Help:Vandalism

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Vandalism is any addition, deletion, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Forexpedia.

The most common type of vandalism is the replacement of existing text with obscenities, page blanking, or the insertion of bad jokes or other nonsense. Fortunately, this kind of vandalism is usually easy to spot.

Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism. Apparent bad-faith edits that do not make their bad-faith nature inarguably explicit are not considered vandalism at Wikipedia. For example, adding a personal opinion once is not vandalism — it's just not helpful, and should be removed or restated.

Committing vandalism is a violation of BabyPips.com policy; it needs to be spotted, and then dealt with — if you cannot deal with it yourself, you can seek help from others.

A 2002 study by IBM found that most obscene and page-blanking vandalism on the English Wikipedia was reverted within five minutes (see official results); however, vandals persist as a problem for all users, and it is a good idea when editing an article to check its recent history to see if recent vandalism has gone unnoticed. In addition, the popularity and readership of Wikipedia has skyrocketed since the 2002 study, and we have no recent data corroborating the "five minute" expectation.

Not all vandalism is obvious, nor are all massive or controversial changes vandalism; careful attention needs to be given to whether the new data or information is right, or false but well-intentioned, or outright vandalism.


Contents

Dealing with vandalism

Edits that blank all or part of a biography of a living person may not be vandalism, but instead an effort by the subject of the article to remove inaccurate or biased material.

If you see vandalism (as defined below), revert it and leave a warning message on the user's talk page. Check the page history after reverting to make sure you have removed all the vandalism; there may be multiple vandal edits, sometimes from several different IPs. If it is obvious that all versions of the page are pure vandalism, nominate the page for deletion. Also, check the vandal's other contributions — you will often find more malicious edits.

Warnings

Warning templates
PageName is optional
  • {{subst:test|PageName}} ~~~~ (unintentional vandalism/test)
  • {{subst:test1a|PageName}} ~~~~ (unintentional removal of content)
  • {{subst:test2|PageName}} ~~~~ (suitable for nonsense)
  • {{subst:test2a|PageName}} ~~~~ (variant for blankings)
  • {{subst:test3|PageName}} ~~~~ (please stop)
  • {{subst:blatantvandal|PageName}} or {{subst:bv}} (obvious vandalism)
  • {{subst:test4|PageName}} ~~~~ (last warning)
  • {{subst:test4im|PageName}} ~~~~ (only warning)

See additional templates and examples of output

Note: Do not use these templates in content disputes; instead, write a clear message explaining your disagreement.

There are several templates used to warn vandals. They are listed at right in order of severity, but need not be used in succession. Though some people vandalizing are incorrigible returning vandals and may be blocked quickly, it is common for jokesters or experimenters to make non-encyclopedic edits; these people are usually stopped by a simple warning and often become productive contributors. If you are not sure that an edit is vandalism, always start with Template:Tl.

The ~~~~ in the templates below cause the time and your signature to be added to the warning. The "subst" causes the template text to be pasted into the talk page as if you had typed it out, instead of leaving {{test}} visible when editing the page, because it is a comment in a talk page. You may also write your own message to the user.

If the vandal continues, list them at Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism. The blocking admin may leave {{subst:test5}} ~~~~ to notify that they have been blocked.

Trace IP address

Also, consider tracing the IP address. Find owners by using:

  • ARIN (North America)
  • RIPE (Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia)
  • APNIC (Asia Pacific)
  • LACNIC (Latin American and Caribbean)
  • AfriNIC (Africa)

(If an address is not in one, it will probably be in another registry.) Then add {{vandalip|Name of owner}} to the talk pages of users who vandalize.

If an IP address continues to vandalize and is registered to a school or other kind of responsive ISP, consider listing it on Wikipedia:Abuse reports. Follow the instructions there and read the guide to see if it applies. If it does, list it.

Types of vandalism

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

Blanking
Removing all or significant parts of articles (sometimes replacing the removed content with profanities) is a common vandal edit. 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. Due to the possibility of unexplained good-faith content removal, template:test1a or template:blank, as appropriate, should normally be used as initial warnings for ordinary content removals not involving any circumstances that would merit stronger warnings.
Spam
Adding inappropriate external links for advertisement and/or self-promotion. Note that this applies only to placing links on numerous and/or unrelated pages. Adding self-promotional links to a few related articles may be inappropriate, but is not vandalism.
Vandalbot
A script or "robot" that attempts to vandalize or spam massive numbers of articles (hundreds or thousands), blanking, or adding commercial links. Another type of VandalBot appears to log on repeatedly with multiple random names to vandalize an article.
Childish vandalism
Adding graffiti or blanking pages.
Silly vandalism
Creating joke or hoax articles, replacing existing articles with plausible-sounding nonsense, or adding silly jokes to existing articles is considered vandalism.
Sneaky vandalism
Vandalism which is harder to spot. Adding misinformation, changing dates or making other sensible-appearing substitutions and typos, hiding vandalism e.g. by making two bad edits and only reverting one, or reverting legitimate edits to hinder the improvement process.
Attention-seeking vandalism
Adding insults, using offensive usernames, replacing articles with jokes etc (see also Wikipedia:No personal attacks).
User page vandalism
Replacing User pages with insults, profanity, or nonsense (see also Wikipedia:No personal attacks).
Image vandalism
Uploading provocative images, inserting political messages, making malicious animated GIFs, etc. Repeatedly uploading images with no source and/or license information after notification that such information is required may also constitute vandalism.
Abuse of tags
Bad-faith placing of Template:Tl or speedy-deletion tags on articles that do not meet such criteria, or deceptively placing protected-page tags on articles.
Template vandalism
Any vandalism to templates. Examples include blanking the template, adding an image to the template which is unrelated to its use, et cetera. Edits which cause a template to display improperly are not vandalism if the mistake was unintentional.
Page move vandalism
Moving pages to offensive or nonsense names. Wikipedia now only allows registered users active for at least four days to move pages.
Redirect vandalism
Redirecting articles or talk pages to offensive articles or images. One example is the autofellatio redirect vandal. Some vandals will try to redirect pages to nonsense titles they create this way. This variation is usually performed by vandals whose accounts are too new to move pages. It is also often done on pages that are protected from moves.
Link vandalism
Rewriting links within an article so that they appear the same, but point to something completely different or ridiculous (e.g. France).
Avoidant vandalism
Removing {{afd}}, Template:Tl and other related tags in order to conceal deletion candidates or avert deletion of such articles. Note that this is often mistakenly done by new users who are unfamiliar with *fD procedures and such users should be given the benefit of the doubt and pointed to the proper page to discuss the issue.
Random character vandalism
Replacing topical information with random characters, or just adding random characters to a page. "aslkdjnsdagkljhasdlkh," for example. Be careful: only in extended cases is this vandalism; it could also potentially be a new user test.
Changing people's comments
Editing signed comments by another user 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. e.g. (unsigned comment from user)
Improper use of dispute tags
Dispute tags are an important way for people to show that there are problems with the article. Do not remove them unless you are sure that all stated reasons for the dispute are settled. As a general rule, do not remove other people's dispute tags twice during a 24 hour period. Do not place dispute tags improperly, as in when there is no dispute, and the reason for placing the dispute tag is because a suggested edit has failed to meet consensus. Instead, follow WP:CON and accept that some edits will not meet consensus. Please note that placing or removal of dispute tags does not count as simple vandalism, and therefore the reverting of such edits is not exempt from the three-revert rule.
Talk page vandalism
Deleting the comments of other users from Talk pages other than your own, aside from removing internal spam, vandalism, etc. is generally considered vandalism. Removing personal attacks is often considered legitimate, and it is considered acceptable to archive an overly long Talk page to a separate file and then remove the text from the main Talk page. The above does not apply to the user's own Talk page, where this policy does not itself prohibit the removal and archival of comments at the user's discretion.
Official policy vandalism
Deleting or altering part of a Wikipedia official policy with which the vandal disagrees, without any attempt to seek consensus or recognize an existing consensus. Improving or clarifying policy wording in line with the clear existing consensus is not vandalism.
Copyrighted material vandalism
Knowingly using copyrighted material on Wikipedia in ways which violate Wikipedia's copyright policies is vandalism. Because users may be unaware that the information is copyrighted, or of Wikipedia 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.
Account creation vandalism
Creating accounts with usernames that contain deliberately offensive or disruptive terms is considered vandalism, whether the account is used or not. For Wikipedia's policy on what is considered inappropriate for a username, see Wikipedia:Username.
Hidden vandalism
Any of the above in the form of hidden text not visible to the final rendering of the article but visible during editing.

What vandalism is not

Although sometimes referred to as such, the following things are not vandalism and are therefore treated differently:

New User Test
New users who discover the "Edit this page" button sometimes want to know if they can really edit any page, so they write something inside just to test it. This is not vandalism! On the contrary, these users should be warmly greeted, and given a reference to the Sandbox (e.g. using the test template message) where they can keep making their tests. (Sometimes they will even revert their own changes; in that case, place the message Template:Tl on their talk page.)
Learning Wiki Markup and Manual of Style
Some users require some time to learn the wiki-based markup, and will spend a little time experimenting with the different ways to make external links, internal links, and other special characters. Rather than condemning them as vandals, just explain to them what our standard style is on the issue in hand — perhaps pointing them towards our documentation at Wikipedia:How to edit a page, and the like.
NPOV violations
The neutral point of view is a difficult policy for many of us to understand, and even Wikipedia veterans occasionally accidentally introduce material which is non-ideal from an NPOV perspective. Indeed, we are all affected by our beliefs to a greater or lesser extent. Though inappropriate, this is not vandalism.
Bold Edits
Wikipedians often make sweeping changes to articles in order to improve them — most of us aim to be bold when updating articles. While having large chunks of text you've written deleted, moved to the talk page, or substantially rewritten can sometimes feel like vandalism, it should not be confused with vandalism.
Mistakes
Sometimes, users will insert content into an article that is not necessarily accurate, in the belief that it is. By doing so in good faith, they are trying to contribute to the encyclopedia and improve it. If you believe that there is inaccurate information in an article, ensure that it is, and/or discuss its factuality with the user who has submitted it.
Unintentional Nonsense
While nonsense can be a form of vandalism, sometimes honest editors may not have expressed themselves correctly (there may be an error in the syntax, particularly for wikipedians who use English as a second language). This is a type of mistake. Sometimes connection errors unintentionally produce the appearance of nonsense. In either case, Assume good faith.
Bullying or Stubbornness
Some users cannot come to agreement with others who are willing to talk to them on an article's talk page, and repeatedly make changes opposed by everyone else. This is regrettable — you may wish to see our dispute resolution pages to get help. However, it is not vandalism.
Harassing or Making Personal Attacks
We have a clear policy on Wikipedia of no personal attacks, and harassing other contributors is not allowed. Some forms of harassment are also clear cases of vandalism, such as home page vandalism, or a personal attack on another editor inserted into an article. However, harassment in general is not vandalism.

If a user treats situations which are not clear vandalism as vandalism, then he or she is actually damaging the encyclopedia by driving away potential editors.

How to spot vandalism

The best way to detect vandalism is through recent changes patrolling or keeping an eye on your Watchlist. The What links here pages for Insert text, Link title, Headline text, Bold text, Image:Example.jpg and Media:Example.ogg 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! The auto-summary feature can help users detect vandalism.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for the day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."
Chinese Proverb
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