Wikipedia moron
November 26, 2006 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Some jerk on Wikipedia is getting a little possessive with an article.

He erases almost every bit of work that others contribute only to replace it with unattributed facts and useless information.

How do I combat this?

It gets a little old having to re-replace information everyday only to have him re-remove it.
posted by bamassippi to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia guide to abuse reports
posted by rom1 at 1:46 PM on November 26, 2006

There's a vast but rather organized process for self-moderation in Wikipedia. Read Wikipedia: Resolving Disputes, Wikipedia:Three-revert rule, and Wikipedia: Ownership of articles for how to get help from admins in solving this dispute.
posted by muddgirl at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2006

I think a link to the offending contributions would be in order. Popups makes reverting so much easier.
posted by grouse at 1:59 PM on November 26, 2006

Sounds like vandalism. Hate to sound negative but I find that Wikipedia makes it difficult (time-consuming) for regular users to bring administrative action against a vandal. I've been down that road only to see the IP user get yet another in a continuing series of finger wags. These days I'll do a revert here and there, but if an article is regularly vandalized I'll let it go and move on to other articles.
posted by stam_broker at 2:11 PM on November 26, 2006

Agree with stam_broker. Been there. Done that. Don't have time to re-re-revert every other day. Move on. If it's important to you, start your own site on it. The big disadvantage of Wikipedia and why its quality is, frankly, too often suspect.
posted by TheRaven at 2:16 PM on November 26, 2006

Thirding. Practically every page on Wikipedia has a gatekeeper who tries to control it, and the only way to get rid of them is to wait until they get bored, which they will.
posted by cillit bang at 2:29 PM on November 26, 2006

There's a famous quote, which I cannot remember, but it basically goes along the lines of how the Internet rewarding people who are more persistent and who have more time on their hands than you do. Apply as necessary.
posted by adipocere at 2:53 PM on November 26, 2006

A few days' patience, explaining the relevant issue and justifying your edit on the article's Talk page, combined with a request for comment to involve more editors, will take care of many such problems, but not all. Sometimes a really tenacious editor, whether intentionally trolling, pushing his own bias, or just ill-informed, can make editing a particular article such an unpleasant experience that the best thing to do is just to move on for a while. Waiting out such problem Wikipedians is a real possibility, though, as they'll often have a track record of bad behavior that leads to an eventual ban (after lengthy arbitration proceedings in which it's not rewarding to involve yourself). Come back to the article in six months and see if you can improve it then.
posted by RogerB at 2:56 PM on November 26, 2006

The secret to dispute resolution in Wikipedia is to share the load; don't get into extended arguments, because when have you ever seen someone change their mind on the Internet? You can argue the case on its merits to a point, but when it's apparent that this is not working suggest that you get input from other people.

If it's just you two, ask for a third opinion. Most of the time such an opinion is a good one.

If the topic is one for which a Wikiproject exists, ask other people from the project to chime in with their own opinions.

Unfortunately mob rule is the best counterpoint to cantankerous cranks, but if your contributions are reasoned and sourced, while theirs are not, pretty much every established editor is going to come down on your side.

RogerB's suggestion is a very good one, too. Don't be in a rush; give it a few weeks and eventually they'll disappear or lose interest. The other dispute resolution processes (RfC etc.) I've found to be very time consuming and ultimately too draining to bother with.

(From personal experience, once when in a procedural dispute I asked the other editor to suggest an admin - any admin, of their choice - and we'd ask him/her for an opinion. I said I'd go along with whatever the admin said. Worked like a charm; the other editor started muttering about conspiracies and promptly disappeared. They were later banned.)
posted by Paragon at 3:32 PM on November 26, 2006

Just to clarify, "RfC" can mean two different things on Wikipedia. A request for comment on a user is the beginning of a long administrative process: as Paragon says, this can be very involved, and I also think it's too much hassle to bother with unless you're very deeply committed to Wikipedia and to this specific article. But a request for comment on an article is simply an easy way to get more editors' opinions on a specific question, much like the "third opinion" thing (which is new to me). This kind of RfC is quick, painless, and sometimes very helpful (in my experience).
posted by RogerB at 5:01 PM on November 26, 2006

I had this happen on an absolutely random article on a minor modern religious philosopher - looks like he got bored in September, or else he did get blocked/banned because it wasn't just the page I was working on.

I did the RfC (the latter one, per RogerB's comment) and I think it may have helped, because he got some stern warnings on his usertalk which may have ended up being a block.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:10 PM on November 26, 2006

Drop yourself a note to be delivered 3 months hence with your planned edits. If you still care at that point, go ahead and make them.

If the zealot is still around, repeat as necessary.

Getting focused on battles over individual pages is a quick way to burn out on Wikipedia. Eventually you'll start making vast and provably incorrect generalizations like "Practically every page on Wikipedia has a gatekeeper who tries to control it."
posted by tkolar at 8:03 PM on November 26, 2006

I don't think you're going to have much luck. Your position is that you're trying to add Christmas Story trivia back into its Wikipedia article, no? You're working against the momentum of an entire WikiProject with a proposed policy and a established section of the Manual of Style ... it's going to be an uphill battle at best.

It's my opinion, though, that Wikipedia isn't worth your time.
posted by WCityMike at 8:12 AM on November 27, 2006

WCityMike is right. You should work the trivia facts into the narrative of the article. Any that don't fit don't belong.
posted by cillit bang at 8:27 AM on November 27, 2006

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