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Edit war

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An edit war or revert war is a situation that sometimes arises on websites which are run on wiki principles, such as Wikipedia (WP), where users repeatedly re-edit or undo or reverse the prior user's edits in an attempt to make their own preferred version of a page visible. With the ability for anyone to edit a page, and older versions of pages stored in the Wikipedia:edit history, edit warring becomes possible as long as there is little or no control over the editing.

An article on this subject was deleted on Wikipedia:
Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/
Edit war

WP administrators can restore the edit history
of this page upon request

On Wikipedia[edit]

A Wikipedia article on this subject was instantly deleted
by an administrator, without open discussion
the only requirement, one of the
Criteria for speedy deletion
WP administrators can restore the edit history
of the page upon request
See Edit war for deletion details

On Wikipedia, edit warring is very common but is controlled by means of page protection (restriction of editing to certain user groups) and blocking (disabling of editing) of the user(s) involved.

Wikipedia has a policy known as the three revert rule in which regardless of the issue or the importance of the page, any editor is allowed a maximum of three reverts every 24 hours to any given page. If an editor goes beyond the three reverts, s/he can be blocked from editing for a period of time.[1][2]

If a particular page has been involved in an edit war, and many editors are involved, this results in the page being protected from editing by anyone other than administrators. Any changes that are proposed to the page must then be discussed and approved by an administrator. Even an administrator is not allowed to boldly make changes to such a page that do not reflect consensus.

Notable edit warring[edit]

It is most common on Wikipedia for edit warring to occur on a popular topic.[3][2]

For example, the Wikipedia:Daily Telegraph reported in September 2009 that filmmaker Wikipedia:Roman Polanski's Wikipedia article had been temporarily blocked from public editing following an edit war by contributors over its content. Polanski was, at the time, facing charges from a sex scandal.[4]

Wikipedia policy[edit]

Placing this tag '''{{editwar}}''' on the user/discussion page of the violating user will result in this template display.:

You currently appear to be engaged in an edit war. Users who edit disruptively or refuse to collaborate with others may be blocked if they continue.

In particular the three-revert rule states that:

  1. Making more than three reversions on a single page within a 24-hour period is almost always grounds for an immediate block.
  2. Editors violating the rule will usually be blocked for 24 hours for a first incident.
  3. Do not edit war even if you believe you are right.

If you find yourself in an editing dispute, use the article's talk page to discuss controversial changes. Work towards wording, and content that represents consensus among editors. You can post a request for help at an appropriate noticeboard or seek dispute resolution. In some cases it may be appropriate to request temporary page protection. If edit warring continues, you may be blocked from editing without further notice.

Wikipediametric cabal[edit]

Main article: Wikipediametric
Main article: Wikipedia cabal

WikiLeaks released a set of 3402 e-mail messages exchanged between a group of Wikipedia editors, conspiring to alter entries of the online encyclopedia in line with their political agenda. The group called itself 'Wikipediametric' and generally targeted pages about history and current events, biasing them in favor of nationalism (WP) and Eastern European countries and against Russia (WP), Socialists (WP), Communists (WP) and Jews. The group employed a number of malicious tactics to achieve this end, including creating and citing false sources, assuming multiple accounts and false personas, defaming and blocking users who disagreed with them and instigating Wikipedia:edit wars with other users. The members frequently discussed covering up their nature as a 'cabal' by creating elaborate false identities and avoiding suspicion by editing pages in a gradual manner as well as using exetrnal websites and programs to 'cheat' the wikipedia system. The emails also make reference to other similar cabals including, the 'Russians' and the 'Jews' who engaged in similar activities, espousing Wikipedia:Communist and Wikipedia:Jewish nationalist ideologies respectively, who the Eastern Europeans often engaged in conflicts with. The various 'cartels' and 'cabals', as they are described, while still a limited phenomenon, seem to be attempting to create an 'oligopoly of information' which could prove a serious threat to internet free speech.[5][6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. Broughton, John (2008). Wikipedia: the missing manual.
  2. 2.0 2.1 O'Sullivan, Dan. Wikipedia: a new community of practice?, Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate.
  3. Hall, R. Scott. The Blog Ahead: How Citizen-Generated Media Is Radically Tilting the Communications Balance, Morgan-James.
  4. Daily Telegraph, 28 September 2009
  5. arbitration case on mailing list. URL accessed on 2 December 2010.
  6. article on wikipediareview. URL accessed on 2 December 2010.
  7. file from wikileaks. URL accessed on 2 December 2010.