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Rollback is a component of the MediaWiki software that runs WikiSwire. It allows the last user's edits on a given page to be undone with a single mouse click.

An administrator sees a rollback button next to relevant revisions on their watchlist, in page histories and in certain other places. A single click on this button reverses the edit in question, as well any other consecutive preceding edits made by the same user.

How it works

Administrators have extra "rollback" links next to revisions on the recent changes page and page histories.

Clicking one of these links restores the page to the most recent revision that is not made by the revision's author. This appears in the page history with a generic summary that looks like this:

m Reverted edits by User A (talk) to last version by User B

A link to the reverted user's contribution history is provided, so that it may be easily checked for further problematic edits. It does not appear if you are reverting contributions done by a user whose username has been removed, the result being:

m Reverted edits by (username removed) to last version by User B

Note the following:

  • The rollback button appears only next to the most recent revision of a page.
  • If the page is edited again before you click the rollback link, you will get an error message instead.
  • You cannot choose which revision will be restored. It is always the last revision not made by the author of the most recent revision. This revision may be problematic too, so be careful.
  • If there are multiple consecutive edits to the page by the same author, they will all be reverted. To remove only some of them, you must revert the changes manually.
  • You cannot use rollback on a page which has only been edited by one person, as there would be nothing to revert to.
  • You cannot use rollback to restore a revision that has been deleted. Attempting to do so will display an error message.
  • Rollback happens immediately; there is no confirmation or preview (although a page is displayed allowing you to see the changes you have made).
  • Rollbacks are automatically marked as a "minor edit".

When to use rollback

Standard rollback is a fast way of undoing problematic edits, but it has the disadvantage that only a generic edit summary is generated, with no explanation of the reason for the change. For this reason, it is considered inappropriate to use it in situations where an explanatory edit summary would normally be expected. Rollback may be used:

  • To revert obvious vandalism and other edits where the reason for reverting is absolutely clear
  • To revert edits in your own user space
  • To revert edits that you have made (for example, edits that you accidentally made)
  • To revert edits by banned users who are not allowed to edit (but be prepared to explain this use of rollback when asked to)
  • To revert widespread edits (by a misguided editor or malfunctioning bot) which are judged to be unhelpful to the encyclopedia, provided that an explanation is supplied in an appropriate location, such as at the relevant talk page.

Use of standard rollback for any other purposes – such as reverting good-faith changes which you happen to disagree with – is likely to be considered misuse of the tool. When in doubt, use another method of reversion and supply an edit summary to explain your reasoning.