Star Trek Expanded Universe
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This page is part of Star Trek Expanded Universe: Policies and guidelines.
Please read this to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules. If you have questions, suggestions, or complaints, post them on the talk page.

Policy in a nutshell: Conspicuous vandalism (damage of content) may result in a block or ban.

Vandalism is intentional alteration (changing, adding or removing content) which destroys property or compromises effective presentation of information. In an open-source community such as Star Trek Expanded Universe, this may include obscenities, crude humor, spam, page blanking, and/or patent nonsense. (The preceding is not all-inclusive of possible types of vandalism.)

Not all apparent vandalism may be actual vandalism. One should always assume good faith. When edits clearly constitute deliberate, intentional vandalism (edits made in "bad faith"), adequate response is required.

Responding to vandalism[]

If you see or suspect vandalism, you may take the following steps:

  1. For new articles, check the article's page history by clicking on the history tab near the top of your screen (or "diff", "hist" or "page history" on recent changes).
    1. If all versions of the article are pure vandalism, mark it for speedy deletion by tagging it with {{speedydelete}}.
    2. Otherwise, revert the harmful edits. You may click "undo" or "rollback" after comparing differences in page histories. Include a brief note in the summary field, such as "rv vandalism", explaining that you have reverted vandalism.
  2. Leave a warning message on the vandal's talk page.
  3. Check the vandal's other contributions, by clicking "user contributions" along the side of your screen.
  4. If the vandal has made a number of harmful edits, and/or persists in doing so, report it so that administrators may investigate and take action. In most cases, obvious vandalism will result in a block or ban of the vandal.

Do not get into arguments or make rude comments to the offending user. Negative comments reflect on the community and achieve no constructive purpose.

Do not tag an existing article for deletion if it existed prior to the vandalism.

Types of vandalism[]

Vandalism may fall into one or more of the following categories:

Type Description
Blanking Removing all or significant parts of a page with no reason given, or replacing pages with nonsense. Sometimes verifiable references are deleted without valid reason(s) in the summary. However, removing content is usually not vandalism where the reason for removal is apparent by examination of the content, or where a non-frivolous explanation for the removal is provided, linked to, or referenced in an edit summary.

Blanking may be legitimate when removing inaccurate or biased material, in the interests of providing accurate, non-biased, up-to-date information.

Lengthening Adding large amounts of content to a page (measured by the number of bytes) to make the page's load time abnormally long or even impossible to load on some computers.
Spam Adding external links to non-notable or irrelevant sites (e.g. to advertise one's website).
Vandalbots A script or bot that attempts to vandalize or "spam" massive numbers (hundreds or thousands) of articles.
Silly vandalism Adding profanity, graffiti, random characters, or other nonsense to pages; creating nonsensical, obviously non-encyclopedic pages, etc. Note that adding random characters to pages is common for new users who are test-editing, and may not be intentionally malicious.
Sneaky vandalism This vandalism may be harder to spot. This can include adding plausible misinformation to articles (e.g. minor alteration of dates), hiding vandalism (making two bad edits and only reverting one), or reverting legitimate edits with the intent of hindering improvement of pages. Some vandals 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: No personal attacks.
Image vandalism Uploading "shock" images, inappropriately placing explicit images on pages, or using any image in disruptive fashion. Note that STEU is not censored for protection of minors. Explicit images may be uploaded and placed on pages for legitimate reasons (though we attempt to maintain decency and "good taste").
Abuse of tags Bad-faith placing of {{deletion}}, {{speedydelete}}, {{inuse}}, or other templates on pages that do not meet such criteria. This includes removal of long-standing {{policy}} and related tags without first forming consensus on such changes.
Page-move vandalism Changing page-names (via "page moving") to disruptive or inappropriate terms.
Link vandalism Modifying internal or external links to appear the same while linking to inappropriate pages/sites (e.g. explicit images; shock sites).
Avoidant vandalism Removing deletion templates or related tags in order to conceal deletion candidates or avert deletion/revision of pages/content. This may be done mistakenly by new users who are unfamiliar with deletion procedures. Such users should be given benefit of a doubt and pointed to the proper page to discuss the issue.
Modifying user 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 itself). Signifying that a comment is unsigned is an exception.
Discussion page vandalism Blanking other users' posts from talk pages other than your own, aside from removing spam, vandalism, etc., is generally considered vandalism. Exceptions include old discussions which no longer have present bearing (for example, featured content voting/discussions, which are archived in their respective page histories), moving posts to a proper place, removing a personal attack, or archiving long talk pages.

The above does not apply to a user's own talk page. Editors have considerable latitude over editing their own userspace pages (including talk pages), and blanking one's own user talk page is not prohibited.

Uploading copyrighted material Repeatedly uploading or using material which violates copyright, after being warned, is vandalism. Users may be unaware that the information is copyright-protected, or of policies on how such material may/may not be used. If such action continues after the copyrighted nature of the material has been communicated to the user, then it constitutes vandalism.
Malicious account creation Usernames containing deliberately offensive or disruptive terms are considered vandalism, whether the account is used or not. Sock puppetry is also considered vandalism.
Edit summary vandalism Offensive edit summaries not easily expunged from the database. (Edit summaries cannot simply be reverted, and remain visible in page histories.) Often combined with malicious account creation.
Hidden vandalism Any form of vandalism using embedded text, not visible in final rendering of an article but visible during editing.

What vandalism is not[]

Although at times referred to as vandalism, the following is not actual vandalism and may be treated differently.

Type Description
Experimental tests New users who discover the "edit this page" button may want to experience editing a page and add unhelpful content as a test. Rather than warn them for vandalism, greet these users with a welcome template and refer them to the Manual of Style and Wikipedia:Sandbox, where they can experiment without being disruptive.
Incorrect style and markup Inexperienced users are often unfamiliar with formatting and grammatical standards (how to create internal/external links, when certain words should be bolded or italicized, etc.). Rather than label such users as vandals, explain our standard style to them.
NPOV violations "Neutral point of view" (NPOV) is a difficult policy for many to understand, and even wiki veterans may introduce material non-ideal from a neutral perspective. We are all affected by our beliefs to some extent. Though inappropriate, this is not vandalism.
Bold edits Editors often make sweeping changes to pages in order to improve them. Most aim to be bold when updating articles. While having large chunks of text removed or rewritten can be frustrating, making edits that alter the text or content of a page should not be immediately labeled vandalism.
Uncited material New users may be unfamiliar with our citation policy, and contribute material which lacks verifiable sources or defies personal expectations. Don't immediately assume this is vandalism. Give the contributor time to provide sources before suggesting deletion or bring articles up to standard.
Unintentional misinformation Users may add inaccurate content 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 it with the contributor.
Unintentional nonsense While intentional nonsense is vandalism, honest editors may sometimes express themselves incorrectly (there may be an error in the syntax, particularly for Steudians 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.
Harassment or personal attacks Harassment is not allowed, and may result in a block or ban. However, while some forms of harassment may be vandalism, such as user page vandalism or personal attacks, harassment itself is not strictly vandalism and should be handled differently.
Policy/guideline/other project namespace alteration Editing policy pages (such as this one) requires knowledge of consensus. 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 a user treats situations which are not clear vandalism as such, then that user is actually harming the encyclopedia by alienating or driving away potential editors.

How to spot vandalism[]

The best way to detect vandalism is to patrol recent changes, spot edits from IP addresses, or keep an eye on watchlists. "What links here" pages for Insert text, Link title, Headline text, and Bold text are also good places to find test edits or vandalism. Vandalism should be reverted to an earlier version of the page. Remember to include good edits since then!

See also[]