almost certainly wasn't. There could easily be several thousand people who could have edited from that IP in the past three years. Hut 8.5 17:39, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
For all intents and purposes, it is the same person. In fact, "anonymous users" have to be analyzed as a single person, because there's no way we're going to be able to separate good anonymous users from bad unless we do something revolutionary, like as them to register a user name. There's no choice except to look at the contributions of anon IPs as a single body. Torc2 (talk) 19:26, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
There is pretty much an unlimited number of possible usernames and people can create as many user accounts as they want. Plenty of registered users are vandals, should we treat all registered users as one person? Mr.Z-man 20:34, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes and no. Vandalism-only usernames are easy to spot and block. Vandalism-only IPs? Not so much, and rarely are they blocked permanently. Still, we certainly can analyze "registered users" as a whole and compare their activities to unregistered users, in which case we'd clearly see the ratio of constructive vs. destructive edits would clearly show that registered users benefit the site and unregistered editors don't. For that matter, we could easily establish limits for registered editors, such as a trial period, where a new username would only get one or two edits per hour until they establish themselves as trustworthy. Torc2 (talk) 21:05, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Let me put some facts on the table for those who still believe anonymous users need to be allowed. The 10 most recent updates to Western Front (World War I) - the most important part of the war - this is an A++ article in terms of world importance :

  • User:Rcbutcher : revert vandalism by
  • : "France march in to Germany in the year 1991"
  • User:Mentifisto : revert vandalism by
  • : "HAHAHA!!!"
  • : revert vandalism by
  • : "yoyo sofi u iz a SKET!! u got summin 2 say u a say it 2 ma face!!"
  • Rcbutcher : undo vandalism by
  • : "sofie is a prat"
  • User:Filipeh : "two forts, including Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux"
  • User:Filipeh : "The French lost control of two forts, including Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux."

Any questions ?Rcbutcher (talk) 03:38, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes - why are you proposing such a massive shift in practice based on one example? Hut 8.5 10:13, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Can I remind people here that this is not the page for getting consensus for disabling anonymous editing. That would be a very long process, but WP:VPR is a more appropriate place for this discussion. Hut 8.5 17:39, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


Just for Info, cause this user Benutzer:Mms in the german wikipedia, is also activ in your wiki User:Mms. we kicked him for one year cause he is probagating fascism. so have a look. greets -- (talk) 16:24, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

See poisoning the well and straw man argument. DurovaCharge! 17:01, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Is sarcasm vandalism?

I made the following edit [4] calling what I removed vandalism. I have since been contacted suggesting that I was mistaken. What I removed was a sarcastic parody of another editor's view point praising the insight of the article subject's anti-Semitism. I still think I was right in treating it as vandalism. I've tried looking at the policy page and I don't think it clearly describes this sort of case either as vandalism or not. Could other people consider whether this type of case should be incluided in the is/is not lists on the vandalism page? --Peter cohen (talk) 13:04, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Accused of vandalism

I have been accused of vandalism for adding relevant links under "seel also." Should I fight this out? I am insulted at being called a "vandal." Does this need to be reported? Thanks.Adriansrfr (talk) 06:38, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Hi, Adriansrfr, I think you did the right thing by going to their talk page to discuss it with them. It looks from their messages to you that they feel you violated the NPOV policy. I went ahead and left them a note asking them to explain it to you, so hopefully they'll leave you a note soon. If you need further explanation or help or anything, please let me know on my talk page. Peace, delldot talk 16:33, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

The table format

I think the table format is ugly and more difficult to read. Is it possible this can be undone? ~ UBeR (talk) 04:26, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Removing {{unreferenced}} tags?

If a user removes {{unreferenced}} or {{fact}} tags without adding information (assuming there really aren't any sources or citations already), that's vandalism, correct? Is there any place that actually says this? This article kind of hints at it, but doesn't specifically address these tags. I'm just trying to find the right place to point the user who is doing this. Torc2 (talk) 21:27, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't call it vandalism exactly, since it might be an honest attempt to improve the article. I'd probably call it 'disruption' if they've been asked to cut it out and haven't stopped. You can use the {{uw-b1}} (and so on) templates for contacting them. Or {{drmmt}}. Both sort of address what you're talking about, but I can't think of a place where that exact thing is written about. Anyway, if they persist, they can be blocked whether or not it's vandalism per se. delldot talk 02:51, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

They will not persist unless the template is re-added - which makes the re-adder a reverter too, and risking a block himself - unless a policy protecting cn (and such) templates is instituted --JimWae (talk) 20:37, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Deleting templates requesting citation, 3rd party opinion

I have a problem with a user who keeps deleting { fact } { 3O-section } and {dubious } templates I have put in the Queens article. I am having difficulty finding either a policy or an appropriate warning template. The user is also violating 3RR, not using the article talk page, and uses user-talk pages primarily to discuss what he thinks are my personal deficiencies. ANY help? I found templates for the other things - but not for template deletion --JimWae (talk) 19:33, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Does the 3RR rule apply to re-inserting requests for citation & 3rd opinion? --JimWae (talk) 21:13, 28 December 2007 (UTC)


Is it in some jurisdictions illegal to vandalize Wikipedia? -- (talk) 15:24, 1 January 2008 (UTC)-- (talk) 15:24, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism constitutes the unauthorised amendment of data and hence I would say in most jurisdictions it is a criminal offense - see Computer Misuse Act for example. HOwever please note WP:LEGAL if you have cause to mention this. AndrewRT(Talk) 11:05, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Finding vndalisam

Can't you find some vandalism by hitting command-f and then a curse word? Curses are often use for vandalism, right?

Sometimes, but the curse world might have a notable role with the subject. Martarius (talk) 17:52, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Should I take it up a notch for cruder vandalism?

As a non-admin, I don't want to get out of line by using {{uw-vandalism3}} when it's not appropriate. I have read this article page and talk page, and I haven't seen an answer for this. I only see 4 reports of vandalism on User talk:, including the 2 I reported, and one of those was in November. That's not so bad. On the other hand, their vandalism was to refer to specific people (presumbly people they're trying to embarrass) and use the words (I apologize, but your advice might depend on the words and spelling used) "nigga", "cunt", and "penis". I put a uw-vandalism3 on the page, but I really don't know if the vandalism called for either less or more of a response than I gave. - Dan Dank55 (talk) 15:20, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

If the vandal is quite obviously trying to damage our content and is not an experimenting user (which they might be if they inserted gibberish into pages) then I think starting on level 3 is fine. Hut 8.5 16:06, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:AGF only requires you to be reasonable in your assumption. If an editor is repeatedly vulgar, it's kind of unreasonable to assume he's just doing 'tests'. I would have no problem starting at {{uw-vandalism2}} and going directly to {{uw-vandalism4}} in a case like that. The warning levels shouldn't be seen as four get-out-of-jail-free cards for vandals. Torc2 (talk) 22:41, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Elevating bot warnings

Is there anything in the guideline about increasing the warning level given by bots? For example, several times I've seen a user already at {{uw-vandalism2}} have a bot post a standard low-grade warning. I have no problem posting a higher warning for the same offense; I'm just wondering if I should delete the bot warning when I add the harsher level warning? Torc2 (talk) 09:52, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Report Vandalism

SOmeone is vandalising my user talk and user page, where can I report this? Can someone delete my user talk page to remove all history from it?

My bad I didnt see the thing at the top, but can someone still delete my user talk page?

People don't usually have the right to get their own user talk page deleted. The edits you are referring to as "vandalism" (i.e. this and this) are perfectly legitimate. You were indefinitely blocked, so it is fine to display an indef block notice on your userpage, and editing other people's comments is not allowed either. Hut 8.5 07:32, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
but he lied. The comment was deleted, anyways I have the current version backed up, to respect my privacy **I** want **my** page deleted... The user deleted my page without permission, that's vandalism.
You were indefinitely blocked for a period of time (and then the blocking administrator shortened the block). If you don't want your userpage replaced with a message saying you have been indefinitely blocked, then don't behave in a way that gets you an indefinite block. Your userpage is not yours - it is merely assigned to you and other Wikipedians have the right to edit it provided they behave legitimately. The same applies to your talk page. Hut 8.5 15:48, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I was blocked because someone had something against me and was just discriminating... The comment and blocking was blasphomy, no one has the right to vandalize my page and harass me about it... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Realg187 (talkcontribs) 02:40, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

When to use {{SharedIP}}?

This article currently states, as introductory help:

For repeated vandalism by an anonymous IP address, it is helpful to take the following additional steps:

  1. Trace the IP address and add {{SharedIP|Name of owner}} or {{SharedIPEDU|Name of owner}} to the user talk page of the address.

Isn't this instruction a bit too simple? There's no discussion of when to use the other alternatives:

nor what to do if the IP isn't a shared or dynamic IP.

As a relatively new editor, I took this instruction at its face value, and marked a couple of user pages as {{SharedIP}}, when {{DynamicIP}} would have been more appropriate. Wdfarmer (talk) 14:46, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

is it vandalism?

User David Eppstein deleted a link and wrote that big article printed in well-known scientific journal by Springer is "non-notable paper" - is it vandalism? See: Talk:Graph isomorphism#The_absurd_reason_that_looks_like_vandalism_against_NPOV--Tim32 (talk) 17:42, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Any good faith concern is not vandalism. Hut 8.5 18:07, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Hut's right. You're better off taking this to WP:3PO or WP:RFC. I will say that if the only concern over the link is notability, you should read WP:NNC. Torc2 (talk) 18:21, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
And what about the bad faith? If any person without the appropriate knowledge going on writing absurdities - is it vandalism? And would you be so kind as NOT to confuse any faith with the science!!!--Mart071 (talk) 18:34, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Are they doing it to be disruptive? Or do they just honestly believe something you find absurd? Torc2 (talk) 18:37, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Please note that the word "absurd" in the section heading of the talk page Tim32 links to was added by Tim32 himself. Apparently, he finds it absurd that I and others have been reverting his attempts to add a reference to his own paper. The paper in question is one of at least 6000 published papers on the subject of graph isomorphism, has only one citation in Google scholar (several papers on the subject have hundreds), and seemingly adds nothing to the content of the Wikipedia article because he has been adding the reference without adding anything else to the text of the article. I think, rather than here or WP:3PO or WP:RFC, the better venue to discuss this would be WP:COI/N. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:33, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Either way is fine, as long as it's not hashed out on the talk page for the Vandalism policy. Torc2 (talk) 19:38, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

To Hut 8.5: Every vandalism in history was excused by good faith concern. Hell is paved with good intentions. This is too abstract concept to be used in practice. So, you said nothing worth to consider this incedent.

To David Eppstein: Where did you find 6000 published papers on the subject of graph isomorphism? In google? Every graph theory textbook has a few words about graph isomorphism. The number of original papers may be less. But this is not reference to graph isomorphism problem!!! This is reference to its chemical application! Only this application is noted and only one another reference is used in Graph isomorphism:

“The graph isomorphism problem arises in a variety of practical applications. For example, in cheminformatics and in mathematical chemistry, graph isomorphism and other graph matching techniques are used to identify a chemical compound within a chemical database.” [1] [2] [1] Christophe-André Mario Irniger (2005) "Graph Matching: Filtering Databases of Graphs Using Machine Learning", ISBN 1586035576 [2] M.I.Trofimov, E.A.Smolenskii, Russian Chemical Bulletin, 2005, Vol. 54, 9, 2235. (

And I have already written in Talk:Graph isomorphism “It is well known, that every similar book is based on articles, which articles had been printed before book writing process. Also, it is well known that book writing and printing are very long processes, so it is not surprising that no book is capable to include the newest info. The book you mention is quite suitable as a link to some classical approaches, also it describes some new ideas about the subject. I am do not agree with all comments from this book and my results prove it. The article, I added as second reference, adds significant info, which could not be inserted into the book, because this book was printed in 2005 and the article was printed in 2005.”

I can add that there are differences ([1] vs [2]) for following significant problems: planar graphs in organic chemistry and regular graphs in organic chemistry.

About claim “his own paper” – I have already written in Talk:Graph isomorphism: “I have written a lot for Wiki, and I write only items about I have professional knowleges. So, I use references to my papers (I have written more than 100) as well as to other papers. There is no rule in Wiki against, hence "self-promotion" is absurd reason. There are a lot of references to my papers in Wiki and nowhere else I heard about "self-promotion"!”

But David Eppstein did not read it – he did not write some counter-arguments for these words in Talk:Graph isomorphism – he prefers edit war, he repeates and repeates the same absurd reasons and he does not want to hear something against. And I do not see any “good faith concern” from him. I do not see any attempt to understand my point of view from him. He does not want to find any compromise! So I am forced to repeat my question: Is it vandalism?--Tim32 (talk) 21:20, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Let me clarify - if a user replaces a page with "POOP", then that is clearly intended to compromise the integrity of the article and therefore is vandalism. So long as the user thought that they were improving the article, no matter how misguided or mistaken they were, they were not vandalising. You will find this if you read Wikipedia:Vandalism. (I am not offering any opinion on the legitimacy of David Eppstein's edits, I am just showing that it is incorrect to label them as vandalism.) Hut 8.5 15:53, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

"Stale" vandalism reports being rejected at AIV

What exactly does the term "persistent" mean? Periodically (and twice today) I've had AIV reports for vandalism-only IPs (with previous blocks from within the week) rejected because the vandal last edited 5 hours ago. The template for the AIV was recently changed to state: "The vandal is active now", but there's no real indication of what that means or what to do if it's been a couple hours since the vandalism occured. Where else do we submit AIV-type reports if not to AIV? There doesn't seem to me to be much benefit in assuming the same vandal won't try to use the same IP in the future that they used a few hours or days ago, and no benefit in not blocking an IP that has only been used to vandalize. Torc2 (talk) 21:45, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I've seen "now" as having the meaning of "editing within the past hour". But that ignores someone who vandalizes at the end of 3rd period, once a day, every day. What is the intended meaning of "now"? -- SEWilco (talk) 19:14, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I really think it should be more like within the past day or so. If AIV is intended only for vandalism happening like-right-this-instance-now, there needs to be some place to report vandalism that ended a couple hours ago, but is still recent. Not every article is checked every hour, and this kind of sends a message that the way to vandalize without being caught is simply to go to articles that aren't checked very often. Torc2 (talk) 20:41, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:ANI? Sam Korn (smoddy) 21:54, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
ANI says at the top: "To report persistent vandalism or spamming, see administrator intervention against vandalism." The word "persistent" doesn't really imply a short time frame, only continual action. (Like, Los Angeles is persistently sliding up the west coast, even if there have been no recent earthquakes.) For example, this IP is persistently vandalizing, but when I submitted it to AIV, it got rejected since there had been no edits in two days. If ANI is the place to throw this, both AIV and ANI need to acknowledge this, specify the time frame for using one vs. the other, and the {{IPvandal|user}} tag needs to be available on that ANI. Torc2 (talk) 19:11, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

vandalism only account?

As a relatively new admin, I was wondering when it is appropriate to block someone indefinitely as a vandalism only account. Would it be after the first few edits, or would it be after a temporary block? What if they had reverted their own vandalism previously? JustinContribsUser page 20:30, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

As a general rule, if an account has no constructive edits and ignores all warnings it can be blocked indefinitely as a vandalism only account. Hut 8.5 21:52, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Ok. Thanks! Justin(c)(u) 18:10, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Freedom of Speech

Technically, vandalism is freedom of speech. Obstruction thereof violates the constitutions of numerous countries. I can understand wanting to remove "Britney is a b***h" from Britney Spears, but removing "What do you call a Lada with two exhaust pipes? A wheelbarrow!" from the Lada page is pure obstruction of freedom of speech. Blocking open proxies is also obstruction of freedom of speech. (talk) 14:55, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

True enough. Wikipedia is a project to provide a free encyclopedia to as many people as possible, not a forum for free speech. Therefore, the content in the article namespace is restricted to reliable, encyclopedic information. Though plenty such forums exist on the Internet, if you're interested in one of those. delldot talk 15:19, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
You're still voilating the constitutions of most countries by obstructing freedom of speech. (talk) 15:28, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Please read WP:RIGHTS. GlassCobra 16:59, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
It does not violate any freedom of speech laws. Wikipedia is a private website that can decide to display what it likes. You are allowed to put a sign up in your garden saying what you like, as you own the garden. However if you put the sign in your neighbour's garden, they have the right to get rid of it. Wikipedia is, in this analogy, your neighbour's garden. Hut 8.5 22:16, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
I did, but does the constitution apply in the neighbour's garden? Y-E-S. (talk) 01:37, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
What are you talking about? A private entity is under no obligation to act as host for everything anybody has to say. Oh, and a simple click shows that Hut 8.5 is British, and "neighbour" is correct British spelling of the word. Torc2 (talk) 02:11, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, they can get rid of it, but they aren't allowed to stop you in the first place as that's obstruction of freedom of speech. Basically: NO BLOCKING OPEN PROXIES. (talk) 04:36, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
As Torc2 said, the Wikimedia foundation is a private entity and has the right to determine who has what access to its websites. If you want to discuss open proxies, please go to Wikipedia talk:Open proxies, and this is the page for discussing Wikipedia's vandalism policy. Hut 8.5 07:43, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Calling it vandalism is wrong. Vandalism implies an illegal act, such as smashing someones car window or spraying gafitti on a building. Vandalism is against the law. People who alter Wikipedia articles with purposely incorrect, humorous or vulgar information are not breaking any law and therefore are not vandals. The fact that you also threaten to report people who alter an article to their companies IT administrator is wrong. It is none of your business to do that and to threaten someone like that, with potential serious implications to that persons job or career is wrong. Especially since THEY ARE NOT BREAKING THE LAW. I assume you will not consider this "vandalism" as this is a discussion page and this is my free opinion. Thank you. Tornados28Tornados28 (talk) 22:05, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Freedom of speech doesn't mean you can yell fire in a crowded theater. MalwareSmarts (talk) 21:22, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

I think points raised by IP address are quite useless. Masterpiece2000 (talk) 12:33, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Fixing Wikipedia

Vandalism is the single most dangerous threat to Wikipedia's credibility (see the rise of Citizendium).

How to fix it:

First of all, don't call it vandalism. See my opinion above in Freedom of Speech. And you better not consider this "vandalism" as well as it is not.Tornados28 (talk) 22:12, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Every edit needs to be approved (seconded) by at least one other editor, within a 24 hour waiting/cooling off period.
  • Every time an editor gets an "approved edit" they (like on eBay) gain a "+" on your their wikiprofile. This would be a measure of their edit-credibility (edibility)
  • Every time an editor gets a "disapproved edit", they gain a "-" on their wikiprofile.
  • I'm sure editors will strive to keep their edibility high (expressed as a percentage).
  • Other editors can suggest an improved text to a pending edit, say to fix typos in a pending edit, to stop essentially goods edits being voted down for trivial reasons.
  • Also, a editor should have the right to retract an edit before the 24hr period expires if they change their mind about an edit, i.e. to avoid a "disapproved edit" if they agree with any comments made.
  • If an editor gets 100% disapproved edits (e.g. 0% edibility), over say 10 edits, their account is suspended/barred.
  • The bigger/more edits an article has, the more positive votes will be required before an edit gains the "approved edit" status, and thus gets posted on wikipedia, for example:
    • e.g. 1 net positive votes (over 24hr period) for new-ish article with say 100 edits
    • e.g. 2 net positive votes (over 24hr period) for an established article with say a 1000 edits
    • e.g. 5 net positive votes (over 24hr period) for a well established article with say a 10000 edits
    • e.g. 20 net positive votes (over 24hr period) for and article with say 100,000 edits (e.g. 22 positive votes verses 2 negative votes - this would count as one "positive edit", not 22 positives and 2 negatives edits). Obviously the threshold and amount of edits can be customised to best suit practice.

This will slow the growth of wikipedia down a little, but at least this would be steady growth with improved credibility, and there would be less time spent vandal-sweeping.

Job done?

(PS - Vote on this edit now ...?!) (talk) 15:52, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

This is better off at WP:VPR. Hut 8.5 16:05, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

"...gain a "+" on your their wikiprofile." "your" should be omitted in the previous sentence. javaman (talk) 13:35, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism is Important

Is there a place in the article for information about how important vandalism is? Or maybe an essay somewhere? Or maybe this essay exists and I have not found it. Vandalism keeps Wikipedia on its toes. All of the discussion, intelligent thought and effort of the good people above constitutes the immune system of Wkipedia. This system not only fights the existing problems, but thinks creatively about potential problems in the future.

At a small extra level of abstraction, it becomes obvious that while the fight against vandalism is important, victory would be a disaster. Before long the immune system would wither, and the organism would be defenceless in a changing world.

Am I in the right forum? Does anyone know where the right forum is? Joesydney (talk) 03:58, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Don't call it vandalism. See my opinion in the Freedom of Speech section above.Tornados28 (talk) 22:11, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Overlinking to this page.

Template:Pp-template links here, and thousands of templates transclude that template. The result is that tens of thousands of articles link here because they contain a template, even if neither the template nor the article have ever been vandalized. This, in turn, makes it overly difficult to search the pages that link to this page for anything. Any ideas on fixing this? bd2412 T 20:08, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Where are vandalism-only accounts defined?

It's becoming clear from discussion at Wikipedia talk:Username policy that there is a class of users whose username suggests they are just here to vandalize, but we need to assume good faith for those cases where people choose ugly usernames and turn out to be legitimate users. A prominent example is "banging on the keyboard" usernames. We've been discussing for a while what's the right thing to do with these. The status quo is that we softblock them, often before they've edited at all, which is problematic because it bites the legitimate newbies and doesn't prevent the illegitimate ones from vandalizing.

I'm making a proposal there that we wait for users with suspicious usernames to edit. If they vandalize, then we block them under the vandalism policy, as "vandalism only accounts", something I've often seen given as the reason for a block without warning. If they don't, we assume good faith, welcome them, and maybe drop them a note asking if they're really that attached to a username that sucks.

Now, here's the thing. I need to be able to point to the policy that says how and when to block "vandalism-only accounts", and I don't actually know where it is. This policy page seems to say that every vandal needs to be warned before blocking, no matter how blatant. Is the "vandalism-only accounts" thing just a big huge WP:IAR, or is it written down somewhere I haven't found yet?

Thanks, rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 09:12, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

A user can be permablocked without warning if their username is vulgar or designed to attack or impersonate another user. bd2412 T 09:48, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, but I didn't ask for a summary of the username policy. I work with the username policy all the time. I'm writing a proposal to deal with a much-discussed edge case. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 20:54, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Somebody needs to write a companion article for WP:AGF called "don't be a patsy". If someone creates a new account with an off-color name and starts to vandalize several articles using profanity, trying to WP:AGF is ridiculous. They're a vandal; treat them like one. —Torc. (Talk.) 11:10, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes. I'd say my proposal is a good example of "don't be a patsy" (though 'off-color names' are a side issue -- the usual example is a name that looks like it was produced by banging on the keyboard). This is why I want to be able to point to the policy, in my proposal, that says we don't need to give warnings in these cases -- if we know they're vandals based on their username and one of their edits, they get hardblocked. So where is the part of the vandalism policy that allows this? rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 20:50, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
rspeer, I don't think there's anything as specific as how and when to block vandalism-only accounts, but there's this from WP:BP:
Warning is not a prerequisite for blocking... ...and accounts whose main or only use is forbidden activity (sock-puppetry, obvious vandalism, personal attack, and so on) may not require further warning.
Sounds like a very sensible proposal you're bringing up. delldot talk 21:23, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Ah ha! That's exactly the text I was looking for. Thanks. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 21:48, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

You need to come up with a completely new name other than "Vandalism" as that word implies an illegal act. Defacing a Wikipedia article is not an illegal act. Maybe a better word would be defacing.Tornados28 (talk) 22:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

How long?

How long can IP addresses be blocked for, if they can't be blocked permanently? SaintJimmy505 (talk) 00:11, 21 March 2008 (UTC)


Peeping is the name I believe is given to altering content and then changing it back fairly soon. It is a type of vandalism that tests whether an article is watched, before engaging in permanent damage. Is there a way of reducing its frequency, please? Vernon White . . . Talk 13:04, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I didn't know there was a name for that or why it occurred, but when I see that, I check the IPs other contributions to see what else they've done. Also, if the "test" edit is clearly vandalism (profanity, etc.), even if they change it back, I think it's OK to warn them on the basis they're inserting vandalism into the article history. —Torc. (Talk.) 20:16, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
In my experience, cases like this are often more than one person (e.g. a teacher reverting students). Or people testing. There's {{Uw-selfrevert}} for these cases. If they persist, they can receive escalating warnings and be blocked like other vandals, since they're still doing damage, though a personal note would be ideal. delldot talk 20:28, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
You should also check that they completely reverted themselves and didn't just add vandalism to 2 lines and remove it from one. Mr.Z-man 20:59, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Adding whois templates

Is there anything wrong with adding WHOIS on every IP address talk page that has done vandalism? Or is this only for serious offenders? Wont having a WHOIS description on their talk page act as a deterrent? (If you place it after the first sign of vandalism?) I saw on the article that it mentioned multiple offenders, but I was wondering if it was strictly against the rules to place the notice after a few bouts of vandalism? Cheers.Calaka (talk) 14:24, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I've never heard of a rule against this and can't think of why one should exist. I think the reason it mentions repeat offenders is because those are more likely to be the shared IPs, e.g. schools, where the info is handiest. On the other hand, doing it on every talk page might not be the best use of your time. delldot talk 07:21, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Hehe good point. I envy people who are able to patrol and revert so much vandalism that occurs on a daily basis. I suppose the programs/scripts help though. Cheers!Calaka (talk) 08:14, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
  • In my experience, more than 90% of the IP-address vandals I've seen are schools - middle schools up through colleges. I placed a LOT of those WHOIS notices, and they all seemed to do the trick. The vandals think they are completely untraceable, and the notice puts that notion to rest. The problem, from my point of view, is the huge amount of TIME it takes to put a proper one in place. You want to place a few? Great! You have my support. Go get 'em. Cbdorsett (talk) 11:31, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
I've started adding whois templates recently and my anecdotal evidence so far is that it does reduce repeat vandalism. Nunquam Dormio (talk) 12:21, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

That weird guy

There's nothing about Robert Boulders in the text. This seems odd; he declared war on this website. Imperial Star Destroyer (talk) 20:33, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

WP:DENY. Bobby Boulders really isn't that much of a problem (and there are plenty of other people who hate Wikipedia just as much). Hut 8.5 20:37, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Who is Robert Boulders? SaintJimmy505 (talk) 00:13, 21 March 2008 (UTC)


i want you to remove only images from the Mohammad page, as there are lots of Muslims who don't like them a/c to their personal opinions. its not a very big issue n don't try to make a big issue. Thanks.

A Muslim Pakistan —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Please go to Talk:Muhammad to discuss the Muhammad article. This is the discussion page for Wikipedia's vandalism policy. Hut 8.5 12:32, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Inappropriate edits in the sandbox

Can an edit in the sandbox be vandalism? "Copyrighted, offensive, or libelous content" is not to be added. Some users are using a 'reverted vandalism' summary for changing the header or testing a VFD template. Examples of editing [5], [6], [7]. -- (talk) 20:18, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

No, because the idea of the sandbox is for people to test out editing, which means they can put ANYTHING on the page (an execption would be when someone adds something offensive or pornographic on the sandbox). Lightman2 (talk) 08:17, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


Hi, I'm a vandal fighter, and I'm just wondering what warnings I should use in individual situations. Like how should I differentiate someone putting "poop" in an article and "(whoever) is a big fat piece of gay poop he sucks lol"? Should I use different warnings if someone is a first time vandal or on the article being vandalized? MalwareSmarts (talk) 21:27, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Similar query: What I have to rev to the "last good version" involves what the page calls silly vandalism (one each of profanity and nonsense). What I want to know is what, and where, are the appropriate templates to slap on the User page? Both are unregistered users, but still I'd like to have a handy treatment for such occurrences. -- Deborahjay (talk) 14:36, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Per the query I left on the WP Help Desk:
Basically I'd like confirmation or advice on what I do:
  • Rev by saving to last good version per history (is this "rollback"?)
  • Leave a warning on the perp's Talk page, even if it's an unregistered user
That is pretty much it- check, revert, warn. If the suspect editor insists the edit is not vandalism and repeats it, then move it to the talk page and discuss it. If the vandalism i repeated and the the user is properly warned multiple times, then report it to WP:AIV. If you use FireFox, then you can enableWP:TWINKLE through My:Preferences → Gadgets; this adds tabs for warning templates. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 16:05, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
You can use Undo to revert a single edit, and if you have the function, Rollback will undo multiple edits (rollback should only ever be used for vandalism). If you do Rollback, always double check the edits afterwards, just in case there was a sensible edit in there.
As for warnings, there is a list of useful templates at WP:MLT. Always assume good faith, so only ever use the lowest level, or if there is a recent vandalism warning, the next level up. If they vandalise after level 4, you can notify the administrators at WP:AIV. StephenBuxton (talk) 16:07, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Phenomenon on the increase

I get the feeling vandalism is increasing: on a given page that I am watching 1 in 8 edits are vandalism, previously it was much rarer? (This is not that important as vandals do not know the best way of vandalizing a page is by blanking, sabotaging redirects and writing obsceneties on the edit summary line.) Has anyone looking into vandalism trends? Above it is stated that 70% IP edits are good. That figure should be re-obtained in my opinion. --Squidonius (talk) 15:24, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

determining shared or not-shared IPs

I don't know how to read the DNS Stuff record to know if an IP is shared or not. A brief tutorial an example would help myself and future reporters. -- Sy / (talk) 18:49, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

'Internal Spam' wikilinks to Wikipedia:Canvassing?

In the Types of vandalism section under Discussion page vandalism. Any reason for this? it's doesn't seem correct. --neonwhite user page talk 01:27, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

A vandalism template for tagging vandalism?

  • --I like to help Wikipedia, but I'm a busy guy. Sometimes I see clear cases of vandalism (swears, completely off-topic sentences inserted, etc), but I don't have time to check page history, revert/edit the page, restore good edits, check the user to possibly report them, and leave a warning on their Talk page. So I do nothing. But if there were a simple way to help police the wiki, like I could just edit and add in a tag like "{{vandalism}}" or "{{questionable content}}", I could at least flag things so someone else could do the cleanup I don't have time to do. What do you think? Is there somewhere else I should make this suggestion? Or someone want to pass along the suggestion for me? If a new template were made perhaps it could be discussed in the vandalism article, and in this one:
--Jason C.K. (talk) 17:09, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
The problem with flagging an article is that it would be unclear what revision you considered vandalism. Sometimes vandalism will be well-encrusted in an article, but 98% of what I deal with is someone inserting profanity/nonsense into an article and it getting caught right away. (Lots of us patrol Recent Changes to catch this stuff, though we can't claim to get 100%.) It's an interesting idea, though: a way to flag articles needing vandalism attention. (In lieu of adding a template to an article, I'd have a page where it could be reported, a la WP:AIV (that one's for persistent vandals who've been repeatedly warned)). There is the {{cleanup}} tag, though it's vague and seems to have a major backlog. Fogster (talk) 04:28, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Is this vandalism?

Is this edit vandalism? I'm wondering, since it removes a significant amount of content from the article, and the editor is an anon. However, none of the content is sourced. Some of the content is graffiti ("dounut boyy").

In general is the mass removal of unsourced content and original research (except in the cases of BLP, in which such actions would be sanctioned) considered vandalism?Bless sins (talk) 18:48, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

No, it's not. At least it was done in good faith. But it would have been better if the guy filled up the edit summary. It's a different situation if the removed content had some sort of refs. In the case of Shoah? Hmmmm, still needs consultation on the talk page. --Eaglestorm (talk) 19:40, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Edit Summaries Vandalism

I spend a lot of time fighting more clear-cut vandalism, but I wonder how to treat stuff like this edit. I don't wonder so much about the content of the linked edit (which was probably minor vandalism for changing the order erroneously, but it's a moot point right now), but more whether leaving irrelevant, racially inflammatory edit summaries constitutes vandalism, or if it's something else? Fogster (talk) 04:33, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

It's certainly a violation of WP:NOT#SOAPBOX and also probably WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA but I wouldn't call it vandalism. Hut 8.5 19:47, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Vandalism of Yourself?

I have a question for Wiki Admin. I recently decided that I do not wish to have my old negative discussions with a bothersome individual remain on the discussion page for an article. I recently went and deleted MY OWN posts. Is deleting your own words in a way that does not impact the article's content AT ALL considered "vandalism"? I have an individual playing admin (not actually) following my every edit and move around Wiki attempting to point out that everything I do is somehow against Wiki rules. I come here to bring legitimate content to certain articles, not bicker or be stalked. So I deleted such bicker matches which should never have occured anyway, my side anyway, and am now having this person undo my removal of my own words, citing that I am vandalising. Is it against wiki rules to remove YOUR OWN posts on discussion pages? If so then how can one protect their rights to free speech, or better yet, freedom of removing their own speech which in effect is it's own speech. If I want to edit my own posts (or remove them) I am allowed to do so, correct? LBear08 (talk) 18:18, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

No, you aren't generally allowed to remove them (or change the content substantially, especially if someone else has replied to you). When you submit content to Wikipedia, you release your rights to it, so it's not "yours". It's considered highly disruptive to remove content from article discussions, whoever added it. And regarding the person "playing admin" you don't need to have administrative tools to enforce policy. --Hut 8.5 18:33, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

There is a difference between submitting content and speaking for yourself on a discussion page though. It's my free speech (see US Constitution) to speak or remove such speak. My words are my own, not Wiki's unless I'm submitting to to the article pages themselves. It's absolutely understandable for someone to make suggestions, but to dictate and dominate and stalk, that's just silly. Anyway thank you for the response, it's good to know that anything I say here can and will be used against me in the hilarious court of Wiki, lol. LBear08 (talk) 21:26, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

When reviewing the link you provided, the rules clearly discuss the ownership over ARTICLE content. If I post in an article, it belongs to Wikipedia. It does not say that my words in discussion pages belong to Wikipedia, therefore if I want to delete my own comments in a discussion page in order to remove past silly conflict on my side, it is entirely within my "wiki rights" to do so without punishment nor revision from others. If you have a rule already in existence that says specifically I cannot edit my own comments, please provide me a link, otherwise I will continue to remove them. Thank you though for your assistance. LBear08 (talk) 11:27, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

Fanning the fire wikilink

How not to respond to vandalism section of project page

Do not feed the trolls. fanning the fire will make the situation worse. If the behavior escalates, it is easy to deal with those things.

The wikilink fanning the fire goes to a nonexistant page. I am interested in learning whether or not I have just made this mistake on this anon IP address talk page here:User talk:

Please fix link or provide a valid alternative so that I don't BITE the vandals! Thankyou Marcia Wright (talk) 17:33, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Ease of Use Vinegar

Like syntactic vinegar, vandalism should be discouraged by requiring a logged in user to edit any page. This will prevent most casual vandals. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ggb667 (talkcontribs) 15:09, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

This has been rejected many times before. The main problems are that most (~70%) of unregistered edits are constructive, so requiring registration will remove many good editors, and many vandals will just register as it only requires a username and password. Plus we couldn't prevent most editing from vandalism hotspots such as schools as we do now. There are plenty of other problems that are more pressing than vandalism, and such a drastic change really isn't warranted. Hut 8.5 15:55, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I would like to know where this 70% figure comes from. In my experience, there's a lot of mindless vandalism from anonymous users. i can't see that it is asking too much to require editors to log in before editing. It's not exactly setting the bar very high. Michael Glass (talk) 13:55, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes me too. Problem is for schools like Primary schools the block should be lifted. Whats the probability of 7 to 11 year olds knowing about this site? Itfc+canes=me (talk) 16:37, 14 May 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Itfc+canes=me (talkcontribs)
High. Consider today's technologically minded world. Unlike high schoolers an above, whom often are limited to sources other than generalised encyclopaedias, but it's a simple, easy to use source of information for young people to use for reports and projects, that don't require bibliographic record and lack limitations on sources. NeuroSynapse 11:50, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
I disagree that 70% of unregistred edits are benign. My impression is that 30% is a more likely ratio, at best. Nielmo (talk) 22:02, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
it's really difficult to judge percentages from one person's perspective. personally, I'm always running across IPs who are making useful, constructive edits to articles; I'd even seen IPs who revert vandalism from other IPs. the fact is, not every responsible editor wants to be part of the wikipedia community (heaven knows I have days when I don't want to be part of this community Face-grin.svg), and I'd hate to lose valuable contributions because of some 'join or die' attitude.
now what might be useful is to start keeping track - if an IP has made 50 or so constructive edits, mark it somehow as a de facto user, and focus anti-vandalism efforts on IPs with few or no edits. that might add a little more efficiency to the process... --Ludwigs2 22:45, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Edit history vandalism

Copied from WT:VAN/Archive 6:

Is the creation of edit histories on redirect pages (via multiple edits with the effect of preventing future non-admin assisted page moves to the redirect) vandalism? — AjaxSmack 04:19, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Please provide an example. I make loads of RDRs and mistakes are not uncommon. Richard001 05:37, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
I'll try to create a hypothetical example. A page is titled Lage Raho Munna Bhai and I want to move it to the outrageous new title of Rajkumar Hirani's insult of Gandhi. I proceed to move it to Rajkumar Hirani's insult of Gandhi and Lage Raho Munna Bhai is now automatically made a redirect with one entry in the edit history. To prevent another editor from returning the page to Lage Raho Munna Bhai, I then go to Lage Raho Munna Bhai and change it from #REDIRECT [[Rajkumar Hirani's insult of Gandhi]] to #redirect [[Rajkumar Hirani's insult of Gandhi]]. This creates a two-entry edit history preventing non-admin moves and forcing editors who want to return the article to Lage Raho Munna Bhai to post it at WP:RM and get wide "consensus" to move it back to its orginal title. — AjaxSmack 19:51, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Do you have any real examples of this though? I'd just treat it on a case by case basis. The worst that can happen is having to ask an admin to move it. Richard001 21:13, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

An example is here where the edit summary reads "Null edit to pre-empt move war." This user was straightforward about it but others aren't. So, I repeat my question: Is the creation of edit histories on redirect pages (via multiple edits with the effect of preventing future non-admin assisted page moves to the redirect) vandalism? — AjaxSmack 01:06, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Don't know if it counts as vandalism, but it certainly seems dubious behaviour.--Kotniski (talk) 05:24, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, given that vandalism is defined here as "any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia", I don't think the case you have cited would qualify. Talking to the Wikipedian in question would be the best idea. Richard001 (talk) 05:38, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
There is an Arbcom ruling on the subject here, which will apply to the "having to post it to WP:RM" issue. I don't feel that it's even approaching vandalism. It's closer to WP:DE going on, if the user is doing so with ill intent. As Richard states, it's probably best to just talk to the user in question. Parsecboy (talk) 13:28, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the input and for pointing me to WP:DE. I was just curious about the issue in general and, in this particular case, I assume good faith since the user announced his purpose. It will work itself out through the RM process that has already started. — AjaxSmack 00:37, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

I'll give you a real example. Colin Ferguson was moved to Colin Ferguson (mass murderer) and then Colin Ferguson was edited, preventing reversing the move. When it was suggested that it be reversed at WP:RM, the inappropriateness of the move was overlooked. There have been numerous previous attempts to make the move to (mass murderer), each of which have been reverted previously. It is never appropriate to use (mass murderer) as a part of a subjects name, no matter how much you dislike them. Apteva (talk) 02:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Finding It

I've seen it myself. One person wrote something bad about Albert Murphy. If somebody says something bad about somebody, it's vandalism.Wollslleybuttock (talk) 03:34, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Table of types of vandalism

Given our dislike of spilling WP:BEANS, is there really any need for the policy page to include this detailed table of ways of vandalising Wikipedia? Wouldn't a general definition be enough?--Kotniski (talk) 05:24, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

If vandals can't think this stuff up for themselves, they're unlikely to spend much time reading anything, let alone Wikipedia's guidelines. Richard001 (talk) 05:38, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
So who is it for then, if it's all so obvious?--Kotniski (talk) 06:21, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
These categories can sometimes be useful - I once got a complaint from a vandal who thought that because his vandalism was hidden inside comments it was acceptable - but it could be trimmed down a bit. Hut 8.5 08:34, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Reality check

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone here could comment on this edit [8]. Someone keeps adding the word "terrorist" to the Hamas article, and others keep taking it out, characterizing it as vandalism. I think that's clearly not the case (it may be POV, or violate other policies), but I'd appreciate some neutral input: is this vandalism? IronDuke 00:23, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

I think it depends on the context of the word, but I'll have to check. --Zaniac 19:22, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

New policy idea: Require IP edits to be made with edit summary

Here is a new idea for a policy: one in which those who edit using IP rather than an account, will be required to use the edit summary in order to be able to save the edit. Until something is filled into the edit summary line, clicking save will not be possible.

It is quite obvious by now that most vandalism is at the hands of IP editors, and quite a lot of it has involved blank edit summaries. Perhaps requiring this line to be filled in would reduce the amount of vandalism. Hellno2 (talk) 07:50, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it that much of a deterrence, as most of the vandals would just type in 1 char to overcome the limit. Also, it doesn't seem to be right to single out IPs for this change. NanohaA'sYuriTalk, My master 19:28, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Requiring users to fill in the edit summary has been proposed many times. Among the objections is that it will lead to meaningless summaries added just to meet the requirement. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:55, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Adding unsourced or original content

Is adding unsourced or original content vandalism? The template {{uw-unsourced3}} suggests that repeatedly adding such content is considered vandalism, but nothing about it is mentioned on this page. (talk) 15:14, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

"What vandalism is not" vs "What is not vandalism"

First of all, I apologize if this has been covered in another discussion.

What vandalism is not seems to me as an incorrect title for the section which it describes. The title, as it stands, would be more appropriate if the section described acts of vandalism and then sought to explain that these acts of vandalism do not constitute something else. "What is not vandalism" makes more sense to me because this title suggests that there will be a description of situations/acts that do not constitute vandalism.

I realize that this may not make a lot of sense to others as it does to me so I apologize if it souds confusing or overly trivial. SWik78 (talkcontribs) 15:49, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Be bold and change it.--Kotniski (talk) 16:36, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
I also agree with the change. I think it should be done.  Orfen  TC 20:16, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
I disagree. The title is What vandalism is not, and if you change it to a complete sentence for each subject, it would be Vandalism is not Tests by experimenting users for the first point, and so on. --Hamster X (talk) 14:14, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
The point being, I think, that normal English would have it the other way round - "tests... are not vandalism". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kotniski (talkcontribs)
That's exactly my point. Tests are not vandalism sounds more correct that Vandalism is not tests. To me, at least. SWik78 (talkcontribs) 17:40, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

False charge of vandalism

An edit of mine was reversed by a bot due to being "vandalism," even though it was not. This concerned the article on death. If a bot is convinced your good-faith edit is vandalism, how do you get around that? My guess is just re-adding the material will get nowhere. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:51, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Your edit was not undone by a bot but rather Wikiscient I suggest if you have any problems in regard to the edit the person made you ask on the editors talk page. Thanks Monster Under Your Bed (talk) 09:55, 8 July 2008 (UTC)


I need a whinge. The above article started life fairly well-formed, it has then been edited into nothing, even spent some time as a redirect. On balance of probability one could say that all edits are good faith, but if anybody and everybody can edit, which is an admirable ambition in itself, how can we ensure that the "facts, the whole facts and nothing but the facts" are there. Wouldn't it be great if each page was split into two - a protected page and an editable page - which could replace the protected page when authorised by a non-contributor to the article. This would enable the aims of WP to be kept, while at the same time offering something that could be a reliable source of information. At the moment it's nothing more than a semi-anarchist free-for-all graffiti wall. --Richhoncho (talk) 19:20, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Flagged revisions. Don't know when it's going to finally come live.--Kotniski (talk) 19:24, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Why do Wikipedia wanted to blame me?

I have never edited Paul McCartney's page, then they said that I vandalized the page.I've been blame for nothing,I look through the history and I saw the page was vandalized by my IP address, but it wasn't me who vandalized it.I am not an active user, so I need some help to report to the administrators. (talk) 16:30, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I've already addressed this at this IP's talk page. —C.Fred (talk) 16:53, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

a suggestion for group consideration

I'd like to suggest that the normal 'four-warning' process be skipped, and immediate intervention and blockage be available, whenever a vandal targets the user page of someone who flagged him for vandalism. this is pragmatism more than anything else - a vandal who targets vandal patrollers leaves no doubt that he is intending vandalism, and I haven't yet seen a case where such a user didn't get blocked anyway. in the long run, this would save a lot of people a lot of effort going through the motions of giving a 'fair chance' to someone who clearly isn't interested. --Ludwigs2 19:49, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Alternative suggestion-What about just shortening it to two warnings, or one even, instead of four? Marcia Wright (talk) 20:25, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
well, I think that's partly implied (since they'd have to get at least one warning in order to have a patroller to attack) but I could agree with this as well. --Ludwigs2 18:52, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Deliberately adding false information

What form of vandalism would deliberately adding false information fall under? Example: [9]. Vandalism for the purpose of appropriating Wikipedia's reputation to lend validity to a false statement. (Or maybe it was deliberate misinformation to make WP look bad?) What's the course of action to take? Just a {{vandal}} on the IP talk page? - Keith D. Tyler 21:53, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

inappropriate humor, maybe? that's probably what I'd use, anyway, since it seems he's intent on pulling someone's leg. --Ludwigs2 18:54, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Well.. It sounds to me like he added info to the encyclopedia so he could tell a friend either "it's true, wikipedia says so" or to say "look what crap Wikipedia says". Either option deliberately disrupts and harms the encyclopedia, whether or not they thought it was just good fun to misrepresent it. - Keith D. Tyler 15:46, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Template vandalism

Since Template vandalism seems to be the new fad as a quick browse of Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents will show (plus personal experience with the relatively few articles on my watchlist), I think it would be a good idea to have a Wikipedia:Template vandalism article. I would urge anyone who has any knowledge about this to write an article. It seems that the main fear when this sort of thing occurs is that Wiki has been hacked, I know because that was my first thought when I experienced it. A proper informative article would perhaps allay the worst fears for most casual editors .--Saddhiyama (talk) 01:34, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

I could write one (and will tomorrow, if no one else gets to it) but I think it would only need a section in this article, not an entire article of its own. --Ludwigs2 03:48, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
I added a blurb here - wp:Vandalism#Obstinate_.28Template_and_CSS.29_vandalism - though it could probably use some editing. --Ludwigs2 17:54, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, even though the blurb may or may not need more work it is still very helpful in removing some of the confusion concerning template vandalism. --Saddhiyama (talk) 20:24, 19 July 2008 (UTC)


"Please also note that correcting other users' typos is discouraged"

Could someone explain why this is? Excessive typos, lack of spacing, improper letter casing, all make talk pages illegible and unappealing. They discourage rather than encourage proper discussion. I want to know who thinks it is discouraged, and why it should be. I think fixing obvious typos is perfectly fine. You can't alter the meaning of something meaningless.

Furthermore, how do you deal with people who keep reverting your refactoring? We can spend a lot of time making things more aesthetic and then have some guy come and roll it back in a second, it seems equivilent to vandalism to me. Tyciol (talk) 05:25, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

On occasion, someone may intentionally mispell something. More often, the person "fixing" the spelling is actually wrong, or has mistaken the intended word, which may be obscure or technical, for something else. The person fixing the spelling may inadvertently alter the meaning of the statement, and some might even take more liberty than simply fixing the spelling. While certainly, fixing a link-breaking typo is almost purely undebatable, outside of that it's just easier to make everyone accountable for their own spelling and grammar. Some people also take offense at having their comments revised, and this is a simple thing to avoid as aesthetic pleasure in a discussion is not a top priority. Although fixing God-awful formatting is not discouraged, and that can be far more annoying than spelling mistakes. Someguy1221 (talk) 06:38, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Related essay of potential interest

Wikipedia:Vandalism does not matter; responses most welcome. Solidarity, Skomorokh 13:51, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Discouraging the "rvv" edit summary abbreviation?

In the "How not to respond to vandalism" section, I'd like to propose we consider adding a suggestion that editors should be discouraged from using the abbreviation "rvv" (or "rv v") in edit summaries. Using this abbreviation makes it too trivially and flippantly easy to brand someone else's editing as vandalism — an accusation which we shouldn't be throwing around lightly, especially if an inappropriate edit might possibly not have been malicious or wanton after all.

Except perhaps in the most blatantly obvious cases (and maybe not even then?), I would suggest that less inflammatory alternatives should be preferred. I used to use "rvv" all the time in edit summaries, but I recently decided to stop doing so.

What do others think about this idea? Richwales (talk) 03:50, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Continued unconstructive edits after block

An IP ( has continued to make unconstructive edits after being blocked, I'm not sure how to deal with it, though. Do I go through the warning cycle again, issue an only warning or report it straight to WP:AIV? I know there's no hard and fast rules regarding warnings, but I'd just like to know what's usually the done thing as I can't find any guidelines or discussions covering this. Dbam Talk/Contributions 12:25, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

unfortunately, if it gets blocked and comes back to to the same thing, all you can do is go through the cycle again. make a note of it when you report him to ANI, he'll get progressively longer blocks that way. --Ludwigs2 23:02, 16 August 2008 (UTC)


Hi. Have noticed that someone has vandalized the page about the death of Hitler I don't understand how to edit the page to remove the line "To everyone's dismay, however, Hitler had 'pulled a Tina' and now resides in Argentina." could someone please remove this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:14, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Removed. Thanks for your help. Hut 8.5 15:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC)


i have been made aware to my address was blocked due vandalizm my ip is 195.189.14754 but it shows as there is not enough room for the whole ordeal that i am going thru mfs —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xtina49 (talkcontribs) 06:01, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Wrong - neither of the addresses above are blocked. -Jéské (v^_^v Call me Mr. Bonaparte!) 06:46, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

How to respond to vandalism

The way the section is worded, it implies that if I come across some vandal-inserted nonsense in an article, and I don't have time to check the edit history to see how it got there, then I should leave it there, because it might have been inserted in place of something else, and simply deleting it is the act of a "novice editor". Is this what we mean to say? --Kotniski (talk) 17:03, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

I think this is easily a matter of common sense. if you run across an edit where someone added something that could no way be part of the actual article, undo it. if the edit in question could reasonably be assumed to be part of the article, then do one of the following: remove it and ask for clarification on the talk page, take the time to investigate further, tag it with an appropriate inline template, or let it go and come back later when you have the time. --Ludwigs2 21:39, 19 September 2008 (UTC)
I'll have a go at rewriting the advice then. It may be common sense, but there are some people who actually read and follow the guidance we give them, and we don't want to discourage them from removing vandalism because they think they have to go through the whole complex process every time.--Kotniski (talk) 11:24, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I heard Geotool is nice

Geotool is pretty good for tracking down IP addresses. I use Mozilla Firefox, so I have it installed on my browser as an add-on. That's how I found out about it. I would provide the link for it, but for some odd reason it's been blacklisted as a spam link. Can anyone explain why? Crackthewhip775 (talk) 02:34, 22 September 2008 (UTC)


Looking at this page again, while I've got nothing against it, it seems to be more like a help page or how-to page than a policy page. Any scraps of policy here are probably already contained in other pages like WP:BLOCK. Otherwise it's mainly advice about dealing with vandals. Would it make sense to reclassify it by removing the policy tag? Then people would feel freer to edit it with useful tips, without the fear that they're somehow changing WP policy in the process.--Kotniski (talk) 09:59, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Macintosh shortcuts bug

This is trivial, but "Obstinate (Template and CSS) vandalism" says "To access the page history or edit the page when the 'history' or 'edit this page' tabs are inaccessible, use the Windows keyboard shortcut shift-alt-h to access the history, or shift-alt-e to edit the page (Macintosh computers use shift-ctrl-h and shift-ctrl-e)." This hasn't been the case since the Mac version of Internet Explorer was abandoned years ago... and of course on both platforms the actual shortcuts are browser-dependent. --Robort (talk) 00:30, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually, it works fine on my normal browser (Safari), but not on Firefox - Firefox just uses ctrl-E and ctrl-H. since that combo also works on Safari, and also in SeaMonkey and Camino, I'll edit the page to say that instead. anyone have a version of Opera they can check? --Ludwigs2 00:52, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
Ah, this article answers all these questions - the Vandalism article could link to it. --Robort (talk) 02:27, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
excellent find. Face-smile.svg I'll link it in now. --Ludwigs2 03:59, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

ip adress

If someone vandalises will their ip adress be banned or just the acount? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Koolaroo (talkcontribs) 14:30, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

If anonymous, just their IP unless the IP's heen hardblocked (i.e. both anonymous and registered accounts on that IP are disabled). If registered, usually both the account and the IP are blocked (though the block on the IP lasts only 24 hours, if I recall right...). Finally, we do not ban users right off the bat - we block them first and ban only as a last resort (as a ban gives carte blanche to revert the banned user's edits and block on sight). -Jéské (v^_^v Kacheek!) 16:05, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Vandal fighter

I want to become a vandal fighter. Who will help me become one, and teach me how to notice vandalism (the sneaky type of vandalism). Perhaps there are certain tools I could use? Please give me some more information on this. I eagerly await your answer, J.B. 10:40, 27 October 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jouke Bersma (talkcontribs)

You can get ideas on how to do that by reading the entire WP:Vandalism article. Try checking this one out. Hope it helps. --Eaglestorm (talk) 13:19, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

It does. Thank you for your time. J.B. (talk) 14:15, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

No problem. Happy vandalhunting! --Eaglestorm (talk) 15:19, 13 November 2008 (UTC)

Section removed

I undid this edit because it added an undiscussed section to the list of vandalism types. It is far too vague and requires a judgment call of "bad faith" which defeats the purpose of the list. Kafziel Complaint Department 04:09, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Unclear Instructions

This section: Trace the IP address (cf. and add {whois|Name of owner} to the user talk page of the address. If it appears to be a shared IP address, add {SharedIP|Name of owner} or {SharedIPEDU|Name of owner}. Isn't clear in the whois command as dnsstuff doesn't give you the name of the owner. Would edit it, but I don't know what to put instead. Does it mean the name of the owner of the Network, eg, Inc. (eg,{whois| Inc.}? Just feel that the Name of Owner command should be more clear as to what you should write. Please let me know when this is changed, so that I can handle vandalism more effectively. Zaniac 19:06, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

How to spot vandalism

  • Could someone do a re-write, so that the section on "How to spot vandalism" is near the top of the page, instead of the bottom?? I would think that it should go before "How to respond..." Thanks!!--Funandtrvl (talk) 20:28, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Can't you just move it and see if anyone objects? (I can't see why they would.)--Kotniski (talk) 20:37, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Maybe it could be merged/combined with "How to respond to vandalism"; for example: "How to spot and respond to vandalism".--Funandtrvl (talk) 20:40, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Sounds fine.--Kotniski (talk) 08:05, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Modifying other user's comments

Currently the policy views as vandalism:

Modifying users' comments
Editing other users' comments to substantially change their meaning (e.g. turning someone's vote around), except when removing a personal attack (which is somewhat controversial in and of itself). Signifying that a comment is unsigned is an exception. Please also note that correcting other users' typos is discouraged.

I have now bumped into several users, including an admin, who claim that changing my comment is just fine if they believe that my comment somehow mispresents (other than by a personal attack) an opinion that they have. Are they correct? This is a question about the policy, not about a specific case. Guido den Broeder (talk, visit) 22:26, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I would have thought not.--Kotniski (talk) 10:34, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Context [10], [11]. The edit summaries are particularly interesting. I would suggest that this section is in an inappropriate location and would be better placed on ANI as suggested in the header. WLU (t) (c) (rules - simple rules) 11:58, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Protecting BLP articles feeler survey

FYI, based on a conversation on Jimmy Wales's talk page:

Your feedback is appreciated. rootology (C)(T) 19:27, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Good-faith editors deleting vandalised sections rather than checking history

Good-faith editors see a vandalised section and delete it, not realizing than the grafitti was replacing content, not just in addition to it. It's likely more widespread than I realize, because I only notice it when I see a discrepancy: Extra space between paragraphs/sections or casual mention of a concept not previously/otherwise mentioned, as if something's missing.

This is likely perennial, but I thought I'd ask if anyone had any thought about increasing awareness of checking (at least recent) history when seeing vandalism rather than only deleting it. TransUtopian (talk) 21:50, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

can you give an example? the general practice for removing vandalism is to rollback the edit, which should reinstate any section that the vandal deleted. the only way I can see this happening is if two separate vandals hit a page before the patroller - one deletes the section, and the next adds bad content. the patroller would not see the first edit that way. --Ludwigs2 04:10, 16 October 2008 (UTC)


Not RC patrollers generally, but getting awareness out to others who well meaningly "see vandalism in an article, the simplest thing to do is just to remove it" without checking history. I could post on individual talk pages when I see this happening, but I would like to draw more awareness to "check the edit history to see what content was removed (and repair the damage), or leave a note on the article's talk page suggesting that someone else do this", and suggest changing that to posting to WP:EAR if the article's talk isn't frequented. TransUtopian (talk) 08:50, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Ugh, yeah, that's tough. the first one is a bot error (which I should probably report), the second is a piece of vandalism that was missed completely, and the third is vandalism correction by an IP who just didn't know what he was doing. we can write something up about this, I suppose, but I doubt it will do much good - it will only get to the people who know or bother to read this guideline. what would you suggest? --Ludwigs2 16:01, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
The sentence after "the simplest thing to do..." explains what to do additionally if "it seems likely that the vandalism was put there in place of something else". Maybe the wording could be improved to make that clearer (but I agree that most people making the kind of edits referred to above are probably not much influenced by this page anyway).--Kotniski (talk) 06:18, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
what if we rephrased it like this?

If you see vandalism in an article, the simplest thing to do is just to remove it. But take care! Sometimes vandalism takes place on top of older, undetected vandalism, sometimes other editors make edits without realizing the vandalism occurred, and sometimes bots try to fix collateral damage and accidentally make things worse. Check the edit history to make sure you're reverting to a 'clean' version of the page, or if you can't tell where the best place is, take your best guess and leave a note on the article's talk page so that someone more familiar with the page can address the issue.

--Ludwigs2 22:36, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Sounds excellent.--Kotniski (talk) 09:18, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
ok, I'll edit it in. --Ludwigs2 18:15, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
  • I came here for something else, but I've just spotted this section. I think this is potentially a significant problem in Wikipedia, especially for less visited articles. From time to time I check up on articles that I'm familar with, and it is not at all uncommon to find that chunks have been deleted through incorrect vandalism repair. Typically someone has replaced a paragraph or section or whatever with a juvenile obscenity, and the next person to come along has deleted the obscenity without reiinstating the original text. Often this has gone unnoticed for months, and I wonder how many instances go unnoticed forever. If I'm noticing as many instances as I do in just a few articles, then that suggests to me that the problem is widespread. Matt 05:14, 16 November 2008 (UTC). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
Any suggestions as to how to improve the situation? Remembering that deleted sections are not necessarily flagged with obscenities - sometimes people just remove a section, leaving no evidence at all of its existence.--Kotniski (talk) 08:04, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Apart from generally trying to raise awareness of this issue amongst editors, as TransUtopian said, I'm afraid I don't have any bright ideas. I suppose some incredibly clever software could identify instances but I don't see that happening any time soon. (As you say, people often delete stuff without leaving any evidence -- I've often wondered why -- but I class this as just "ordinary vandalism", which everyone knows about only too well. It's this specific issue of incorrect vandalism repair that doesn't seem to get so much publicity.) Matt 00:01, 17 November 2008 (UTC). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

New template available

I have just created {{subst:uw-revertvandalism}} for (kindly) alerting those good faith editors who don't check the page history first. I think there could be a better name for it, but that is what I came up with at the time. So check it out and send me your comments about it. If you would like to change anything, feel free to do so. Thanks. --Lightsup55 ( T | C ) 18:58, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Note: I tried typing up my own message manually (on User talk: and User talk:, but I felt that it didn't seem to explain in good enough detail. That is what inspired me to create the template. --Lightsup55 ( T | C ) 01:41, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Policy change

Anon vandals should be blocked immediately. It wastes time (our most precious resource) to post warnings etc. Where shared IPs or schools are thereby blocked this may create an incentive to clean up their act or trace the vandals. Mccready (talk) 09:53, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Definitely. Rollbackers should also be allowed to block IPs.--Kotniski (talk) 10:14, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Absolutely not. Blocking is one of the more powerful tools at an admins disposal, it is also one of the ones that can bite newbies the most---and part of the reason why pure anti-vandal fighters find it very difficult to pass RfA's. We don't want a bunch of people going around blocking people. Of course, your response is that it would only be used against vandals. Well, if we knew that, then fine. Unfortunately, just because somebody has been granted the rollback button doesn't mean they have acquired the communities trust in dispensing a block. Rollback is granted because it is easily reversable AND because other tools essentially emulate it.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 13:51, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I have a lot of sympathy for this, as over half the edits on some articles are vandalism by anon IPs and reversions of such vandalism. I think immediate blocking is a bit harsh, and would suggest for all vandals:
  • Block after 3rd act of vandalism in any 3-month period.
  • Stiffer blocks, e.g. 1 week then 4 weeks then 3 months then 1 year then indef.
  • Warnings that are plainer and more direct. The first one, "unconstructive", is uselessly limp.
  • A simpler summary of important policies like WP:CIVIL, WP:VANDAL, WP:NOR, WP:V and WP:RS should be included in the "welcome" notice, which should be posted on new IP's Talk pages as well as on those of new registered users. I include WP:NOR, WP:V and WP:RS because we currently give newbies little real help - no newbie has a chance of understanding the whole of the core policies - newbies are most at risk of having articles sent to AfD, and the the NY Times and The Economist have both suggested that this is a factor in the reduction in edit activity.
Specifically re IP vandals, I suggested shared IPs get the same treatment as other IP vandals - if schools, etc. can't control their users, it should be their problem and not ours. Their admins can always register and then ask our admins to unblock - to which our admins should respond by asking how the shared IP sites intend to eliminate vandalism and pointing out that we will hold them to their promises. --Philcha (talk) 10:16, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
PS, see Wikipedia:WikiProject_Vandalism_studies#Summary_of_findings - 97% of vandalism comes from anon IPs.
The problem with this is that ISPs are very reluctant to 86 abusive users on their network unless an official rep for the wronged party files the report (which in our case is the Foundation), and whatever isn't open proxies or schools is generally home-user dynamic addresses assigned thru ISPs. Remember that we had to put pressure on the Houston Better Business Bureau to finally get Mmbabies to stop with his insanities? -Jéské Couriano (v^_^v) 10:43, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. Is there any way we can automate discovery that a vandal IP belongs to an ISP? If so, we send them an automated message and then proceed as above if there's a recurrence. Otherwise I suggest IPs belonging to ISPs get the same treatment as the rest. This will motivate ISPs to pay a little more attention.
Can a blocked IP create an account? If not, perhaps we should make that easier, so that good faith users have an alternative. --Philcha (talk) 11:19, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Blocked IPs can create accounts, provided "Disable account creation" is not checked in the block options. Otherwise, they have to request an account via email. -Jéské Couriano (v^_^v) 11:29, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't know why we want to waste any more time than we have to on these people. "Harsh" isn't remotely the applicable adjective. If someone comes here to damage our project, just show them the door without fuss - that's less punishment than they deserve. The first block can be for 24 hours or something, making it highly unlikely that any desirable editor will be affected by it. If the vandal is capable of coming round to do good for the project, then the realisation that deliberately destructive behaviour will not be tolerated, and trolls will not be fed, should be a step in the right direction. We have enough work to do without letting these people waste our time any more than they already do.--Kotniski (talk) 15:35, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent)The policy says the tags may be placed. Somehow that has morphed into practice that they must be placed. I'll ref this talk on the reporting page.Mccready (talk) 16:21, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

If "tags" means those wishy-washy templates, I don't use them. Instead, "(this diff) was vandalism. Stop it or you will be blocked." Since I've seen blocks pretty quickly after leaving such messages, I don't think using homespun messages vs the templates is an issue. I think the problem is that the templates do not give the impression that they mean business. --Philcha (talk)
I disagree, I'm always amazed at how many vandal only accounts stop after getting a final warning. People do get the message. There is a reason behind the templates, it is to let others know that they can be monitored and a lot of people do stop when they realize that.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 13:54, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I would just advise everyone to bear in mind that one of the key elements of Wikipedia is that anyone can make any edit to Wikipedia. We issue blocks to prevent someone from going on some type of rampage. The four warnings concept (see my comments on the AIV talk page) are by no means hard and fast, but keeping them in place as general guidelines does help us all keep in mind that this is a 'pedia built for the masses. Hiberniantears (talk) 16:57, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

It just depends. Some templates are useful for good-faith, but unsuitable edits. For pure vandalism though I've always used the most harsh ones. I mean, vandalism isn't wanted in any form. Why we have such templates as "Hey, thanks for posting that link to a virus on Example. Although we welcome your contribution, we don't really like that kind of thing around here so we're asking you nicely not to do it again. We mean it. Really mean it. I think..." I would definitely support tougher measures against vandals. They don't have to be draconian; just turn up the heat a bit. --.:Alex:. 18:03, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure the masses don't want their 'pedia damaged by vandals any more than we regular editors do. By removing vandals straight away (well, blocking the IP address they used for some amount of time) without engaging in any kind of dialogue with them, we save our time - enabling us to fight vandalism more effectively - and deprive the trolls (which many of them are) of nourishment. Four warnings is way, way over the top except in cases where there is an indication that someone is just "testing" rather than deliberately harming.--Kotniski (talk) 11:00, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
We appear to be in agreement. Since admins do the blocking, I'll contact a few and ask them to contribute here and, if they agree with a tougher approach, how to progess this. --Philcha (talk) 11:33, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any sort of consensus on a new policy developing here... especially one that would fly at the Village Pump. Before any policy is enacted, it has to get broader approval than one branch of the project. EG even if 100% of the people who monitor this page agree to a new policy, that does not mean that the larger community accepts it or that it becomes policy. Policy changes have to go through the Village Pump (policy) to show a broader acceptance by the community. And like I said, I see no defined consensus from this page to take to the VP.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 13:59, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I've asked a few, and invited them to pass the invitation to other admins. --Philcha (talk) 11:55, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

As an adjunct, I am more liberal with semiprotection. I have been criticised for blocking long and early with anons before. Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:49, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Wow, that was quick! Thanks! --Philcha (talk)

Disagree with blocking IPs immediately. Not all vandalism is equal given the number of different messages that we could place. For example, while both damaging "THIS IS TEH BEST SHOW EVAR!" into an article is less of a worry that replaces numerous words throughout an article with insults and vulgarity. The former one, I'd give a chance to see if they improve, the second case, one more strike of that nature and blocking is appropriate. It is also too easy to mistake vandalism for an attempt to make a positive contribution but just not doing it right (such as accidental blanking). Only in the case of outright vandalism (eg the Hagger-type stuff) should zero tolerance be used, every other time one should at least warn and give 3 strikes towards. --MASEM 13:46, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Agreed... very few cases deserve immediate blocking without any warning. I have no problem with going to an level 3 or higher warning immediately for somebody with a history. But *I* will not block somebody who hasn't been warned. To do so goes against one of our core principles---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 14:04, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
We assume good faith up to a point. But the good of the encyclopedia is paramount. If you give someone three warnings and they stop, well, they've successfully trolled you for those three warnings. The time you've spent giving those warnings could have been spent making one block and doing two other useful things.--Kotniski (talk) 14:38, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
And that is why admins take into account the users history when making blocks, and there is no policy saying that you have to go through steps 1-3. If the account is obviously engaged in vandalism, there is nothing (as far as I am concerned at least) that says that you can't issues a level 3 or 4 warning straight away. But without a recent warning, especially for an which might be dynamic IP, we don't know if the user on the other end has received the warning.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 14:59, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Well I'm saying it doesn't matter if he's received a warning; we're better off just blocking immediately (as I believe we often do already). (I only mean in the obvious cases, like vulgarities or repeated damage; the isolated "BEST SHOW EVAR" type examples don't bother me so much, though in that case I would just revert them and forget about warnings.) We have to look at the costs and benefits of these warnings, and I really don't see any benefit in 99.99% of cases unless the user visibly thinks he's doing good to the project. The costs must be pretty small per warning, but you've also got the costs of the continued vandalism, and multiply all that by however many thousands or millions of warnings are placed each year and you've got something quite sizeable. I don't say we should never warn, but the emphasis in the policy should be changed to stress what is already the case anyway - vandals are often blocked without being pre-warned.--Kotniski (talk) 16:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I have blocked rapid vandals without warning, and I'm sure other admins have as well. Which again is an argument against such a change.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 19:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't get that argument... Can you spell it out?--Kotniski (talk) 19:17, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I didn't propose immediate blocking, I proposed: don't reset the warning counter so easily; fewer, tougher warnings; earlier, longer blocking - and simpler summaries of core policies, for the benefit of new editors. --Philcha (talk) 14:23, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Before you take this to the wider community, eg Village Pump, you need to write out what your proposed change is. Not just the concept, but the actual wording. Get consensus here, then approach the pump. Eg write out a proposed change, not in just abstract terms.---Balloonman PoppaBalloonCSD Survey Results 14:25, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

While I disagree with this proposed change, there are somethings we should definitely change:

  • We should abolish the level four warnings. It is rare that I have ever seen an vandal who has gotten a level 4 warning stop vandalizing. Usually, they stop by level 3, or not at all.
  • Strengthen the message of the level 3 warning templates to be more firm.
  • 4chan and other meme vandals should be blocked on sight. On January 14, we did so. It was a temporary measure, but I see no reason to switch back to warning those types of vandals. NuclearWarfare (Talk) 19:15, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Do you really think vandals stop because of the warnings? Think about it... you're being told that if you don't stop doing something, you'll be "punished" by not being allowed to do it any more. Not exactly a great deterrerent. I think we just do these warnings because we've got used to doing them, and don't have the courage to admit that something we've been doing for so long is in most cases pointless. Imagine if we routinely just blocked vandals, and someone came along with a proposal that instead, we give them as many as four (or even three, or two) levels of warning before blocking them. The idea would be summarily rejected as instruction/process creep, damaging to the encyclopedia and all manner of things.--Kotniski (talk) 19:31, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Random section break

Brought here by this note I disagree with making a change, I feel it would amount to a new rule, since tags are recommended, not required. In my vandal fighting it varies a lot the number of tags I place based on what they're doing. I block on sight rarely but when it's obvious that the vandal knows better--e.g. WOW type stuff, or the same unusual edits after another block. Sometimes I'll block after 2 warnings, sometimes more; it really depends on a lot of factors. I think admins are given leeway here, I don't think anyone's ever mentioned having a problem with a block of mine (other than blockees!). So to make a new rule introduces restriction, doesn't eliminate it. Also, I think it's really important to AGF even with stuff where that might seem farfetched, like obscenities--some of these kids really are just testing. And even if they are trying to be a pain, taking a hostile or harsh attitude is the wrong approach IMHO--it sets up an adversarial atmosphere and may make it a game for them. If you come across as authoritarian, now they're stickin' it to the Man. The sentiment I try to send is "we're just a bunch of nice folks and we'd really hate to block you, we hope we won't have to." Hence the overly polite and circumspect templates that sometimes frustrate folks who see them as not being tough enough. On the other hand, I'm not against more wording that emphasizes that these tags are optional and judgment should be used in each case. delldot ∇. 21:22, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't think straight-off blocking has much effect on them psychologically - it just makes them give up and go and annoy someone else. Being "blocked" doesn't have the same meaning to a casual vandal as it does to a regular Wikipedia editor, remember. It's the warnings (assuming they ever read them, which in most cases I suspect they don't) which are likely to turn it into a game for them - just think, I wrote "shit" in Wikipedia and I got this pretty message back! Cool! Let's see what happens if I write "dick"? And so on.--Kotniski (talk) 22:20, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
delldot and other admins make a valid point about not tying admins down to a specif warning / block cycle, because some vandals need to be stopped really quickly. So any formal proposal that come out of this should be phrased as toughening the most lenient level of treatment (which most vandals seem to get).
However I strongly disagree with "If you come across as authoritarian, now they're stickin' it to the Man", because people who think in terms of "stickin' it to the Man" will pick on whatever they see as a soft target, as Kotniski suggests. I don't think Wikipedia has any reason to make itself a soft target. --Philcha (talk) 22:47, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
So it looks like we have a disagreement about vandal psychology, hence our disagreement about how to handle them. All I can say is my understanding of vandal psychology is informed by many thousands of vandal reverts. It's fine that we disagree. I would point out, though, that there's a big burden of proof on you if you're going to institute mandatory policy that everyone has to follow. delldot ∇. 22:05, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Alternative to policy change

IP editors are already throttled. Implement stronger throttling with some type of automatic setting, say, "maximum of 1 edit per minute and 3 edits in 10 minutes." This would encourage registration and limit the damage drive-by vandals can do. This can be turned off for widely-used proxies. If you want, make this per-IP and turn it on for 24 hours at the first warning. davidwr/(talk)/(contribs)/(e-mail) 02:13, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

NEVER!--Starwars1791 (talk) 05:34, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

User:Tmtoulouse created something similar on rationalwiki

Straw Poll

I was thinking we should have a straw poll to see if you endorse or oppose the policy change. Write in Bold Endorse or Oppose and sign your name. Comments are recommended explaining your vote. DFS454 (talk) 10:39, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

(The essence of the change in question is "Anon vandals should be blocked immediately" - for reasoning see above.)--Kotniski (talk) 10:55, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

  • Endorse the change for at least a trial basis. DFS454 (talk) 10:39, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Support in principle. But I wouldn't word it like that. There may still be cases where at least one warning is appropriate; and I don't see any need to treat anons much differently from account-holders. I would just change the emphasis of the present policy; rather than implying that warning is the norm, it should imply that immediate blocking is the norm UNLESS the vandalism is very mild, in which case a warning may be given first.--Kotniski (talk) 10:55, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose for reasons explained above. I think this straw poll is premature given the lack of consensus above. delldot ∇. 21:47, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Example of why this is important

I would commend the editing/warning/blocking history of this IP address (which must be very typical) to all those who consistently obstruct attempts to institute more effective action against vandals. Surely you can see that the current approach is not just wrong in some kind of abstract philosophical way, but is doing concrete harm to Wikipedia, day in and day out, for no perceptible gain.--Kotniski (talk) 14:07, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Reviewing this IP's dozen most recent edits, I see a mix of test edits as well as the sort of vandalism one would expect from a school that teaches children aged 4 - 16 years. Regardless, all of the unhelpful edits were reverted within an average of 7.8 minutes. However the real problem is the fact that while all of this IP's edits to eight different articles were reverted, only two warnings were ever issued, and one of those was from a bot. As per current Wikipedia practice, vandals are generally blocked after ignoring three or four levels of escalating warnings. However in this instance, Wikipedia editors dropped the ball and failed to issue these warnings in six out of eight cases. Those are the people who are truly obstructing our ability to deal with vandalism. --Kralizec! (talk) 00:32, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Strange logic. People don't issue warnings largely because they're a seen to be a waste of time - we've got better things to do than feed trolls in order to conform to some bureaucratic process. If people saw a system that actually stopped vandals effectively without wasting everyone' valuable time, they might be more inclined to play along with it. --Kotniski (talk) 07:12, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


I've made a few bold changes to this page and the AIV instruction pages, to emphasize that warnings are not necessary in every case. I don't think this changes the status quo - everyone seems to agree that blocks without warnings are not uncommon.--Kotniski (talk) 14:40, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

And I've un-made them. We get enough inappropriate reports as it is. If there is consensus that the system is broken, we can work on changing it. But there is no such consensus, and you won't force the change unilaterally. Kafziel Complaint Department 16:25, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
As I say, I'm pretty sure I'm not changing the system by doing this, just documenting current practice. In one of your edit summaries you say, quite rightly, "administrators know when to make exceptions". But these pages are not for administators, but for ordinary users. It needs to be made clear to them that there is no need to go through a long process of warning when an active vandal is on the prowl. At the moment I'm sure many people are deterred by the way the instructions are phrased. Do you not agree?--Kotniski (talk) 16:51, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
No, it needs to be clear to them that there is a need to go through a long process, because most users are not familiar enough to decide when exceptions should be made. Abuse of the blatant vandalism template has long been a problem, which any long-time AIV participant can tell you. New users jump at the chance to report a vandal, and they are very often wrong. They waste our time by reporting content disputes, test edits, and honest mistakes. If they go through the proper series of warnings, there's a very good chance the vandalism will stop or the "vandal" will realize his mistakes and work more productively in the future. Or, as is often the case, an admin will take notice of the warnings and point out that the edits are not vandalism. Frankly, I don't care if people are deterred. There are always others to take their place. People who think following the guidelines is too much trouble are always free to work on something else. They often do, and they are rarely missed. Kafziel Complaint Department 18:09, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, if vandalism were only a minor matter, that attitude would be forgiveable, but it does do huge harm to the project, in terms of actual lowering of quality, wasting of time and harming of reputation. Anything that gets more people fighting it, and in a more effective way, is going to translate into direct benefits for the encyclopedia, which is of far more value than the following of guidelines for tradition's sake. If we want to stop people reporting non-vandalism as vandalism, we should work on phrasing the instructions to emphasize what vandalism is and is not, and not try to fob them off by causing them to take another form of inappropriate action instead. --Kotniski (talk) 18:50, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I support Kafziel in making the revert; these are pretty large changes and would need to gain consensus (although it's fine to make bold edits and then discuss if they're reverted). delldot ∇. 18:43, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
If you consider them large changes, that means you think they don't reflect current practice? In what way is that so?--Kotniski (talk) 18:50, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
You seem to be of the popular misconception that vandalism is a serious threat to the project, and that we're somehow losing the war. You couldn't be more wrong. Wikipedia is the most successful reference site in the world, and anyone who really understands the way it works knows we have nothing to worry about when it comes to vandalism. Things are quite well in hand, thank you very much. Kafziel Complaint Department 19:03, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
That sounds very complacent, considering the amount of vandalism we see every day. Agreed, the vandalism we see gets undone, and quite a lot gets picked up by bots, but by definition, the vandalism we don't know about gets through. And that's not just obvious stuff like obscenities (which will be picked up and removed eventually, though not necessarily with restoration of information that the vandal deleted), but pernicious random alteration of facts which damages the encyclopedia. I'm not saying it's a war than can be definitively won or lost, but the more efficiently we counteract vandalism, the better it will be for the project (not just because we can revert more vandalism, but because we can use the time we save to make other positive contributions). We should therefore take an open-minded attitude to attempts to improve our strategy, not just automatically attribute them to ignorance.--Kotniski (talk) 07:13, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Of course there's vandalism we don't catch right away, but that's not going to be fixed by blocking other vandals more efficiently. If we block them, that means we did catch it. The only way to avoid completely unnoticed vandalism is through passive means like page protection, which has nothing to do with this discussion. I'm not going to get into that here.
Now, does the possibility exist that an admin will block a vandal without warning? Yes. I've done it many times. Do we need to mention that possibility in the policy or the noticeboard? No. Because, quite frankly, it's none of your concern. And I don't mean that in some elitist way; it's none of anyone's business, admin or not, if I choose to wait for a full set of warnings. Nobody can make me block someone I don't feel like blocking, and I don't need people showing up and hounding me about it (which has happened in the past). So don't worry about it. Do what you're supposed to do, and if we see an exceptional case then we'll step in. If the vandalism is coming fast, then it shouldn't take very long to get to level 4. If you want to ask an admin to have a look at the situation, feel free to leave a note on a talk page. I, for one, don't mind as long as you're polite about it.
The thing is, whenever we mention the possibility of an exception to any policy, everyone thinks their case is the exception. I have no doubt that it's that very thing that started this discussion in the first place. It usually is. There was some big vandalism emergency that simply couldn't wait, but wasn't responded to within 30 seconds, so now we're all supposed to put on our fireman helmets and run around in circles making siren noises. But the fact is, it's all at the discretion of the responding admin, and there's no way to say "case X needs warnings and case Y doesn't." The same goes for rollback. If I choose to use rollback to revert a vandal, that's fine. If I choose not to use rollback - if, for instance, I want to take a more careful look at each edit and see what needs to be done - that's my prerogative. So don't worry about it. Users should be keeping an eye on articles, not other users. Once you file a report, if the article stops being vandalized, that's all you need to know. If you're hell-bent on having someone blocked and rolled back, you're taking it too personally.
That might sound complacent to you, but it's not. I'm known to be an unforgiving bastard, particularly when it comes to vandalism, spam, and edit warring. I don't generally worry too much warning templates and stuff. I'm exactly the kind of quick-to-block admin you guys think you want more of, and even I'm telling you this change isn't warranted. It's not like I'm just saying this because I secretly want Wikipedia to fail. All it would do is waste our time and make it that much harder to clear the backlogs of real vandalism. Kafziel Complaint Department 01:49, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I know you mean well, but this does come across as elitist - it seems to go against the community spirit to deliberately keep information out of the policy pages because the masses can't be trusted to interpret it correctly. If it's sometimes right for the project for admins to block vandals without warnings, then it's sometimes right for the project for non-admins to report them without warnings - and we should be aiming to word the policy and instructions in such a way that makes it explicitly clear (subject to a certain degree of individual judgement) when to report and when not to.--Kotniski (talk) 07:05, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
It is explicitly clear: Vandals should be reported when they are active, and after the proper number of warnings have been issued. That's it. If and when there is an exception to be made (and that may never happen, as far as you know) the individual admin will make it on a whim. Some admins never block anybody, ever, for any reason. I might decide not to block a user simply because I just ate a nice breakfast, and french toast makes me happy. We don't need to add that to the policy. What I'm saying is, the factors that influence block decisions are too variable for anyone to be able to anticipate properly. So we don't put them in writing. Instead, we try to choose admins whose judgment we trust. And, again, you needn't concern yourself with what happens to specific vandals, because anti-vandalism work should not become a personal matter. Thousands of Wikipedia members are able to handle these requirements; if a few people can't, that doesn't constitute a problem for the rest of the project. It just means those people are ill-suited to that line of work, and should focus their talents elsewhere. Kafziel Complaint Department 07:42, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

(unindent) I think we're still not on the same wavelength. Obviously it's for the admin to decide what to do, and I'm not supporting any of the proposals to lay down specific "musts" for admins. But those who may or may not report or warn vandals also have to make a judgement - and it's to those people that the policy and instructions are addrssed. We should word these pages in such a way that ordinary well-meaning users know what to do in specific situations, and so that what they do as a result doesn't waste their time, doesn't waste admins' time, and achieves the best results for the project. So for them, not for admins, I'm proposing that we make more of an effort to describe expicitly the courses of action available and the factors to be considered when choosing one.--Kotniski (talk) 08:51, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree that vandalism isn't doing that much damage to the project, but it does do some and surely we should come up with the most effective way of dealing with the problem whatever the magnitude. My take is just that the "tough on crime" approach usually does more harm than good (for reasons explained above by Kafziel and myself). To answer Kotniski's question, I was especially surprised to see the "warning is not an absolute prerequisite for blocking" sentence gone--I can recall times when that very sentence has made it easier to block VOAs and others with obvious intent to disrupt. It's my opinion that we should make things as explicit as possible (as far as consensus will allow us) in policies, and these changes seemed to make the policy more vague (e.g. "warn or report"--could be confusing to a new user). delldot ∇. 21:10, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I find the current wording quite unexplicit. It needs to be explicitly and clearly stated that admins will block vandals without warning in serious cases (and that such cases are not some rare event). We don't want people reporting every little test edit to AIV, but on the other hand we want people to report currently active serious vandals immediately, without wasting time with warnings. In fact, one of the main reasons I can see to report vandals is not just to block them, but to have someone with the appropriate tools roll back multiple edits. That possibility should also be mentioned in the policy.--Kotniski (talk) 07:19, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Generally speaking, I have to agree with delldot that vandalism is not as big of a problem as it has been in our past. With the profusion of anti-vandal tools like Huggle and Twinkle, not to mention the advent of our various anti-vandalism bots, most instances of vandalism are caught and reverted in short order. Having an "under siege" mentality may be the norm at wikis like Conservapedia, but I just do not see that fitting with the open culture and democratic philosophy here at the English Wikipedia. --Kralizec! (talk) 17:08, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

"poop" Vandalism Cabal?

Anyone else starting to see an increase in vandalisms containing the word "poop" from multiple anonymous IP's? I'm noticing a trend I think. Almost as if some Anonymous-type trolling group is trying to cause trouble.

Also I've been noticing a certain type of inconspicuous vandalism of just changing one digit in random articles to make it look like it's an error correction so no one will know the difference. I remember coming across this one IP, after checking his contributions I discovered they all consisted of just changing one digit in a wide variety of unrelated articles. That kind of vandalism is so hard to catch because it's not easy to tell if the editor is really just correcting inaccurate data such as updating a sport statistic or if their intentions are malicious. -- OlEnglish (talk) 01:42, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

"Poop" has been around for a very long time. Just a bunch of kids moving through the anal stage. Revert, warn, block, ignore. bibliomaniac15 03:59, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Is edit history "vandalism"?

What if an editor has made no individual edits that disrupt or compromise the integrity of Wikipedia, but a look at the edit history causes "problems" for loyalists to the project? Is that vandalism? For example, one such editor was blocked and labeled a vandal, though his 20 edits were exemplary. -- 3 Good 1 Comment (talk) 05:55, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, considering the user's contributions and the order in which he edited them had phrased out something very inappropriate, could just as well be a reason to block him. I wouldn't call it vandalism though. Has any other user ever done this in the past? --Lightsup55 ( T | C ) 13:39, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Not that I've seen. I must say that that is clever. If only he'd use his ingenuity for something constructive. Useight (talk) 08:03, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Clearly a personal attack, which is not vandalism but could necessitate a block if it was an ongoing thing. Kafziel Complaint Department 08:11, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Only Warning

I pretty much understand what vandalism is and how to respond to it, but I couldn't find any information on the "Only Warning". When is it appropriate to use this? I haven't used it yet for fear that I would use it inappropriately and overstep the bounds of a regular user out on vandalism patrol, but some times when I though it *might* be appropriate to use it are as follows (I'd appreciate general and specific feedback on this):

  • A user deliberately and maliciously vandalizes with content that is also very inappropriate (cussing, insults aimed at a specific person, race, or other group).
  • A user (registered or not) who has had his or her account suspended in the past very deliberately vandalizes an article, especially as in point (1).
  • A user (registered or not) has received a large number of level 1 and 2 vandalism warnings without being escalated further within a reasonably short period of time. (Would this deserve an only warning, a final warning, or just an escalation to level 3?)

Arathald (talk) 16:01, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

The improper use of these sorts of 4im warnings is a common reason for the rejection of block requests at WP:AIV, so this is a great question! When we decline to block because of this, here is the standardized reply admins use a la the {{AIV}} shortcut:
Pictogram voting oppose.svg User has been inappropriately warned. 4im warnings are appropriate for severe vandalism and defamation only.
Most admins follow a pretty literal interpretation of WP:BLOCK when it says "before a block is imposed, efforts should be made to educate the user about our policies and guidelines, and to warn them when their behaviour conflicts with our policies and guidelines." Keeping this in mind, in my personal opinion, your first criteria is spot-on, especially when it comes to WP:BLP articles. I am a little shaky on your #2 criteria for anonymous editors (since many IPs are highly shared), unless the IP is editing the same article that got them blocked last time. For your third criteria, I would have to say that if the edits in question are not "severe vandalism or defamation" then do not use a 4im warning; use a level three or four warning instead. Hope this helps! --Kralizec! (talk) 16:54, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that pretty much answers exactly what I was wondering; thanks for your detailed response. On a similar note, is it ever appropriate to escalate directly from level 1 to level 3 or 4 (mostly when vandalism is blatant, especially when it's obscene)? Arathald (talk) 17:01, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Again, different admins have different perspectives and interpretations of the WP:BLOCK policy; the RfA process promotes admins based on their ability to exercise good judgment, rather than the mindless enforcement of rules. That said, I suspect that most admins would be fine if warnings jumped from level one to a 4im if the vandalism warranted it. In addition to the special case that is BLP, many admins are fairly intolerant of defamation based on race, religion, gender, etc. --Kralizec! (talk) 17:36, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
See also WP:4IM if you haven't already. -- OlEnglish (Talk) 20:50, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

The "feed your bike biscuits" man is coming back in July!

He said on another website to me that love to turn wikipedia into a scrap pile with "tom bombadil" and "feed your bike biscuits as his catch phrase!" extend his ban, then please don't ban me for the stuff Miles did.-- (talk) 23:16, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Warning users

Is it okay for people who are not administrators to warn people who vandalize Wikipedia?. Mythdon (talk) 03:53, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Absolutely. In fact, there are some good ways to do it. You can use the functionality built-in to Twinkle, or use the chart here: Wikipedia:Template messages/User talk namespace. -MBK004 03:56, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
When i do so, I prefer to only use the first two levels of warnings as levels 3 and 4 sound like admin-use. Mythdon (talk) 04:53, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I've been warned before by non-admins. I was engaging in Wikipedia misconduct, and I apologize. I have righted the ship recently. Thanks for the second chance, Wikipedia. Yesitsnot (talk) 08:46, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Removing wikilinks

I've always wondered why you would sometimes see a user or IP remove a bunch of wikilinks in an article. I don't see it too often but it always seemed like an odd edit to spend time doing. Then I stumbled on this blog (http(colon}//www(dot)sorbor(dot)com/blog/seo/case-study-dire-wolf-site-flip/) of someone who was removing wikilinks to dire wolf in a bunch of WP articles so that he could get the WP article to rank lower and his website to rank higher ("Although I did start to remove some links to the Dire Wolf wikipedia page intending to rank it down in the search engines.") Has anyone ever heard of this type of activity before? I'm posting this here because it might be good to mention this type of vandalism so others can know what to make of it. -- (talk) 16:03, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Interesting. Well that explains a lot. I have seen this happen in the past, but had no idea why an anonymous editor would remove links. Now we know. Thanks! Kralizec! (talk) 16:12, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Tracking down IPs

I'm just wondering, is there any type of software/website/thingy that can allow users to check other users' IP addresses? If there is, I probably sound like someone posting a yahoo questions fail. Anyhoo, if there is anything, please reply on my talk page. Thanks! Montgomery' 39 (talk) 21:08, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

The Sandbox

You know, i've noticed some vandals do use the Sandbox, but to put up some very explict things or rubbish. Some other anon user put up picture of the pubic area in the Sandbox and it's talk page and seemed to love it. Maybe someone should put a block on explict content being put on the Sandbox and its talk page if possible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:54, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

well, it's impossible to know if content is explicit before it gets posted. I don't know if the bots patrol the sandboxes for material like that, but in any case the sandbox is cleaned periodically, so that stuff will go away fairly quickly. --Ludwigs2 04:28, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Draft tougher policy

I was asked (above) to provide a more specific draft of a tougher treatment of vandals. Please support, oppose & comment. I hope to take this to the Village Pump (policy) next. --Philcha (talk) 21:51, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

  1. Vandals should be blocked after at most the third act of vandalism in any 3-month period. Admins may block earlier than this if they consider it necessary, for example in cases of persistent or sneaky vandalism, or where the vandalism exposes Wikipedia to legal action, for example by violating WP:BLP.
  2. The minimum durations of blocks should be increased to a minimum of 1 week for the first offense, 1 month for the second, 3 months for the third, 1 year for the fourth and indefinite for the fifth. Admins may block for longer periods if they consider it necessary.
  3. Without exception IP vandals, i.e. unregistered users, should be treated the same as registered users who vandalize. In other words there should not be more lenient treatment for shared IP addresses. If schools, ISPs, etc. do not control their users, it should be their problem and not ours. Users of shared IP addresses that are blocked should be invited to register.
  • Support, but I would like to see "persistent" defined. It should be made clear that vandals who appear to be currently active are among those to be blocked without warning.--Kotniski (talk) 15:29, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose, as above. A big problem with mandatory minimums like these is that it doesn't let admins exercise enough judgment in individual cases. You're putting yourself in the position of having to predict the best outcome for every single case. Given that we don't block this way now, apparently our judgment is that it's not always the best course. Look at the American legal system for more problems with mandatory minimums. Another big problem with across-the-board rules like this is that it's not always possible to tell who's one vandal and what's a shared IP with a series of users (e.g. aol users, schools, Quatar). Sometimes we get a mix of valid edits and vandalism from heavily used IPs. As I understand it, the general consensus at places like WT:AIV is that it's often worthwhile to not block IPs that are making good edits, even if there's a high proportion of vandalism, because it's so much easier to rvv than it is to make those good edits. Once again though, it's a judgement call and it will vary on a case by case basis. So tying our hands is going to be a setback for us, and it's creepy. On the other hand, I'm certainly not opposed to wording that makes it clear that blocking without warning is ok in cases of clear vandalism by people who know better. That's a useful weapon in the arsenal. delldot ∇. 21:59, 19 January 2009 (UTC) Left a note at AIV to bring further discussion here delldot ∇. 22:08, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Unlike with mandatory minumum criminal sentencing, we don't have to feed the b*****s while they're in the sin bin.
Obviously I know only the sample of cases where I've reverted and left warnings, but some of these nuisances have several consecutive months' worth of warnings, and are still vandalising. Would you like to propose alternative means of reducing the actual amount of vandalism that occurs? --Philcha (talk) 22:16, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Is your concern only about shared IPs?
BTW I took the liberty of laying out the votes consistently so everyone can see what the balance is. I hope you don't mind. --Philcha (talk) 22:16, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Also, I've always felt the level one warning for vandalism should be deleted outright: level one is essentially the 'assume good faith' warning, but vandalism is pretty much purposeful. When someone detes the text of an article and replaces it with the word 'fuck' 500 times, it's really hard to see that as an accident... HalfShadow 22:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I oppose this change strongly for several reasons, it completely removes discretion from the admin making the block, every case should be judged on it's merits instead. It is far too strict and will lose us some good edits along with the bad edits it will stop, personally I think that it is a completely unacceptable trade off from wikipedia the encyclopedia anyone can edit. If this goes through many of the most popular/sensitive ip addresses will end up indefinitely blocked losing us so many oppurtunities of getting new people attracted to wikipedia after starting out from making a simple correction as an ip. I have seen cases (not very many but those few more than make it worthwhile for me) where a good edit has followed vandalism which would have required being blocked under this policy change (indeed in one case last year I blindly reverted a good edit after vandalism before another admin pointed out my mistake, the ip then apologised on it's talk page - very rare but it still happened). In most cases after a short block ip addresses do not return to vandalise - I checked my last five blocks all for 24-55 hours and none have returned to vandalise since the blocks ended - most often there is no need for increased block lengths, as Jimbo has said we should only do the minimum required to protect the project while retaining our freedom for editing. As to how to reduce vandalism - WP:Flagged Revisions - make it so vandalism is not shown to readers which is the best form of deny recognition there can be. Davewild (talk) 23:08, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Can you guys take this to the pump or create a separate proposal page, please? Most of us admins keep WP:V on our watchlists, and I for one really don't need this silly thread causing it to get bumped to the top every couple of minutes. This isn't the place. Kafziel Complaint Department 01:20, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Huh? This is the vandalism policy page, and this is a proposal (which not everyone considers "silly") directly concerning that policy. This seems to be the ideal place for it, and exactly the sort of thing you would expect to see if you keep this page on your watchlist. (If you want something really annoying, try keeping WP:MOSNUM on your watchlist ;) )--Kotniski (talk) 08:45, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
It is exactly the kind of thing I expect to see here, because if I had a dollar for every half-assed proposal by non-admins who want to make WP:V stricter, I'd be a rich man. It's always met with overwhelming opposition, and it's annoying to have to sit through another one. Nothing is going to get done on this talk page; you need to create a proposal page, where a better proposal can be drawn up and edited by other users, and discussion can take place on that talk page. Then you can link to that page from here. Kafziel Complaint Department 20:47, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Do you think this is something between admins and non-admins? Is empathy for vandals one of the requirements that admins have to satisfy? I agree this proposal is probably not going to get anywhere though. (Incidentally, WP:V is Verifiability, not Vandalism.)--Kotniski (talk) 08:16, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's always non-admins that come up with this stuff because they don't understand how things work. And, yes, a certain level of tolerance for vandals is required for adminship. Proposals like this are always drawn up by frustrated users who don't understand that it's not the policy that dictates the actions of admins, it's the actions of admins that create the policy. You can't legislate change; you can't force us to do anything. I'm probably the least vandal-tolerant admin you'll ever meet, but even I know proposals like this are doomed from the outset. Kafziel Complaint Department 16:19, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Way too strong of a change. First while we have defined what is and isn't vandalism, there's enough of a grey area that there are some editors that can be considered vandalism but really are misguided efforts to add properly to WP - Vandalism is an issue with a pattern of editors and not one single one, and even then, it is quite possible to make mistakes three times in a row that may look like vandal edits. This all should be a judgment call on the blocking admin. Additionally, this is way too strong against IP editors even if most vandalism comes from them. I strongly disagree on the last point about schools and ISPs controlling their users: maybe if we're talking about a parent controlling their kid's internet, that's one thing, but there's no way to logically expect large ISPs to track the behavior of a single user that can vandalize WP in seconds, nor should we be involved in policing bad users for ISPs (save in extreme cases of perceived physical threat or harm ala suicide attempts).
The current system works, for all practical purposes. Bots catch many of the more obvious vandalism attempts and there's a lot of editors on vandalism patrol using the rollback feature or Twinkle to correct. There probably could be more help from automated tools, but there's really nothing in policy that can be changed that would help reduce vandalism more while not hurting good faith attempts at adding to WP, save for lower the lenience on the more "obvious" vandalism which I believe should drop to 1 strike and you're blocked for a day. --MASEM 14:03, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose as being unnecessarily WP:BITEy. Likewise the "mandatory minimums" section that would require a shared IP be blocked indefinitely after its fifth vandalism edit flies in the face of WP:AGF. --Kralizec! (talk) 14:14, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Re "this is way too strong against IP editors even if most vandalism comes from them": (a) that sentence seems rather self-contradictory; (b) it's less restrictive than semi-protecting pages that are targets for IP vandalism, because it allows the useful IP editors to carry on their good work.
I am disappointed that there have been no constructive alternatives proposed for reducing the amount of damage vandals do and the effort diverted into defending WP against vandals. If I made an uncivil remark about an admin out of frustration about vandalismm there'd be hell to pay (of course the same doen't apply to admins, see " I had a dollar for every half-assed proposal by non-admins" above). But we let the same vandals come back and cause trouble again and again.
I'm beginning to think we need some new admins - I suggest we should all pay more attention to RfAs and start asking serious questions about how candidates would respond to vandalism. --Philcha (talk) 10:23, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I completely agree with those sentiments (though not if "we need some new admins" means we should get rid of the old ones). But I think the best way forward is to emphasize and promote use of the tougher approaches we already have available for reacting to vandalism, rather than laying down specific rules about what must be done in every instance.--Kotniski (talk) 10:31, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Philcha wrote above, "I am disappointed that there have been no constructive alternatives proposed for reducing the amount of damage vandals ... I'm beginning to think we need some new admins - I suggest we should all pay more attention to RfAs and start asking serious questions about how candidates would respond to vandalism." Since none of the current admins have agreed with your 'zero-tolerance' stance, it would appear that you are now advocating that we be replaced with with new admins who do agree with you. While I have only been an administrator for 14 months, I am ... surprised that I would be replaced for being "soft" on vandalism. Especially since I spend time at AIV virtually every day and have performed 1983 blocks to date (for an average of 4.8 blocks per day, every day, for the past 408 days). --Kralizec! (talk) 16:59, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
  • This is a silly idea, implying that patrollers and admins lack the power to judge by themselves whether or not an account needs to be blocked, and for how long. If you disagree with a decision, discuss it with an admin and try to convince them. Adding more bureaucracy on top of this process is counterproductive. A note about the lv1 vandalism warnings since that concern was raised here, if you think it is not warranted, don't use it. I only use it when I think the edit can be made in good faith. There's no rule forbidding someone to start with a lv2, 3 or 4. That would be against the intent behind the work done at WP:UW at that time. -- lucasbfr talk 16:00, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
  • This proposed policy introduces too many pointless rules and is impossible to actually comply with. Get rid of it -- Gurch (talk) 18:20, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose as a mandatory policy, but if admins want to sign on to it themselves that's fine. Yes, there are some short blocks of chronic vandals that leave me scratching my head, but not everyone agrees with long blocks either. There is, however, enough of a consensus on how to deal with vandals among all the admins who regularly do it that I do not think some sort of sentencing guidelines are necessary. It would be subject to WP:IAR in any event, and thus relatively toothless. Daniel Case (talk) 15:43, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose as a mandatory policy. Admins need leeway to exercise judgment, as is done now. An Admin can block on the third warning (i.e. one saying they will be blocked) if s/he feels it is warranted. There seems to be already some kind of consensus on what the minimums should be (24hr and 31hr being the most used). Also, school IPs seem to be treated with less leniency that other IPs, a custom that I personally agree with. In short, we don't need mandatory guidelines that limit Admin ability to deal with vandals. -- Alexf(talk) 19:49, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Lets keep the status que--Starwars1791 (talk) 05:40, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Number 3 only Pictogram partialy voting support.svg I can see numbrer three, shared IPs that cause trouble should be shown no mercy. However, I think that those blocks for first time offences on shared IPs should be softblocks with account creation allowed. Therefore if other users want accounts, they can make them. Subsequent blocks should be softblock with account creation disabled. If the abuse continues, go to hardblock non autoblock (like a proxy block). If the vandal then starts making accounts from other computers and using them there, autoblock. --Ipatrol (talk) 19:48, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

question on vandalism only accounts

what is the rule of thumb on how many poor edits a user needs to make before his account can be flagged as vandalism only? I just reverted one guy who's made a total of four posts from his IP account, all of the anal/genital variety; doubtless he'll continue that trend until he gets bored or blocked. do the admins wait until he gets blocked a couple of times, or is there a set ratio or number of counter-productive edits?

Just curious, really. --Ludwigs2 23:47, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Just as a point of reference, IP addresses cannot be blocked as "vandalism only" accounts because they are not accounts per se. Only registered accounts can be blocked indefinitely a la {{uw-voablock}} or {{uw-soablock}}. However in answer to your question, once an account or IP address has been properly warned, they can be reported to WP:AIV where an admin will review the situation and act accordingly. The term "properly warned" generally means three or four escalating levels of warnings from WP:UTM, with the editor ignoring each warning and continuing to vandalize. That said, if the editor is engaging in severe vandalism or defamation (such as on a WP:BLP), a 4im warning (like {{uw-vandalism4im}}, {{uw-create4im}}, etc.) can be issued after just the first edit (with the editor being reported to AIV if they do it again). Hope this helps! --Kralizec! (talk) 02:30, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
oh, yeah, it does. I was just curious because I've seen the phrase 'vandalism only account', but I really wasn't sure how it was used administratively. thanks for clarifying. Face-smile.svg. --Ludwigs2 04:25, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
If the misbehaviour is of the type where a reasonable person would know it is inappropriate then warnings can be bypassed. This is generally reserved for areas where a disruptive motive is without doubt. Chillum 22:26, 24 March 2009 (UTC)


I disagree with the definition of Vandalism on the main page which says "...any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia." Edits of a humorous and uncyclopedic nature can be and usually are vandalism, but that isn't necessarily indicative of an attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia. Kronos o (talk) 16:04, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

Regardless of whether it was there intention or not to "compromise the integrity of Wikipedia", when making the "humorous" or "uncyclopedic" edits, they are adding content that is not helpful to the encyclopedia. Wikipedia is not Uncyclopedia. NanohaA'sYuriTalk, My master 22:49, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Uh...yeah. That's exactly what I'm saying. Thanks for agreeing with me. So you agree then, that the removal of the word "deliberate" from the definition would be an overall improvement to the article? Kronos o (talk) 01:06, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

It is fundamental to the philosophy of the Vandalism policy that it applies only to acts with the deliberate intention to be destructive. If you read the section "What is not vandalism" you will see a whole string of activities which are likely to be just as harmful as vandalism, but are not considered vandalism, because the intent is not there. For example, under Tests by experimenting users there occurs the sentence "Such edits are not done in bad faith and are therefore not vandalism".

There is a perfectly clear reason for making this distinction. A clue to this reason appears in the introduction to the "What is not vandalism" section, which refers to things which "are not considered 'vandalism' and are therefore treated differently". The important point is that how we treat an incident depends on our assessment of the intention. Someone who has taken steps which may damage Wikipedia without intending to is given advice and support to help them learn to avoid such mistakes, whereas someone who has every intention of damaging Wikipedia is unlikely to respond to such measures, so they are "treated differently". This fact is underlined towards the bottom of the page, in the statement "If a user treats situations which are not clear vandalism as such, then it is he or she who is actually harming the encyclopedia by alienating or driving away potential editors"; an editor who has made an innocent mistake is likely to be antagonised by being treated as a vandal. It is thus fundamentally missing the point to think that "adding content that is not helpful to the encyclopedia" is a sufficient basis for defining vandalism, without regard to intention. JamesBWatson (talk) 15:51, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

actually, I think the whole intro is a bit heavy-handed (particularly since it's missing any real discussion of 'good faith'; it comes off harsh). I'd be tempted to tweak it like this:

Vandalism is any deliberate attempt to create unencyclopedic content on Wikipedia. It includes many different kinds of behavior: drunken rambles, humor (dumb, crude, or otherwise), tagging, page blanking, nonsensical additions, subtle efforts at corrupting information, odd redirects, and other counter-productive efforts. The unintentional creation of unencyclopedic content is not vandalism: in general, any editor who is trying to add meaningful content to the encyclopedia should be seen as a contributor, not a vandal, even if the content doesn't seem to meet wikipedia standards. Don't accuse someone of vandalism for making off-hand comments, introducing personal opinions, or inserting questionable material unless it is clear that that is their only intent.

Always assume good faith, even with clear vandalism. Most vandals are bored kids, exercising an adolescent sense of humor or trying to get a rise out of some stuffy Wikipedian; given time, they may eventually run across a topic they find interesting and become valid contributers. Revert the vandalism, check to make sure they haven't vandalized other pages, leave the mildest warning you can, and let the matter drop. If you find a vandal who is being particularly obvious or persistent, make a report at Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism. Administrators can and will block the accounts of persistent vandals to prevent them from editing for short periods. However, keep in mind that the ultimate goal of reversions, warnings, and blocks is not to punish vandals, but rather to make vandalism boring. Vandalism that doesn't 'stick', and that doesn't stir up some kind of fuss, won't hold vandals' interest for long, and they will move on to other things.

what do you think? --Ludwigs2 16:53, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
I think that sounds pretty good. Really, the first sentence is what I would most like to see changed in the main article. Instead of deliberately compromising integrity, they are deliberately adding unencyclopedic content. TBH, I just skimmed the rest of what you've written there, but it seems pretty good. Kronos o (talk) 17:38, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

The idea here is a good one, but I am not quite sure about some details of the implementation. I will think about this, and get back on it when I have more time. JamesBWatson (talk) 15:25, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

elabouration assist?

Does the repeated inclusion of unverifiable information into an article, in knowing and plain contravention of the Verifiability policy, constitute vandalism? — pd_THOR | =/\= | 02:05, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it does. It's a double-deal against Wikipedia, violating both WP:VAND and WP:V.
Were you confused? Apparently, you were. You knew it constituted vandalism.Ms dos mode (talk) 00:45, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Specify reverts of BLP violations NOT vandalism?

A number of times over last couple year people who want to write nasty unsourced or poorly sourced attacks in WP:BLPs will claim that repeated deletions are vandalism. Therefore it might be helpful to list that in the NOT vandalism chart. OK if I do it? If someone else knows better how, and any correct links to use, go for it. CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:53, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

that's a good point. I went ahead and added a section (covering BLP and removal of unencyclopedic material). If you can think of a better way to put it, though... Face-smile.svg --Ludwigs2 19:08, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Great. And thanks for reminder on Encyclopedic/What Wiki is not page! WOw, it's actually a policy. :-) CarolMooreDC (talk) 13:26, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I just removed an editprotect request template that was here because I don't see any actual request to change anything. Just posting to let whomever know that I removed it. Killiondude (talk) 05:38, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

2nd paragraph, definition of vandalism

I have a question surrounding this line: For example, adding a controversial personal opinion to an article once is not vandalism; reinserting it despite multiple warnings is. I think the second part of this sentence is open to a bit more lenient interpretation than should be desired. I made that mistake earlier myself in a previous issue. The current wording makes it too close to the edit-warring definition, which is never considered vandalism. I would like to see a slightly different phrasing for this second part of the sentence to eliminate any ambiguity of interpretation. I took a stab at this just now in a parenthetical statement. Comments/thoughts are please welcome. Thanks! Chaldor (talk) 22:49, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


A new noticeboard is awaiting creation. See User:IRP/ArticlesForCreation/Wikipedia:Requests for talk page editing disablement. -- IRP 20:44, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

comment moved to Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#WP:RTED, keep discussion in one place--Jac16888Talk 20:50, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Sneaky vandalism

I think the section on Sneaky Vandalism sorta sounds like it's actually teaching other vandals how to do sneaky vandalism. Any ideas on how to fix that? Supercoolguy147 (talk) 23:04, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it's fine as it is, as it gives useful advices on how to spot sneaky vandalism. We may teach a few vandals how to make sneaky vandalism (assuming it's possible to teach them anything), but on the other hand we teach just as many editors on how to detect vandalism. That's fair deal in my opinion. Laurent (talk) 23:43, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
I suggest we give sneaky vandals tougher treatment - double-length blocks, and fewer free offences before they're blocked. --Philcha (talk) 00:14, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Agree: While one who simply adds nonsense to a page is probably a newbie who is just "playing around" and will learn proper use of Wikipedia one day, 'sneaky vandals' are more likely to be malicious people who know the system full will and are engaging in a planned attack. They know full well that what they are doing is wrong.

I support this not just for sneaky vandalism, but all forms of vandalism that appear planned. This includes page-move vandalism using a single-purpose account as well.

There should be tougher penalties too. For the first incident, there should be a warning that any future occurrences of sneaky or page-move vandalism in the next 30 days will result in a block. For the second incident, there should be a 7-day block. For the third, a 30-day block, and for any subsequent offenses, an indefinite block or ban.

Also, checkuser should be employed, because those who plan such vandalism are likely to know the system, and therefore will not use their main accounts with which they are productive, but will use a sock puppet SPA. Hellno2 (talk) 01:07, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

err... back to the point. I'll rewrite the section so it's not so much like advice, and I suggest the other conversation move over to the village pump.--Ludwigs2 05:26, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
I'll be more explicit. Telling editors how to spot sneaky vandalism also tells vandals how to perpetrate it. Making WP:VANDAL less explicit will simply make it more likely that sneaky vandalism will pass unnoticed. So tinkering with the text of WP:VANDAL is a lose-lose approach. Other means are needed in order to reduce the frequencey of sneaky vandalism. A tougher blocking policy for sneaky vandals is the obvious remedy. --Philcha (talk) 06:32, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Agree with that. I came across an IP recently that has been changing numbers by a small amount all over Wikipedia. Eventually, he gets blocked but start again as soon as the block expires (and probably does it through other accounts). He's also careful to remain below four warnings. I think this kind of IPs who know very well what they're doing should have a template on their page to warn recent change patrollers, so that we can give them a final warning at the first offense, or even block them. Laurent (talk) 08:35, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
And I'll be more explicit as well. I don't disagree with you. However, arguing it out here is ineffective, because you're arguing against standard wikipedia policy and convention. you basically want to label a class of editors as 'obvious vandals' and exempt them from the normal Assume Good Faith principles that apply to everyone else so that you can punish them more quickly and harshly. That is something that will call for much broader discussion than you're likely to find on this relatively out-of-the-way talk page. As it is, I don't know whether you're just griping (in which case I would tend to gripe right along with you, because those immature little turds are a decided annoyance), or whether you're seriously proposing a change (in which case I'd start expressing my concerns about the damage it would be doing to WP core principles, good faith, and due process). --Ludwigs2 12:16, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Reading the discussion above I certainly do not see consensus in favour of the proposed rewrite, and I would say if anything it is closer to a consensus against, yet Ludwigs2 has gone ahead and rewritten the page. If there is some justification for this which I have missed, perhaps someone can point it out to me here. However, in the meanwhile I am reverting the change. if further discussion leads to a consensus for a change, then there can be a change. JamesBWatson (talk) 14:56, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

IP "vandals" using different IP addresses

Sorry if I am inquiring about this in the wrong place. I know of a persistent vandal who insists on adding nonsense to many of the same BLP articles. I've seen it with at least 3 IP addresses and I suspect it is the same person. But they space it out well enough that I can't get him/her blocked for vandalism. They will make nonsense edits to 5 articles, someone will undo them, then a day or two later, the other IP address will undo the revert, then the cycle repeats itself. Looking at their edit histories, they make similar nonsense edits to the same articles; they are the type of edits that can easily go unnoticed if someone isn't watching the article, not obsenities or anything, just stupid nonsense that I wouldn't even necessarily consider vandalism if they weren't continually re-inserting the same ridiculous statements with no sources. (And after ignoring attempts to discuss it on one of the article talk pages and one of the IP address talk pages). What can be done about this? --Susan118 (talk) 05:19, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

You could request page protection if the disruption is confined to a set of articles, or you could recruit an admin to do some duck-blocking. Rangeblocks may also be an option, depending on the activity in the range. –xeno talk 05:23, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I will try those things. I tried and failed to get page protection on one of the articles awhile back, but that was before I realized the scope of the whole thing. --Susan118 (talk) 05:50, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

One thing about rangeblocks - they don't address mobile phone users. One mobile devices, each edit made comes out with a different IP address, all within a common range. On the one I use, the first three numbers are the same, and the fourth one different each time (same.same.same.different). It is impossible to sign in using this device, so all the edits I have made from it use this range. But when I have made back-to-back edits of the same article, a different IP is assigned to each one.

I have looked over some of the edit histories of various IPs that my mobile phone edits have been assigned. They vary completely, and are obviously many different people. Occasionally, I will find one of my edits from months ago in one I am assigned again. But most edits I know I didn't make them myself, and they appear to be from a wide array of interests. At least 95% are good, but a small percentage of them are vandalism.

A rangeblock may make it impossible for mobile phone users to edit. It'll penalize 95% of users over what the 5% of bad apples do. Given that most vandalism is reverted within a few minutes of when it occurs, rangeblocks are more of a penalty on the good than the bad. Hellno2 (talk) 19:55, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

IP addresses

The vandalism page suggests different templates for handling vandlism from unregistered users. How can you tell if an IP address is for a single user, educational institution or organization? Can you simply apply all three templates and have wikipedia sort it out? I am asking this question because of vandalism to the Hashemite University page.TheLastShot (talk) 15:45, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

The only way I've been able to ascertain it was to lookup the domain using one of the tools and see if it's an .edu or business. Does anyone have a different way to tell? Thanks. --Funandtrvl (talk) 01:54, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


IS it still considerd vandilism if you ask on what we are disagreeing about.Thanks--HENRY V OF ENGLAND (talk) 01:30, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Vandalism reverted before it even appears?

In the June 8, 2009, New York Times, an article by Noam Cohen, entitled "The War of Words On Wikipedia's Outskirts," states that on Wikipedia "automated tools .. can recognize crude writing before it ever appears." Is this true or is this just hyperbole (e.g., reverted within a few seconds of posting)? Ecphora (talk) 19:35, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Probably speaking of the Wikipedia:Abuse filter, which does indeed stop some vandalism before it is committed. –xenotalk 19:38, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Ecphora (talk) 20:21, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Domaintools lookup

Hi-It looks like the domaintools lookup link is back up and running, it sure wasn't yesterday, was getting no response except a blank pg all afternoon!! --Funandtrvl (talk) 15:30, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

I corrected incorrectly plural language to singular; please do not undo it.

In this edit [18] someone undid my edit, even saying that my summary was false. (I summarized it as "correcting grammatical number.")

My version:

Remember that any editor may freely remove messages from his own talk page, so they might appear only in the talk history. If a user continues to cause disruption after being warned, report him at...

The version he undid it to:

Remember that any editor may freely remove messages from their own talk page, so they might only appear in the talk history. If a user continues to cause disruption after being warned, report them at...

"Any editor" is singular, as is "own talk page." "Their" and "they" are incorrect here. In the next sentence, "a user" is singular, so "report them" is incorrect.

Please do not undo this, especially if you don't understand grammatical number (which I assume since you thought my summary was false). Jeff Muscato (talk) 05:05, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

See Singular they. –xeno talk 05:08, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
The recognition and explication of the singular "they" is useful, but I think that in encyclopedic writing we should strive for clearer and more formal grammar. The singular "they" is a casual workaround for people who think that it's unfair that the masculine gender is English's neutral, but it's not our place to introduce such informal language into an encyclopedia. Jeff Muscato (talk) 05:18, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps, but this particular page isn't an article. As far as I know, singular they is widely used and accepted in policies and guidelines. –xeno talk 05:21, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
...specifically WP:GNL, which allows its use, even if it does point out that other ways round the problem are preferable. Hadrian89 (talk) 06:25, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Is it really so hard to say "his or her"? — Carl (CBM · talk) 05:20, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Why, when we have a perfectly acceptable solution in the singular they? –xeno talk 05:21, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
The singular "they" article is informational—that is, it's good to know that people use it informally—but that doesn't make it correct for formal, encyclopedic writing. There are many words and concepts that are worthwhile as subjects of study but aren't appropriate in an encyclopedia. ("Ain't" comes to mind.) Jeff Muscato (talk) 05:25, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
This isn't an article, however; it's a policy for the encyclopedia. Also, to answer CBM's question, the singular "they" is gender-neutral; he and she both carry gendered connotations. -Jeremy (v^_^v Cardmaker) 05:28, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
I would agree that the singular they is not "perfectly acceptable", based on the clear empirical fact that many people do not accept it. It is certainly not worth fighting over. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:27, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
And this ain't an article =) I'm off to bed, you may wish to wait for further input before re-applying the formal grammar. Whatever the decision, consistency should be the goal. I believe most guidelines and policies presently employ the singular they. –xeno talk 05:27, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
The notion that one form is "clearer" is clearly a subjective judgement, as is what is "casual". What is formal and what is informal in English usage is also by no means entirely agreed on. The singular use of "they" goes back several centuries, and has a long history of use by people who have shown no sign of thinking "that it's unfair that the masculine gender is English's neutral". In fact its commonest use is to refer indefinitely to an unspecified person, whether or not the sex of the person is known. Writing about an editor's contributions without having a specific editor in mind is an example of this, and would be even if all editors were of the same sex. For example, Jane Austen frequently used "they" in this sense, but was perfectly happy to use masculine gender as a generic non-sex-specific in other contexts. This use of "they" has never been universal in English, but it has an extensive and respectable history of use by substantial sections of educated English speakers. Because it is not universal there are people who come from backgrounds where they have not encountered the usage frequently enough to find it natural, but to many other people it is perfectly natural, and indeed much more so than alternatives which are sometimes used. For example, to such people repeated use of "his or hers" is likely to seem far more clumsy and artificial than the use of "their". Since English, unlike many languages, does not have an official Academy to give sanction to a particular form of the language as "correct", in situations such as this, where different usages are recognised by different groups of literate and intelligent native speakers of the language, it is futile to simply assert that one form is "correct" and "formal", and the other "incorrect", "casual", and "informal". English usage is defined by how English is used by informed people, and in this case there is a difference of usage: it is quite wrong for those who follow one usage to try to force it onto others. Thus, in the absence of specific reason to the contrary, there is no justification for changing the original editor's wording. In the particular case referred to here there is a further consideration too: there is now a strong body of opinion which finds offensive the use of masculine gender in a generic sex-unspecific way, so that "any editor may freely remove messages from his own talk page" will be objected to, and almost certainly will not last for long. Both "any editor may freely remove messages from his or her own talk page" and "any editor may freely remove messages from their own talk page" both deal with this isue, but the original edit, the reversion of which annoyed Jeff Muscato and led to this discussion, does not. JamesBWatson (talk) 01:15, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
A much briefer afterthought to the above comment: One of Jeff Muscato's edit summaries says: In English, masculine is neutral. "Their" and such are plural. A neat summary of what I have tried to express above is: There is no consensus on this: to many people masculine is male, while "their" and such are number-neutral. JamesBWatson (talk) 01:34, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Vandal template 2a?

Could there perhaps be an intermediate template between the "you probably didn't mean it, here's the sandbox" of uw-vandalism1 and the "Hey! Jerk! Knock it off!" of uw-vandalism3? The question occurs in response to this edit. The editor has probably been around long enough to know better than to make these kinds of edits and doesn't appear to have a history of vandalism, so neither level currently available seems strongly applicable (despite the abject incivility of the remark). Otto4711 (talk) 02:30, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

The edit in that diff looks like a possible example of what might be considered m:trolling. Maybe they know better, maybe they don't. It's on a talk page, so (who knows), maybe they got away with it in the past. I kind of think uw-vandalism1 still gets the message across, if they know better, they may be marginally embarrased (as they should be). --Mysidia (talk) 02:46, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, there is uw-vandalism2 between uw-vandalism1 and uw-vandalism3: perhaps "uw-vandalism1" was meant to say "uw-vandalism2"? "uw-vandalism2a" in the section heading would suggest so. I don't see any need. If an edit is the sort of thing which reasonably may be a user doing something unsuitable without fully realising it then we give a friendly level 1 warning; if it can't reasonably be taken that way but is still minor, comes from someone without more than a few examples of unhelpful editing, and is basically just an irritation then we give a slightly sterner level 2; if the editing is either clearly intended to be seriously disruptive or is part of a string of several disruptive edits we get distinctly unfriendly, and suggest a possible block. I see no gap to fill. It is also worth mentioning that it is perfectly possible to give a custom message if you feel that none of the templates is ideal: I do this from time to time. A new template would be justified only if there were a major gap to fill.
This is not the place for a detailed discussion of the particular edit referred to above, but it does not look to me like vandalism: it just seems like an expression of opinion. I don't agree with the opinion, and I think expressing it indicates a narrow mind, but that is not at all the same as regarding it as vandalism. Nor do I see the link on trolling given above as relevant: it defines trolling as "deliberate and intentional attempt to disrupt the usability of Wikipedia", but I don't see how a one sentence expression of opinion on a talk page is likely to disrupt usability, however much I may disagree with the opinion. JamesBWatson (talk) 09:58, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
The editor of that particular comment may not understand that talk pages are for discussing the article, not personal opinions about the subject of the article. Otherwise, the comment is much like posting Everyone should just use Brittanica instead to Talk:Wikipedia; it's a disruptive misuse of article talk pages, because it's a controversial statement, encourages further offtopic discussion, and does not help further the article. Warning with a vandalism template may not make sense in this case, it doesn't exactly meet WP:Vandalism. --Mysidia (talk) 12:56, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
After I had written my comment above it occurred to me that I might have mentioned also exactly the point that Mysidia has now made. Mysidia is quite right. JamesBWatson (talk) 00:39, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
No, I meant 1 and 3. uw-vandalism2 still directs to the sandbox with a reference to experimentation and it's described as "suitable for nonsense" which also seems inappropriate in tone. Otto4711 (talk) 22:14, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I have now carefully reread the vandalism templates with Otto4711's comments in mind. It is true that uw-vandalism2, like uw-vandalism1, refers to experimentation and the sandbox, and compared to uw-vandalism3 it is much politer in tone in several ways, and does not mention the possibility of a block. However, on the other hand, like uw-vandalism3 and unlike uw-vandalism2 it does not welcome the editor, it uncompromisingly refers to "unconstructive edits", rather than tentatively to edits which "did not appear to be constructive", and it refers to "vandalism", whereas uw-vandalism1 deliberately avoids the use of any use of that word. I really do see this as achieving a good intermediate in tone between 1 and 3. Evidently Otto4711 sees it differently, and I wondered whether there any evidence that many Wikipedians share similar doubts, so I have spent a considerable time looking through archives of talk:Template messages/User talk namespace and elsewhere to see whether there is any history of a view that there is need for a further narrowing of the gaps, andI have found none. The archives are extensive, and if I have somehow missed such a suggestion, please let me know.
One further point: In referring to uw-vandalism2 Otto4711 says it's described as "suitable for nonsense". There is no such suggestion in Template:Uw-vandalism2, nor in Wikipedia:Template_messages/User_talk_namespace, which I regard as the authoritative documentation on the use of these templates. I find the quotation is from Wikipedia_vandalism. I think it is not appropriate, because nonsense can occur at any level of vandalism, and so can other disruptive actions, so "nonsense" in no way characterises level 2. I also find that the equivalent summary for uw-vandalism1 refers to "unintentional vandalism", which is complete nonsense, since anything unintentional is not vandalism. I think a revision of these summaries would be in order. JamesBWatson (talk) 00:39, 4 July 2009 (UTC)

Problems with Wikipedia:Vandalism types

I am posting here because that page's talk page does not exist, and would not get any response.

I have some issues with this page, which is almost solely authored by Hellno2 (talk · contribs). Someone may wish to advise him. The shortcut links in the second column are not necessary, and they imply that WP:V redirects to vandalism, but it actually redirects to verifiability. That column should be removed.

I wouldn't argue to delete the page, but I question its usefulness. I recall the main vandalism page has had a similar, shorter list since 2007 or earlier. (talk) 01:52, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

I have created the talk page for that essay, copied the above comment there, and made a brief response. If anyone else wishes to respond I suggest doing so there rather than here. JamesBWatson (talk) 11:16, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Should this be made to make sense?

I just removed the following subsection from Help:Reverting:

Bot rollback
In cases of flood vandalism, administrators may choose to hide vandalism from recent changes. To do this, add &bot=1 to the end of the url used to access a user's contributions. For example:
When the rollback links on the contributions list are clicked, the revert and the original edit that you are reverting will both be hidden from recent changes, unless you click the "bots" link to set hidebots=0. The edits are not hidden from contributions lists, page histories or watchlists. The edits remain in the database and are not removed, but they no longer flood "Recent changes". The aim of this feature is to reduce the annoyance factor of a flood vandal, with relatively little effort. This should not be used for reverting a change you just don't like, but is meant only for massive floods of simple vandalism.

This is incomprehensible in this form, but is there truth behind it? Can it be reworded to say something meaningful? Or is it something someone made up one day?--Kotniski (talk) 09:58, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

It makes sense to me and I'm not even an admin. It had been on the page a while and seems quite useful, if true.--Elvey (talk) 06:26, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Well, I suspect it's not true (at least, not as expressed here). Perhaps an admin who's ever actually done this can explain what it is you really have to do?--Kotniski (talk) 08:24, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

{{editprotected}} Not really editprotected, but an admin is needed to verify whether [19] is removing accurate or inaccurate advice for admins, so please forgive the slight misuse of the tag and verify whether the instructions work.--Elvey (talk) 21:38, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Yep, it works. I've done it on other wikis. You simply visit a user contributions page (for example, Special:Contributions/Foo) and add to the end of the URL ?bot=1. Then, when you click rollback on any of the edits, they will be marked as bot edits thus hidden in recent changes. - Rjd0060 (talk) 21:56, 30 November 2009 (UTC)
Oh I see... I've just tried it and it didn't work for me, but maybe it only works for admins, not ordinary rollbackers? If an admin can verify that it really does work, then perhaps the information should be noted at the WP:rollback page? --Kotniski (talk) 11:10, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
It only works for administrators, yes. If you look at Special:ListGroupRights it says "Mark rolled-back edits as bot edits (markbotedits)" in the administrators section. - Rjd0060 (talk) 14:23, 1 December 2009 (UTC)