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Reverting is the ability to return a page to its previous state. MediaWiki stores all revisions of a page, which can be viewed through the page history. As such, reverting an edit is a trivial matter.
However, you should always explain why you are reverting an article and preferably contact the user whose edits you are reverting. Not only does this help build community, but also reduces conflicts: Reverting without explanation can be interpreted as a very hostile action. If the reasons for reverting are multiple, you can always explain them on the talk page and link to it in the edit summary.
Note that revert wars, where one or more editors keep reverting each other's edits repeatedly, should be avoided. High frequency edits clutter up the page history, make it difficult or even impossible for others to contribute and floods recent changes, followed pages and Wiki Activity. If you feel a revert war might be brewing, assume good faith and reach out to the user(s) in question using the article talk page or their user talk page to discuss improvements to the article and try to find consensus.
How to revert
If you decide that you need to revert a page, there are multiple options available:
One edit reversion
If you would like to undo just one edit you simply need to:
- Go to the history of the page.
- Click on the "Undo" link located next to the edit summary.
- This will display an edit box showing you the difference between page versions.
- To complete the revert, enter an edit summary and save the page.
Multi edit reversion
Through the page history, you can also revert multiple edits.
- Go to the history of the page.
- Click on the time and date of the earlier version you want to revert to.
- This will display that specific revision, along with a notification below the page's title that you're viewing a "Revision as of ...)" below the title.
- Once you're sure you have the revision you need, simply click on "Edit" as normal.
- The edit box will have a notice about editing an out-of-date revision. When reverting, this is exactly what you want.
- Simply save the page to complete the revert. It's good practice to mention that you're reverting the page in the edit summary. Some wikis may also practice noting the timestamp of the revision you're reverting to, to help keep track of changes to the page.
- Note: in the case of vandalism, take the time to make sure that you are reverting to the last version without the vandalism; there may be multiple vandal edits.
Administrators, Content Moderators and users with rollback rights have an extra "rollback" link available to them on the history, diff and user contribution pages. This is an automated version of the standard Undo option, which will revert all consecutive edits by the most recent user, back to the last edit by a different user.
The process is simple: Simply click on the rollback link and the article will automatically revert to the last edit not authored by the user concerned. An edit summary will be automatically added noting the rollback and the edit will be marked as minor.
It goes without saying that this should only be used for reverting vandalism. It should never be used to revert an edit that you simply disagree with: Using rollback is an implicit suggestion of bad faith.
Rollback can fail in two cases:
- If another user edits the page in the meantime, the message "Rollback failed" will show. You will have to manually revert the changes (if they're still present).
- If the page has been created by the user whose edits you're creating and nobody edits it in the meantime. Clicking the rollback link will display the message "Cannot revert edit; last contributor is only author of this article". You'll have to either delete the page or rewrite it.
How to hide flood edits from RecentChanges?
A "flood" occurs when a vandal makes multiple edits to many pages in a short amount of time, usually in an attempt to make the recent changes page unusable. In these cases, admins can choose to hide vandalism from recent changes. To do this, add ?bot=1 (or &bot=1 if the URL already has a question mark in it) to the end of the URL used to access a user's contributions.
- For example, https://community.fandom.com/wiki/Special:Contributions/SomePersistentVandal?bot=1. When the rollback links on the contributions list are clicked, the revert and the original edit that you are reverting will both be hidden from the default recent changes display.
This means that they will be hidden unless you click the "show bots" link on the Recent changes page (to set hidebots=0). The edits are not hidden from contributions lists, page histories, or followed pages, and will remain in the database and are not removed, but they no longer flood recent changes.
The aim of this feature is to reduce the annoyance factor of a flood vandal with relatively little effort. This should not be used for reverting a change you just don't like, but is meant only for massive floods of simple vandalism.
- Vandalism and spam
- Page protection
- Wikipedia's instructions on reverting
- Wikipedia's three revert guideline
- Dealing with vandal bots