Community Central
Community Central

Disruptive editing is a pattern of editing that disrupts progress towards a community's goals.[1] Disruptive editing is not vandalism, but vandalism is always disruptive. Cases of disruptive editing should take into account whether they violate a community's policies, guidelines, or rules, or whether they go against Fandom's community guidelines. Editors that treat non-vandalizing edits as such may be alienating new contributors.

Disruptive editing is often accidental. Disruptive edits often occur with new editors, when they are not aware about all the expectations and norms. With experienced editors, disruptive edits may occur because of lack of competence. The disruption occurring in good faith does not negate the fact that it is harmful to the community.

How to identify disruptive editing[]

A disruptive editor might seem helpful at first, but there are many characteristics that distinguish them from good editors. For example, a disruptive editor might:

Vandalism is a form of disruptive editing, but not all disruptive editing is vandalism. To tell whether a bad edit is vandalism or just disruptive, consider the following:

  • Vandalism is any deliberate attempt to disrupt a project. Examples of vandalism include:
    • Adding obvious false information.
    • Blanking pages for no reason.
    • Spamming links to unrelated websites.
    • Engaging in deliberate trolling or flame wars.
  • Non-vandalistic disruptive editing is not as obvious and is often unintentional. Examples of such edits in articles include:
    • Edit warring, or repeatedly reverting another's edits without participating in meaningful discussion.
    • Engaging in editing tests outside of the wiki's sandbox, before becoming aware of the correct avenues for such testing.
    • Repeatedly misusing categories or templates.[Note 1]
    • Using formatting incorrectly, such as in galleries. [Note 2]
    • Adding possibly false information that is not obviously false.[Note 3]
    • Changing the structure of lead sentences[Note 4] (if there is an established routine for articles, it should be explained in the community's guidelines).
    • Removing content that does (or possibly does) belong, especially if there was no reason given for the removal. This also applies to the reverter if they did not explain why they reverted it and the reason is not obvious.

Not everyone can tell it is disruptive, so if you think it doesn't belong, then explain why it doesn't belong there. Some disruptive editing is done out of ignorance rather than malice.

How to deal with disruptive editing[]

Disruptive editing can be hard to deal with, depending on the type of disruption. Vandalism can be reverted as soon as it is identified. Do the following:

  1. Undo/revert any edits that contain false (or possibly false) info, are not properly sourced, or otherwise don't belong on the page.
  2. If the bad edits return, then they should be undone/reverted again. Also, let the disruptive editor(s) know about it, since reverts aren't automatically notified.
  3. Explain to the editor what they are doing wrong. For example, they might be using templates incorrectly or adding categories that are not used on the community.
  4. If you are an admin on the community where the disruption is happening, block the editor if they continue to disrupt and are not listening to any of your messages, no matter how much you inform them. Be sure to specify how they are causing harm or going against community accepted norms in the block reason.
  5. If the user does not seem as a right fit for a community, then it might be best to inform them that it might be better to try a different one. Don't personally attack editors, but provide constructive feedback as to how their behavior must change if they want to continue editing. If their disruptive edits resume, longer and longer blocks may be warranted.
  6. If an admin or group of admins is acting in a manner disruptive to the community, it is best to report to bureaucrats, or to Fandom staff, once there emerges consensus that the admin is behaving inappropriately. As an emergency measure, Fandom staff can also remove the rights of users and/or block the accounts globally if there is an imminent risk of disruption should the rights continue to be present.

Give new editors in your community some slack, and consider that they might not be up to date on the latest standards and expectations. Ultimately, many editors that seem disruptive at first go on to become productive editors. Community members can also come to a consensus that a user should not be editing specific topic areas and impose temporary or partial blocks or bans in response to disruption.

See also[]

Further help and feedback[]


  1. Some templates have guidelines that are not obvious. The instructions for the template should be clearly understandable, and in a place where they can easily be found. Guidelines on categories should be in the main rules for the community.
  2. This type of disruptive editing is not always a blockable offense. Simply correct them and explain on their talk page how to use formatting.
  3. Some info is not as easy/obvious to find/understand and needs a source/link for it. Other info is more obvious and doesn't require sources.
  4. Lead sentences are the title sentences that introduce what the article is about. For example, "Alice Smith is a main character in The Show"