Wikipedia talk:Three-revert rule/Archive 8

Active discussions

Three-revert ruleEdit

I think it was a mistake to merge the Wikipedia:three-revert rule into this page and would like to undo that merge. If the three-revert rule policy (3RR) had developed as this policy has developed, (incrementally), then I could see some justification for it, but the 3RR was created with wide consultation resulting in the Wikipedia:Three revert rule enforcement. I do not see that there was sufficient agreement on the talk page to claim that the consensus had changed from that initial survey that authorised 3RR.

My major problem with the merge is that as an administrator I would hesitate to make an administrative judgment based on this page if it involves the behavior of an editor who is editing a page which I too have recently edited, as it could be seen as unfair. But 3RR rule is different because apart from some very limited cases it is a procedural rule, for which no administrative judgment is needed.

I am about to warn an editor that they are in breach of restrictions placed on them by another administrator in an "Arbitration Enforcement" case. They have breached the 1 reversal a week placed upon them by reverting the edits by two different editors. I went to the 3RR page to quote the wording and was very surprised to see that it was now a redirect. As the warning is about a page that I am actively editing, I may then get involved in a dispute about administrative judgment with that editor as (s)he may argue that I am being biased, something which would not happen with the 3RR page as it is clearly a procedural page. --PBS (talk) 13:04, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

If it's an AE issue, and specifically this case... why would you resort to 3R instead of linking to the 1R motion in the original case?... --Izno (talk) 15:31, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand the question. --PBS (talk) 18:34, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
The wording is the same, and you can still link to the shortcut WP:3RR, which goes to WP:EW#The Three revert rule. I fail to see how more administrative judgement has come into this in respective of an explicit breach of the 3RR; it's just clearer that avoiding edit warring is more than just not breaching 3RR. The real issue here is that you're in a position where someone is able to accuse you of having a COI. Let someone else handle the sanction. No wait, you're just giving them a warning. What's the problem here? Quote the rule and move on. Rd232 talk 15:57, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes edit warring is more than a breach of 3RR, the differences is that what edit warring is in general is a judgment call while 3RR is usually procedural. Given the difference, I do not think you have not addressed the issue that there was no clear consensus for the removal of the 3RR page which was (unusually for Wikipedia) set up with a clear mandate from over 100 editors. --PBS (talk) 18:34, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
The closer of the discussion, Tiptoety, believed there was in fact consensus for the merge, though you aren't the first to dispute that call (it does seem to me to have kind of fallen in that ambiguous crack). I disagree with your statement that edit warring is a judgment call while 3RR is procedural, though. I think it's a serious error to view 3RR blocks as purely procedural; rather, all types of edit warring blocks need to be judgment calls, otherwise it just encourages gaming of the rules. In fact, if the two separate pages cause 3RR to be viewed as procedural, that would seem to me to be one of the strongest arguments in favour of the merge, not against it. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 19:38, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
We as a community have allowed administrators more and more discretion in making decisions over what is and is not edit warring and I am not at all sure that this is necessarily a good idea, because it leads to a situation where there is a failure in natural justice. This is because of the built in constraints (policies against wheel wars) and traditional restraints that discourage other administrators from overturning decisions, or at least always lean a long way to support the initial decision. -- Before the introduction of 3RR, administrators were much more constrained over blocks for edit warring, which is why 3RR was introduced, and I think that the two polices should be kept separate, as blocking by administrator's discretion is different from blocking for a breach of 3RR. By the way I am not suggesting that we set up a formal appeals procedure, because it is instruction creep (and we are here creating a better encyclopedia not getting bogged down in procedural details), but if that is not to happen, I think administrators need to restrain from blocking troublesome editors in all but the most blatant cases, because without that then we do need a more formal process.
The fact that I am not the only one who has questioned the decision to combine the two shows that it is not clear cut. I do not know anyone who questioned the original decision (because it is a clear cut decision), so I do not see how it is possible to claim that there was a clear consensus to combine the two, and if there was not a clear consensus, then we should err on the side of no change and keep the page separate as there was such a clear cut consensus for the creation of the page in the first place. --PBS (talk) 09:41, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
The vote you refer to (Wikipedia:Three revert rule enforcement) was to create a rule, which certainly still exists and will continue to exist - not to create a page. I'm not suggesting you're simply confusing form and function, but still I'm not really seeing your point. Admins had discretion to block for edit warring not violating 3RR before - that was very clear on both WP:EW and WP:3RR. Nothing about the content of the rules has changed. Rd232 talk 10:01, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Agree. And also note, administrators have always had -- and are expected to have -- discretion over how to handle disruptive behavior. The decision whether to call something an "edit war" or not, isn't important. The decision to call a halt to it and ensure users do something more productive is important. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:28, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes it was to create a rule, but given the method by which the procedure was developed to handle that rule, and the universal acceptance of the rule, it is better if that rule has its own page (as has been the case for over four and a half years). I do not see from the conversation that took place that there was agreement for the page to be made a redirect and usually if there is not a clear consensus, the default is not to change something. For someone like myself who has been around here longer than the rule, I understand the reasons for combining that page with this one, but for those who are not aware of the history behind the rule having it as a separate page highlights that it was arrived at by a very different process from the rest of this page.
I think I have already explained my concerns with this page and the problems of discretion and disruptive behavior. FT2 I am not sure from your last posting that you read them. --PBS (talk) 16:58, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
The people who oppose this should have stood up against it at the time when there was the opportunity. I myself made appropriate attempts to resist this change after it occurred, but I received no active support, indicating that the consensus which didn't exist in the poll existed in practical terms. It's merged now ... the proponents won, so it's time to move on. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:55, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Proposed rename from "Edit war" to "Edit warring"Edit

Would anyone object to renaming this page to Wikipedia:Edit warring? So the title more clearly refers to the behavior?

FT2 (Talk | email) 13:24, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Good idea, that feels right. Rd232 talk 14:55, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Good idea. That's what the page is about. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:52, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Update - should it be Wikipedia:No edit warring, in line with other undesirable conduct (eg, Please do not bite the newcomers and No original research)?

FT2 (Talk | email) 11:23, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Probably. Rd232 talk 12:17, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes. That would eliminate the feeling that we expect it or condone it.  GARDEN  15:23, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
There is a feeling we expect or condone edit warring? I support either change; someone be bold with it. Tan | 39 15:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I support the rename to "Edit warring". I don't prefer "No edit warring". There are plenty of other pages that describe undesirable conduct, such as canvassing, disruptive editing, gaming the system, etc. If you feel uniformity amongst these guidelines/policies is required, we would have to rename all of those too. I'm indifferent to this lack of uniformity though.--Atlan (talk) 15:38, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) No, but I imagine it could be argued by that kind of person (it strikes me as common by the current name anyway, but I wouldn't say condoned). The new name would completely eliminate that feeling.  GARDEN  15:39, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Either WP:Edit warring or WP:No edit warring seem fine to me. However, as pointed out, there are other policies/guidelines (i.e., WP:Sock puppetry) about things we don't want people to do that aren't entitled "don't" or "no". Anyone who doesn't get the point that we're AGAINST edit warring after reading the page probably wouldn't be swayed because "no" was in the title. Vicenarian (Said · Done) 15:59, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I support a rename to WP:No edit warring for all of the reasons mentioned above that were in support of it. I prefer it over WP:Edit warring, because it "would eliminate the feeling that we expect it or condone it" (as said perfectly by Garden). hmwitht 19:48, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I support WP:Edit warring, sure. But I don't like WP:No edit warring. The reason is because WP:NEW is somewhat ambiguous and currently associated with starting a new page, but WP:EW properly conveys distaste. -- Atamachat 05:47, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

RfC at WP:CivilEdit

A request for comment at WP:Civil also has relevance for WP:EW, namely abuse of the one-line Edit Summary could be construed as a an element of edit warring. Please take a look and comment. Brews ohare (talk) 22:24, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

BLP exemptionsEdit

It has been reasonably pointed out that the wording on BLP versus on 3RR does not match. I tried to change it there to match here but got reverted [1]. In general I think most people agree that 3RR applies to content disputes on the articles which are BLPs but perhaps not to personal info, defamation etc. Most BLP articles have plenty of material which is not itself strictly BLP. This policy is worded in the fashion I just described but the BLP one more or less implies as written that any content on a BLP article is exempted and 3RR does not apply to any content whatsoever on a BLP article to which any good faith editor objects (i.e. no content in a BLP article is subject to 3RR). Anyone else agree with this analysis? --BozMo talk 19:16, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't read it as meaning that, though it would be good to tighten up the wording and make it the same in the two places.--Kotniski (talk) 19:27, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Bright line rule not so brightEdit

I'm sure that the author of the three-revert rule would like to flatter himself into thinking it is a bright line (after all, who doesn't think their own creations are the best thing since sliced bread) but it appears to me that Wikipedia is merely calling it a bright line, so that, if someone does try to loophole their way around it, the Wikipedia staff can just say "Dude, there's no wiggle room here; you're flat out wrong," when, in fact, I can prove (emphasis on that last word) that the three-revert rule is quite a fine line, by pointing out at least TWO ambiguities in the rule.

1. If two people do a total of three reverts on each other (example, A makes an edit, B reverts it, A reverts it back, and B reverts it a third time), is that a breach of the 3RR? 2. Is the first edit that would, later, get reverted, considered the first step in the 3RR? For example, if A makes and edit, is that revert #1? So, if B reverts it, is that revert #2, and if A reverts it back, that's revert #3?

As you can see, calling this a "bright line rule" is merely self-flattering appraisal. Just because the author of a rule claims it to be a bright-line doesn't actually make it a bright line. (talk) 13:40, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

I think the answer to both questions is quite clearly "no", so those particular situations don't represent ambiguities. (There are ambiguities, of course, such as which edits constitute reverts, what constitutes a valid exception to the rule, etc. - and the whole concept of a rule like this is anti-wiki since we don't do rules, but people seem unable to do without it.)--Kotniski (talk) 13:58, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
A's first edit isn't a revert. So by the letter of the bright line, if A and B each use 3 reverts, the edit stands. But this is one of the reasons WP:3RR was merged into WP:edit warring - because avoiding edit warring is about more than just sticking to the letter of 3RR, it's also about sticking to the spirit of not edit warring. Rd232 talk 14:01, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
So, is it a total of six reverts, and a total of seven edits?Wikieditor1988 (talk) 02:39, 2 November 2009 (UTC)
yes. Rd232 talk 09:24, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Four-revert ruleEdit

Shouldn't the three-revert rule be called the four-revert rule? The current name sounds like it's three strikes and you're out. Four-revert rule would make more sense because four-reverts are a no-no. It's four strikes and you're out. 128.104.truth (talk) 17:19, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Regarding the name, it should be "reversion" rather than "revert" in any case. "Revert" is the verb. Weedier Mickey (talk) 11:39, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

When is a revert not a revert, please add puchlineEdit

A dispute has arisen as to what constitutes a revert [[2]], [[3]]. this revolves around whether or not this [[4]] constitutes a revert. It is my understanding a revert has to be an act that undoes or reverses the actions of another edd, not an act that alters or rewords what he has written. Am I correct in this or what this a revert? Slatersteven (talk) 18:59, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd also be interested in more explication of what exactly constitutes a reversion. (If it has throughly been discussed in the archives, and someone has a pointer, than would be fine.) I thought the wording was clear enough, but I've seem an editor interpret it very differently than I would. I looked at the edit noted above, and I wouldn't call that a revert, although I could understand why someone might. The ones I've seen are even more puzzling. My understanding:

  1. If Editor A writes "All X are Y" and Editor B reverts to the prior version, thereby removing the phrase, I think we all understand it is a revert.
  2. If Editor A writes "All X are Y" and editor B edits to produce "All X are not Y", I think that is also called a reversion. At one time, I thought revert literally meant revert, i.e. reverting to a prior version, but the wording seems clear enough to cover this example.
  3. Suppose Editor A writes "All X are Y" and editor B attempts to improve the wording with the edit to ""All X are Y, except when Z exists". I see this as a little muddier. If editor B has a reliable source backing the edit, but editor A has a source challenging the edit, both should retire to the talk page to establish consensus. However, was the edit a revert? Does the answer depend on what the consensus regarding the proposed change? I would hope not. I'm presently unclear whether this would constitute a reversion, but this is merely warmup to my real question.
  4. Suppose Editor A writes "All X are Y" and editor B edits to produce "All X are Y. However, X are scarce recently". I don't see this as a revert but as a good faith effort to improve the article.

You might accept my reasoning, yet disagree that my analogy is valid to the following situation: this edit added material and a cite, and did not remove or contradict anything existing in the article (IMO). I'll emphasize that the substance of whether the material should be added belongs on that talk page. I'm ambivalent - the cite wasn't well-formed, so I haven't even reached an opinion whether the edit is a good one. I'm posting here simply to discern whether editing to add material is an example of a reversion. Per User:Rd232's comment two sections above, I think not, but the editor in question and others have been warned for 3RR in what I think is a misunderstanding of the definition of reversion. Is my understanding flawed?

OK, I now see that the first edit was not counted as a reversion, but a baseline. So the specific instance cited is not an issue, but the general issue of whether edits that add material are reversions is still a question. I assume not.--SPhilbrickT 20:26, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

3rr no longer a rule?Edit

3rr is no longer enforced, apparently - as the noticeboard is backloged for what appears to be about 15 hours at this point - and reports are mostly closed with "stale." Is it no longer an operative rule? Hipocrite (talk) 12:16, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Signpost Policy ReportEdit

Responses by FT2

It should always have been the other way round, edit warring as the major issue, 3RR an exemplar of it. In principle that's how it was, but in practice 3RR was policy, EW was a principle that was less easily and less consistently enforced, mainly as it was subjective.

As long as they were on separate pages that was easy to maintain. Merging them back needed doing, to ensure that the principle of edit warring took precedence over the one example where a hard line's drawn.

But we still have a long way to go in driving home the idea that edit warring is out of fashion and unacceptable. It needs to be eradicated, as an activity and, more important in the cultural concept. People need to think "edit warring's wrong" the same way they think "making up fake cites is wrong". We are a collaborative community, but we have a way to go on learning to collaborate when the going gets tough. We need to improve this. Killing edit warring - and the poor quality but difficult-to-action behaviors like provocation, bad faith, unfounded claims, personal attacks, needling, tendentiousness, stonewalling, fillibustering, team tagging, that are used in edit wars - would be a good start. FT2 (Talk | email) 05:08, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Responses by HereToHelp

I think that edit warring is a people problem, caused in part by the separation inherent to the Internet. If all the editors could sit around a table, in person, it would be much harder to be antagonistic and disagreeable. It comes from the inability or unwillingness to understand the other sides' arguments - yes grammarians, there are usually more than two sides. Consequently, an inflexible, automatic, and non-negotiable policy (3RR) does not facilitate the understanding that is lacking. Rather, it causes both sides to store their aggression and feel mistreated. This is especially true when blocks are handed out unequally, possibly giving one side an unfair advantage, and certainly stopping the already limited flow of information and ideas. Page protection is much better, because it allows for discussion on the talk page to continue while preserving the dignity of the editors. I support the merger of 3RR into EW because it clearly shows that three reverts is merely an indicator of edit warring only, and is not a definitive yes/no one at that. De jure, little has changed, but hopefully the new organization has helped to improve the de facto process of dispute resolution on countless talk pages. HereToHelp (talk to me) 03:17, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Responses by IronDuke

I am wholly against the merger of EW with 3RR. In the first place, what constitutes an edit-war is way too subjective for admins with little time, and even littler interest, in looking at a half dozen complex edits mixed in with straight reversions. I also think a monolithic stance against edit-warring invites – demands – frequent scenarios wherein one good faith editor with a long-term account finds himself doing battle with armies of throwaway accounts or IP’s or, rather, not doing battle, as the throwaway accounts may war with impunity, but the editor who wishes to maintain his good name may not.

The pages should be separated again, and a primer given to any admin wishing to patrol 3RR about what is and is not a reversion. IronDuke 23:38, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

A summary of your comments on our WP:Edit warring policy will be featured in the Policy Report 8 days from now in the Signpost. If it helps, monthly changes to this page are available at WP:Update/1/Conduct policy changes, July 2009 to December 2009. All responses are welcome.

A paradox of modern democracies is that voters generally have a low opinion of national politicians, but tend to trust and re-elect their own representatives. I think the same thing goes on with policy pages ... some people[who?] distrust policy pages in general but like the pages that they're working on. That's the point of the weekly Policy Report, to let people look at policy pages through the eyes of the people who work on the page.

To get an idea of what kinds of questions and answers the community is interested in, see the archives of this talk page or the previous surveys at WT:SOCK#Interview for Signpost, WT:CIVILITY#Policy Report for Signpost and WT:U#Signpost Policy Report. Answering any of these questions would work: Can you summarize the page? How has the page changed this year? Did the changes involve some compromising or negotiation? Would the page work better if it were shorter (or longer)? Is this page "enforced" in some useful and consistent way? Was this page shaped more by people's reactions to day-to-day issues or by exceptional cases, for instance at ArbCom? Does the policy document reality, or present ideal goals for conduct, or something in between? Does this material contradict or overlap other policies or guidelines? - Dank (push to talk) 21:36, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

P.S. No replies so far, so I'll start leaving messages on talk pages. The "action" this year was in June, July and August, it's been pretty quiet since then, so I'm working from the back end of the last version of the talk page from August. - Dank (push to talk) 23:16, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

3rr exceptions outside of articlesEdit

Why is there no exceptions for removal of talk page discussions that devolved into personal attacks and outing? That is ridiculous. Editors that are being attacked on talk pages should not have to put up with that. Miami33139 (talk) 19:52, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

"Reverts which are clearly not edit warring will not breach the rule" - it already says it, and already covers one's own userspace, although not talk space generally. Removing inappropriate content from a talk page in support of talk page policy, particularly WP:TPO, should be acceptable so long as the grounds on which the content is inappropriate (i.e. "Removing personal attacks and incivility" or "Removing prohibited material" or "Deleting material not relevant to improving the article") are cited. Note this is only my own opinion, however - but I'd be amazed if anyone substantially disagreed (except maybe that "not relevant" is a subjective ground). Orderinchaos 08:40, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

User warning template that utilises this groundEdit

Suggestion really - At present we have {{uw-3rr}} but not one for edit warring as such (this one sort of covers it, but not quite). Given the recent changes in arrangements, would it make sense to create a {{uw-editwar}} with more general wording suitable to the actual intention of the page? Orderinchaos 08:36, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

The three-revert ruleEdit

I don't get this rule. Suppose two separate vandals vandalize a page, then someone reverts them both, but then a different vandal comes and vandalizes the page. What should you do? Should you break the 3RR rule and revert it back, or not revert it for fear of breaching the rule and getting blocked? --The High Fin Sperm Whale (TalkContribs) 00:16, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

This would appear to come under the "Reverting obvious vandalism" heading, so long as it is clearly and patently obvious. One vandal whacker on an article I saw once, in a far corner of the encyclopaedia clearly not being well-monitored, managed 13 reverts in 5 hours on one article. In that case, the pattern vandalism was an attempt to insert illegal porn, claim the article under a nation's flag and, when that failed, replace it with a 40k end-to-end string of alternating swear words. All three could have had no other purpose but vandalism, so there was never any issue. The person then asked for help and the article was protected fairly quickly. Note I am not encouraging this sort of approach (more than 3 would suggest one needs to call in help, eg at WP:AIV) but the rules do allow for it. Orderinchaos 01:08, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
So you're saying the 3RR does not apply when dealing with vandalism? --The High Fin Sperm Whale (TalkContribs) 01:48, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Insert the word "obvious", as in "obvious vandalism". If you read the page of which this is a talk page, it is the first listed exception and is explained pretty clearly. Orderinchaos 01:56, 28 December 2009 (UTC)


I was possibly thinking if we could have a four revert rule instead of a three revert rule. There are numerous reasons this would benefit the community. South Bay (talk) 03:35, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

You mean change the name, or change the rule? And can you give a sample of the reasons?--Kotniski (talk) 09:08, 12 January 2010 (UTC)
I mean change the rule from three to four. I think it would be somewhat beneficial to some degree to revert four times. South Bay (talk) 20:53, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Question: good faith vs. bad faithEdit

Practical question on what constitutes edit warring and what is justified when bad faith is suspected:

I have had cases in the past where, for one reason or the other, an editor makes edits to an article that seem to me deliberately lowering the quality of an article to make a point. Obviously if it is just a single instance and the editor undoes my revert, I try to discuss rather than continuing to revert. However, there have been a couple of instances where an editor gets angry enough over this issue or that, that they begin removing wholesale text they consider biased, introducing their own original research, and making other alterations that (to me) seem to be bad faith, and regardless are blatantly setting back progress.

Obviously in such cases we can ask for mediation, blocking, etc. But the reality is that a third party is likely not familiar with the topic and, therefore, cannot quickly determine whether a given editor's changes are in bad faith, or even wrong. In a couple of instances I have possibly violated the 3RR in order to stop what I considered vandalism (but again, to judge that was a matter of actually understanding the subject).

Any guidance on what the best way to handle these situations is? Specifically, any advice on how to determine the line for "vandalism" be drawn?


--Mcorazao (talk) 00:22, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

What is reverting?Edit

The 3RR rules says a revert is an action involving reverting. But it does not specify what reverting actually is and when it begins, and I suspect many an administrator does not really know, either.

1st case: The actions of A and B are both within a 24-hour period. Who violates first the 3RR rule?

  • C: 456 (a couple of days or weeks ago)
  • A: 123
  • B: 456
  • A: 123
  • B: 456
  • A: 123
  • B: 456

2nd case: The first action by B was done some time back, the other actions of A and B are within a 24-hour period. Who violates first the 3RR rule?

  • B: 456 (a couple of days or weeks ago)
  • A: 123
  • B: 456
  • A: 123
  • B: 456
  • A: 123
  • B: 456

3rd case: Who violates first the 3RR rule? A does not alter the text, but adds a sentence which is reverted by B. Their edits are within a 24-hour period.

  • C: 456 (a couple of days or weeks ago)
  • A: 456. And 789.
  • B: 456
  • A: 456. And 789.
  • B: 456
  • A: 456. And 789.
  • B: 456

Please don't tell me it's up to the personal judgment of the administrator to decide who abuses the 3RR in these cases. These are clear-cut examples for which the rule should be able provide just as clear answers. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 03:09, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Administrator discretion is explicitly mentioned in the guideline WP:3RR and the user warning {{uw-3rr}}. I think the intent is so administrators can effectively minimize disruption to Wikipedia and the editing community. Wide latitude is appropriate since there are many subjective factors indicative of the severity of a 3RR violation (as well as a near-3RR violation): content type, editor intent, article history, editor experience, social skills, emotional state, modus operandi, technical skill, etc., etc. Sometimes a 15-minute block is effective to deal with a 3RR violator; sometimes a complete and indefinite ban from Wikipedia is needed. —EncMstr (talk) 03:39, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
All fine and well. But that aside, who is the first to break the 3RR rule? A or B? Gun Powder Ma (talk) 21:18, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
It's B in all cases, I think, because A's first edit isn't a revert (although you want one more alternation, since you need to make four reverts to break the rule). That's not to say A won't also be sanctioned for edit warring, though.--Kotniski (talk) 07:42, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
Any more opinions? Perhaps some admin can give his view, after all they act by this rule day by day, don't they? Gun Powder Ma (talk) 11:05, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I've asked for more opinions at WP:ANI#request for opinion: definition of reverting. I am also an admin. —EncMstr (talk) 17:34, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree it is B in all cases. A was adding content. Assuming no edit summary beyond a revert message, B simply reverted back to the old revision (no matter how old that is). A's reversions started on the second post, not the first. --Shirik (Questions or Comments?) 17:36, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Keeping in mind the caveats already mentioned above about 3RR vs edit warring, a specific answer to a technical question: The question is a bit unclear, but I'm assuming the original state of the article, prior to the edits shown, was 123 in all cases. If that is true, then in the first two cases, all but the first edit are reverts. A and B are both at 3 reverts in a 24hr period; if A reverts once more, they will have broken 3RR first. In the last case, A's first edit wasn't a revert, so B is at 3 reverts and A is at two. If they keep it up, B will break 3RR first.

    If the state of the article before the first edit was 000, then Kotinski and Shirik above are correct. --Floquenbeam (talk) 17:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

  • There is no 3RR violation in any of the examples, as the violation is the 4th revert. That being said, it's clear cut edit warring by both parties and WP:3RR#Not an entitlement. –xenotalk 17:49, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree that there is no technical violation of WP:3RR in those examples. For the definition of a revert, see WP:REVERT. These days, a typical admin who closes a 3RR case will probably look at the parties' intentions and their propensity to talk and not just fight. A person who seems oblivious to all feedback from others is more likely to be blocked. Your examples don't tell us whether editors A and B used helpful edit summaries, or whether they participated on Talk. I agree with Xeno that your examples are evidence of edit-warring. EdJohnston (talk) 18:46, 1 February 2010 (UTC)


I redirected Edit war because someone redirected it to something else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:58, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Maybe I just haven't seen another example of it yet, but I didn't think mainspace articles were generally set up to be straight redirects to the project maybe it should have stayed the way it was? VernoWhitney (talk) 01:21, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

3RR, BLP, and organizations - inconsistent policiesEdit

WP:3RR lists removal of Libelous, biased, unsourced, or poorly sourced controversial material which violates the policy on biographies of living persons (BLP). as an exception to 3RR. I'm currently having problems with an edit war on an article involving an organization. Consensus seems to be that WP:BLP does not apply to organizations, however WP:V states Do not leave unsourced or poorly sourced material in an article if it might damage the reputation of living persons or organizations, and do not move it to the talk page. Thus an editor can put unsourced or poorly sourced material damaging an organization into an article on that organization 3 times and it cannot be removed under WP:3RR. This would seem to be inconsistent. --Insider201283 (talk) 13:51, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I posted this a while back and have received no notification. If there is no objection I suggest we change from -

Removal of libelous, biased, unsourced, or poorly sourced contentious material that violates Biographies of living persons (BLP). What counts as exempt under BLP can be controversial. Consider reporting to the BLP noticeboard instead of relying on this exemption.


Removal of libelous, biased, unsourced, or poorly sourced contentious material that damages the reputation of living persons or organizations. (see WP:BLP and WP:V). What counts as exempt under BLP can be controversial. Consider reporting to the BLP noticeboard instead of relying on this exemption.

--Insider201283 (talk) 17:39, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Oppose This document is fine. You should not attempt to edit policies and guidelines to win edit wars. Instead, stop edit warring. Hipocrite (talk) 17:58, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
That's not a particularly good answer - is there some good reason why this exemption shouldn't be extended to protect organizations as well as people? --Kotniski (talk) 19:55, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Because there's no pressing reason to do it? Because the cost of edit-warring far outweighs the benefit of less negative unsourced or poorly sourced information about MLM companies? Because that's not how it works in practice? Because the BLP exemption is mandated by the foundation and there's no mandate for a BLCorporations policy? Hipocrite (talk) 20:24, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
A clear WP:3RR on this should decrease edit warring, as per the very dispute Hipocrite and I are involved in, where he wishes to include poorly sourced allegations from a court complaint against a company in an article, while simultaneously rejecting including the fact the case was dismissed. WP:BLP protects individuals. Similar protections should exist against groups of people - where poorly sourced allegations may damage the reputations of multiple individuals. WP:V offers this protection, however it is often ignored and there are no mechanisms in place to deal with it. Hipocrite has for example reported me under 3RR for reverting his and another editors removal of the sourced fact the case was dismissed. So one can simultaneously be in violation of WP:3RR while doing what WP:V explictly says to do in such cases. That's a problem. --Insider201283 (talk) 21:22, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
It's nothing to do with this page really, but looking at the dispute you two are involved in, it rather seems that it's you who's trying to add the unsourced information (about the case being dismissed) - the information he wants to add (that there was a case) is perfectly well-sourced. Apologies if my understanding is imperfect (but we shouldn't really be discussing it here).--Kotniski (talk) 05:35, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes it is imperfect. The source for the allegation is a news article stating the case was about certain things. In the actual court judgement the Judge explicitly states the case was not about those things. I wrote to the journalist listed as the author and not even that was accurate, he said he was just the guy who puts them on the website. A small town newspaper in Michigan is clearly a poor source for serious allegations against a company in the UK - and not WP:V does not say "unsourced", it says "poorly sourced". As for the case being dismissed being unsourced, that's completely untrue, it's sourced to the actual published dismissal document. The reason it's "unsourced" is that Hipocrite and FinanceGuy222 keep deleting it. Either way, that's not particularly important to this discussion. I could put "Coca-Cola has been convicted of poisoning people" in the Coca-Cola article, with no source at all, and if you revert it three times you are technically in violation of WP:3RR That clearly is not sensible --Insider201283 (talk) 10:00, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
FYI, your understanding is, in fact, perfect. Hipocrite (talk) 10:02, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
So you agree the polices are inconsistent with each other? How would you propose to fix it? --Insider201283 (talk) 16:45, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
No, Insider, your understanding is terrible. SPA's with obvious COI's should not be attempting to rewrite policies so they can win edit wars. Hipocrite (talk) 16:47, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
I entirely agree. I don't however understand you comment between once saying my understanding is perfect and in the next comment saying it is terrible. If you have nothing of substance to contribute to the discussion then I suggest you don't bother.--Insider201283 (talk) 17:07, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

(undent) my dear single purpose account, my response was not to you, it was to Kotniski. Hipocrite (talk) 18:09, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Clearly it's not to me either then. Please stay on topic instead of waging your personal battles here. --Insider201283 (talk) 18:33, 4 May 2010 (UTC)


Does using the "undo" button constitute a revert in 3RR?--Supertouch (talk) 22:15, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes. –xenotalk 22:16, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
In that case, could I get your opinion on User:Causa sui's edit's to Anwar al-Awlaqi. I count five reverts in only a few hours. This user is an admin and I am not.--Supertouch (talk) 22:57, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Said user is both an administrator and used the letters "BLP" in his edit summary. Taking into account their status as an administrator, the policy on biographies of living persons, sanctions imposed by the Arbitration Committee and exemptions to the three-revert rule, this means that they are permitted about four times over to revert as and when they wish. Gurch (talk) 23:08, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
I see no exception for administrators in the edit warring article—implying, per my understanding—that they are bound by 3RR just like the rest of us. The article also mentions under exceptions that BLP reverts may controversial so please discuss.--Supertouch (talk) 23:32, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps Gurch was joking, and making a comment about some sysops backing other sysops where they would take action against a non-sysop. I don't think that one can hide behind "BLP" unless the proffered reasons for the deletions are: a) facially defensible; and b) have not been properly responded to. Otherwise, edit warriors would simply make whatever changes they want to make screaming BLP, and not be subject to edit warring sanctions.--Epeefleche (talk) 23:39, 8 April 2010 (UTC)
  • I just added my 2¢ to the Anwar al-Awlaki talk page after having reviewed some edit history. It appears there is far too much flurry-editing going on there and too little (essentially nonexistent) discussion on the talk page.

    As I wrote there, and it is relevant here and worth repeating: The reason discussion is important is the rest of the Wikipedian community can’t sufficiently get into an editor’s mind by reading just an edit summary; particularly ones that seem to misdirect from the true nature of the edit. If an editor has a logical argument that is based on facts and are supported by current Wikipedia guidelines and policies, then let them spell out their rationale there on the talk page so the issue can be sanitized by the sunshine of public inspection.

    I am rather surprised that User:Causa sui is an admin. As such, his (or her) no-doubt impressive grasp of Wikipedia guidelines should reflect well upon him if he actually engages in discussion. Greg L (talk) 23:47, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Admins are not exempt from 3RR , and BLP is only a trump card if there is a legitimate concern. Report to to WP:AN3 if not. –xenotalk 00:24, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • The concerns are legitimate. I'll be happy to discuss them on the talk page if the editors reinstating the content would like to explain why they think it should be there. Recall that BLP puts the burden of proof on those restoring the content. Again, I'll be happy to talk about it; that's what the users restoring the content should have done in the first place. causa sui (talk) 02:33, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Causa's disruptive editing on that page today began with this, which as anyone can see included deletions of entire paragraphs of highly relevant information without anything approaching a legitimate concern. They continued apace, and even just now he deleted photos without any coherent reasonable acceptable explanation -- his umpteenth reversion, despite the views of others expressed here, on the article talk page, on my talk page, and in edit summaries that reflect views of everyone else contrary to his. Suggestions?--Epeefleche (talk) 02:53, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Sure. Talk to me about it. If you'd ask, I'd be happy to provide a rationale for why I removed it, and I'd be happy to be proven wrong. I've said this repeatedly and all I get is more bald reverting and histrionics on every page except the article talk page. The lesson here is to talk before reverting, especially when someone is making a BLP claim. causa sui (talk) 03:03, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Four users now have indicated in edit summaries, on the article talk page, here, and on editor talk pages to you that they think you are edit warring and engaging in baseless reverts that lack any coherent reasonable explanation, including those indicated above, which were your first batch of rampant deletions. You were asked to discuss on the talk page rather than continue edit warring. Instead, you continued to edit war. Discussion was opened on the talk page of the article as well. You finally weighed in with a wholly substance-less comment. I'm not sure why you are playing games, or what point you are trying to make, but you have destroyed the assumption of good faith that you were entitled to at the outset of this with your failure to discuss matters, and your abject failure to follow consensus. For a sysop, especially, I'm surprised at your behavior.--Epeefleche (talk) 03:09, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • This is the point. We discuss content before we add it back. BLP policy is clear about this, and with good reason. I'll meet you on the article talk page. Cheers, causa sui (talk) 04:29, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Its been many hours now since you've made your disruptive edits, and you've completely failed to make any coherent comment, despite entreaties to do so. You've also edited against consensus at the same time. Those, IMHO, are the points that are worthy of focus. Your preferred point of "wait hours until I decide to make a coherent comment in support of my position, because I happen to know how to spell BLP" is slightly short of compelling.--Epeefleche (talk) 04:34, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Clearly Causa is using BLP to justify pushing his own POV, rather than balancing it by adding reliable sources which can contradict the disputed POV which he simply removes. He should be finding reliable sources that cast doubt on his relationship with the 9/11 hijackers rather than removing something he claims "implies" this association, which is widely sourced. Bachcell (talk) 04:56, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
  • This dispute doesn't belong here; it belongs at the article talk page, or possibly Causa sui's talk, or possibly a noticeboard to request action be taken. The original question having been answered, please take this discussion elsewhere. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 05:32, 9 April 2010 (UTC)


I've reverted SlimVirgin's edits today which made many changes "tightening" the policy [5]. Virtually none of these changes was an actual improvement - not tightening, but removing helpful links and relevant explanation, and in some cases being less clear. It must be remembered that this page is often one of the first policy pages which newbies read properly, and it is very important that it is clearly aimed at that target audience, not at keeping things simple for those long in the tooth. Rd232 talk 09:01, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Rd, it's so long-winded it's hard to read. I was going to back in and tighten some more, in fact. Which bits that I removed did you feel were important? SlimVirgin talk contribs 09:16, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd have thought that if it's intended for newbies, it ought to be kept short and sweet . Basically we want to say what edit warring is, why it's bad, what alternatives should be preferred, and what action might be taken against editors who do it (with emphasis on the 3RR). The fewer words we use (within reason) the more likely people are to read it and understand it.--Kotniski (talk) 09:48, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
That's my thinking. Some of the sections are so wordy that I found it hard to plow through them myself, and I already know what they say (or I think I do; hard to be sure). :) There's also a lot of fairly patronizing language, e.g. editors may be blocked for "forceful education". It could be cut in half without losing anything, I think, perhaps even shorter. SlimVirgin talk contribs 10:40, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
I agree with SlimVirgin. Just look in the history at the page size over time. My original merge of the edit warring and three-revert rule policies was less than 10Kb in size. That was reverted, and ultimately a few months later re-instated with a bit more fluff in it. Now it's over twice that, and it doesn't actually say anything more useful. Gurch (talk) 18:22, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Don't use Twinkle to undo good faith changes?Edit

Ref "Remember that anti-vandalism tools such as Twinkle, Huggle and rollback should not be used to undo good-faithed changes in content disputes."

What is the basis for this? If a non vandalism related reversion is made using Twinkle, but the edit summary doesn't mention vandalism, and no warning/notice is put on the reverted user's talk page, what is the relevant difference between a Twinkle revert and a "regular" one. The "TW" tag? (Hohum @) 01:38, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't know - I don't think there is one. I think this should be qualified with "unless an appropriate edit summary can be added" or something like that.--Kotniski (talk) 06:04, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure it just means "don't use any automated rollback that doesn't allow an edit summary". I haven't used Twinkle rollback in a while, so I don't know if it allows for an edit summary these days (it didn't back when I used it). Either way, the point is that you need to make an detailed edit summary when reverting good faith edits. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 06:24, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
On a diff Twinkle now gives 3 rollback options; "rollback (vandal)" gives an appropriate "vandal rollback" edit summary which is fully automatic. The other two prompt the Twinkle user for the edit summary - though "rollback (AGF)" always begins the edit summary with "reverted good faith edits...", plus whatever the Twinkle user said. The warning is worth making here, but it should be more clearly linked with using appropriate edit summaries. (Also, "good-faithed" is not a word.) Rd232 talk 08:53, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
[6]. –xenotalk 16:29, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

This policy page has intermixed spellingsEdit

While reviewing it, I noticed that it does not conform to WP:ENGVAR. For example, the first paragraph of "Administrator guidance" uses both behaviour and behavior. If there is no objection, I'll clean it up per WP:ENGVAR. I normally would not ask in advance, but I don't want to start an edit war while editing Wikipedia:Edit warring. VMS Mosaic (talk) 23:31, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. Works for me. Maurreen (talk) 00:35, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, it should be standardized. Which were you planning to switch to? Heimstern Läufer (talk) 01:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
The original dialect, which was in use for the first several years of the page, was American English, although that is based on a single word. The page had multiple words using only American English on January 8, 2008. At some point after that, multiple words using British English were added. I believe a fair application of WP:ENGVAR says American English is the page's dialect. VMS Mosaic (talk) 02:53, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
OK, that sounds fair. Incidentally, WP:3RR was merged here. I think that page was also in US English, but I'm not sure. (If I'm wrong, that could theoretically complicate matters a bit.) Heimstern Läufer (talk) 03:05, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I took a look at WP:3RR, and it started in American English. Sometimes, WP:ENGVAR can be very difficult to apply with various issues open to endless debate, but I believe the application is reasonably clear cut here. VMS Mosaic (talk) 03:22, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd say so too, yeah. Might as well go ahead with it. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 03:37, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Today's changesEdit

I dare say Slim has good intentions, but I really don't see what the changes made today are supposed to achieve. They seem to go back in the direction of the unclear version we had before, where it isn't made clear (unless you read down) that "revert" in the context of the three-revert rule doesn't mean what you think it does, splits the definition of "revert" into several disjoint bits, and puts the question of sanctions for edit-warring under the 3RR heading. What was the point of this?--Kotniski (talk) 14:47, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

I made the header 3RR, because the section is about 3RR. It used to be a stand-alone policy, so it does at least need its own stand-alone section./
As for the other changes, I just removed some repetition and moved some of the lower stuff higher to keep the definition of "revert" in one place. Side by side below. SlimVirgin talk contribs 14:53, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Kotniski SlimVirgin
==Sanctions for edit warring==

Editors who engage in edit warring are liable (usually after warning) to be blocked from editing in order to prevent further disruption. While all edit warring behavior is liable to lead to such sanctions, there is a bright-line rule called the "three-revert rule" which is very often applied as a reason for blocks. This rule is set out below.

The three-revert ruleEdit

The three-revert rule ("3RR") states:

A "page" means any page on Wikipedia, including talk and project space.

A "revert" in the context of this rule means any edit (or administrative action) that reverses the actions of other editors, in whole or in part. It can involve as little as one word. A series of consecutive saved revert edits by one user with no intervening edits by another user counts as one revert. The following actions are not counted as reverts for the purposes of the three-revert rule:

  • Reverting your own actions ("self-reverting").
  • Reverting edits to pages in your own user space, so long as you are respecting the user page guidelines.
  • Reverting actions performed by banned users.
  • Reverting obvious vandalism – edits which any well-intentioned user would immediately agree constitute vandalism, such as page blanking and adding offensive language.
  • Removal of clear copyright violations or content that unquestionably violates the non-free content policy.
  • Removal of content that is clearly illegal in the U.S. state of Florida where Wikipedia's servers are located, such as child pornography and pirated software.
  • Removal of libelous, biased, unsourced, or poorly sourced contentious material that violates Biographies of living persons (BLP). What counts as exempt under BLP can be controversial. Consider reporting to the BLP noticeboard instead of relying on this exemption.
  • Considerable leeway is given to editors reverting to maintain the quality of a featured article while it appears on the main page.

If you are claiming an exemption make sure there is a clearly visible edit summary or separate section of the talk page that explains the exemption. When in doubt, do not revert. Instead, engage in dispute resolution, and in particular, ask for help at relevant noticeboards such as the Edit war/3RR noticeboard.

The four or more reverts that constitute a violation of the rule may involve the same or different material each time. The rule applies per person, not per account; reverts made by multiple accounts count together.

Editors violating the rule will usually be blocked for 24 hours for a first incident.

Remember that an administrator may still act whenever they believe a user's behavior constitutes edit warring, and any user may report edit-warring, even if the three-revert rule has not been breached. The rule is not an entitlement to revert a page a specific number of times.

If an editor breaks the three-revert rule by mistake, they should reverse their own most recent reversion. Administrators may take this into account and decide not to block in such cases, for example if the user is not a habitual edit warrior and appears to be genuinely trying to rectify their own mistake.

SlimVirgin talk contribs 14:53, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

==The three-revert rule==

Editors who engage in edit warring are liable to be blocked to prevent further disruption, usually but not necessarily after a warning. While all edit warring may lead to sanctions, there is a bright-line rule called the "three-revert rule" (3RR):

A "page" means any page on Wikipedia, including talk and project space. A "revert" means any edit or administrative action that reverses the actions of other editors, whether it involves reverting the whole page or just part of it (even just one word of it), or reverting the same or different material each time. A series of consecutively saved reverts by one user with no intervening edits by another user counts as one revert. Editors must not perform more than three reverts of a single page in whole or in part within a 24-hour period. Editors violating the rule will usually be blocked for 24 hours for a first incident.

The rule applies per person, not per account; reverts made by multiple accounts count together. The following actions are not counted as reverts for the purposes of the three-revert rule:

  • Reverting your own actions ("self-reverting").
  • Reverting edits to pages in your own user space, so long as you are respecting the user page guidelines.
  • Reverting actions performed by banned users.
  • Reverting obvious vandalism – edits which any well-intentioned user would immediately agree constitute vandalism, such as page blanking and adding offensive language.
  • Removal of clear copyright violations or content that unquestionably violates the non-free content policy.
  • Removal of content that is clearly illegal in the U.S. state of Florida where Wikipedia's servers are located, such as child pornography and pirated software.
  • Removal of libelous, biased, unsourced, or poorly sourced contentious material that violates Biographies of living persons (BLP). What counts as exempt under BLP can be controversial. Consider reporting to the BLP noticeboard instead of relying on this exemption.
  • Considerable leeway is given to editors reverting to maintain the quality of a featured article while it appears on the main page.

If you are claiming an exemption make sure there is a clearly visible edit summary or separate section of the talk page that explains the exemption. When in doubt, do not revert. Instead, engage in dispute resolution, and in particular, ask for help at relevant noticeboards such as the Edit war/3RR noticeboard.

An administrator may still act whenever they believe a user's behavior constitutes edit warring, and any user may report edit-warring, even if the three-revert rule has not been breached. The rule is not an entitlement to revert a page a specific number of times.

If an editor breaks the three-revert rule by mistake, they should reverse their own most recent reversion. Administrators may take this into account and decide not to block in such cases, for example if the user is not a habitual edit warrior and appears to be genuinely trying to rectify their own mistake.

But 3RR does still have its own section - within the sectino on "sanctions for edit warring", which is where it should be. We shouldn't imply that 3RR exhausts the topic of sanctions for edit warring. Nor should we imploy that 3RR is about "reverts" - it isn't - it's about something else that for the purposes of the rule we've decided to call "reverts". We must say straight away that "revert" here doesn't mean what people expect it to mean (hence the inclusion of "as defined here" in the rule) - omit this, and we're telling a lie. And we should try and be logical in our definitions - first we define what "a revert" is, then we clarify what "more than three" means (i.e. per user, not necessarily the same material, etc.) Let's not go back to the old version where all these things are mixed up.--Kotniski (talk) 15:04, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think I know what you mean about revert not meaning what people think it means. A revert is undoing another editor's work. SlimVirgin talk contribs 15:12, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I think most people think it means a straight "undo" of any edit. (Which in most cases of application of 3RR, it is - but that's not what the rule says.) It's important that people realize that this rule doesn't include all undo's (e.g. vandalism reversal), but it does include counter-edits that only partially undo what another editor did. --Kotniski (talk) 16:03, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
My version defines it at the same point yours does: "A "revert" means any edit or administrative action that reverses the actions of other editors." I really think if you read mine through you'll see it's all there.
Yes, I'm not saying it isn't there, but in your version you leave "as defined below" out of the rule, so there's no indication to the reader that they need to look down to find that "revert" in this context means something significantly different from what it normally means. You also mix up the definition of revert with other things (about counting reverts), which makes it even harder for people to find the true, full definition. (IMO the rule should be renamed and rephrased, using some other invented term like "reversal" instead of revert, just to avoid overloading "revert" with two different meanings. But until that's done, we must avoid misleading people more than we have to.)--Kotniski (talk) 17:21, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, we can put "as defined below" back. Where do I mix up the definition of revert with other things? SlimVirgin talk contribs 17:25, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
In your version, I've bolded the various components of the definition of "revert" (obviously the list of exceptions is also part of it). You'll see that it's all mixed in with other things, sometimes even in the same sentence.--Kotniski (talk) 17:35, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I've changed it a little; see what you think. SlimVirgin talk contribs 17:42, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm just not seeing whatever it is that you think makes this an improvement on my version. It's a little less bad now, as I see it, but the definition of "revert" is still broken up.--Kotniski (talk) 18:04, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Valid excuse for Edit warring?Edit

I have an issue that I need advice on from the participants on this page. An editor is engaging in edit warring, but is using as an excuse the following statement:"Reverting to enforce certain overriding policies is not considered edit warring", and citing WP:ONEWAY as the "overriding policy".

I see where he is getting this, as on this main page it states "Reverting to enforce certain overriding policies is not considered edit warring. For example, under the policy on biographies of living persons, where negative unsourced content is being introduced, the risk of harm is such that removal (possibly backed by administrative action) is the norm until it is fixed and policy-compliant."

"Considering ONEWAY is a guideline (and often a judgement call), and doubting whether the "risk of harm" noted above is truly in play, can WP:ONEWAY be cited as an "overriding policy", and thus as an allowable reason for edit warring? Here are a couple of examples where this excuse was used in the edit summary: [[7]], [[8]], and here are two attempts to discuss the matter [[9]] and [[10]], where the reply was... less than cordial. Any input on this would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if this is the wrong place for this discussion. Thanks. Smatprt (talk) 00:02, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

So far as I'm aware, the only overriding policies that can exempt someone from 3RR and edit warring in general are BLP, copyright, vandalism and possibly a few obscure elements such as the Gdansk resolution. It's possible I've forgotten something, but those diffs you provided don't look to me like they have anything that would normally exempt a person from the rule under current policy. There's my thoughts. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 02:17, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I notice Smatprt does not dispute that his additions of WP:FRINGE material to main pages violates WP:ONEWAY, not does he give any diffs of my violating the 3R rule, but instead relies upon his framing of the argument as "edit warring". He also makes it appear as if I am alone in reverting his fringe edits and fails to include any related discussions about this.
I suggest that anyone who wants to give an informed opinion of this review his editing history. He is a POV warrior who has publicly stated that his intention is to promote the fringe view that Edward deVere, the 17th earl of Oxford, wrote the works of William Shakespeare. I am not the only editor reverting his edits on the Hamlet and Sonnets pages, as a quick glance at the history pages will testify, so if anyone is edit warring, it is he. He is also an experienced Wiki lawyer who is very familiar with how to cite rules and guidelines to force his fringe material into Shakespeare-related articles, as any editor who has had to contend with him can attest.
I also would invite interpretations of the that sentence. As far as I have been able to determine, there are no hard and fast rules about what qualifies as an exemption from 3RR and edit warring. The sentence is vague and the wording probably needs to be tightened. Tom Reedy (talk) 15:43, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Sorry to see Tom resorting to attacking the editor instead of addressing the only issue that is relevant to this talk page. For clarity, however, I do indeed dispute Tom's use of ONEWAY, and dispute that I have "publicly stated that (my) intention is to promote the fringe view". My goal is balance, as opposed to deleting all mentions of minority viewpoints, which seems to be Tom's goal. But frankly, this is beside the point. What is relevant here is Tom's statement that "Reverting to enforce certain overriding policies is not considered edit warring", citing ONEWAY as an "overriding policy". The question is simple - can WP:ONEWAY be cited as an "overriding policy" to excuse edit warring? Tom also needs to understand the difference between 3RR and edit warring.Smatprt (talk) 15:59, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I beg to differ. Your biographical Wikipedia page was up for deletion last year and one of your supporters referred to this as evidence for notability. On page 31 the CSF program is quoted as saying the CSF, of which you are the founder and executive director, "will continue to promote the Oxfordian theory". I certainly call that a public statement of intention "to promote the fringe view that Edward deVere, the 17th earl of Oxford, wrote the works of William Shakespeare." As founder and executive director of the CSF, are you denying responsibility for that policy? In fact, It would appear that public statement would cause one to wonder if you had a conflict of interest as a Wikipedia editor whose majority of edits promote the Shakespeare Authorship Question.
Tom, once again, you misquote. That section (in a 15 year old book) says "Shake-speare Authorship West will continue to promote...". If you did your homework, you would find that there is no "Shake-speare Authorship West". If you examined the CSF (PRT) website, you will find nary a mention of the authorship question. Please check your facts in the future. Thanks. Smatprt (talk) 16:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
The fact is that as the founder and executive director, you publicly stated your intention to promote the Oxfordian theory, which you denied you had done. It makes no difference what is on the CSF website or when you stated it, since your actions have been consistent with that statement. And it it's usable to demonstrate your notability, it's usable to demonstrate your promotional bias. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:18, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
You may dispute my interpretation of WP:ONEWAY all you like, but several editors other than Nishidani agree with mine and have reverted your edits using the same reason. As you say, the purpose of this complaint is to determine if reverting edits that blatantly violate the highest and best Wikipedia standards and guidelines constitute edit warring. My contention, as I have stated, is that the policy as written allows for it, and barring an explicitly-stated prohibition I believe it does. Tom Reedy (talk) 03:10, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, Smatprt, what are the rest of us who live in the normal world of scholarly books to do when several times a day we see you sneaking in edits that almost invariably prepare the reader of wiki to get linked up to the fringe-lunatic (that is what scholars mostly call it) world of your own personal religion, i.e. that the man who went into exile for farting before Queen Bess wrote the works everyone, bar a funny conglomerate of mainly self-published people, with less education than Will Shakespeare probably got at Stratford grammar, thinks Shakespeare wrote, because over 50 contemporaries said or implied he was who we believe he was? Twiddle our thumbs, negotiate for months as you finesse things so a tweak of the fringe trace remains. You have a page for all this rubbish: it's called the Shakespeare Authorship Question. You have a page on de Vere. Enjoy, relax, be expansive. But kindly don't interfere with the rest of those many wiki pages that should be written according to the massive and quite intricate modern scholarship, as sourcedto books with a university imprint, by Elizabethan specialists. It's like see Donald Duck's face on a page dealing with the Mona Lisa. There's edit-warring and edit-whoring, and you practice both.Nishidani Nishidani (talk) 21:27, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Just checked. What's going on with this whingeing. Tom last edited the page 8 days ago, and your first diff goes back to mid April. I've read the Truk islanders go bezirk when they suddenly remember a putative insult after 20 years, and seek revenge. Modernity telescopes time, so the interval is perhaps shortened. But your complaint is a month old, besides having nothing to do with edit-warring, for, by the same token, your own persistance in cramming in the same edit stuff time and again against the reasoned advice of co-editors on the relevant talk pages, means this complaint is very much a felo de se.Nishidani (talk) 21:27, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Guys, that's four paragraphs so far, pretty much all off topic (with the exception of Tom's request for an interpretation that was already supplied by Heimstern). But you two have certainly shown every editor here your particular... editing style. To restate - Nishidani and Tom, you attempted to excuse your tag-team reverts and edit warring by (I believe) misinterpreting policy. Not willing to discuss this missinterpretaiton, Tom invited me to file a report at ANI [[11]]. Rather than escalate to that point I have come to this talk page, which is obviously the appropriate place for a discussion about Edit Warring policy. Thank you, Heimstern Läufer (talk), for your understanding of the policy, which no other editor here has challenged. It's pretty much common sense. Thanks for that. Smatprt (talk) 23:47, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Your contention that I am "not willing to discuss this" is flat out untrue, as anyone can see here, here, here and here. It's also interesting that if you follow the history of my reversions that other regular editors support them and revert any changes. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:05, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Tom, the diffs you supply contain no discussion about the question being raised here - that of your misinterpretation of the edit warring policy. Bringing up content disputes, and supplying diffs concerning these content disputes, is not discussing the issue at hand. Please see Heimstern's comment below. Smatprt (talk) 16:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Please understand I'm making no judgments on content here. Tom Reedy: I think you have a point in that the sentence about "overriding policy" is pretty vague. Unless I'm quite out of touch, I'm pretty sure what it means is basically the same exceptions listed under the 3RR section. Please note that POV-pushing is not listed as an exception, largely because so often, one man's neutral edit is another man's POV push (and because blocking admins have to stay neutral, content-wise). That could probably be clarified. Again, though I'm not making any comment on this content dispute, nor do I plan personally to make any blocks. If there's any reportable edit warring on either side, please report it at the noticeboard. Oh, and please, let's keep the content dispute on the article talk pages instead of here, OK? Heimstern Läufer (talk) 02:36, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, Heimstern, for your comments. I hope everyone notes that I was not requesting any blocks, or other action - I was merely requesting a clarification of policy, which has now been provided. Thanks for that. Smatprt (talk) 16:31, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Um, he also clarified that I have a point, so you have not been licensed to kill just yet. Tom Reedy (talk) 17:18, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Ambiguity as to "material" being revertedEdit

  • "The four or more reverts that constitute a violation of the rule may involve the same or different material each time. The rule applies per person, not per account; reverts made by multiple accounts count together."

I'm not clear on what exactly this means. If one reverts another's change, but while doing so adds new text/citations to the text reverted, in an attempt to defuse the edit war, does that count as a reversion applicable to 3RR? In my view 3RR should apply only where two or more editors are reverting while not attempting to rectify the situation through such changes. Parrot of Doom 09:09, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I would hope admins would interpret this rule liberally in cases like that. (What admins actually do, though, is another matter.) (It's actually possible to technically break 3RR as presently worded without the least suggestion of edit-warring - suppose two editors each make four unrelated minor copyedits, alternating - well of course the text they changed was added by some editors at some point, so the copyedits are partially undoing the actions of those editors, so the copyedits are reverts according to the rule...)--Kotniski (talk) 08:09, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Slow edit warEdit

I would like to propose a separate (sub)section for Slow Edit Warring, where the edits over a matter of days or even weeks consist entirely of reverts - none of which come close to triggering 3RR because of the 24hr time definition. Since I am unable to find any policy that deals with edits that are not obvious vandalism, do not violate policies relating to civility and personal attacks, or BLP's, but are disruptive, I have no precedent on how it might be worded. I was thinking of noting again that as 3RR per 24 hr period is a bright line, and not a permit to revert that number of times per 24 hours, that 24 hours itself is an arbitrary bright line, and a sequence of reverts over an extended period may also be considered edit warring. I have recently been involved in protecting articles and warning editors in respect of such "slow" edit wars, and have noted matters discussed at ANI which would fall under that criteria, and think adding a clear subsection to this policy would help both admins in enforcing a break in the cycle and editors who misunderstand that even two such edits per 24 hours over a few or more days would also be in violation of this policy. LessHeard vanU (talk) 21:13, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

This policy is out of synch with GRAPEVINE ...Edit

... as I learned after being blocked for a good-faith invocation of GRAPEVINE. (Thanks to Ncmvocalist for making me aware of the problem.) I believe the synchronisation problem may have been a significant factor in the incident. Compare:

Remove immediately any contentious material about a living person that [...]. The three-revert rule does not apply to such removals. Editors who find themselves in edit wars over potentially defamatory material about living persons should bring the matter to the BLP noticeboard.

The following actions are not counted as reverts for the purposes of the three-revert rule: [...] Removal of libelous, biased, unsourced, or poorly sourced contentious material that violates the policy on biographies of living persons (BLP). What counts as exempt under BLP can be controversial. Consider reporting to the BLP noticeboard instead of relying on this exemption.


The relevant contradiction is in context and subtleties of the formulations which encourage the following opposite interpretations:

You must remove every potential BLP violation. If you do this in good faith you are immune from 3RR. Also report it to BLP/N so that a consensus can be established one way or the other.
When in doubt, don't remove it, or you may be blocked for your attempt to enforce BLP. It is better to report a potential BLP violation to BLP/N and wait for two days until it is archived without response, or to discuss there for weeks with the same people with whom the conflict started. Don't worry about any harm done by leaving the violation in the article unless you want to risk a block.

There would be no big practical difference if BLP/N was a rapid-response noticeboard like ANI. But it currently operates at a glacial pace, and anyone reporting a BLP violation to ANI instead risks accusations of forum shopping. Hans Adler 10:39, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't think there's any clear contradiction between the two policies (though it seems logical that the wording should be identical in the two places, since it's exactly the same "rule"). Unfortunately we can't give people an absolute blanket exemption - that "as long as you think you're enforcing BLP in good faith, you can't be blocked" - as this would be abused in obvious ways.--Kotniski (talk) 13:28, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I guess that makes sense. For now, I've updated GRAPEVINE to reflect what 3RR fully says. Ncmvocalist (talk) 20:40, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

3RR rule has drifted into impracticability; proposal for radical simplificationEdit

Until at lest the beginning of 2005, the rule was worded as follows:[12]

Don't revert any page more than three times within a period of 24 hours.

Some time during 2005, this changed to the following:[13]

Do not revert any single page in whole or in part more than three times in 24 hours.

As of now, this has changed to:

This is a problem, because now even well intended edits can count as violations, as I found out in this conversation.

Scenario 1

To keep it short, I'm using a 1RR rule as an example, as was the case in the conversation. The rule as it is now, allows situations as in the following sequence (please don't worry about if the edits make any sense, it's just an example. Real life situations are more complicated):

  1. user:A writes "The banana is a big plant or a yellow fruit."
  2. user:B removes the word: "big".
  3. some intervening edits happen.
  4. user:B removes the word "yellow".
  5. user:B gets warned for 1RR violation.
Scenario 2

Paradoxically, the following typical disruptive POV warring scenario is allowed according to 1RR:

  1. Text originally contains "X was a politician."
  2. user:B adds "... and a criminal." (with some dubious reference.)
  3. user:A reverts B
  4. user:B reverts A

This is a particularly dangerous in POV conflicts since it favors the new version, which creates instability. (Explanation: In most cases, user:B is the POV editor who changes a page that has been stable for a while. This rule makes B's version the one that will remain for at least 24 hours.) The same thing happens with 3RR, it just takes a little longer and is more disruptive.

Summary and a working solution

In short, The 1RR and 3RR rules, as they are now, can easily get dedicated editors into undeserved trouble. This needs to be fixed.

One way to fix it is by getting rid of the very formalistic wording altogether. I believe that part of the gradual change was because allowing 3 reversions was too disruptive. But the solution should not have been to make it like the law of a totalitarian regime, which is so complicated and far-reaching that it can hit everyone. Instead, we should get rid of the counting altogether, and start from the current definition of "edit warring". This makes even more sense now, since this page now is primarily about edit warring and not about 3RR anymore. I propose to reword it so it becomes an actionable policy as follows:

We already have experience with a version of that rule, which worked out well - see Wikipedia:SLR/Don't re-revert!. — Sebastian 00:30, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I'm not sure your suggestion is exactly what we want, but this is certainly the way to go. Any attempt to draw a line based on counting rather than thinking is going to lead to a rule which is bad in certain situations, and the rule we have is even worse than it could be (though I don't think going back to an old version is any improvement - restricting it to exact reverts would make it too easy to game).--Kotniski (talk) 07:02, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your general support! You seem to express discomfort with the details of the suggestion, would it be possible to be more specific about this? — Sebastian 18:24, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

The word "undoing"Edit

I submit a modest proposal: That we consider using some verbiage other than the word "undoing" in this page to define what a revert is. I would never have thought anyone could be so literal, but apparently a relatively unfamiliar editor read this page and then was baffled, baffled! to be confronted with having violated the 3RR. Why? Because he wasn't clicking "undo" to revert. Thread here at ANI: Wikipedia:Administrators noticeboard/Incidents#Concerns about User:CUNYTruther. Maybe we could replace or supplement it with "rewriting or erasing" or some other wording, just to be crystal clear. — e. ripley\talk 19:40, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

I added a little footnote clarifying the word's usage. Feel free to revert or reword as necessary. —DoRD (talk) 22:08, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I would hope that would do the trick! Thank you. A reasonable solution. — e. ripley\talk 01:47, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Clarification of Three-Revert Rule requestedEdit

The Three-Revert Rule (3rr) says that no more than three reverts may be made in 24 hours (with certain exceptions). I would like to add a sentence of clarification: "This means that administrators may block an editor who makes a fourth revert 24 hours and one second after the first revert, but only if the administrator cites a valid rationale (such as edit-warring) aside from the Three-Revert Rule, which does not apply." The reason I'm requesting this clarification to the policy is because editors who are not edit-warring may try very hard to follow 3rr by waiting just past 24 hours to make the fourth revert, but then be blocked for 3rr anyway. Good faith edits should not be penalized by admins who stretch 24 hours to mean more than 24 hours. Any comments?Anythingyouwant (talk) 18:14, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I assume this is in reference to this block under your previous account name. This policy is quite clear that 3RR/24 hours is an electric fence, not an entitlement, and that the policy is intended to prevent edit-warring. Reverting 4 times in 24:01 is actually worse than reverting 4 times in 24:00. It indicates that you're intentionally gaming the policy - making a legalistic effort to comply with the letter of the policy while violating its spirit in a premeditated fashion. That's worse than someone who accidentally hits 4RR without realizing it, because the problem is at the basic level of understanding the intent of the policy. I'll leave it for others to comment further. MastCell Talk 19:05, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
No MastCell, this is not about an incident nine months ago. There is no need for you to personalize the matter. The issue is whether we want Wikipedia to have a trap, whereby editors are assured that 3rr means something, only to find that some admins think it means something else. An appropriate discussion of 3rr is here. I suppose it would be off-topic to now discuss admins who follow editors around whom they are prejudiced against, so I won't. I'll simply ask you politely to not personalize this. Thanks.Anythingyouwant (talk) 19:49, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Alternative clarificationEdit

Here's an alternative clarification: "Please note that you can be blocked for 3rr even if your fourth revert is more than 24 hours after your first revert, and even if you are not generally blocked for edit-warring." I prefer the first clarification that I suggested above in this talk page section, but this alternative would still vastly clarify what the 3rr rule is. I prefer the first clarification because this second clarification does not explain how to avoid 3rr, i.e. it does not tell editors what a sufficient time is between the first and fourth revert to avoid being blocked for 3rr. Nevertheless, this alternative clarification would remove the false sense of security that an editor has complied with 3rr. If there is no objection, I will install this alternative clarification into the policy.Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:03, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

I think this is already amply clear, and I don't see the need for further redundancy:
  • "Breaking [the 3-revert] rule is sufficient – but not necessary – to warrant a block for edit warring."
  • "Remember that an administrator may still act whenever they believe a user's behavior constitutes edit warring, and any user may report edit-warring, even if the three-revert rule has not been breached. The rule is not an entitlement to revert a page a specific number of times." (emphasis in original)
  • "Disruptive editors who do not violate the rule still receive blocks for edit warring, especially if they attempt to game the system in reverting a page."
  • "The response is often influenced by whether a user appears to be deliberately trying to prevent others' editing, especially if it appears they are willfully doing so by gaming the system or through more calculated or egregious abuse, such as spacing out reverts in a slow edit war..."
It's nonsensical to amend the policy to state that editors can be blocked for edit-warring even if they are not edit-warring. If you believe that such a block has been placed, then you should address that specific block as inappropriate, rather than inserting nonsensical statements into policy to make a point.

"The bottom line: use common sense, and do not participate in edit wars" (emphasis in original). Common sense suggests that nothing magical happens 1 minute after midnight, and that 4 reverts in 24:01 is not appreciably different - in substance, intent, or sanctionability - than 4 reverts in 24:00. I think the policy is amply clear that editors can be blocked for edit-warring behavior even without making 4 reverts in 24:00. It already explicitly states that intentionally "spacing out" your reverts is an aggravating factor ("calculated or egregious abuse"). If people don't get it from the policy as it stands, then they're probably beyond reach of adding another redundant reminder. MastCell Talk 00:18, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

MastCell, if a person's fourth revert is more than 24 hours after the first revert, I have no objection if the person is blocked for "edit-warring", assuming that the person's behavior is as described in this policy. What I object to is an automatic block for "3rr" in such an instance, without any block for other edit-warring. If you want to make 3rr apply for 48 hours instead of 24 hours, then go ahead, but please don't leave it completely ambiguous how long there must be between the first and fourth revert. It's simply a trap.Anythingyouwant (talk) 00:43, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Even with four reverts in 24:01 an editor might not be blocked if he seemed well-intentioned or confused. I don't see enough reason to change the existing wording. There was a proposal back in 2005 that admins were *required* to block in a 3RR situation. Luckily this did not carry. There is room for admin discretion, so there is some vagueness in the policy. Otherwise we might as well have a '3RR-blocking-bot' that watches for reverts, and issues blocks. I doubt that people would go for that. EdJohnston (talk) 01:17, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Ed, I have no objection to a vague or ambiguous policy. What I object to is a misleading policy. The policy currently gives the impression that there's something significant about the 24-hour mark. But, as far as I can tell, there is no significance to waiting past 24 hours in actual practice. The admin can still block a well-intentioned editor, based on any factors the admin chooses (e.g. like or dislike), without blocking for any other edit-warring behavior beyond four reverts in 24:01, or 25:00, or whatever.Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:32, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

One more tryEdit

At the risk of being falsely attacked again for "trying to make a point", I would like to try this one last time. I suggest inserting this: "Four reverts during a period greater than 24 hours does not violate the Three Revert Rule, though they may violate the general rule against edit-warring for other reasons." That seems incredibly straightforward. In other words, don't rely on 3rr alone to block someone if the fourth revert was more than 24 hours after the first.Anythingyouwant (talk) 04:35, 22 June 2010 (UTC)

I think the policy is fairly clear, but I don't really see this hurting at all. It could quite possibly help editors, and, on that chance, I'd like to see such a minor text change implemented. BigK HeX (talk) 05:51, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the comment. I don't want to make the change right now, because I'd like to make sure that EdJohnston, MastCell, and anyone else who hasn't commented in this subsection gets a chance to do that.Anythingyouwant (talk) 01:35, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I'll plan on making the edit this weekend, absent further comments.Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:49, 25 June 2010 (UTC)
I just saw this. Do we really need to bloat this page any further? I really think the page was clear enough without the added words. Heimstern Läufer (talk) 08:51, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't know - it's such a common misunderstanding, and the added text is quite short and in an unobtrusive place (at the end of the section), that it's probably worth including (even though it does repeat a point that's already been made).--Kotniski (talk) 08:58, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Three-revert rule/Archive 8".