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Disruptive editing is a pattern of changes, which may extend over a considerable period of time or number of pages, that has the effect of disrupting the work of improving a page, or effects that are opposite to the fundamental project of building an encyclopedia.
Phineas and Ferb Wiki owes much of its success to its openness. However, that openness sometimes attracts people who take advantage of this to promote their own beliefs. While notable minority opinions are welcome when verifiable through reliable sources, and constructive editors occasionally make mistakes, sometimes an editor creates long-term problems by persistently changing 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 changes harm Phineas and Ferb Wiki 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. One act, by itself, may not violate policy, but when part of a series of acts that constitute a pattern does violate policy. Disruptive edits may not occur all in the course of one 24 hour period, and may not consist of the repetition of the same act. Nevertheless, a series of edits over time may form a pattern of 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, further disruption should be liable to blocking at the administrators' noticeboard and may lead to more serious disciplinary action through the dispute resolution process. In certain cases this could include a site ban, either though the arbitration committee or by a consensus.
Types of disruptive editors
Troll is an internet term used to describe any user who deliberately and intentionally attempts to disrupt the usability of Phineas and Ferb Wiki for its editors, administrators, developers, and other people who work to create content for and help run the site. Trolling is a violation of the unwritten rules of Internet social spaces and is often done to start an argument. It necessarily involves a value judgment made by one user about the value of another's contribution. Not to be confused with large warty monsters thought to dwell under bridges, in caves etc.
The basic mindset of a troll is that they are far more interested in how others react to their edits than in the usual concerns of Phineas and Ferb Wiki editors: accuracy, truthfulness, completeness, and overall quality. If a troll gets no response to their spurious edits, then they can hardly be considered a troll at all.
Calling another user a troll should not be taken easily. It has a bad connotation and would be considered insulting behavior to do so. Besides that, it would go against the basic principles of dealing with disruptive editing.
Definition of Trolling
Trolling is a deliberate, bad faith attempt to disrupt the editing of Phineas and Ferb Wiki. Not understanding the rules or how the wiki works is not trolling. Genuine disagreement is not trolling. Biased editing, even if defended aggressively, is in itself not trolling. By themselves, misguided nominations, votes, and proposed policy are not trolling. They are only trolling when they are motivated by a program of malice rather than ignorance or bias. This requires a judgment of the personal motivation for another's action. Such a judgment can never be made with anything approaching certainty. This fact should always be kept in mind when you are tempted to label someone a troll.
The archetypal example of trolling is the deliberately inflammatory edit or post — saying something controversial specifically to cause a flame war. Inflammatory edits usually come from users who have a minority or controversial opinion and who sincerely believe that this view is inadequately represented by Wikipedia, and therefore will seek reasonable ways to properly represent their views; trolls, however, will generally not seek consensus but will instead insist on a position without any regard for compromise.
Not all edit war trolls will choose subject matter that is obviously controversial. The defining characteristic of a troll in this case is not the content of the edit, but the behavior in discussing the edit, and the refusal to consider evidence and citations or to accept consensus or compromise.
People who passionately believe in what they are writing also sometimes behave in a way that may make them appear to be a troll. Many non-trolls refuse to compromise, and, at times, compromise may not even be the best solution.
Some trolls are critical of the project, its policies, its users, its administration, or its goals. Often, this criticism comes in the form of accusations of cabals, ilks, or campaigns that are typically invested in a particular POV, invested in maligning a specific user, and other similar claims. Criticism of the project, made constructively, is welcome from contributors when shared in an appropriate place. If it's done with malice and in bad faith, it can be a problem. Of course, a new user who gets treated roughly can easily interpret that as cabalism, especially if there seems to be no appropriate forum for these complaints. What criticism is 'constructive' is very much in the eye of the beholder.
- Main article: Phineas and Ferb Wiki:Vandalism
Vandalizing pages is a violation of Phineas and Ferb Wiki policy. Wikipedia's policy is to give vandals three warnings, and then block them for a short period of time. We do things differently here, because Wikipedia has 26,000 active contributors, and they can afford to spend time chasing after vandals. We're a niche wiki, with a dedicated but small team of contributors, and we don't have the time or the patience to play whack-a-mole with the vandals.
Uploading inappropriate content
Some articles are created and some pictures are uploaded with the sole purpose of offending the readers or other editors. In such cases as copies from shock sites, this is more appropriately treated as vandalism. However, if an article with clearly inappropriate content is aggressively defended pretending that it is a genuinely encyclopedic article, this may qualify as trolling.
Responding to disruptive editing
Motivations for disruptive editing range from a desire for recognition and infamy to frustration with the project or community. Disruptive editing is encouraged by offering such users exceptional notice. This is particularly true for prolific disruptive editors, who were immortalized by pages, meticulously cataloged by category pages, dedicated specific templates, and who thereby become a notable part of wiki culture.
Disruptive, agenda-driven or disturbed editors may egg you on in the subtlest of ways, may come at you as a victim, as someone who cares or someone who's hurt. They may mix in inaccurate information or misquote you to compel you to respond. They may manipulate the civility policy as a weapon.
In content disputes, a common baiting strategy involves badgering the opposition—while carefully remaining superficially civil—until someone lashes out. They then complain to an administrator. Time-pressed administrators may look only at specific edits without delving into the background that led up to the incident, resulting in a warning or block for the targeted editor. Most discouraging of all, this tactic is nearly risk-free. There rarely are negative consequences for those who use it, in part because a pattern of ongoing provocation can't easily be explained following the usual "diffs please" request. Sometimes these are after one particular individual and sometimes they're just after anyone who will take the bait.
Don't take the bait
You are under no obligation to respond to goading. Avoid the temptation to get in the last word. It is polite to reply to the first inquiry or two, but you are free to end the discussion at any point in which you feel further exchanges serve no useful purpose. Don't tell the provocateur that they aren't welcome, as this can be used against you. Let them have the last word. Let them jump and shout. They may get louder and louder, but the silent treatment always works in the end. Don't take the bait. Just swim away.
Dealing with insults
It may be difficult to do so, but it is important that you don't take it too personally. Unless the insult is specifically a slur involving your race, gender, religion, etc., you should follow this advice:
- Politely ask the person who you feel has insulted you to retract what they said. Sometimes people say something insulting by accident, not realizing that their words could be taken in a certain way. Other times people will change the way they act when they realize they have offended someone. That said, it is rarely useful to demand an apology or retraction. This only works with users who do not have a history of insulting users.
- Just ignore it. Name-calling may be offensive but it is not very helpful or mature. Go about your business and do not worry about it; you are not required to respond. If you yourself, through accident or anger, insult someone, an apology might smooth things over. If you sincerely meant the insult and cannot honestly apologize, sometimes it is best to fall silent. If that does not work, try refocusing on the issue at hand; try to be more specific about what action you disagree with, rather than insulting the person.
- Instead of reacting to the insult with a return insult, or getting upset, try to concentrate on figuring out why they insulted you. In most cases, they may just be kidding you. If that is not the case, then try not to let their problem(s) become yours. We all have enough problems in our lives.
Now there are cases where this strategy does not work. There are users who simply cannot and do not want to write good faith articles, users who want to delete relevant information, users who are notoriously anti-social, and so on. We think these are the types of users we do not really want on Phineas and Ferb Wiki, and a few have been banned. However, while many users tend to write slightly POV articles about subjects that are near and dear to their hearts, most of them can be worked with.
Talk about articles not editors
Civility is a standard all editors have to follow. Honest and constructive criticism is always valuable. But insulting editors is considered an act of incivility. A pattern of gross incivility may result in action from an administrator. Focus on the information itself rather than the person who added it.
Nobody likes to find out that their hard work violates the policies and guidelines. But this is not a personal attack on your interests or abilities. There may be ways for you to improve your work so that it meets Phineas and Ferb Wiki's quality standards.