Policy:Vandalism

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Green check.svg.png Official BattleTechWiki Policy
This page documents an official BattleTechWiki policy, a widely accepted standard that should normally be followed by all Editors. Any edit to it should reflect consensus. Consider discussing potential changes on the talk page first.


Nutshell.png This page in a nutshell: Repetitively and intentionally making unconstructive edits to BattleTechWiki will result in a block or permanent ban.



Vandalism is any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of BattleTechWiki. The most common types of vandalism include the addition of obscenities or crude humor, page blanking, or the insertion of nonsense or spam links into articles.

Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism. Even harmful edits that are not explicitly made in bad faith are not considered vandalism. For example, adding a personal opinion to an article once is not vandalism — it's just not helpful, and should be removed or restated. Not all vandalism is obvious, nor are all massive or controversial changes vandalism; careful attention needs to be given to whether changes made are beneficial, detrimental but well intended, or outright vandalism.

Committing blatant vandalism violates BattleTech Wiki policy. If you find that another user has vandalized BattleTechWiki, you should revert the changes and warn the user (see below for specific instructions). Users who vandalize BattleTechWiki repeatedly, despite warnings to stop, should be reported to BattleTechWiki:Administrators, and Administrators may block them.

How to respond to vandalism[edit]

If you see vandalism, please do the following:

  1. Check the article's page history to identify all vandalism edits. Usually, if the most recent edit by a particular user is vandalism, then all recent edits by that user are also vandalism. It is then necessary to revert to the last version before that user started editing. If you are viewing the difference between the current version and the preceding version, you can click "undo" to undo the edit automatically. Otherwise, please explain in the edit summary that you have reverted vandalism.
  2. Leave a on the user's talk page.
  3. Check the vandal's other contributions (click "User contributions" on the left sidebar of the screen).
  4. If the vandal continues to cause disruption after being warned, please report him or her at BattleTechWiki:Administrators. An administrator will decide whether to block the vandal.


How not to respond to vandalism[edit]

  1. Do not feed the trolls. In other words, do not try retaliation or attempt to frustrate the troll. That is the behavior it seeks.


Types of vandalism[edit]

Wikipedia vandalism may fall into one or more of the following categorizations:

Blanking
Removing all or significant parts of pages' content without any reason, or replacing entire pages with nonsense. Sometimes important verifiable references are deleted with no valid reason(s) given in the summary. However, significant content removals are usually not considered to be vandalism where the reason for the removal of the content is readily apparent by examination of the content itself, or where a non-frivolous explanation for the removal of apparently legitimate content is provided, linked to, or referenced in an edit summary.
Page lengthening
Adding very large (measured by the number of bytes) amounts of content to a page so as to make the page's load time abnormally long or even make the page impossible to load on some computers.
Spam
Continuing to add external links to non-notable or irrelevant sites (e.g. to advertise one's website) to pages after having been warned is vandalism.
Vandalbots
A script or "robot" that attempts to vandalize or spam massive numbers of articles.
Silly vandalism
Adding profanity, graffiti, random characters, or other nonsense to pages; creating nonsensical and obviously non-encyclopedic pages, etc. Please note: the addition of random characters to pages is a common way that new users test edit and may not be intentionally malicious.
Sneaky vandalism
Vandalism that is harder to spot. This can include adding plausible misinformation to articles, (e.g. minor alteration of dates), hiding vandalism (e.g. by making two bad edits and only reverting one), or reverting legitimate edits with the intent of hindering the improvement of pages. Some vandals even use edit summaries such as "rv vandalism" to mask their changes.
Userspace vandalism
Adding insults, profanity, etc. to user pages or user talk pages (see also Policy:No personal attacks).
Image vandalism
Uploading shock images, inappropriately placing explicit images on pages, or simply using any image in a way that is disruptive. Please note though that BattleTechWiki is not censored for the protection of minors and that explicit images may be uploaded and/or placed on pages for relevant and legitimate reasons.
Abuse of tags
Bad-faith placing of article status tags, such as {{merge}}, {{deletion}} or other tags on pages that do not meet such criteria. This includes removal of long-standing {{policy}} and related tags without forming consensus on such a change first.
Page-move vandalism
Changing the names of pages (referred to as "page-moving") to disruptive or otherwise inappropriate terms.
Link vandalism
Modifying internal or external links within a page so that they appear the same but link to a page/site that they are not intended to (e.g an explicit image; a shock site, commercial or personal site).
Avoidant vandalism
Removing {{merge}}, {{deletion}} or other related tags in order to conceal deletion candidates or avert deletion of such content. Note that this is often mistakenly done by new users who are unfamiliar with our procedures and such users should be given the benefit of the doubt and pointed to the proper page to discuss the issue.
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.
Discussion page vandalism
Blanking the posts of other users from talk pages other than your own, BattleTechWiki space, and other discussions, aside from removing internal spam, vandalism, etc., is generally considered vandalism. An obvious exception is moving posts to a proper place (e.g. merging two related discussions). Removing personal attacks is often considered legitimate, and it is considered acceptable to archive an overly long talk page by creating an archive page and moving the text from the main talk page there. Note: The above rules do not apply to a user's own talk page. Editors are granted considerable latitude over editing their own userspace pages (including talk pages), and blanking one's own user talk page is specifically not prohibited. A policy of prohibiting users from removing warnings from their own talk pages was considered and rejected on the grounds that it would create more issues than it would solve. Editors seeking to track another Editor's assigned warnings should do so via the talk history and/or on their own userspace pages.
Repeated uploading of copyrighted material
Uploading or using material on BattleTechWiki in ways which violate Wikipedia's copyright policies after having been warned is vandalism. Because users may be unaware that the information is copyrighted, or of BattleTechWiki policies on how such material may and may not be used, such action only becomes vandalism if it continues after the copyrighted nature of the material and relevant policy restricting its use have been communicated to the user.
Malicious account creation
Creating accounts with usernames that contain deliberately offensive or disruptive terms is considered vandalism, whether the account is used or not.
Edit summary vandalism
Making offensive edit summaries in an attempt to leave a mark that cannot be easily expunged from the record (edit summaries cannot simply be "reverted" and remain visible when viewing a page's history). Often combined with malicious account creation.
Hidden vandalism
Any form of vandalism that makes use of embedded text, which is not visible to the final rendering of the article but visible during editing.

What vandalism is not[edit]

Although at times incorrectly referred to as such, the following things are not considered "vandalism" and are therefore treated differently:

Tests by experimenting users
New users who discover the "edit this page" button sometimes want to experience editing a page and may add something unhelpful to a page (e.g., a few random characters) as a test. Such edits are not done in bad faith and are therefore not vandalism. Rather than be warned for vandalism, these users should be warmly greeted, and given a reference to the Sandbox.
Using incorrect wiki markup and manual of style
Inexperienced users often are unfamiliar with BattleTechWiki's formatting and grammatical standards (e.g. how to create internal and/or external links, when certain words should be bolded or italicized, etc.) Rather than label such users as vandals, just explain to them what our standard style is on the issue at hand - perhaps pointing them towards our documentation at Help:Editing, and the like.
NPOV violations
The neutral point of view is a difficult policy for many of us to understand, and even BattleTechWiki veterans occasionally accidentally introduce material which is non-ideal from an NPOV perspective. Indeed, we are all affected by our favorite factionss to a greater or lesser extent. Though inappropriate, this is not vandalism in itself.
Making bold edits
Wikipedians often make sweeping changes to pages in order to improve them - most of us aim to be bold when updating articles. While having large chunks of text you've written removed or substantially rewritten can be frustrating, simply making edits that noticeably alter the text or content of a pages should not be immediately labeled vandalism.
Unintentional misinformation
Sometimes a user will add content to an article that is factually inaccurate, but in the belief that it is accurate. By doing so in good faith, they are trying to contribute to the encyclopedia and improve it rather than vandalize. If you believe inaccurate information has been added to an article in good faith, ensure that it is, and/or discuss its factuality with the user who has submitted it.
Unintentional nonsense
While intentionally adding nonsense to pages is a form of vandalism, sometimes honest editors may not have expressed themselves correctly (there may be an error in the syntax, particularly for Editors who use English as a second language). Also, sometimes connection errors or edit conflicts unintentionally produce the appearance of nonsense or malicious edits. In either case, assume good faith.
Stubbornness
Some users cannot come to agreement with others who are willing to talk to them about an editing issue, and repeatedly make changes opposed by everyone else. This is regrettable—you may wish to see the dispute resolution essay to get help. Repeated deletion or addition of material may violate the three-revert rule, but this is not "vandalism" and should not be dealt with as such.
Harassment or personal attacks
We have a clear policy on BattleTechWiki of no personal attacks, and harassing other contributors is not allowed. While some forms of harassment are also clear cases of vandalism, such as user page vandalism, or inserting a personal attack into an article, harassment in itself is not considered "vandalism" and should be handled differently.
Policy/guideline/essay/other project namespace page alteration
Editors are encouraged to be bold. Making edits to policy pages (such as this one), guideline pages, etc. does require some knowledge of the consensus on that issue. If people misjudge consensus, this is not vandalism. Rather, it's an opportunity to discuss with those people, and get them to understand the consensus.

If an Editor 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.

How to spot vandalism[edit]

The best way to detect vandalism is through using the recent changes link to spot articles with edits that had come from IP addresses, or keeping an eye on your watchlist. The search pages for Insert text, Link title, Headline text, Bold text and Image:Example.jpg are also good places to find many test edits and/or vandalism. Any vandalism found should be reverted to an earlier version of the page; remember to include any good edits that have happened since then!