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Wikipedia:Vandalism

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On Wikipedia, vandalism is when a user makes changes to pages that make the page incorrect and not make sense. They might do any or all of the things listed below. Vandalism is a very bad problem, and people who keep doing it may be blocked so that they are no longer able to make changes. Test edits, like those made in the sandbox are usually not vandalism, but in some cases, it can be, especially if the content is offensive, attacks other people, or is done over and over again.

There are two Wikipedias in English; the Simple English Wikipedia and the regular English Wikipedia (here). Sometimes, vandals from the English Wikipedia will come here to vandalize. Vandalizing from multiple wikis is called cross-wiki vandalism and can lead to being unable to change all Wikimedia websites.

What vandals might do
Add nonsense.
Add information that they know is wrong.
Remove information from pages without writing a reason.
Make personal attacks to other editors on Wikipedia.
Move pages to other names, usually names that make no sense or are offensive.
Make the same page over and over, after it has been deleted.

How to fight vandalism

You can help "fight" vandalism. This means getting rid of bad changes by other users. It's very easy, and you don't even need to make an account or log in! Here's how:

  1. Go to the "New changes" page. This shows you the most recent changes that any user makes to any page. You can also find a link to this page near the top left corner while you are on Wikipedia, under the globe logo.
  2. Click on one of the "diff" links to see the change made by the user on the page listed on the new changes page. To help you choose which "diff" to see, here are some things to look out for:
    • Anonymous users - most vandalism is done by someone who is not logged in. If so, you will see their IP address rather than a user name.
    • Big changes to the article size - the green or red number tells you how much content the user added or removed from the page. If it's a very large number (which may also appear as bold text), there's a good chance that it could be vandalism.
    • Change summary - this is meant to tell other users what has been changed. Many vandals do not write anything, but if they do, it appears in brackets "(" and ")" and in italics. Look especially for common sentences like "Fixed typo" or "Added content" - these are called "canned" summaries and can often be "misleading", or in other words, not tell the truth. It may look to be any other normal change, but could be vandalism.
    • Tags - Wikipedia has automatic filters that try to stop users from making changes if they do not seem to be good, such as if there is a slang or swear word. In this case, you could see a "tag" that says something like "blanking", "repeating characters", or even "possible vandalism". Also keep in mind that test changes are also more likely to be made from a mobile device or using the "visual editor", in which case you would see a "mobile edit" or "visual edit" tag.
  3. Once you see the change, you have to decide whether it is vandalism or not. If you aren't sure, don't do anything, and ask someone for help - remember the old saying, "better safe than sorry". If you are sure that an edit is vandalism, you should remove it immediately. What you should do depends on whether the vandalism was done on a new page or not (to find out, click on "View history" at the top of the page):
    • If the vandalism was done on a new page that meets the quick deletion policy (nobody else has made or changed it except the vandal(s) - there may be more than one), put the code {{QD|reason}} on it and replace "reason" with why it should be deleted. If an administrator agrees with you, he or she will delete the page and everything on it.
    • If the vandalism was done on a page that is not new (other people have made or changed the page but are not vandals), revert (that is, undo) the change, if it has not been done already. You can usually do this by clicking "undo" beside the word "change" beside "Latest revision" and then saving the page (if you see "Revision" but not "Latest revision", the change may have already been reverted, and you should click "Newer diff" until you see "Latest revision" to make sure). Make sure that after you revert the change, there is no more vandalism on the page. You may have to revert more than one change (which is where the "rollback" feature becomes very helpful for).
  4. Once the vandalism is gone, it is a good idea to give the vandal a warning that they should not do it again. To do this, go to their talk page (by clicking "talk" beside their username or IP address) and put a warning template (a message that has already been set) on it. There are many different ways to warn these users; some of them are listed below. You should always look at what is already on that page as well as the user's other changes (you can check them by clicking on the "changes" link next to the username on the new changes page, or, for an anonymous user, you can click on their IP address).
  5. If users continue to vandalize pages (look out for other contributions that have been reverted, or other warning templates on their talk page), go to Vandalism in progress and follow the instructions there to report the vandal to "administrators". They are able to block and ban users who do not follow the rules of Wikipedia, and this includes vandalism. Sometimes, if there are no administrators available, you can try to contact them through their other talk pages if they have one, or through the email links on the page about administrators.

That's it! If you want to know more about how to help fight vandalism, you can always ask questions at Wikipedia:Simple talk.

Warnings and notices

Multi-level templates

  • Level 1 – Assumes good faith. Generally includes "Welcome to Wikipedia" or something similar.
  • Level 2 – Does not assume whether or not the editor is acting in good faith.
  • Level 3 – Assumes bad faith; warns editor to stop what he or she is doing.
  • Level 4 – Assumes bad faith; a strong, final warning to the editor to stop what he or she is doing.
  • Level 4im – Assumes bad faith; a strong, first and only warning to the editor to stop what he or she is doing.

Contents

Hover over the template syntax to see a summary of the contents.

Don't forget to substitute these templates

Description Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 4im
Various types of nonconstructive edits
Negative unsourced changes to biographies of living people {{subst:uw-biog1}} {{subst:uw-biog2}} {{subst:uw-biog3}} {{subst:uw-biog4}} {{subst:uw-biog4im}}
Making bad pages {{subst:uw-create1}} {{subst:uw-create2}} {{subst:uw-create3}} {{subst:uw-create4}} {{subst:uw-create4im}}
Breach of copyright {{subst:uw-copyright1}} {{subst:uw-copyright2}}
Not applying the Manual of Style {{subst:uw-mos1}} {{subst:uw-mos2}} {{subst:uw-mos3}} {{subst:uw-mos4}} {{subst:uw-mos4im}}
No neutral point of view {{subst:uw-npov1}} {{subst:uw-npov2}} {{subst:uw-npov3}} {{subst:uw-npov4}} {{subst:uw-npov4im}}
Editing tests {{subst:uw-test1}} {{subst:uw-test2}} {{subst:uw-test3}} {{subst:uw-test4}} {{subst:uw-test4im}}
Vandalism {{subst:uw-vandalism1}} {{subst:uw-vandalism2}} {{subst:uw-vandalism3}} {{subst:uw-vandalism4}} {{subst:uw-vandalism4im}}
Removing content from pages {{subst:uw-delete1}} {{subst:uw-delete2}} {{subst:uw-delete3}}
Deliberately adding wrong information {{subst:uw-error1}} {{subst:uw-error2}} {{subst:uw-error3}}
Unacceptable page moves {{subst:uw-move1}} {{subst:uw-move2}} {{subst:uw-move3}} {{subst:uw-move4}} {{subst:uw-move4im}}
Adding spam, such as promotions of objects or ideologies
Adding spam links {{subst:uw-spam}}
Using Wikipedia for advertising or promotion {{subst:uw-advert1}} {{subst:uw-advert2}} {{subst:uw-advert3}}
Behavior towards editors and articles
Not assuming good faith {{subst:uw-agf1}} {{subst:uw-agf2}} {{subst:uw-agf3}}
Personal attack directed at a specific editor {{subst:uw-npa1}} {{subst:uw-npa2}} {{subst:uw-npa3}} {{subst:uw-npa4}} {{subst:uw-npa4im}}
Changing others' talk page comments {{subst:uw-tpv1}} {{subst:uw-tpv2}} {{subst:uw-tpv3}} {{subst:uw-vandalism4}}
Description Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 4im

Single-level notices

Hover over the template syntax to see a summary of the contents.
Notices Warnings
Description Template Description Template
Adding incorrect categories {{subst:uw-badcat}} Creating or changing articles to attack people {{subst:uw-attack}}
"Biting" newcomers {{subst:uw-bite}} Project disruption {{subst:uw-disruption}}
Direct copying of article from English Wikipedia {{subst:uw-encopypaste}} Removing quick deletion templates from articles {{subst:uw-qd}}
Information on cross-wiki attribution {{subst:uw-encopyright}} Long term abuse {{subst:uw-longterm}}
Making inappropriate jokes {{subst:uw-joke}} Userpage or subpage is against policy {{subst:uw-userpage}}
Changing between national types of English without a good reason {{subst:uw-lang}} Edit warring {{subst:uw-3rr}}
Tips on creating new articles {{subst:uw-newarticle}} Conflict of interest {{subst:uw-coi}}
Use "Other websites", not "External links" {{subst:uw-otherweb}}
Removing the sandbox header {{subst:uw-sandbox}}
Reverting self tests {{subst:uw-selfrevert}}
Not making changes in simple English {{subst:uw-simple}}
Not making changes in English {{subst:uw-notenglish}}
Check spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. {{subst:uw-spellcheck}}
Remember to subst: templates {{subst:uw-subst}}
Not signing posts {{subst:uw-tilde}}
Image uploads not allowed in Simple English Wikipedia {{subst:uw-upload}}
Not warning vandals {{subst:uw-warn}}
Use "Related pages", not "See also" {{subst:uw-relatedpages}}

Blocks

Hover over the template syntax to see a summary of the contents.
Don't forget to substitute these templates. Block templates are for admin use only.
Description Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 (Indefinite)
Blocks {{subst:uw-block1}} {{subst:uw-block2}} {{subst:uw-block3}}
Username block {{subst:UsernameBlocked}}
Username hard block {{subst:UsernameHardBlocked}}

Other

Hover over the template syntax to see a summary of the contents.
Page headers New user Deletion notifications

{{ISP|ISP Name}}

{{SharedIP|Organization}}

{{SchoolIP|Organization}}

{{anonblock|Optional comments}}

{{schoolblock|Optional comments}}

{{unblock|Reason}}

{{pp-semi-usertalk}}

{{pp-usertalk}}

{{subst:welcome}}

{{subst:welcomeg}}

{{subst:welcomeip|Your username}}

{{subst:welcomespam}}

{{subst:firstarticle}}

Quick deletion nominations

Note: Not all of these warning templates are for vandalism.

Tracing IP addresses

For repeated vandalism by an anonymous IP addresses, it is helpful to trace the IP address and add {{SharedIP|Name of owner}} to the user talk page of the address.

The owners of IP addresses can be found using:

If an address is not in one, it will might be in a different one.

Anti vandalism Tools

Twinkle

Twinkle is a script that allows autoconfirmed users to revert and warn vandals.

Vandal Warner

Vandal Warner is a gadget you can use to warn the vandals more easily. In order to use it, you should click on the my settings link and go to the "Gadgets" tab. Then you should select Vandal Warner and save the settings. Of course, you can use gadgets only when you are logged in.

Navigation popups

Navigation popups has revert script in it that lets you revert to a specific version, to add this:

  1. Go to My Settings
  2. Go to Gadgets
  3. Check Navigation popups (API)
  4. Click save

After that you'll need to flush your old monobook.js from your cache. Pressing Ctrl+F5 on some browsers might work, or Ctrl-R on some others. Then it will work, if not ask for help. There are also other anti vandalism gadgets there besides these.

Related pages