Welcome to my first blog on Community Central!
I think there a lot of blogs about what vandalism and spam are, and how to prevent it, but I don't think there are a lot of blogs that explain the consequences of a vandal or spammers actions. I am here to explain what potential consequences are and why it matters. I am not the best writer but as a reporter of spam and vandalism, I have seen first-hand how wiki editors feel, and believe me, it is not good.
One of the first consequences of spam and spammers is that it makes the wiki hard to read. Looking at a wiki's Wiki activity it gets really clogged and makes it hard to know what the actual editors are doing. If someone has a question it is hard for other editors to see and can leave a question unanswered for long periods of time.
A second consequence would be that it makes the wiki look bad. Having pages that are filled with cuss words or graphic photos, or even things that generally have nothing to do with the wiki is a real turn off. When all you wanna do is look at the history of Claire Underwood but all you see is the word "schezwan sauce" 4000 times. It gets really annoying.
Another consequence is that it could be dangerous. When you are posting a link to a dangerous website it would not only be harmful to a user's computer, but also to the wiki's activity levels. If you get viruses on your computer from a website, chances are you are not going to come back to it. Even if they did come back some viruses make it hard to use an infected computer. My recommendation for this would always be wary about what you click on, and always use an anti-virus!
I thinking the biggest toll of dealing with a vandal is that most don't stop. They keep coming back and ruining those pages that you spent trying to make it look nice. Vandals don't wanna stop and they will try and come back, believe me, I know from experience!
Perhaps, the biggest consequence of a vandal is the fact that they ruin all of your wiki's editors in just a few seconds. Picture this, you spend hours working on an article page and you make it look really nice, you spent 2 hours just making the infoboxes work! Then a vandal comes and erases or changes the page to something completely inappropriate in just a matter of minutes. Of course, you can undo it, but it is more of the thought that counts. It is simply awful dealing with that.
I don't think I have ever met a "nice" vandal. Usually, vandals are mean and like to troll a wiki's users. That is a huge consequence to the users of the wiki. We don't know the kinds of problems that users face in real life, so we should all be nice to each other and make this a good place to go. Vandals try to be mean, and usually, you can rub it off, but sometimes it hurts.
What about the consequences of a spammer or a vandal?
Now if you are a vandal or spammer the biggest consequence you would get is a block, and most of the time, a global one.
I think a big consequence would be that they don't ever get to make friends on the wiki. Half of the fun is building relationships and getting to know users from all over. This is one of the biggest reasons why I love coming here. I love to hear other people's stories and that is something almost every vandal won't experience.
I think the worst consequence is that you will never be able to achieve rights on a wiki. Ruining a wiki's content is a sure-fire way to never get rights on a wiki. Administrators on a wiki should always show good faith and show knowledge on the subject of that certain wiki. If you are a vandal or a spammer, you are definitely not acting in good faith. Period.
Who has to clean up the mess?
Well for starters it depends on the severity of the act. If it is just a few pages, the local admins should be able to handle it by rollbacking the edits and blocking the user in question. In severe cases, though it is up to the VSTF. Believe me, it is a lot of work to undo everything and restore order to a wiki. We all owe the VSTF some gratitude as they deal with a lot of vandals. It is a hard job, and we should thank them for it.
In the end, everyone should realize that actions do have consequences. It's not even fun to be a vandal or a spammer because, in the end, you will be blocked. On this website, that means you are not welcome here. We should make this a fun place, not have to worry about spammers and vandals. Let's all work together to reach a common goal. Let's realize that if you try to make a wiki worse, you will be punished. Why have 5 seconds of fun when you can have 5 years of fun?
I hoped you guys liked this, I am not really good at writing so I hope this is okay. :)