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 of each page and in the sidebar of each page. You can also create a link to the page as [[Special:Recentchanges]].
Understanding Recent Changes
With the default preferences, the bulk of the page consists of fifty lines, one for each edit, looking like this:
- (diff) (hist) . . MediaWiki User's Guide: Editing mathematical formulae; 10:06 . . 22.214.171.124 (Talk) (Add examples)
- (diff) (hist) . . N MediaWiki User's Guide; 10:06 . . Brion VIBBER (Talk) (New page)
- (diff) (hist) . . Endnotes moved to Footnotes; 10:05 . . Maveric149 (Talk)
This indicates three 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; and the third by Maveric149 to Endnotes.
From left to right:
- In a line showing the most recent edit to an page at the time of creating the Recent Changes list, the diff link shows the changes introduced by this edit, and also any edits that have taken place since the Recent Changes page was loaded. For other lines, it shows the changes in that edit only. The diff link 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hide minor edits in recent changes - this hides all edits that have been marked as minor by logged in users;
- Number of recent changes. You may select the number of changes which will be shown by default on the Recent Changes page. 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
Viewing new changes starting from a particular time
If you have loaded the recent changes at, for example, 09:45 Feb 25, 2003, it gives a link "Show new changes starting from 09:45 Feb 25, 2003", 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 (in this case, if the time above is UTC+1):
(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/hidelui 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.
Restriction on number of edits; alternatives
A maximum of 5000 edits can be obtained, currently on the English Wikipedia covering ca. 3 hours (use "limit=5000").
Checking changes for a longer period are restricted:
- watched pages: use "My watchlist" in combination with "Revision history"). This runs less smoothly: on the English Wikipedia it often does not work ("database error" or "sorry, we have a problem").
- pages that are linked from a given page (use "Related changes" in combination with "Revision history")
- newly created pages (use "Newly created articles", then view the current version, or, if desired, also the revision history)
- individual pages (use "Revision history") and individual users (use "User contributions" in combination with "Revision history").
See also below.
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 hidden from recent changes by adding &hidebots=0 to the url. It is possible for sysops to mark some edits as bot edits, thereby preventing them displaying in the default recent changes. See en:Wikipedia:revert for more information on this.
Other MediaWiki features showing lines about edits
Revision history (also called 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 (i.e., excluding the edit shown by pressing the "last" next to it), 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 date and time link to the version of that day and time, except that in the first line, which is about the latest edit at the time of loading this revision history, the date and time link to the current version, hence with the changes made after this revision history was loaded;
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; just after loading the revision history this is the same as the "cur" link of the second line gives, but if there have been edits after loading it is different.