Cognitive Linguistics

This page, which is based on Wikipedia's page on vandalism, specifies what counts as an act of vandalism on CogLing.


Vandalism is any addition, deletion, or change to content made in a deliberate attempt to reduce the quality of the encyclopedia. The most common type of vandalism is the replacement of existing text with obscenities, page blanking, or the insertion of bad jokes or other nonsense. Fortunately, this kind of vandalism is usually easy to spot.

Any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism.

Not all vandalism is blatant, nor are all massive or controversial changes vandalism: Careful attention needs to be given to whether the new data or information is right or whether it is vandalism.

Types of vandalism[]

These are the most common forms of vandalism on Wikis. Committing these forms of vandalism on cogLing will be met with a permanent ban.

Removing all or significant parts of articles (sometimes replacing the removed content with profanities) is a common vandal edit.
Adding inappropriate external links for advertisement and/or self-promotion.
A script or "robot" that attempts to vandalize or spam massive numbers of articles (hundreds or thousands), blanking, or adding commercial links. Another type of VandalBot appears to log on repeatedly with multiple random names to vandalize an article.
Childish vandalism
Adding graffiti or blanking pages.
Silly vandalism
Users will sometimes create joke articles or replace existing articles with plausible-sounding nonsense, or add silly jokes to existing articles.
Sneaky vandalism
Vandalism which is harder to spot. Adding misinformation, changing dates or making other sensible-appearing substitutions and typos.
Attention-seeking vandalism
Adding insults, using offensive usernames, replacing articles with jokes etc.
User page vandalism
Replacing User pages with insults, profanity, etc.
Image vandalism
Uploading provocative images, inserting political messages, making malicious animated GIFs, etc. Repeatedly uploading images with no source and/or license information after notification that such information is required may also constitute vandalism.
Abuse of tags
Bad-faith placing of deletion tags or deceptively placing protected-page tags on articles.
Template vandalism
Any vandalism to templates.
Page move vandalism
Moving pages to offensive or nonsense names.
Redirect vandalism
Redirecting articles or talk pages to offensive articles or images. Some vandals will try to redirect pages to nonsense titles they create this way. This variation is usually performed by vandals whose accounts are too new to move pages. It is also often done on pages that are protected from moves.
Link vandalism
Rewriting links within an article so that they appear the same, but point to something irrelevant or ridiculous.
Avoidant vandalism
Removing certain tags in order to conceal or avoid entries to risk deletion.
Removing warnings
Removing warnings for vandalism from one's talk page is also considered vandalism.
Random character vandalism
Replacing topical information with random characters, or just adding random characters to a page. "aslkdjnsdagkljhasdlkh," for example.
Changing people's comments
Editing signed comments by another user to substantially change their meaning (e.g. turning someone's vote around), except when removing a personal attack. Signifying that a comment is unsigned is an exception. e.g. (unsigned comment from user)
Improper use of dispute tags
Dispute tags are important way for people to show that there are problems with the article. Do not remove them unless you are sure that the dispute is settled. Do not place dispute tags improperly, as in when there is no dispute, and the reason for placing the dispute tag is because a suggested edit has failed to meet consensus. Instead, accept that some edits will not meet consensus.
Talk page vandalism
Deleting the comments of other users from article Talk pages, or deleting entire sections thereof, is generally considered vandalism. Removing personal attacks is often considered legitimate, and it is considered acceptable to archive an overly long Talk page to a separate file and then remove the text from the main Talk page. The above does not apply to the user's own Talk page, where users generally are permitted to remove outside comments at their discretion, except in cases of warnings, which they are prohibited from removing.
Official policy vandalism
Deleting or altering part of an official policy with which the vandal disagrees, without any attempt to seek consensus or recognize an existing consensus. Improving or clarifying policy wording in line with the clear existing consensus is not vandalism.
Copyrighted material vandalism
Knowingly using copyrighted material on CogLing in ways which violate our copyright policies is vandalism. Because users may be unaware that the information is copyrighted, or of our policies on how such material may and may not be used, such action only becomes vandalism if it continues after the copyrighted nature of the material and relevant policy restricting its use have been communicated to the user.
Account creation vandalism
Creating accounts with deliberately offensive terms in the username is considered vandalism, whether the account is used or not. This also includes making accounts with nomenclature similar to usernames of known vandals.

What vandalism is not[]

Although sometimes referred to as such, the following things are not vandalism as such.

New User Test
New users who discover the "Edit this page" button sometimes want to know if they can really edit any page, so they write something inside just to test it. This is not vandalism. On the contrary, these users should be warmly greeted, and given a reference to the Sandbox where they can keep making their tests. However, repeated user tests on articles and other pages not intended for such tests will be met with a reprimande and might result in a ban.
Learning Wiki Markup and Manual of Style
Some users require some time to learn the wiki-based markup, and will spend a little time experimenting with the different ways to make external links, internal links, and other special characters. Rather than condemning them as vandals, just explain to them what our standard style is on the issue in hand — perhaps pointing them towards the documentation at Wikipedia's how to edit a page, and the like.
NPOV violations
The neutral point of view is a difficult policy for many to understand. While regrettable, this is not vandalism as such, but may be met with polite reminders or polite reprimandes.
Bold Edits
A user may often make sweeping changes to an article in order to improve it. While having large chunks of text you've written deleted, moved to the talk page, or substantially rewritten can sometimes feel like vandalism, it should not be confused with vandalism.
Sometimes, users will insert content into an article that is not necessarily accurate, in the belief that it is. By doing so in good faith, they are trying to contribute to the encyclopedia and improve it. If you believe that there is inaccurate information in an article, ensure that it is, and/or discuss its factuality with the user who has submitted it.
Bullying or Stubbornness
Some users cannot come to agreement with others who are willing to talk to them on an article's talk page, and repeatedly make changes opposed by everyone else. This is a matter of regret — you may wish to see Wikipedia's dispute resolution pages to get help. It is not vandalism, but continues bullying or hostile behavior may result in a ban.
Harassing or Making Personal Attacks
We have a clear policy of no personal attacks, and harassing other contributors is not allowed. Some forms of harassment are also clear cases of vandalism, such as home page vandalism. However, harassment is not in general vandalism, but will nevertheless be met with a permanent ban.
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