Wikipedia talk:Witch hunt

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I know it's only an essay and not policy, but I have to disagree with this - the 'examples of witchhunts' all seem perfectly reasonable to me. Most vandals vandalise more than once; when you see a user has vandalised an article, it only makes sense to check some of their other recent edits to see if they were vandalism as well. Likewise, if a user has created an inappropriate article, it's entirely possible (though not certain) that other articles they created may be inappropriate, so they should be checked too. And as for 'A witchhunt would be to examine the contribution histories of both accounts and to look for signs to see if sock puppetry could be occurring.' - I could be wrong, but isn't that exactly what happens at WP:SPI? Assuming good faith is a good policy, but it has limits; to ignore reasonable suspicions of sock puppetry on the basis of 'you're assuming bad faith!' would be highly counterproductive. Robofish (talk) 23:42, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

I have to agree here on the vandalism point. Whenever I see a spammer or vandal do a drive by on an article I watch, I always check thier contribution history as nine times out of ten they've done a series of bad faith edits across multiple articles (especially spammers) and I can quickly go and clean up all those pages too. This seems entirely in keeping with the principle of protecting wikipedia as we are reverting bad edits faster. --ThePaintedOne (talk) 11:09, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree that some of the examples are bad. I think the key point is that it is an obsession based on an unfounded suspicion: "Some editors may be concerned that another's activities may not conform to Wikipedia guidelines, and may become so obsessed with that possibility that they go to the extremes of studying the edit histories of others very deeply as if they were detectives conducting a homicide investigation." Clearly a vandal has engaged in activities that do not conform to the guidelines, so I don't think they are a good example. And someone that creates an article on a topic that isn't notable may very well have created other such articles that should be deleted; this doesn't make them a witch, it just means they don't understand the guidelines and should be made aware of them. I think a good example would be seeing two editors at an AfD with similar opinions, deciding that they must be sockpuppets, and then performing extensive research on their editing patterns to try to confirm your suspicions. --Odie5533 (talk) 16:48, 23 December 2012 (UTC)