What is Vandalism?
Vandalism, as defined by Halo Alpha, is any edit that is not made with the best interests of the wiki in mind. This includes, but is not limited to, inserting content into pages that isn't relevant to Halo, cutting correct information out of pages and spam (both on the main wiki and on forums, talk pages, etc).
Halo Alpha maintains an absolute zero tolerance policy on vandalism, as it jeopardizes the hard work that hundreds of people have put into the wiki. As such, it incurs some of the harshest punishments we have the displeasure of having to serve out here on Halo Alpha. Although the severity of the punishments ranges upwards from a month-long ban, vandalism is one of the few things for which we use permanent bans, although this is very, very rare.
Types of Vandalism
The following is a list of some of the more common types of vandalism. Note that this is hardly a complete list, and that administrators have the final say in deciding what is vandalism and what is not.
- Defacing Articles - By far the most common type of vandalism, defacing articles is when a user edits a mainspace article to add something irrelevant to Halo.
- Deleting Correct Information - This is when a user purposefully deletes canonically correct information from an article, without the intent to improve the article in doing so.
- Spam - Often carried out by unauthorized bots, spam is when a single person posts the same/similar text, image or video multiple times in a short period (sometimes across multiple pages/threads) on either the forums and/or the mainspace wiki.
- Posting Offensive Media - This is defined as uploading/posting to Halo Alpha media deemed to be offensive in the eyes of the administration. A good example of this would be images/videos of a sexual or violent nature. Note that this does not include images unrelated to Halo, which are allowed outside of the mainspace wiki as long as they're properly named (see Halo Alpha's Image Policy).
Dealing with Vandalism
Administrators routinely patrol the Wiki Activity page for vandalism, however if you do come across an instance of what you think is vandalism that an admin hasn't caught, you are advised to contact an admin immediately (a list of admins can be found here). If you feel comfortable doing so, you are encouraged to undo the vandal's edit yourself (do this using the 'undo' button on the history page, not manually). Any mistakes you make in removing it can easily be corrected by an admin. If you remove vandalism and the vandal adds it back, do not remove it again, lest you start an edit war. Instead, simply leave the situation to the administrator you've contacted and know that the vandal will most likely receive a more severe punishment as a result of his/her repeated rule-breaking.
Under no circumstances should you contact the vandal directly, as you do no have the authority to follow through on any warnings you make, should the vandal ignore the message. Warnings and punishments should be left to the admin handling the issue.
Vandalism incurs some of the most severe punishments Halo Alpha admins have at their disposal. While admins have a significant amount of leeway in deciding on an apt punishment, since each situation is unique, a typical punishment for vandals is a three month-long ban, with the minimum ban being a month. Admins have (and exercise) the authority to ban vandals without warning them first. In most circumstances, admins will not warn those who vandalize without logging in and instead ban them outright, since such users rarely check their talk pages for messages. If a user with an account vandalizes once, they will usually be given a warning with threat of a punishment by an admin. Following that, if the same user vandalizes again, they will be banned, often for longer than if they'd been banned on their first vandalism, since they ignored the admin's warning.
Due to the fact that spamming is often done with automated bots which can use VPNs to change IP addresses, an exception to the above guidelines is made for spam. An anonymous contributor is usually still be banned instantly, while logged-in users are often warned first. However, if a user is warned/banned for spam and then another user (anonymous or not) begins to spam the same thing or something similar, we will assume it is the same person masquerading as two users. Therefore, both users in question will be banned for double the time they would normally have been. The length of the punishment will double for every successive user who persists in spamming the same (or similar) message.
As with all rules on Halo Alpha, the assume good faith policy is in full effect here. Therefore, as long as you're not intentionally vandalizing the wiki and you do listen to other users' advice, you should not be worried about receiving anything more severe than a small correction for not following the Manual of Style. Major punishments like bans are used as deterrents and as a means to prevent further rule breaking only - not to correct a user who frequently makes a minor error.