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Here's how to help restore pages that have been vandalized.


To begin, you first must understand what vandalism is. Take this quote from Wikipedia:

Vandalism is any addition, deletion, or change to content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the encyclopedia (such as swearing, deleting letters to make inappropriate words, etc.) (see also Newbie experiment). The most common type of vandalism is the replacement of existing text with obscenities, namecalling, or other wholly irrelevant content. Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism. Apparent bad-faith edits that do not make their bad-faith nature inarguably explicit are not considered vandalism at Wikipedia.
Vandalism is not synonymous with trolling, although some trolling is vandalism:
Trolling is deliberate and intentional attempts to disrupt the usability of a wiki for its editors, administrators, developers, and other people who work to create content for and help run that wiki. Trolling is deliberate violation of the implicit rules of Internet social spaces. It is necessarily a value judgment made by one user about the value of another's contribution.

Recent Changes

So a vandal puts bad things on pages, basically. How do you help prevent this sort of thing?

One way you can help is by going to the recent changes page, and looking doing the following:
  • First of all, every edit on the page with a ! next to it has not been inspected yet.
  • Click on the diff link next to an edit that has a ! next to it to see the difference between the two most recent edits.
  • If the page is not vandalism, then click the [Mark as patrolled] link next to the edit.

If there are so many ! signs that you can't possibly check them all, then look for these things:

  • A new page, symbolized by a N, is important to check out.
  • An edit made by an IP address, a red username, or a user name spoofing another user's name, needs to be inspected.
  • An edit without a description is often made by a vandal in a hurry. Check these out.

If the page you find is vandalism, like if the page is blank, or if profanity has been added, you can revert the edit:

  • While in the differences page, click previous diff and/or next diff until you find the most current non-vandalized version.
  • Click on the (edit) link next to the Revision as of 00:00 link above that version. Alternatively, you can find the last good version and click on the date (not the diff) in the page history.
  • Type "reverted vandalism" or "reverted spamming" in the edit summary. The shorthand for this is "rv/v" or "rv/s", repectively.
  • Save the page (without making any changes).
  • Now the page is the version that you selected, in effect removing the vandalism.

Page-move vandalism

Moving a page changes its title. Page-move vandalism is moving a page to deface it by giving it a title that is nonsensical or inappropriate.

Any time a page is moved, an entry in the move log appears on Recent Changes telling what page was moved to what title. If you see a page moved to a title that is nonsensical or contains inappropriate language or that simply adds random words, you should revert this move in this way:

  • The move log entry will begin with a link to the move log. Click this link.
  • You will see a list of the most recent page moves. Find the entry for the article that was vandalized and click the "revert" link at the end of the entry. (Note that often the vandal will have moved both the article and its corresponding talk page; you should click the revert link for the article, not the talk page).
  • The old name of the page and the reason "revert" will be filled in automatically. If applicable, click the box that says "Move associated talk page", then click "Move page".
  • The page has now been returned to its proper title.

Note that there will still be redirects at the old title; a sysop will need to delete these. If there's no sysop around at the time, you can add {{delete|Vandal page}} to the redirects to tag them for deletion.

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