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Green check.png Guidelines — Policy Document
This page is a statement of official UDWiki Policies and Rules. See Policy Discussion for policy additions and changes.

Vandalism is considered by all users an unwanted part of this wiki. This document attempts to provide correct and accessible information regarding what is considered vandalism, and what is done to combat it on this wiki.

What is Vandalism?

On this wiki, we define Vandalism as "an edit not made in a good-faith attempt to improve this wiki".

This, while quite broad and useful, does lead to interpretation. We make the following notes on what isn't vandalism:

  • An unwanted edit to any page.
  • An edit that adds information arising from a misunderstanding.
  • An edit that improves the page from a user you don't like.

When we claim that a group has "ownership" of a page, this does not automatically mean that any edit made that they don't like is considered vandalism. When assessing cases, the important question is one of intent, not action. As such, vandalism is rarely considered definitive when it is only a single action.

A common example is users who edit a template directly with their information, instead of including the template on their page and adding the information there. On its own, this doesn't seem to have any malicious intent behind it - it's just a mistaken edit. In this case, the user is not committing vandalism, as the edit was made in a good-faith attempt to improve the wiki.

Another example is the editing of a Group's definitional section to claim they have moved to a suburb, when it fact it hasn't. On its own, this may not have any malicious intent - a user may have seen members of that group in another suburb, and assumed that they have moved. If this is the case, then the user has not committed an act of vandalism, as the edit was made in a good-faith attempt to improve the wiki.

As a general rule, we expect users to assume good faith among editors - first assume that the edit they have made to the page has been made in a legitimate attempt to improve the page. If you're concerned about an edit another person has made, we recommend talking with the user in question (their User talk: page is a good place to do so).

It is considered extremely poor form to automatically assume that a person's edit was an act of vandalism. On UDWiki:Administration/Vandal Banning, Sysops are expected to always look at an edit in the light of a good-faith edit, rather than assume guilt, and we expect that the user has attempted to contact the user regarding the edit.

If two users are diametrically opposed on an edit, we recommend that the two users go to UDWiki:Administration/Arbitration, and find a third party to help them resolve their differences. Sysops do not take kindly to users using UDWiki:Administration/Vandal Banning as a personal battleground.

Some examples of Vandalism

Some acts, by their general nature, are almost always considered vandalism. There's almost no reason why a person would commit such acts in good faith. These are:

  • Adding invisible commerical links to a page. This is commonly known as wikispamming, and it is commonly used as an attempt by outside sources to improve their page rankings. Since these links never actually contribute anything to the wiki, we consider these edits to be clear vandalism - they're certainly not an attempt to improve the wiki.
  • Impersonating another user. It is possible to make a comment on the wiki that does not look like it is from yourself, but instead is from another user. Of course, the fact that you edited the page will always exist, so such acts rarely go unnoticed. We expect that, if you're commenting, you're commenting as yourself. If you're serious about improving the wiki, we feel that you should be more than willing to attach your comments to yourself, so if you're attaching them to someone else, we really have to assume that you're trying to do bad things to them. This doesn't improve the wiki, so we consider it clear vandalism.
  • Blanking pages, or blanking sections. Because we have a Deletion process, there's no need to wipe pages (if you don't want your own page around, UDWiki:Administration/Speedy Deletions is a good place to ask for it to be removed). Especially, wiping pages that other people have worked on is rarely required in improving the wiki. Thus, we consider it highly suspicious. Occasionally, newbies do this on their own due to some sort of mistake, so it's not automatic, but a clear pattern often is.

Penalties for Vandalism

The wiki philosophy towards vandalism is not one of punishment. We try, for the most part, to attempt to prevent the vandalism from happening, rather than punish interlopers. So, if someone is actively vandalising a page, and stops after being warned, we will not go any further on the issue.

If a user continues to vandalise the wiki after being warned not to, they get a second warning. If, after that warning, the vandalism continues, then we are forced to ban the user for 24 hours from editing the wiki. This is recorded in the Block log, but other than that we try not to draw much more attention to the ban than this. If, after being banned, the user returns to the wiki and chooses to help improve the wiki, we will not press the issue further. If they continue, however, they will be banned for longer periods, as follows:

  • Warning 1
  • Warning 2
  • First ban: 24 hours
  • Second ban: 48 hours
  • Third ban: 1 week
  • Fourth ban: 1 month
  • Fifth ban (or higher): 1 month + permaban vote

The issue is not punishment - we do not punish vandals. The only aim with warnings and bans is to attempt to stop the vandal from continuing to vandalise the wiki. We are more than willing to let reformed vandals continue to edit this wiki, if their edits are a good faith attempt to improve this wiki.