Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How to NOT get your edit reverted in Wikipedia

We've all had it happen. We find an article on Wikipedia in an area that we are "experts" in (at least in our own minds), pour over said article and make countless carefully worded changes (well sourced by the first page of a Google search), only to have all of our changes reverted by some damned 15 year old working from his Mom's basement or some self-styled "professor" who make it his life's work to "protect" the Wiki article on Che Guevara. How did this happen to you? What went wrong? Is this kid a blithering idiot?

Here are some steps to take to make sure this doesn't happen to you:

1. Lean Left

With the rare exception of an occasional (and usually outgunned) conservative here or there on Wikipedia, most of the editors tend to lean left of center, left of Barak Obama, and sometimes even left of Marx -- the philosopher, not the brothers. So, the easiest way to go, unless you're a gluton for punishment, is with the flow far, far, far into the wide fields of leftist philosophies. Then, you too can idolize the "Che" and make subtly demeaning comments about George Bush, all with the rousing support of your fellow Wiki editors.

2. Hate God

The cool new trend of the day is for "intelligent" people everywhere to bash religion, either subtly or outright, in internet blog, message boards, and especially in edits on good old Wikipedia. Sometimes this criticism is valid, sometimes not -- but in any case, it is always very welcome from Wiki's diligent editors. If ever you want one of your edits to stand, say something controversial about God, especially if it's the Christian God.

3. Burn Time

The equation is simple: the more time you can force your opposition to waste trying to revert your edits, the more chance you have that they won't be reverted! Start out by stalling. If someone reverts you once, revert them back immediately. If they revert you twice, revert back the third time and, before they can use their third revert, demand a discussion on the talk page to avert an "edit war". If you can, make the page protected right after your third revert. Demand a list of sources from the reverting editor disproving your assertion. Be sure to back up yours with a lot of print sources (not internet ones -- to easy for the other editor to look up), especially sources that are hard for most people to get (i.e. from a university library). Demand a RfC (reader's forum comments, or something like that). Above all, stall! If you can keep from getting your changes reverted initially, time is your friend.

4. Play Dirty

If stalling doesn't work, it's time to pull out the big guns. Start off by claiming anything you can on the part of the other editor that would suggest "bad faith". Blow innocent statements out of context. Claim vandalism. Threaten to get the administrators involved or, better yet (if you're an administrator), threaten to suspend the other editor's account or IP address.

If that doesn't work, claim "sock puppetry" from the other editor (as long as there are at least two editors working against you on the project). You can also try some sock puppetry of your own. Try to create multiple accounts (each from a different IP address -- vacations are good for this) and use each one to support your point of view. Make sure that the points raised by each one, along with the style of writing, etc., are different enough that you won't be found out. Above all, try to wear down the moral of all who oppose you!

5. Be Persistent

If none of these tactics work, be patient and persistent. Did you get reverted for a change 3 months ago? How about if you try it again. The worst thing that could happen is that you get reverted again. At best, the your nemesis has lost interest and stopped watching the page in question.

I hope that this give you at least a few ideas on how to not get your Wikipedia edits reverted. If you have some more ideas or tactics that have worked for you in the past, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

A couple pretty girls for your viewing pleasure


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