Wikipedia:Revert only when necessary: Difference between revisions

Copy edit per MOS:MDASH, etc.
(Copy edit per MOS:MDASH, etc.)
[[Wikipedia:Reverting|Reverting]] is reversing a prior edit, in whole or in part. Revert [[wp:vandalism|vandalism]] upon sight but revert an edit made in good faith only after careful consideration. It is usually preferable to make an edit that retains at least some elements of a prior edit than to revert the prior edit. Furthermore, your bias should be toward keeping the entire edit.
==Reverting drives away editors==
Reverting tends to be hostile, making editing Wikipedia unpleasant. Sometimes this provokes a reciprocal hostility of re-reversion. Sometimes it also leads to editors departing Wikipedia, temporarily or otherwise, especially the less bellicose. This outcome is clearly detrimental to the development of Wikipedia. Thus, fair and considered thought should be applied to all reversions given all the above.
==Acceptable reversions==
The main purpose of reversion is to undo vandalism. If you see an edit that you're sure was intended by its author to damage Wikipedia, and it does, there is no need for further consideration. Just revert it.
In the case of a good faith edit, a reversion is appropriate when the reverter believes that the edit makes the article clearly worse and there is no element of the edit that is an improvement. This is often true of small edits. Edits that introduce [[wp:undue|undue weight]] should be reverted until consensus is built.
Whenever you believe that the author of an edit was simply misinformed, or didn'tdid not think an edit through, go ahead and revert. If that editor (or anyone else) re-reverts, you'll will know it's is more than that and can be more conservative in deciding whether to revert it again.
Another kind of acceptable reversion is an incidental one. A Wikipedia editor is not expected to investigate the history of an article to find out if an edit being considered is a reversion of some prior edit. The rule against reversions applies only to cases where the reverter is aware that the edit is a reversion of another edit.
==Unacceptable reversions==
There are a number of things that sometimes motivate an editor to revert, but shouldn'tshould not.
Don'tDo not revert an edit because it is unnecessary — because it does not improve the article. For a reversion to be appropriate, the reverted edit must actually make the article worse. Wikipedia does not have a bias toward the status quo (except in cases of fully developed disputes, while they are being resolved). In fact, Wikipedia has a bias toward change, as a means of maximizing quality by maximizing participation.
Even if you find an article was slightly better before an edit, in an area where opinions could differ, you should not revert that edit, especially if you are the author of the prior text. The reason for this is that authors and others with past involvement in an article have a natural prejudice in favor of the status quo, so your finding that the article was better before might just be a result of that. Also, Wikipedia likes to encourage editing.
Don'tDo not revert a large edit because much of it is bad and you don'tdo not have time to rewrite the whole thing. Instead, find even a little bit of the edit that is not objectionable and undo the rest. (To do this, you can use the "undo" button, then type back in what you want to keep). If a supporter of the reverted edit wants to save more of it, she can re-edit in smaller pieces and the article can converge on a consensus version that way.
Reversion is not a proper tool for punishing an editor or retaliating or exacting vengeance. No edit, reversion or not, should be made for the purpose of teaching another editor a lesson or keeping an editor from enjoying the fruits of his crimes.
==Explain reverts==
Being reverted can feel a bit like a slap in the face "I worked hard on those edits, and someone just rolled it all back". However, sometimes a revert is the best response to a bad edit, so we can't just stop reverting. What's important is to let people know ''why'' you reverted. This helps the reverted person because they can remake their edit while fixing whatever problem it is that you've identified. Obviously it is best to fix the problem and not revert at all.
Explaining reverts also helps other people. For example, it lets people know whether they need to even view the reverted version (in the case of, e.g., "rv page blanking"). Because of the lack of [[paralanguage]] online, if you don't explain things clearly people will probably assume all kinds of nasty things, and that's how [[wikipedia:edit war|edit wars]] get started.