Wikipedia:Avoid the word "vandal"

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One problem newcomers and inexperienced editors have on Wikipedia, is using popular terms in a wider variety of circumstances than is appropriate. One such word is "vandal".

Is affixing artistic stickers to telephone poles vandalism or creative street art?

According to Wikipedia:Vandalism, vandalism is "any addition, removal, or change of content made in a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of Wikipedia." This definition is excessively broad, even for the purposes of broad policy coverage. It goes on to restrict what constitutes "vandalism", however, saying emphatically that "any good-faith effort to improve the encyclopedia, even if misguided or ill-considered, is not vandalism."

Note that the definition does not mention:

As a result, the word "vandal" should not be used in reference to any contributor in good standing or to any edits that can arguably be construed as good-faithed.

Non-vandalism disruption may also occur. Instead of calling a person committing such disruption a "vandal", you are better off discussing his or her specific edits with him or her. Comment on the content and substance of his or her edits or arguments, not his or her person.

See also

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