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Wikipedia: The Missing Manual by John Broughton

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Reviewing Content Changes: A General Plan of Action

If you’re an experienced Wikipedia editor, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you shouldn’t do when editing, and you can identify problems in others’ edits without going through a step-by-step review. While you’re still gaining experience, however, a systematic approach is a good way to figure out what not to do yourself, what you should revert and what you shouldn’t, and how to handle edits by others that aren’t bad enough to revert but aren’t good enough to stay as is.

The approach laid out in the following sections will help you improve articles and reduce the number of content disputes you’re in. For example, policy violations come first, since they’re easy to define and no one disputes the need to revert them. Then you’ll turn to more subtle points like sourcing and wording.

Policy Violations

If you see any of the following, revert them (Reverting Edits), and cite the applicable policy in your edit summary:

  • Simple and obvious vandalism (WP:VAND); for more information, see Chapter 7.

  • Linkspam (WP:SPAM); see Chapter 7.

  • Copyright violations (WP:COPYVIO); see Possible responses.

  • Unsourced or poorly sourced controversial material about living persons (WP:BLP); see ???.

  • Privacy violations (WP:BLP); ???.

Proper Weight and Balance

Most editors probably think of the policy Wikipedia:Neutral point of view (shortcut: WP:NPOV) as being about wording. For example, the following text wouldn’t pass the POV test, since it’s hopelessly biased ...

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