A vandal is someone who is building up the courage to tell you what they really think. Be patient.

Until they learn to be bold their edits may have no conceivable merit. Almost always anonymous, vandals are usually identified with an ID or IP range.

Vandals should be encouraged to become bad editors. Without the faintest clue how to express themselves, they can only resort to spam, blank pages, plain insults, profanity or pornographic links.


A vandalbot is a variant of a spambot that seeks only to do damage, not promote anything, and so accordingly can be subtle, sometimes just as subtle as a real vandal, e.g. changing dates or unlinked names that are unlikely to be noticed.

Anyone may revert a vandal edit and place that ID or IP on the list of vandals. Ideally everyone would be able to quickly participate in a fair way to assess and block IP or freeze ID of a vandal, perhaps with a quick vandal vote.

There are three extremely common and serious errors when dealing with vandals in a large public wiki:

1. Not being able to detect and block genuine spam fast enough. Spam IPs must be more or less blocked INSTANTLY or they can do incredible lasting damage to cooperation and the work process.

2. Trying to track vandals, or even spammers, down and punish or discourage them - other than spam, the vast majority of vandal edits are one time experiments that should simply have gone to the Sandbox - pointing out that the Sandbox exists is a common way to discourage vandals. Spam is overwhelmingly done by bots not by humans, so it's futile to try to communicate with them.

3. Calling a troll a vandal. They are different.

The last is the worst of the three errors, more so when committed by admins, since it creates cliques of users who themselves become the worst and most subtle vandal problem of all: by discouraging and stigmatizing participants who they disagree with politically or otherwise, but who have something to say on an issue, such users literally drive out all dissent and render the wiki a cultural singularity - a.k.a a waste of time.

A political party furthermore has obligations to its members and the public to continue to keep even contentious debates open and accessible and avoid any unequal power relationships based purely on technology access or skill to develop.