The recent changes page in MediaWiki lets you see the most recent edits made to pages in your MediaWiki project. Using this page, users can monitor and review the work of other users, allowing mistakes to be corrected and vandalism to be eliminated. There is a link to the recent changes page at the top or in the sidebar of each page. You can also create a link to the page as [[Special:RecentChanges]]. For a heavily used MediaWiki project such as Wikipedia, the recent changes page changes so rapidly that its usefulness is questionable.
Understanding recent changes
With the default preferences, the bulk of the page consists of 50 lines, one for each edit, looking like this:
- (diff) (hist) . . MediaWiki User's Guide: Editing mathematical formulae; 10:06 . . (+1,864) . . 220.127.116.11 (Talk) (Add examples)
- (diff) (hist) . . N MediaWiki User's Guide; 10:06 . . (+1,433) . . Brion VIBBER (Talk | contribs) (New page)
- (Move log); 10:05 . . Maveric149 (Talk | contribs) (moved Endnotes to Footnotes)
- (diff) (hist) . . Help:What links here; 10:04 . . (+98) . . IMandIR (Talk | contribs) (Added examples)
This indicates four edits: the first by a user who is not logged in, to MediaWiki User's Guide: Editing mathematical formulae; the second by Brion VIBBER to MediaWiki User's Guide; the third by Maveric149 to Endnotes; and the fourth by IMandIR to Help:What links here.
From left to right:
- "diff" links to the diff-page for this edit; it is not available for new pages, or for page moves
- The "hist" link corresponds to the Page history link on the edited page: it shows not just this edit but also older and newer ones. For page moves, the hist link leads to the history of the new page title
- A bold m indicates that the user marked the edit "minor". Only logged in users can mark edits minor, to avoid abuse.
- A bold N indicates that the page is "new", i.e., previously did not exist. It is possible for a change to possess both the "minor" and "new" indicators; this is typically used for new redirects.
- A bold b indicates that the edit is made by a bot (an account with bot flag), or that the edit is hidden by an administrator.
- A bold ! indicates that the page is unpatrolled. For more information see the Help topic Patrolled Edit.
- The next link is a link to the current version of the page in question.
- 10:06 refers to the time in UTC. You can change the time to your time zone using your preferences - see how to set preferences.
- (+1,864) (generally a green number with a +, or a red number with a -) refers to the number of bytes that have been added or removed.
- The number will appear in bold when more than 500 bytes were added or removed.
- For logged in users, the next link is a link to their user homepage (as usual with internal links, the view page if the page exists, the edit page if it does not, the two being styled differently). For users who are not logged in, the link is to their User Contributions.
- Finally, there is a link to the user's talk page (the same remarks regarding existence apply).
- For page moves, a link is given to both the old and new title.
Edits older than $wgRCMaxAge are not listed in recent changes. This can be especially restrictive in listing Recent changes of one namespace (possible since MediaWiki 1.5), in the case that edits in this namespace are not very frequent.
After calling a recent changes page one can specify options to show a different selection of recent changes: one can specify a namespace, with or without the associated namespace (the talk pages, or conversely for a talk page namespace), and/or invert the selection (see the changes in all namespaces except the one or two specified).
Logged in users can set preferences to specify defaults for some of these options, and for the way the recent changes are arranged. For help in doing this, see how to log in and how to set preferences. The applicable options are:
- Hide minor edits in recent changes – this hides all edits that have been marked as minor by logged in users;
- Days to show in recent changes – You may select the number of days to be shown by default on the recent changes page.
- Number of recent changes – You may select the number of changes which will be shown by default. Once on that page, links are provided for other options. In the case of enhanced recent changes, this number of changes includes those that are initially hidden.
Top of recent changes page
The content of MediaWiki:Recentchangestext is what appears at the top of Special:Recentchanges. It can be edited when necessary. MediaWiki talk:Recentchangestext is for discussing what might go on it. See also below #Internationalisation.
Viewing new changes starting from a particular time
If you have loaded the recent changes at, for example, 01:13 feb 27, 2015, it gives a link "Show new changes starting from 01:13 feb 27, 2015", giving you the changes you have not seen yet. In order to use this link later, after you have used the browser window for other things, or if you switch off the computer in between, you can instruct your browser to bookmark it (with Internet Explorer: right-click on the link and choose "add to favorites"). Alternatively, you can save the page with recent changes.
To get the new changes without one of these preparations, use:
(format yyyymmddhhmmss, UTC time).
You can copy this URL to the address bar and change date and time. The "Number of titles in recent changes" set as preference is applicable. This feature can not be used in conjunction with "hide logged in users" (see below) unless the URL is modified manually.
Hiding logged-in users from recent changes
Special:Recentchanges/hideliu is a version of recent changes that only shows changes by users who have not logged in. This can be useful for those watching out for vandalism. Features such as viewing changes starting from a particular time can be used with the hideliu feature, but only by manually altering the URL to add &hideliu=1 to it. For example, clicking the time (as described in the section above) may take you to the url
You would need to change this to read
in order to view the recent changes without logged in users starting from this time.
Edit records that are changed or lost
After a page has been renamed (moved), earlier edits, including the original creation of the page, are shown in recent changes etc. under the new name.
After a page has been deleted, earlier edits, including the original creation of the page, are not shown in recent changes etc.
In this recent changes differs from a real log of editing events (the latter in the sense that something that has happened can not be changed afterwards). Compare Historical revisionism.
However, some edit lines are in recent changes (as long as it lasts) but no longer in edit histories, watchlists, related changes or user contributions: when moving a page over a redirect, the creation of that redirect is only in recent changes (and only if that was recent enough, of course). In particular this applies in the case of re-renaming a page back to its original name, and subsequent renamings back and forth.
Bots can be shown in recent changes by adding &hidebots=0 to the url. It is possible for sysops to mark some edits as bot edits, thereby preventing their displaying in the default recent changes. See Help:Reverting for more information on this.
Web feeds (RSS and Atom) for the recent changes of a wiki are obtained by assigning to "feed" (one of the parameters to index.php available) the value "rss" or "atom", i.e., by adding "&feed=rss" or "&feed=atom" to the URL of the recent changes page. This gives the diffs of a number of edits (on Meta it recently gave 881 edits, covering 31 hours), each with a link to the current page. Depending on the browser there may be possibilities such as sorting by author. See also w:Wikipedia:Syndication.
Difference with page history
In page history, every line represents one edit to the given page and the version resulting from it.
- "last" is similar to "diff" explained above
- "cur" gives the difference between this version and the current one, which is the cumulation of all later edits, including those which are not in this revision history because they were made after loading this page
The "cur" and "last" features are similar to those in enhanced recent changes, except for "cur" in the first line: it is not linked in the revision history, while in the enhanced recent changes it gives the differences corresponding to the last edit.
The header of the Recent changes page is the content of system message "recentchanges" in the message file of the site language. As of Feb 2007 for ca. 90 languages the message file contains a translation. If the site language is not one of them, the text in the fall-back language is used, possibly specified in the message file (e.g., in MessagesAb.php, $fallback='ru'). The default fallback language is English, giving the header "recent changes".
A localized page title for use as target in internal, interwiki and external links, can be specified in the message file with array element $specialPageAliases ('Recentchanges'). This has been done for about 25 languages. Anyway Special:Recentchanges also works.
By default there is on every regular page a link to the recent changes page, labelled with the content of system message "recentchanges" in the message file of the user-specified interface language. Like above, if it is undefined, the text in the fall-back language is used, possibly specified in the message file, and otherwise English.
There is a system message "recentchanges-url", specifying the target of the recent changes link, but in view of the above there is no need for deviating from the English content "Special:Recentchanges". If there is a localized page title for use as target in links (see above) this shows up, depending on the browser, in the status bar (see e.g. de:a). This is a disadvantage for users who are not familiar with the site language and have not set their preferred interface language. For those users generic names of link targets are helpful (see e.g. af:a).
The HTML-title (depending on the browser shown in a hover box) is defined in ta['n-recentchanges'] in the default system message "monobook.js". Again, localisation has disadvantages.
There are also the system message "recentchangestext" and several others related to recent changes.
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