Vandalism is to Lostpedia, like virtually any website or board on the net, an ever-present problem. However, safeguards are in place--Lostpedia is a wiki, and edits need never be permanent, however big or small. Users should never feel too panicked or shocked when there is a troll on the site, as their edits can be quickly reversed and they themselves quickly banned.
If you just want to revert the last edit of something that doesn't belong, or simple one-page vandalism that is new, the process for reversion is as follows:
- Click the page's history tab
- Click the date link of the edit immediately preceding the vandal's edit (this will display the last appearance before vandalism occurred)
- Click the edit tab; the line WARNING: You are editing an out-of-date revision of this page. If you save it, any changes made since this revision will be lost. will be seen at the top
- Click save without making any edits, and in the summary field, type "reverting vandalism" or "rv" for short.
Generally, this method is much prefered over manual editing (trying to seek the exact words that were changed, and editing them back in by hand). Manual edits are tedious and can leave behind small bits of vandalism, which are harder to sort from proper edits later. If the edit is old and just a silly one-line joke that causes no real offense, you could simply remove the information, but always check the page history diff field to see what exactly the vandal changed first (keep in mind that when you revert to an out-of-date version, all edits after that are reverted, including good ones). Another useful tool to quickly ascertain what articles a vandal has affected is to hit the contribs link next to their name in Recent changes history.
In the case of reverting text due to disagreement (not obvious vandalism), we do not encourage back-and-forth "edit wars" here. If there is a point of controversy between two or more editors, use the talk page of the article (or one another's user talk pages) to try and resolve issues or come to a consensus/compromise first.
People often take the most offense when a vandal uploads inappropriate images. This can actually be easily reversed by clicking on the image and finding rev next to the last good version of the image. This will revert the picture to the appropriate one.
Please note it takes a few minutes for your browser to re-adjust to the image change, so if you revert an image and find its still there, odds are you’ve done nothing wrong, its your computer that’s simply being slow. You may also want to try clearing your browser's cache.
If the vandalism is on multiple pages and more serious in nature, you should report the incidents to a SysOp immediately (via their user talk page or in IRC Chat), and on the whole let them deal with the reverts and delivering punishments or warnings. SysOps have the option of banning users, and rolling back vandalism with a single click, which stops the cycle very quickly and efficiently.
Whilst many users do try to help by reverting edits after a vandal attack, a common misconception is that you should engage in trying to revert vandal edits whilst the vandal is still on the site. This actually causes even more of a problem as it clogs the Recent changes list on the site with simple revert wars between yourself and the vandal. Although it seems like being helpless, the best thing for you to do is simply wait until either the vandal leaves, or a SysOp arrives and blocks the user. This method is much more productive and also denies the vandal attention, which encourages them to leave. It also makes automatic reversion of any mass vandalism with the SysOps' rollback tool much easier, because manual attempts at reversion need not be individually examined.
If you feel the vandalism is so extensive that something should be done immediately, then it’s a good idea to just focus on areas of importance. For instance, you could perhaps revert edits on our most important and popular articles, as well as revert changes to images which is a simple task of clicking a button. You can always leave changes to an obscure guest star whose page is rarely visited for a SysOp to clean up.
What to do if a vandal tries to provoke you
One should always remember to take the words of a troll with a pinch of salt. Whilst being angered by a statement they might target at you and feeling like you want to retaliate, just remember how pathetic this person’s life must be. When you consider this, you realise that there is absolutely no point giving them any kind of affirmation. At Lostpedia, we encourage you to ignore trolls completely, even if they leave personal attacks on your talk page. Simply place a calm message in a SysOp talk page requesting their ban and leave it at that. Should you find yourself very annoyed, just log out and take a breather (the beauty of the internet is that you can walk away from the virtual reality whenever you choose).
Should you have any more questions about what to do in the instance of vandalism, feel free to post questions in the discussion section of this article, or contact a SysOp / fellow editor.