Help:Reverting

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Edit review process

Reverting an edit will undo all changes made to a page after a specific revision in the page history. The result is that the page becomes identical in content to the page saved at that time.

A partial revert is accomplished by an edit of the current version, by editing and saving an old version, or by using the undo feature.

When to revert

Reverting is a decision which should be taken seriously, and is used primarily to fight vandalism. If you are not sure whether a revert is appropriate, discuss it with another editor first rather than immediately reverting or deleting it.

If you feel an edit to a page is unsatisfactory, but not vandalism, you should improve the edit rather than simply reverting or deleting it.

Do not revert

Reverting is not a decision which should be taken lightly. There are many situations in which you should not revert edits:

  • Do not simply revert changes that are made as part of a dispute.
Be respectful to other editors, their contributions and their points of view. However, if the changes made to the article breach the Ballotpedia point of view policy, then they must be removed or altered.
  • Do not revert good faith edits.
If what another editor was attempting was a positive contribution to Ballotpedia, a revert of those contributions is inappropriate unless you as an editor possess firm, substantive, and objective proof to the contrary. Mere disagreement does not constitute proof.
  • If there are problematic sections or recent changes to an article, which contain some valid and useful information, these areas should simply be edited and improved accordingly.

Sometimes there are issues determining whether a part of an article is true or useful, particularly when there are few people who are knowledgeable about that topic. In such a case, it is a good idea to raise objections or questions on the article's talk page. If you have reason to believe that the author of what appears to be biased material will not be persuaded to change it, you can transfer the text in question to the talk page itself, thus not deleting it entirely, but removing it from the published article. This action should be taken as a last resort, and never used as a way to punish people who have written something biased.

Revert wars

Revert wars are considered harmful for the following reasons:

  1. They disrespect the work of the contributor. Being reverted can feel a bit like a slap in the face: "I worked hard on those edits, and someone just rolled it all back"
  2. They cause ill-will between users and negatively destabilize articles
  3. They make the page history less useful and waste space in the database
  4. They make it hard for other people to contribute, flooding recent changes and watchlists

Editors are discouraged from reverting just because there is a disagreement, or the edit is bad or problematic. Users are encouraged to explore alternate methods, such as raising objections on a talk page, or modifying or expanding the edit to resolve issues.

How to revert

Follow the steps below to revert problematic edits:

  • While on the page which requires reverting, click on the "View history" tab at the top right of the page.
  • Once on the "View history" page, select the time and date of the earlier version that you want to revert.
  • The version of the page that you have selected will then load, and you will see a similar message to the following directly below the title: Revision as of 11:56, 24 March 2013 by Abqualls (Talk | contribs)
  • Review the loaded page and verify that you have selected the correct version.
  • Click the"Edit" tab at the top of the page, as you would normally.
Important: 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 consecutive vandal edits.
  • Once in the edit screen, you will see a warning above the edit box about editing an out-of-date revision.
  • After reviewing the page to ensure it is error-free, and all problematic edits have been removed, enter an edit summary. In the summary, be sure to add the word "revert" and a brief explanation for the reversion. A useful addition is to link the usernames associated with the versions you are reverting from and to. For example, a good edit summary would be: reverted edits by Abqualls to last version by BaileyL
  • Save the page by clicking the "Save page" button.
  • Click on "View history" again. A new line will have been added, and you will be able to verify that you removed the vandalism.

Please note:

  • You are responsible for re-entering all subsequent constructive edits which you may have removed.
  • In a vandalism case where sections of text were simply deleted and then subsequent edits were made by others, it may be easier for you to cut and paste those missing sections of text back in than to revert and re-do the edits.

Undo

Instead of removing all changes after a certain version, MediaWiki allows a single edit to be undone. To do this, visit the "View history" tab for the page in question, find the offending edit, and select "undo" at the end of the revision line. Undo reverts the edit and opens the edit form in preview mode. It allows adding a reason for the undo in the summary.

This feature removes the need to manually redo useful changes since the "undone" edit. However, it will fail if undoing the edit would conflict with later edits. For example, if edit 1,000 adds a paragraph and edit 1,005 modifies that paragraph, it will be impossible to automatically undo edit 1,000 without also undoing edit 1,005. In this case, you must determine how to resolve the problem manually

Rollback

The rollback option is only available for the most recent revision of a page. To access this feature, visit the "View history" tab for the page in question, and select "rollback" at the end of the first revision line.

Rollback reverts edits to the page of the last contributor in one click. This means that if a vandal made five consecutive edits to a page, and their most recent edit is the current version of the page, by clicking "rollback" you will undo all five of those edits. Unlike with "undo," you will not be given the option to enter an edit summary when you rollback an edit. Once clicked, all revisions will be removed, and the page will be automatically saved.

Explaining reverts

When a revert is necessary, it is very important to let people know why you reverted. This helps the editor who made the subsequently reverted edit, because they can choose to remake their edit while fixing the problem you have identified. It also helps other people, letting them know what was unacceptable about an edit so they can avoid it in their own work.

If your reasons for reverting are too complex to explain in the edit summary, place a note on the Talk page. It is preferable to place the note on the Talk page first, and then revert, rather than the other way round. Sometimes the other editor will agree with you and revert before you have a chance. Conversely, if someone reverts your change without apparent explanation, you may wish to wait a few minutes to see if they explain their actions on the article's talk page or on your user talk page.

See also