Wikipedia:BRD misuse

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There are at least two types of editors exhibiting behaviors that misuse the BOLD, revert, discuss cycle (WP:BRD):

  • an edit (or revert) ninja
  • a filibusterer.

If the advice suggested doesn't work then unfortunately there's nothing you can do other than to let them win, at least temporarily, until you seek outside community support elsewhere.

Edit ninjas

Try to stay in the top three sections of this hierarchy. See also: Wikipedia:Dispute resolution.

You are editing an article quietly to yourself, sipping a cup of tea. Suddenly, WHOOSH, out of nowhere, you're reverted. You made sure to put in an edit summary, you make a note on the talkpage as to why you made the edit and ask the person to discuss the edit. You revert the person who reverted you, with an edit summary that includes a link to the talkpage discussion. WHOOSH, out of nowhere, another person or possibly the same person reverts you again. You send notes on both their talkpages, asking them to discuss their reverts, but they are nowhere to be found. You make a third revert, and again, the same thing happens! Frustrated, you look at the users' contributions and see that since reverting you, they've done the same thing on several articles!

Suddenly, several more ninjas come by – ZING! ZAP! POW! – they each make a sudden objectionable string of edits to the article all at once and there's apparently nothing you can do!

The edit ninja viewing his watchlist. Don't expect him to say anything.

The ninja is an accurate but polite description, useful in place of more antagonistic terms which can be regarded as epithets. Edit ninjas are users who move from article-to-article, making edits, often in violation of WP:NPOV and they are often successful by working together in clans. They are silent, but deadly. Like real ninjas they combine astounding accuracy, cunning, and skill with senseless and pointless destruction and mayhem. The ninja and edit ninja both act like machines instead of real human beings. Recognizing and respecting each other, they act like a cabal. If you edit-war with them, you are more than likely going to be blocked, in accord with a misuse and misinterpretation of WP:3RR.

The key to dealing with an edit ninja is to force them to discuss their edits. Call them out for being edit ninjas and let them know about WP:BRD. You may not make one bold edit after another or a series of reverts without attempting to discuss why you did that.

Related to the ninja is the editor who flies in with "I'm reverting you per BRD" but then doesn't discuss the reasons for reverting or address prior discussion of the material that they reverted. They don't cultivate the anonymity of the ninja, and are more obstructive than destructive. They probably think of themselves as staunch defenders of Wikipedia. They need to understand that the point of BRD is not the R but the D. "The first person to start a discussion is the person who is best following BRD."


Filibusterers (who engage in "filibustering" or "stonewalling") abuse WP:BRD in the exact opposite of an edit-ninja, but just as annoying, if not more.

Rather than making a string of silent edits to articles, filibusterers will do the exact opposite: They will make edits, possibly bold and usually contentious, to a single article. Once they are reverted, they will write a ten-page essay on the talkpage. A person will respond to them with a few sentences and they will reply, "But you didn't respond to my points!" You ask what points they want you to respond to and they say, "All of them!" So, you go through with the tedious task of responding to every single trivial point they make and click save page.

Five minutes later, you look at the talkpage to see another ten-page essay. Again, the cycle continues. You respond in a few sentences and perhaps the person themselves even responds in a few sentences, but the conversation goes on and on and on, in such a way that it's clear that it's more of an intellectual game, like a staring contest, to see who will give up first, rather than an actual rational, meaningful discussion.

So, you revert the person, and they revert you too, with edit summaries containing, "There's no consensus! Stop edit-warring, I declare! See the talkpage!"

The key to dealing with a filibusterer is to point out that they're filibustering and to ignore them. If they continue reverting, put in an RfC or report them for edit-warring on WP:ANEW. You may not abuse BRD to force users to engage in overwhelmingly unnecessary discussion.

See also

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