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No two people are alike, and the same foes for wiki contributors. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Wiki has been cultivated by a wide range of individual contributors who come from a wide range of backgrounds and temperaments. Despite any differences we may have, we all share the same desire: to make the best possible historical resource of information for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. To ensure a successful wiki, we need to work in collaboration to make sure that we maintain a healthy relationship.

Like any relationship, a key component of that is communication; it's also important to lay the ground rules on what to do when editors fail to work together amicably, and how to deal with vandalism, refusal to adhere to wiki policy, and blocking users from editing.

Vandalism

Vandalism is an addition, deletion, or change to content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Wiki's integrity. The most common types of vandalism are replacing text with obscenities, blanking pages, or adding nonsense.

Any good faith effort to improve the wiki, even if it's misguided or incorrect, is not vandalism. However, established editors and admins should be vigilant of subversive users who build trust over time in order to undermine the wiki's credibility. This is more common on Wikipedia, but can be tough to spot on a smaller wiki, so approaching suspects should be handled with care.

Vandalizing pages is a violation of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade policy. Wikipedia's policy is to give vandals three warnings, and then block them for a short period of time. We do things differently here, because Wikipedia has 26,000 active contributors, and they can afford to spend time chasing after vandals. We're a niche wiki, with a dedicated but small team of contributors, and we don't have the time or the patience to play whack-a-mole with the vandals.

Fix vandalism

When you see that a page has been vandalized, please revert the page to the previous version. Reverting the vandalism quickly helps to protect the wiki, and it sends a message to the vandal that his or her efforts have been wasted.

  • Click the history tag on the page, and you'll see a list of all of the previous versions of the page.
  • You can see any version by clicking on the date. Click on the most recent version before the vandalism.
  • Click on "edit", and you'll see a regular edit page, plus a warning that says that you're editing an out-of-date revision of the page.
  • Hit save, and the unvandalized version will become the current version of the page again.

It can also be helpful to click on the vandal's IP address or username to see their contribution history. They may have vandalized other pages, too, and you can revert those.

Don't tease the vandals

Vandalism is irritating, especially when you can tell that it's the same vandal who's come back more than once. Please resist the urge to let the vandal know how annoyed you are. Don't write anything in the edit summary except "vandalism", and don't post anything on the contributor's talk page.

Vandals are looking for two different kinds of satisfaction: the pleasure of defacing our work, and the pleasure of watching us get angry about it. When you revert the vandalism and ignore the vandal, you take all the pleasure away; the vandal will get bored and move on to crushing bugs with rocks or whatever else they enjoy.

Blocking

We, the admins, run the wiki in our spare time as a hobby. We take our work quite seriously, and we strive to protect the integrity of our content with a firm hand. We're also here to enjoy ourselves and share our love for the Parade's history. We hope to work harmoniously with a community who's willing to follow the established rules and help make the wiki a better resource for everyone. Us admins, as well many other fellow contributors, are always more than happy to assist helpful editors in becoming better contributors, but we're not in the business of allowing unhelpful editors to run rampant; we have better things to do.

The wiki has been around for over a decade, and we've gotten very good at identifying signs of an individual who's not willing to be a part of the team. These cases often lead to being uninvited to the party to make room for those who are productive members.

Basic principles

  • Nobody said collaborative writing was easy. More people = more problems, but opening up the wiki for anyone to edit; more people = exponentially more information.
  • Every new contributor is a potential new friend, and we should treat them that way, and with respect, as much as possible. With some exceptions, we should assume that everyone who edits the wiki is trying to help.
  • Nobody likes spam. We're frustrated by the returning vandals, and want to get rid of them as efficiently (and calmly) as possible. We don't want to "give people chances" when we know who they are, and they're just wasting our time and energy.
  • The biggest reason that people don't contribute to wikis is that they're afraid they'll mess something up or make a mistake. Everyone who actually clicks the edit button for the first time is taking a leap of faith.

People who contribute for the first time don't know our rules and formats, and we shouldn't expect them to. If they stick around, we can teach them how things work.

Situations

  • Returning vandal — Someone we've seen before, an obsessive kid who keeps doing the same dumb things over and over.
    • Immediate block, and revert all edits. If someone's used the same IP address for multiple accounts, we can block the IP address. (If you're not an admin: revert all edits, and let an admin know.) IP blocking is slightly less effective given the rise of dynamic IPs and the widespread use of VPNs, but it's an option.
  • New vandal — Someone we haven't seen before. Does something obviously terrible, like fill the page with curses.
    • Immediate block, and revert all edits.
  • New helpless mistake — Does something pretty bad, like blank a page or screw up headings, which could be vandalism or could be a helpless newbie mistake.
    • Revert. Leave a message on their Message Wall telling them that you reverted the edit, and asking if you can help them figure out how to edit the wiki. If they don't respond and do it again: block.
  • Adding fake content — Intentional or not, rumors run rampant in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade community. As a result, we often see pages of balloon or floats that have yet to be confirmed by Macy's themselves. The creation of these articles can be either vandalism or a helpless mistake.
    • Delete the page. Leave a message on their Message Wall telling them that you deleted the page, and ask them to not add any unconfirmed Parade units. If they don't respond and do it again: block.
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