Wikipedia:Alternatives to reversion

Wikipedia, based on MediaWiki software, allows for editors to revert the edits of themselves or other editors. This feature was installed to enable quick changes of mistakes. However, when things get contentious on Wikipedia, reverts may be taken as being offensive or even inappropriate. To avoid edit wars, some alternatives to reversion may be attempted.

Responding to an article revert by trying a different editEdit

The first thing to try is to make a totally different edit. Be careful with this technique. If your edit does substantively the same thing as a revert, it can still be counted as edit warring. However, if you can see a way to make a substantively different edit that deals with the problem, see if it works. If the edit sticks then the problem is solved!

Responding to an article revert with discussionEdit

As the Bold, revert, discuss cycle suggests, the first thing you should consider when you disagree with someone's revert of your edit is starting a conversation about it. Remember to give enough time for the other party to respond.

If the other party does not engage and NO ONE ELSE comments, you might consider reverting (Giving it a number of days is the best practice here). When you are the only one talking, Wikipedia culture tends to give you the higher ground. If the person silently reverts you back without responding to your discussion, dispute resolution is necessary. Getting other, more active editors involved is your best bet. Third opinion may be a good place, or one of the various noticeboards.

Dispute tags can be used to alert other Wikipedians to the existence of a discussion about a dispute. Common dispute tags include {{NPOV}}, {{NOR}}, and {{BLP}}.

Responding to a revert of a revert with embargoingEdit

Be very careful about this technique, but used appropriately it can defuse a situation. Suppose an editor has placed a borderline policy-violation in an article or talkpage (e.g. a biography of living people violation or a bit of non-neutral text). You remove the offending bits and begin to explain yourself on the talkpage. The editor or another editor returns and reverts your revert. This is the beginning of an edit war. What's an appropriate way to respond?

If you would like an alternative to doing nothing and reverting a second time, consider embargoing the text. This is done by placing the hidden-text symbols around the offending text. <!--Offending text goes between these symbols--> You should explain that the text is embargoed on the talk page and be abundantly clear that you want the discussion to continue about whether the text should be included or not. Sometimes, this technique works, but sometimes it does not. If an editor removes your embargo it is very poor form to revert the editor to get it back in.

Archive templates on talkpagesEdit

Archive templates such as {{hat}} and {{hab}} can be used in talk pages if you think that the discussion has veered off-course, is not useful, problematic, or in need of closure. Placing these archive templates around discussions can be taken as a provocative move by people who are hotly engaged in the dispute. As with embargoing, reverting the removal of archive templates is very poor form.

Archiving talkpagesEdit

Sometimes, archiving the entire conversation to one of the archives of a talkpage can be done if a totally fresh-start is needed. This is also a provocative move, so be very careful with trying it out.

See alsoEdit