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The interface is composed of two main elements:
- on top, the filters, that allows you to triage edits;
- below, the recent changes list.
Since October 2017, some advanced filters have been added to the Recent Changes page. They allow the following actions:
- This page explains how the improved filtering interface works and how to get the most out of the new tools.
- User-defined Highlighting tools let you use color to emphasize the edits that interest you most. The functions and techniques described on this page will help you to make your Recent Changes results more meaningful.
- Quality and Intent Filters
- "New filters for edit review" introduces two filter groups—Contribution Quality and User Intent—that are powered by machine learning and work differently from other filters.They offer probabilistic predictions about, respectively, whether or not edits are likely to contain problems and whether the user who made them was acting in good faith. Knowing a bit about how these unique tools work will help you use them more effectively.
Save and restore your favorite filters.
With the default preferences, the bulk of the page consists of 50 lines, one for each edit, looking like this (for a left-to-right language wiki):
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:
- The bullet-list has a signification: if it is filled like a disk, it means you haven't visited the page for that change yet. Otherwise, it is a simple circle.
- "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.
ORES is used on certain wikis. In this case, the possibly damaging edits are marked as needing review with a red "r" letter and a pale yellow background.
- 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.
There is a limit of edits displayed, the first reached of those two:
- edits older than 90 day
- 500 edits
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.
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.
The content of MediaWiki:Recentchangestext is what appears at the top of Special:Recentchanges. It is collapsed in the Other review tools menu. It can be edited when necessary. MediaWiki talk:Recentchangestext is for discussing what might go on it. See also below #Internationalisation.
Edits older than $wgRCMaxAge (set to 30 days in Wikimedia wikis ) 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.
Users can opt out of the new filters by going to the "Advanced options" section at the bottom of Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-rc on the wikis they are active on.
Those users can check the old configuration documentation.
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.
Recent changes stream
As an alternative to requesting changes, you can subscribe to a recent changes stream for all Wikimedia wikis, see wikitech:EventStreams. (This replaces the IRC recent changes feeds on irc.wikimedia.org.)
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.
In page history, every line represents one edit to the given page and the version resulting from it.
- "prev" 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 "prev" 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.