Perhaps the confusion here is the assumption that the
first time one adds
information to (or deletes information from) an article, it is not a
"revert", but the subsequent 3 additions (and deletions) are
Thus "3 reverts in 24 hours" can mean 1 edit, then 3 reverts to it.
Yes, technically a revert is a restoring of the article to a previous state. So a new
edit/addition does not count. The first edit if a deletion does count, unless it is a
novel deletion to a state that did not previously exist.
Of course complex edits are more difficult to judge, and if there is any question should
not count against the 3RR rule, they first should be objected to in specificity, an
attempt should even be made to move them to the talk page, for discussion of specific
objections. Further edits which look like good faith attempts to respond to specifically
articulated objections are also not reverts. If good faith attempts are being made and
objectors are still reverting or arguing that the 3RR rule is being violated, then it is
probably a case for page protection rather than banning under the 3RR rule.