Wikipedia:Gaming the system
|This page documents an English Wikipedia |
consensus. When in doubt, discuss first on the talk page.
|This page in a nutshell: Playing games with policies and guidelines to avoid the spirit of consensus, or thwart the intent and spirit of the policy, is strictly forbidden.|
If an editor finds a
The meaning of "gaming the system"
An editor gaming the system is seeking to use
Gaming the system may include:
- Wikilawyering, pettifogging, and otherwise using the letter of policy to violate the broader principles of the policy.
- Filibustering the consensus-building process by reverting another editor for minor errors, or sticking to a viewpoint that the community has clearly rejected.
- Attempting to twist Wikipedia sanctions or processes to harass other editors.
In each case, willfulness or knowing is important. Misuse of policy, guidelines or practice is not gaming if it is based upon a genuine mistake. But it may well be, if it is deliberate, where the editor continues to game policy even when it is clear there is no way they can reasonably claim to be unaware.
Actions that game the system may also overlap with other policies:
- Misusing Wikipedia processes in order to be intentionally invidious towards another editor, prove a point, or muddy the water in a dispute, can also be a form of gaming. However it is more often categorized as using Wikipedia to prove a point or abuse of process.
- Using policies and guidelines to build (or push) a patently false case that some editor is editing in bad faith, with the "evidence" for this itself being an obviously unreasonable bad-faith interpretation of that person's action. This is more often categorized as a breach of the guideline to civility.
- If gaming is also knowingly used as a basis to impugn another editor or to mischaracterize them as bad-faith editors, then this may also violate the policy of no personal attacks.
Disruption of any kind merits being warned (or
There are several types of gaming the system. The essence of gaming is the willful and knowing misuse of policies or processes. The following is an (incomplete) list of examples. Actions that are similar to the below, where there is no evidence of intent to act improperly, are usually not considered gaming.
Gaming the use of policies and guidelines
- Bad-faith wikilawyering– arguing the word of policy to defeat the principles of policy.
- Example: Posting a neutral notice that does not violate the policy on canvassing, while using a different set of notifications to lure a partisan audience to view that neutral notice.
- Playing policies against each other.
- Example: Saying you refuse to remove content that violates Wikipedia is not censored".
- Example: Telling another user that by reverting your Vandalism is a listed exception to the 3-revert rule.)
- Example: Saying you refuse to remove content that violates
- Selectively "cherry-picking" wording from a policy (or cherry-picking one policy to apply, but willfully ignoring others) to support a view which does not in fact match or comply with policy.
- Example: Adding content that is restricted under the policy on what Wikipedia is not, while cherry-picking the words that "Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia" to evade those restrictions.
- Spuriously and knowingly claiming protection, justification, or support under the words of a policy, for a viewpoint or stance which actually contradicts policy.
- Example: Saying that content meets reliable, or the content twists the source's point of view. (.)
- Example: Saying that content meets
- Attempting to force an untoward interpretation of policy, or impose one's own novel view of "standards to apply" rather than those of the community.
- Example: Presenting a Wikipedia essay that was written by a single editor as though it were a consensus policy.
Gaming the consensus-building process
- Stonewalling or filibustering – repeatedly pushing a viewpoint with which the consensus of the community clearly does not agree, effectively preventing a policy-based resolution.
- Example: An editor refuses to accept a change unless some condition is complied with, but it is not a condition that has any basis in Wikipedia policies or guidelines.
- Example: Editors reach a consensus, except one (or a tagteam) insisting that the change sought violates some policy or other principle, in a way they cannot clearly demonstrate.
- Example: An editor refuses to accept a change unless some condition is complied with, but it is not a condition that has any basis in
- Bad-faith negotiating – Luring other editors into a compromise by making a concession, only to withhold that concession after the other side has compromised.
- Example: An editor negotiates a consensus to remove well-verified materialfrom one article, because it is already covered in a second article. Afterward, the editor deletes the material from the second article.
- Example: Editors reach a consensus. The author of the final agreed text is supposed to post it, but never does. Weeks later, a second editor tires of waiting and posts a modified version, which the first editor immediately reverts.
- Example: An editor withholds agreement to a change unless additional, more satisfactory sources are provided, but declares all the new sourcing to be unsatisfactory despite the citation work clearly fulfilling the core content policies.
- Example: An editor negotiates a consensus to remove
- Removing a large addition for a minor error. If the error is minor, then Perfection is not required, and Wikipedia is built through incremental improvement.
- Example: An editor adds a paragraph of verifiable information, but it is removed entirely because of a typographical error that could easily be fixed.
- Example: An editor performs page-wide, uncontroversial copy editing and code cleanup, but another editor thinks some ostensibly minor changes subtly altered the meaning of two sentences, and so reverts several hours of work instead of just the two disputed changes.
- Example: An editor adds a paragraph of
- Employing destabilizea discussion by sowing doubt and discord.
- Examples: Denying that you prevaricating about the obvious meaning of a claim, or refusing to concedewhen your position has been disproved or rejected by consensus.
- Examples: Denying that you
Gaming of article titles, review processes, and deletion processes
- Using different or variant forms or spellings of an article title.
- Example: Submitting multiple drafts with almost the same title to Articles for Creation, such as Draft:Ralph Zwogli, Draft:Ralph A. Zwogli, and Draft:Ralph Zwogli (businessman)
- Example: Submitting a draft or article with almost the same title as a recently deleted article
- Example: Submitting multiple drafts with almost the same title to
- Use of conflict of interest.
- Example: Submitting a autobiography.
- Example: Submitting a
- Gaming the Articles for Creationprocess.
- Example: Removing the record of previous reviews (which says not to remove it) and resubmitting a draft.
- Example: Resubmitting a draft that has been rejected by removing the rejection rather than discussing it with the reviewer.
Gaming of sanctions for disruptive behavior
- Mischaracterizing other editors' actions to make them seem unreasonable, improper, or deserving of sanction.
- Example: Refusing to provide a proper verifyyour claim, and accusing the editor of being disruptive for making repeated requests. Citations should be accurate so that other editors may verify them.
- Example: Refusing to provide a proper
- "Walking back" a personal attackto make it seem less hostile than it was, rather than apologizing.
- Example: An editor responds to a disagreement by saying, "You're obviously wrong, wrong, wrong. Did you even pass 9th-grade history?" Later, they defend this statement as a good-faith question about the other editor's education.
- "Borderlining" – habitually treading the edge of policy breach or engaging in low-grade policy breach, to make it hard to prove misconduct.
- Example: An editor never violates the three-revert rule, but takes several months to repeatedly push the same edits over the objections of multiple editors.
- Example: An editor never violates the
- Retribution: Deliberately reverting an editor's edits in one article in retaliation for a dispute in another.
- Example: Editor A reverts an edit made by Editor B because it did not adhere to a neutral point of view and they did not provide a reliable source. Editor B starts a discussion on the talk page in which Editor A participates, but the discussion fails to generate consensus. Later on, Editor B reverts a well-sourced, neutral addition that Editor A made, saying it did not comply with the Manual of Style.
- Playing victim: Violating a rule and at the same time claiming that others are in violation of the same or a closely related rule. Also known as hypocrisy.
- Example: Editor A posts uncivil comments while at the same time accusing Editor B of uncivil behavior, demanding sanctions and citing policies that Editor A clearly violates.
Gaming of permissions
- Making unconstructive edits to raise one's user access level.
- Example: A new editor makes 10 movesa promotional draft to article space or otherwise edits disruptively/vandalizes articles.
- Example: An editor makes many unconstructive edits in a extended confirmed protectedarticles.
- Example: A new editor makes 10
Various levels of intent
Use of the term "gaming the system" should be done with caution, as it can be interpreted as an
Abuse of process
What is "intent", consciously or otherwise, and what actually is "good"-enough-"faith" must also be clearly defined. Only then, the definers's power and status position must also be openly noted when making such any determinations. The common assumptions that what is claimed as "communally agreed" must include more than a select group, and thus is also a questionable number, perhaps unverifiable, and even if is said to be any legitimate majority of contributors – like those who were recently allowed to write on Wikipedia. Vague words of idealistic concepts are dangerous and may be misleading from what is then experienced in actuality when reading or writing on Wikipedia.
- Gaming the system
- Unclean hands
- Wikipedia:Consensus § Forum shopping (policy on seeking out a supportive forum)
- WP:Civil POV pushing
- Wikipedia:Disruptive editing (guideline)
- Wikipedia:Do not disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point (guideline)
- Wikipedia:Don't stuff beans up your nose (humorous essay)
- Wikipedia:Griefing (essay)
- Wikipedia:Maldoror's Conjecture (essay)
- Wikipedia:Not here to build an encyclopedia(policy supplement)
- Wikipedia:Policy shopping (essay)
- Wikipedia:POV railroad (essay)
- Wikipedia:Tag team (essay)
- Wikipedia:Too long; didn't read (essay)