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Disruptive editing is a pattern of editing that may extend over a long time or many articles, and disrupts progress toward improving an article or building the encyclopedia. Disruptive editing is not "vandalism, though vandalism is disruptive. Each case should be treated independently, taking into consideration whether the actions violate "Wikipedia policies and "guidelines. If an editor treats situations that are not clearly vandalism as such, that editor may harm the encyclopedia by alienating or driving away potential editors.

Disruptive editing is not always intentional. Editors may be accidentally disruptive because they don't understand how to correctly edit, or because they "lack the social skills or competence necessary to work collaboratively. The fact that the disruption occurs in "good faith does not change the fact that it is harmful to Wikipedia.



Wikipedia owes much of its success to its openness. That very openness, however, sometimes attracts people who seek to exploit the site as a platform for "pushing a single point of view, "original research, "advocacy or "self-promotion. While notable minority opinions are welcomed when "verifiable through "reliable sources, and constructive editors occasionally make mistakes, sometimes a Wikipedia editor creates long-term problems by persistently editing a page or set of pages with information which is not "verifiable through "reliable sources or insisting on giving "undue weight to a minority view.

Collectively, disruptive editors harm Wikipedia by degrading its reliability as a reference source and by exhausting the patience of productive editors who may quit the project in frustration when a disruptive editor continues with impunity.

It is essential to recognize patterns of disruptive editing. Our "edit warring policy already acknowledges that one act, by itself, may not violate policy, but when part of a series of acts they constitute a pattern that does violate policy. Disruptive edits may not occur all in the course of one brief period without fruitless attempts to discuss with the user, (as when the user persists after 12 warnings to stop) and may not consist of the repetition of the same act. Nevertheless, a series of edits over time may form a pattern that seriously disrupts the project.

Disruptive editors may seek to disguise their behavior as productive editing, yet distinctive traits separate them from productive editors. When discussion fails to resolve the problem and when an impartial consensus of editors from outside a disputed page agree (through "requests for comment or similar means), further disruption is grounds for blocking, and may lead to more serious disciplinary action through the "dispute resolution process. In extreme cases this could include a site ban, either through the "Arbitration Committee or by a consensus.

The "three revert rule, if observed by disruptive editors, is not to be construed as a defense against action taken to enforce this policy against disruptive editors. As stated in that policy, "The rule is not an entitlement to revert a page a specific number of times". Likewise, editors should note that the "three revert rule should not be broken even by editors attempting to revert disruptive edits. Disruptive editing is "not vandalism and it is better for productive editors to follow the "process suggested below than to break the "3RR.

Attempts to evade detection[edit]


Disruptive editors sometimes attempt to evade "disciplinary action in several ways:

Nonetheless, such disruptive editing violates Wikipedia policy and norms.

Examples of disruptive editing[edit]


This guideline concerns gross, obvious and repeated violations of fundamental policies, not subtle questions about which reasonable people may disagree.

A disruptive editor is an editor who exhibits tendencies such as the following:

  1. Is "tendentious: continues editing an article or group of articles in pursuit of a certain point for an extended time despite opposition from other editors. Tendentious editing does not consist only of adding material; some tendentious editors engage in disruptive deletions as well. An example is repeated deletion of reliable sources posted by other editors.
  2. Cannot satisfy "Wikipedia:Verifiability; fails to cite sources, cites unencyclopedic sources, misrepresents reliable sources, or manufactures original research.
  3. Engages in "disruptive cite-tagging"; adds unjustified {{"citation needed}} tags to an article when the content tagged is already sourced, uses such tags to suggest that properly sourced article content is questionable.
  4. Does not engage in "consensus building:
    a. repeatedly disregards other editors' questions or requests for explanations concerning edits or objections to edits;
    b. repeatedly disregards other editors' explanations for their edits.
  5. Rejects or ignores community input: resists moderation and/or requests for comment, continuing to edit in pursuit of a certain point despite an opposing consensus from impartial editors.

In addition, such editors might:

  1. Campaign to drive away productive contributors: act counter to policies and guidelines such as "Wikipedia:Civility, "Wikipedia:No personal attacks, "Wikipedia:Ownership of articles, engage in "sockpuppetry/"meatpuppetry, etc. on a low level that might not exhaust the general community's patience, but that operates toward an end of exhausting the patience of productive rule-abiding editors on certain articles.

Failure or refusal to "get the point" [edit]

I can't hear you.

In some cases, editors have perpetuated disputes by sticking to an allegation or viewpoint long after the "consensus of the community has decided that moving on to other topics would be more productive. Such behavior is disruptive to Wikipedia. Believing that you have a valid point does not confer upon you the right to act as though your point must be accepted by "the community when you have been told that it is not accepted. The community's rejection of your idea is not proof that they have failed to hear you. Stop writing, listen, and consider what the other editors are telling you. Make a strong effort to see their side of the debate, and work on finding points of agreement. Do not confuse "hearing" with ""agreeing with".

Sometimes, even when editors act in "good faith, their contributions may continue to be disruptive and time wasting, for example, by continuing to say they don't understand what the problem is. Although editors should be encouraged to "be bold and just do things if they think they're right, sometimes a "lack of competence can get in the way. If the community spends more time cleaning up editors' mistakes and educating them about policies and guidelines than it considers necessary, sanctions may have to be imposed.


When one becomes frustrated with the way a "policy or guideline is being applied, it may be tempting to try to discredit the rule or interpretation thereof by, in one's view, applying it consistently. Sometimes, this is done simply to prove a point in a local dispute. In other cases, one might try to enforce a rule in a generally "unpopular way, with the aim of getting it changed.

Such tactics are highly disruptive to the project. If you feel that a policy is problematic, the policy's talk page is the proper place to raise your concerns. If you simply disagree with someone's actions in an article, discuss it on the article talk page or related pages.

Note that someone can legitimately make a point, without disrupting Wikipedia to illustrate it.

Distinguished from productive editing[edit]

Editors often post minority views to articles. This fits within Wikipedia's mission so long as the contributions are "verifiable, do not give "undue weight, and where appropriate, comply with "WP:FRINGE. The burden of evidence rests with the editor who initially provides the information or wishes the information to remain.

From "Wikipedia:Neutral point of view:

Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint. Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight means that articles should not give minority views as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views.

Verifiable and noteworthy viewpoints include "protoscience when this is published in reputable peer-reviewed journals. Editors may reasonably present active public disputes or controversies which are documented by reliable sources. For example, citing a viewpoint stated in a mainstream scholarly journal, textbook, or monograph is not per se disruptive editing. This exemption does not apply to settled disputes; for example, insertion of claims that "the Sun revolves around the Earth would not be appropriate today, even though this issue was active controversy in the time of "Galileo. Mentioning such disputes in the article may however be appropriate if the controversy itself was notable (such as in this example).

Sometimes well-meaning editors may be misled by fringe publications or make honest mistakes when representing a citation. Such people may reasonably defend their positions for a short time, then concede the issue when they encounter better evidence or impartial feedback.

Dealing with disruptive editors[edit]


Following is a model for remedies, though these steps do not necessarily have to be done in this sequence. In some extreme circumstances a rapid report to "Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents may be the best first step; in others, a fast track to a "community ban may be in order. But in general, most situations can benefit from a gradual escalation, with hope that each step may help resolve the problem, such that further steps are not needed:

Blocking and sanctions[edit]

April Fools' Day[edit]

All edits on "April Fools' Day must continue to adhere to all applicable Wikipedia policies and guidelines, including (but not limited to) "edit warring, "no personal attacks and the "biographies of living persons policy. With the exception of the Main Page, all edits that are intended to be humorous should be kept out of the article namespace and be tagged with {{"Humor}} (or equivalent template, such as the inline {{"April fools}} or {{"4-1}}) to avoid misleading users.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

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