Help:Reverting

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To revert is to undo all changes made to an article page after a specific time in the past. The result will be that the page becomes identical in content to the page saved at that time.

To revert a page to an earlier version:

  • Go to the page you wish to revert, and click on the History tab at the top of the page. Then click on the time and date of the earlier version you intend to revert to. It will not work if you click on 'cur', 'last', or "Compare selected versions".
  • When the page displays, text similar to this: (Revision as of 23:19 Jul 15, 2003), will display at the top of the page. It appears below the page's title, in place of the From {project name} which usually appears.
  • Verify that you've selected the desired former version of the page, then click a link to edit the page as you would normally.
  • You'll get a prominent warning, displayed above the edit box, about editing an out-of-date revision.
  • Ignore this warning and save the page. Be sure to add the word "revert" to the edit summary.

A partial revert is accomplished either by an ordinary edit of the current version, or by editing an old version. The former is convenient, for example, for a partial reversion of a recent addition, while the latter is convenient for a partial reversion of a deletion.

Dos

  • Reverting is a decision which should be taken seriously.
  • Reverting is used primarily for fighting vandalism.
  • If you are not sure whether a revert is appropriate, discuss it first rather than immediately reverting or deleting it.
  • If you feel the edit is unsatisfactory, improve it rather than simply reverting or deleting it.

Donts

  • 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.
  • Do not revert good faith edits. In other words, try to consider the editor "on the other end." If what one is attempting is a positive contribution to WikiLou, a revert of those contributions is inappropriate. Try to improve the edit, and offer the editor some tips for future edits.
  • Generally there are misconceptions that problematic sections of an article or recent changes are the reasons for reverting or deletion. If they contain valid information, these texts should simply be edited and improved accordingly. Reverting is not a decision which should be taken lightly.
  • Do not revert changes simply because someone makes an edit you consider problematic, biased, or inaccurate. Improve the edit, rather than reverting it.

Revert Wars Are Harmful

Revert wars are usually 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, especially to new editors: "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, and flood recent changes and watchlists

Editors are discouraged to revert because there is disagreement, or the edit is bad or problematic. Users are encourage to explore alternate methods like raising the objections on a talk page

Explain Reverts

When a revert is necessary, it is very important is to let people know why you reverted. This helps the reverted person because they can remake their edit, and address whatever problem it is that you've identified.

Explaining reverts also helps other people. For example, it lets people know whether they need to even view the reverted version (in the case of, eg, "revert page blanking"). Because of the lack of non-verbal communication online, if you don't explain things clearly people will probably assume all kinds of nasty things, and that's one of the possible causes for edit wars.

If your reasons for reverting are too complex to explain in the edit summary, drop a note on the Talk page. A nice thing to do is to drop the note on the Talk page first, and then revert, rather than the other way round. Sometimes the other person will agree with you and revert for you 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 your user talk page.


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