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How to (unintentionally) trigger a vandalism spree

Najevi November 24, 2009 User blog:Najevi

The following was noted at User000's talk page at a wiki that remains anonymous (article title and user names changed to preserve anonymity):


Your edit to Fancy Sushi Dish has been removed and identified as blatant vandalism. You wrote:

"My favorite appearence of her is in "good ol' whatshisname". If you have never seen that episode you must watch it. She is so funny in that episode lol!"

Let me make this as clear as possible to you: This wiki is not a blog, forum, or a place to express your personal opinions. It is ONLY for factual information about the TV series itself and its universe. You can NEVER state your personal opinions in the main space of information in the way that you did with the above edit. That means absolutely NO "I", "My", "You", and ESPECIALLY "lol". You must also not deliberately allow spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes in your edits. All content must be written as neutral statements, meaning no "?" or "!", except when quoting something. What you wrote would be perfectly acceptable on a forum, but NOT on a wiki. We are nowhere NEAR as strict as Wikipedia, and we do not require citations and real-world notability. But we DO expect you, the user, to be able to determine what is reasonable and what is rubbish, and how to write properly. Read our policies for more information. This is your ONLY warning, and if you continue to add rubbish like that, you will be suspended.User001 20:28, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

User001, I'm glad you are contributing to the improvement of the quality of the content of the articles here, but it would be much better if you warn people in a nicer way. This has already affected another Wiki. Please note rule number 1. -User002(talkcontribs) 17:53, September 3, 2009 (UTC)
I can very much understand why this unreasonably harsh warning message might have prompted User:User000 to turn away from not only this wiki but other wikia communities. A kinder, gentler note to the effect that,
"REMINDER: Your opinion-based comments written in the first person may be suitable for the article's ~Talk:Fancy Sushi Dish~@discussion page@ or a personal blog but not for the main wiki article. Those articles strive for a fact-based, neutral point of view. For now your edits have been moved to Talk:Fancy Sushi Dish."
As it stands the warning makes no reference to a "manual of style" for this wiki. I have long believed that such heavy handed warnings as this one are the trigger for many a spree of retaliatory vandalism. -- najevi 05:39, November 24, 2009 (UTC)

In this case the reprimanded user did proceed to retaliate and vandalize not only the subject wiki but other wikia hosted communities.

  • So if you are a sysop then exercise care when giving correctional advice to contributors.

A heavy handed approach might result in your wiki (or your personal user page) becoming a lightning rod for spam, vandalism or other attacks. In this case the wiki did have a Project:Policy page because User002 referred to that when mentioning "Rule number 1". I believe that most users will respond to a gentle reminder of the community's policies since the majority of users are blissfully unaware that such a page even exists.

  • Wiki visitors willing to contribute even an opinion really should be thanked and then nurtured because they may develop into main-stay contributors given enough time and appropriate guidance.

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