From Encyc

In normal speech, a vandal is a person that writes silly writing on walls, such as "John likes sword" or "For a good time call Jill 43434343". Vandalism can also include political messages, art such as graffiti, and it can include simply destroying or deliberately damaging some property.

On Wikipedia, however, vandalism takes on a foreign, almost strange, definition, that does not match any real word meaning.

How Wikipedia defines vandalism[edit]

  • Deleting an entire page (except for when the page is PRODded, or if it is nominated for deletion and only had one author and the author deletes it, it is also acceptable to delete your own user page or user talk page or any user sub pages).
  • Deleting an entire page and replacing it with something silly, for example "John likes sword" (this example at least makes real world sense).
  • Adding something silly to a page, usually at either the top or the bottom - for example adding in "John likes sword" somewhere (once again, this makes sense).
  • Removing a large section of content from a page without a valid explanation (although in many cases there is actually a good reason for this, and established or well liked users aren't accused of vandalism for doing this).
  • Deleting a photograph without explanation (once again, unless you are liked).
  • Adding in nonsense to a page (sometimes this is obvious, but sometimes it's not nonsense at all).
  • Reverting someone can be considered to be vandalism in some cases.
  • Getting an "edit lock", going back to a prior edit and adding your stuff, when you don't realise that that means that someone else has added something (newbie error).
  • Until recently it also included deleting your own user page or user talk page, even when you were doing so to remove harassing/stalking messages. In other words, you were forced to accept something nasty being on your page and forced to read it. {See Antaeus Feldspar and Lulu of the Lotus Eaters for examples of this.)
  • Until recently it also included blanking a page that you had created that was immediately nominated for deletion. Indeed, until recently, a newbie could be banned for doing this, forcing someone to have people bash them and smear their name in a horrible AFD about an article that they created in good faith.
  • Nominating for deletion an article that you created after people kept destroying it, trying to get consensus about whether or not the article was valid. The people who destroy it can then claim that it is vandalism to nominate it and therefore to make sure that the article is deleted AND the person who wrote it is punished.
  • Nominating for deletion an article which was controversially split as a POV split from an existing article. Once again, this can be listed as vandalism so as to justify keeping an article rather than merging it back.
  • Basically, if you are a well liked user, you can accuse pretty much anyone you don't like as being a vandal on any edit you like for any reason you like.
  • Anyone who is a banned user, or who a well liked user says is a banned user, can be assumed to be vandalising with every single edit, even if they had never vandalised anything in their entire time on Wikipedia.

Put simply, while the definition may be based on something vaguely sensible, it ends up being stupid and has about as much merit as the sock puppet definition.

Some more sensible ways to describe this, which have real world meaning[edit]

  • Change by person we don't like that we want to remove and to make them look bad in doing it.
  • Anything that we don't like or that makes us look bad.

The term vandalism clearly doesn't fit with its application on Wikipedia.