Wikibooks:Dealing with vandalism

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For beginning vandal fighters[edit]

Here's how it works
First you spot some vandalism, for example someone replacing the entire page with profanity, or adding a page with useless or offensive content. So you revert the page to the last good version, or you mark the page as a candidate for speedy deletion. Congratulations, you have just successfully dealt with vandalism!

How to revert[edit]

Main page: Help:Editing#Reverting

How to get a page deleted[edit]

Pages which are solely vandalism (and don't have a non-vandalism version to revert to) can be speedily deleted. Click the edit tab at the top of the page, and add {{delete|vandalism page}} at the top. Add "requesting speedy deletion" to the edit summary, and click save. Done! An administrator will come along and delete it shortly.

For experienced vandal fighters[edit]

  1. Revert their vandalism.
  2. Give them a warning on their talk page unless the vandalism is from an IP and over a few hours old.
    • If there's a warning already there, check when it was placed. It's only relevant if it's recent (maybe 1 or 2 weeks).
    • If they have a {{blocked}} template or a recent warning (and have vandalized since that warning), grab an admin at this point since they're a persistent vandal in need of a block.
  3. Otherwise, go to their contributions and look for other bad edits that haven't been reverted yet, and revert those.
  4. Check if they've stopped since the warning. If they have, great. If not, notify an admin.

Finding vandalism[edit]

If you're a dedicated vandal patroller, you can search for vandalism in three ways:

  1. Put many pages on your watchlist and review them periodically for vandalism. This is especially useful if you watchlist pages which are regular targets of vandalism.
  2. Comb through Special:Recentchanges for vandalism. Often anonymous users are the worst vandals; you can hide logged-in users to narrow down your search. New users' contribs often contain edit tests, mistakes and the like, which is not strictly vandalism but still needs to be dealt with. Don't bite the newbies!
  3. Join our countervandalism channel #cvn-wb-en, where a bot filters all edits to Wikibooks, presenting you with only suspicious edits.

Tools for vandalism patrol[edit]

Rollback[edit]

Main page: Help:Editing#Rollback

Users who are vandal fighters can now gain access to the MediaWiki rollback function, previously reserved for administrators only. To do so, make your request in the appropriate section of WB:RFP. The tool is likely to be given to active vandal fighters.

Rollback allows administrators and users with the reviewer permission to quickly revert vandalism. The rollback tool will revert all edits by the same user, starting from the top revision.

User Scripts[edit]

There are also several scripts which make vandal patrol easier. These are available on the Gadgets tab of Special:Preferences.

Revert using Twinkle
This allows all users to revert using the Twinkle script. This script does not work in Internet Explorer. (Configuration goes in your skin)
User Welcome Script
A script to semi-automagically {{welcome}} new users with no talk page, leave {{joinus}} for anons with no talk page, or warn any user with {{test}}.
Modify rollback
After using rollback, this script automatically forwards you to the users's contributions page to look for other edits to revert. Be careful, since this means you won't see if there's an error message after clicking rollback.

Reporting vandalism in progress[edit]

In cases of repeated or particularly malicious vandalism, take note of that person's IP address or username and report them to the administrators. Start a new section at Administrative Assistance, adding the person's IP address or username and a few examples of vandalistic edits; sign it with four tildes (~~~~) to give the date and time, and hit save.

In cases of vandalism in progress, you may also want to report in #wikibooks. Don't wait to see if anyone's around; don't ask if you can report some vandalism - just tell us. If nobody seems to notice, say !admin@enbooks and try again. Please note that in emergency situations, we may already be dealing with the situation, and are simply too busy repairing the damage to respond.

If no response is evident after a few attempts to get attention over the course of several minutes and there is massive, ongoing vandalism, you should report this to the stewards in #wikimedia-stewards by saying !steward in that channel. Stewards are permitted to take emergency action to stop vandals on any wiki.

Blocking vandals[edit]

Administrators have the ability, and the authorization, to block the IPs of persistent vandals. These blocks should be the shortest effective length.

If an ex-vandal evades an IP block by obtaining a new IP, and starts making genuine (non-vandalism) contributions to Wikibooks, then they will not be blocked or reverted simply because they used to be a vandal. We do not block vandals to punish them, but rather to preserve the integrity of Wikibooks. If an ex-vandal has reformed, then our aims are accomplished.

Types of vandalism[edit]

Blanking
Removing all or significant parts of pages (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, be cautious about treating anyone doing this like a vandal.
Childish vandalism
Some vandals spread the textual equivalent of graffiti over pages. They're extremely easy to detect, and are generally reverted in less than a minute.
Sneaky vandalism
Some vandals think they can outsmart contributors and add misinformation, change dates, or make other sensible-appearing substitutions and typos without anyone noticing, hiding vandalism e.g. by making two bad edits and only reverting one, or reverting legitimate edits to hinder the improvement process. Can often be detected by looking at other edits by the same user, but be careful to avoid confusing sneaky vandalism with genuine corrections to a page.
Attention-seeking vandalism
(a type of internet troll). The opposite of sneaky vandalism, they want attention, and will do anything to get it, they will write insults, use offensive usernames, replace pages with jokes etc. just to make you message them, and when you do that, they will find that an excuse to replace your user page with a story about your mother. So when you recognize this type of attack, try not to feed the troll by flaming him or her - just deal with it calmly and unemotionally - or leave it for someone else if it's making you too angry.

Spam
Adding external links to a module or user page for promotional purposes is disruptive, and is considered to be spam. Although the specific links may be allowed under some circumstances, repeatedly adding links will in most cases result in all of them being removed. It is the behaviour in placing the links rather than the content of the site that may cause concerns.
Wikibooks is generally designed to not require excessive links to third-party websites, as the content is intended to be a permanent textbook reference. While some links may be necessary (such as where to obtain software required for the book), most of the links in question are not likely to add to a completed textbook. An alternative site for external links would be the Open Directory Project, which serves as a directory of links to various websites.
Link vandalism
Rewriting links within a page so that they appear the same, but point to something completely different or ridiculous (e.g. France). Redirecting pages to nonsense titles is also vandalism.
Vandalbot (or spambot)
A script or "robot" which creates nonsensical pages (like Wikibooks talk:Staff lounge/w/index.php/), adds external links, replaces page content, moves pages, or creates malicious usernames. Such attacks are rare, but administrator or CheckUser intervention is often required to stem the tide.
Pagemove vandalism
Moving pages to offensive or nonsensical names. For example Willy on Wheels and his many imitators will move a page to PAGENAME on Wheels ("Cookbook" becomes "Cookbook on Wheels"). Generally such attacks are severe; get help from administrators ASAP.
Copyright vandalism
Knowingly using copyrighted material on Wikibooks in ways which violate Wikibooks's copyright policies is vandalism. Because users may be unaware that the information is copyrighted, or of Wikibooks 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. Repeatedly uploading images with no source and/or license information after notification that such information is required may also constitute vandalism.
Bad-faith vandalism
Bad-faith placing or removing of deletion and maintenance and other related tags on pages that do not meet such criteria, have not been settled or in order to conceal or avert deletion. Such templates are an important way for people to show that there are problems with a page. Do not remove them from a page unless you are sure that all stated reasons for the dispute are settled. As a general rule, do not remove other people's tags twice during a 24 hour period. Do not place tags improperly, as in when there is no dispute, and the reason for placing the tag is because a suggested edit has failed to meet consensus. Instead, follow the decision making process 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 is often mistakenly done by new users who are unfamiliar with Wikibooks and such users should be given the benefit of the doubt and pointed to the proper page to discuss the issue.
Talk page vandalism
Deleting or altering the comments of other users from Talk pages other than your own comments is generally considered vandalism, unless it is your user talk pages, you are removing personal attacks or are archiving an overly long Talk page to a separate page and then removing the text from the main Talk page, which is often considered legitimate. Adding comments to Talk page as if signed or written by someone else is also generally considered vandalism, however adding the proper signature to a comment that someone may have forgotten to include is not vandalism.
Policy vandalism
Deleting or altering part of a Wikibooks policy or guideline with which the vandal disagrees, without any attempt to seek consensus or recognize an existing consensus. However, improving or clarifying policy wording in line with the clear existing consensus is not vandalism.
Hidden vandalism
Any of the above in the form of hidden text not visible to the final rendering of the page but visible during editing.

Vandalism should not be confused with[edit]

Vandalism is vandalism: these things are not, though they are sometimes called vandalism. They are therefore treated differently:

Newbie test
New users that discover the "Edit this page" button sometimes really want to know if they can 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 Wikibooks:Sandbox where they can keep making their tests (oftentimes they will even revert their own changes).
Extended newbie test
Some users (especially the young ones) want to check out if they can make an module look really stupid, or radically change it to become unreadable. They simply want to test the limits of the wiki, some of them will stop (at some point) when you revert their changes, and will feel embarrassed when you write them a message.
Learning Wiki Markup
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, perhaps point them towards Help or Wikibooks:Sandbox.
NPOV violations
The neutral point of view is a difficult policy for many of us to understand, and even Wikibooks veterans occasionally accidentally introduce material which is non-ideal from an NPOV perspective. See NPOV dispute. Try to improve upon the edit rather than simply reverting it out-of-hand.
Bold edits
Wikibookians often make sweeping changes to modules in order to improve them - most of us aim to be bold when updating modules. While having large chunks of text you wrote removed, moved to talk, or substantially rewritten can sometimes feel like vandalism, it is the wiki way.
Mistakes
Sometimes, users will insert content into a module that is not necessarily accurate, in the belief that it is. By doing so in good faith, they are trying to contribute to Wikibooks and improve it. If you believe that there is inaccurate information in a module, ensure that it is, and/or discuss it 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 grammar, particularly for Wikibookians who use English as a second language, or mistakes using wiki markup). This is a type of mistake. Sometimes connection errors unintentionally produce the appearance of nonsense. In either case, Assume good faith and help the user along.
New Patrollers
While page blanking can be a form of vandalism, sometimes new users may try to revert vandalism by blanking the page or taking other steps which may seem questionable. Instead of labelling a potential patroller a vandal, try to fix his or her mistake and point the person to this page so they may learn how to better combat vandalism.

Templates[edit]

Main page: Wikibooks:Templates/User notices & Category:User warning templates
What to type What it makes
{{subst:test|Page (optional)|~~~~}}
{{subst:bv|~~~~}}
{{subst:blocked|1 week|sig=~~~~}}
Stop x nuvola with clock.svg
You cannot edit for 1 week due to disruptive editing. You are welcome to contribute constructively when editing privileges are restored. You may appeal this action with a reasonable argument by adding the text {{unblock|Your reason here}} below.

See also[edit]