An edit war occurs when editors disagree with an aspect of an article and repeatedly override each other's contributions, rather than try to resolve the disagreement by discussion.
There are usually two stages to an edit war. In simplest form, these essentially mirror any forma of internet or indeed face-to-face argument.
- Disagreement - the initial conflict arises but hasn't escalated further.
- Edit-war - the conflict has become 'violent' as users attempt to defend their side.
- Why is edit-warring intolerable?
Edit warring is unconstructive and creates animosity between editors, making it harder to reach a consensus as to the right way to improve the wiki. It is an unprofessional and uncivilised way of dealing with disagreements and shows lack of both discussion and cooperation as a community.
- When is edit-warring edit-warring?
Situations will inevitably arise where editors have differing views about some aspect of a page's content. When this happens, editors are strongly encouraged to engage in civil discussion to reach a consensus, and not to try to force their own position by combative editing (making edits they know will be opposed) and repeated reverting.
Not every potentially controversial edit, and not every revert, is deprecated as edit warring. Generally speaking, reverting an edit with sufficient, valid evidence is the quickest and best way to deal with the situation and isn't edit-warring.
Reverting an edit 'just because you think (x)' is edit warring. Persistent reversions are unacceptable.
- How should this be dealt with?
We assume good faith regardless of the situation. As such, a moderator will revert any reversions to the original state unless valid evidence has been supplied in the meantime. After this, the moderator should make it clear that the disagreement should be taken to the article talk page or user talk page. Once the disagreement has been resolved, only then should the necessary edits be made. Until then, the article should remain in its previous state to avoid potential confusion.
If users continue to edit war without taking up discussion, the general solution to this kind of edit war is by locking the article for a period of time. Usually, two weeks is enough time to give users chance to discuss. Admins are not forbidden from editing articles they've locked to prevent edit warring, but any edits to that article should be accompanied by either a talk page discussion or at least a detailed and thorough edit summary.