FlaggedRevs (Flagged Revisions) is an extension of MediaWiki that allows one to flag versions of articles and thus give additional information about quality. This comes with the possibility of changing what an unregistered user sees by default. The technical description can be found at mw:Extension:FlaggedRevs. There are two main versions of flagged revisions: 'Classic Flagged Revisions', in the German Wikipedia style, and 'Pending Changes', in the English Wikipedia style. In the former, all articles are subject to flagged revisions and only users in the user group with the ability to review changes have their changes automatically reviewed, while in the later, only selected articles are subject to flagged revisions, with choice possible between allowing all autoconfirmed users to have their changes automatically reviewed or only 'reviewers', as such it is used as a form of page protection, with a policy governing its appropriate use.
Classic Flagged Revisions : German Wikipedia example
Here we will describe how the concept is used in the test on the German Wikipedia and what it is good for. First of all, there are two types of flags: Sighted and Quality. These come with two new user groups: An editor is able to flag versions as sighted, a reviewer is able to flag as quality.
Sighted means that an article has been looked at and does not contain vandalism. Quality means that a real content check has been done. Because the first check is not a big thing, any admin can give editor rights and there is an automatic process for giving this right. Currently, if you have edited for two months and did 200 edits in the main namespace, then you can get the editor right. The quality flag is much more restrictive and thus only bureaucrats can give this right.
- What do flagged revisions accomplish?
- Flagged revisions give the reader an indication of the quality of the article.
- They assure a basic article quality (someone with basic trust has written this or checked it), if the last sighted version is shown to the reader.
- If only the last sighted revision is shown to the reader, they may make vandalism less attractive, although it is disputed whether vandalism decreased due to the adoption of flagged revisions.
- Generally, they provide a powerful tool for the control of new edits and patrolling the recent changes becomes more efficient:
- A new edit has to be checked for vandalism only once.
- Multiple edits in a row can be checked.
- If an article was vandalized and subsequently edited by a trusted user, vandalism was often hidden. This is no longer possible.
- No edit is forgotten.
- More people are able to find edits that were not sighted yet.
- Combined with categories, this becomes really powerful, since wikiprojects/portals have the possibility to oversee their whole area for new edits.
- They provide a useful system of revision labeling in general, sophisticating the information readers and contributors can derive from the history and about the article.
Edits can wait to be reviewed for a considerable amount of time, up to a month as of 18 June 2013, and 11 days on average (see de:Special:ValidationStatistics). Edits awaiting review can be seen at de:Special:OldReviewedPages.
Pending Changes : English Wikipedia example
Classic Flagged Revisions were perennially rejected on the English Wikipedia, in 2009-2010 this new proposal emerged as an acceptable compromise for trial, which ended up being adopted on a permanent basis. The principle of pending changes (initially denominated flagged protection) is to allow administrators to enable flagged revisions on selected pages, when they meet criteria specified by the protection policy, typically an excess of vandalism or policy violating edits.
An important aspect of the feature is that edits by all autoconfirmed users (accounts older than four days and with at least ten edits), and not only reviewers, are automatically reviewed when the previous revision had already been accepted. Since edits by autoconfirmed users who are not reviewers to pages under pending changes with still unreviewed changes are rare, this means that almost always, autoconfirmed users can edit pages under pending changes without restriction. Thus, this constitutes a less restrictive form of semi-protection. Additionally, there is an option to turn off this automatic reviewing of autoconfirmed non-reviewers, suggested for use on pages heavily targeted by sockpuppeters which unfortunately require full protection, however its use has not gained consensus.
As of 18 June 2013, 577 of the 4,321,386 articles are under pending changes protection (see en:Special:ValidationStatistics). Edits awaiting review are located at en:Special:PendingChanges, which is empty most of the time and with very few edits present for more than one hour.
Other forms of Flagged Revisions
Other wikis may choose to adopt a position intermediary between the German Wikipedia and the English Wikipedia: applying pending changes not by default on all articles, and not only on demonstrably problematic articles, but on a large subset of articles, deemed particularly sensitive.
Flagged Revisions on Wikimedia projects
Flagged Revisions has been implemented on several wikis.
- Albanian – enabled 7 November, 2010
- Arabic – enabled 6 August, 2009
- Alemannic – enabled 17 November, 2008
- Bosnian – enabled 8 April, 2010
- Belarusian – enabled 5 February, 2011
- Classical Chinese – enabled 17 November, 2008
- English – enabled Pending Changes once again 1 December, 2012
- Esperanto – enabled 18 November, 2008
- Finnish – enabled 30 November, 2011
- German – enabled 6 May, 2008
- Hungarian – enabled 17 November, 2008
- Indonesian – enabled 17 June, 2010
- Interlingua – enabled 19 March, 2009
- Macedonian – enabled 24 April, 2010
- Polish – enabled 17 November, 2008
- Russian – enabled 8 August, 2008
- Turkish – enabled 31 January, 2011
- Ukranian – enabled 2011
- MediaWiki.org – enabled 8 August, 2009
Wikis that want to request custom implementation of the feature can use these Bugzilla requests as models for their own requests.
- FlaggedRevs Report December 2008 - report on FlaggedRevs usage across Wikimedia projects