See also: Text | Art | Communication

Graffiti was a form of written expression in public places, most recently heavily influenced by the gang and hip-hop sub-cultures of the early 1980s. People would write or spraypaint their name, pseudodym or graphics on buildings or bridges to signal to the rest of the community that they had been to that spot. Eventually it became more competitive, where different artists would make more and more elaborate and decorated pieces to stand out from the rest. The better the graffiti the more street cred the artist receives.

It quickly became considered a new form of urban art. There are many published books with photos of good graffiti. Many still see graffiti as a form of vandalism linked to youth culture, however. Often the identity of the people painting remains unknown to mainstream society while hardcore enthusiasts can recognise any number of techniques, styles and tags.

With the advent of the internet, the term graffiti has been negatively applied to illegal web site defacements by spammers, hackers/crackers, moles and trolls. In the case of wikis, graffiti covers words or information added that is not germane to a topic (usually expletives or playful nonsense). Graffiti is usually removed by regular wiki editors who see which pages have been altered and return them to their original state.

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