Vandalism is any addition, removal, or change of content in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Sonic News Network. Trolling is any attempt to disrupt the editing of the Sonic News Network in order to elicit emotional or heated responses from other users.
Trolling and vandalism are not necessarily the same, although there is often overlap and vandalism may be used for the purposes of trolling. In general, trolls are more interested in the attention they receive than the act of vandalism itself, meaning the most effective way of fighting trolls is to prevent them from getting this attention.
Note that terms like 'vandal' and 'troll' are subjective, as they rely on judgements as to the relevant users' motives. Vandalism and trolling are done out of malice; any edit made in good faith is not vandalism or trolling. Calling someone a troll or vandal when they have made only good faith edits is itself a form of trolling, and should be avoided. Also, one of the key ways of not feeding the trolls is to not call them trolls.
The following behaviours are typically associated with trolling. This list is not exhaustive, and some of the behaviours listed may actually be done in good faith. Editor judgement should be applied when assessing controversial edits.
- Adding profanity or obscenities to any page.
- Uploading inappropriate images.
- Modifying a template in a harmful or disruptive manner.
- Changing the names of pages to disruptive, irrelevant, or inappropriate names.
- Deliberately provoking other users to anger, perhaps through insults or persistent pestering, or otherwise being deliberately annoying for the sake of being obnoxious.
- Attacking the opinions of other users, often without justifying one's own opinions.
- Being unwilling to accept consensus or attempt to reach a compromise, which may lead to edit warring.
- Any other unconstructive or vandal-like behaviour despite repeated warnings and explanations why it is inappropriate.
What to do
Users must not feed the trolls on this wiki. Whenever a user reacts to those who provoke them, they are giving those who provoke them what they want. The more a user reacts, the more the troll will continue what they are doing. Conversely, if users do not react in over-the-top manners, then the trolls will move on.
On wikis, it is necessary to have some form of reaction to individuals such as vandals, as users must revert the damage done to pages. This, however, is a calm and limited reaction. For most users, the appropriate response to vandalism is
- Revert the vandalism, if you know how.
- Inform an administrator, giving the affected page and the username of the suspected vandal (but don't glorify the incident by saying how bad it was). (A list of administrators can be found here.)
- Nothing. The first two steps are all that's needed for an effective response to vandalism.
There are some things that users should not do in response to vandalism:
- Do not make blogs about instances of vandalism you have seen.
- Do not make pages that list vandals and trolls.
- Do not spread panic among users by telling lots of people about vandalism, even in an attempt to rally them against it.
- Do not discuss the troll once the user is banned. Mentioning a troll is not appropriate.
- Most importantly, do not post insulting messages on a suspected vandal's talk page. Do not say that they will be banned. Do not accuse them of vandalism and do not call them trolls.
Interacting with trolls on chat
Mentioning and discussing trolls in chat is not appropriate. Discussion of the troll or a banned/blocked user is forbidden. If you want to discuss ban lengths, then do so in private with an administrator. The following is an edited excerpt from the Sonic Fanon Wiki.
This part is directed to all users, administrator or not.
- DON'T interact with the troll. They are seeking attention and are trying to provoke a response out of you.
- DON'T threaten the troll with bans, they don't care, they just want to see your reactions.
- DON'T try to humiliate or ridicule these people, they are masters of social engineering, they'll turn your words back onto you.
- DON'T show them the 'truth' of their existence or their argument, that's the exact response they are attempting to provoke out of you.
- DON'T try to act incompetent, they'll laugh at your denial.
- DON'T counteract arguments.
- DON'T leave while they are trolling unless you have to, they'll think you left chat enraged because of them.
- DON'T insult them openly or treat them like complete trash. This is the worst response you can provide them with.
- DO pretend they don't exist or ignore them, think of them as the drunk guy walking home in the early morning.
- DO try to notify an admin with calmness and no hostility.
- DO remind them only ONCE about the rules they broke, after one time, just give up and let the admins handle it.
This part is just for admins and moderators.
- To reiterate the first point above, DON'T interact with the troll. They are seeking attention and are trying to provoke a response out of you.
- DON'T assume that having the ability to ban them scares them, it doesn't.
- DON'T try to act cool and edgy, just ban them.
- DON'T insult them in the ban reasons.
- DO ban the person and shut up.
- DO clean up whatever stuff they did.
- DO leave the issue alone once it is done. It's done, nobody cares any more.
- DO notify other wikis if you think they are targeting more than just SNN.
At all times, good faith users should maintain the calm and limit reactions by fixing the mess and then going back to what they are here for: contributing legitimate content and helping to make this wiki the number one source for all info about the official Sonic the Hedgehog series by Sega.