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WMDE Technical Wishes/Rollback

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Tracked in Phabricator:
Task T199534

A confirmation prompt for rollback action[edit]

The wish[edit]

Adding a confirmation prompt to the rollback link is a wish from the German-speaking Technical Wishes Survey in 2017. The underlying problem is that sometimes users who have the rollback right accidentally click the rollback instead of the thank you link, which can lead to very unpleasant misunderstandings.

Research and decision making[edit]

Approaching this wish, we talked to several users, did an extensive feedback round on Meta and dewiki and researched the rollback situation in different Wikipedias. Details can be found on this subpage.

In a nutshell, German Wikipedia has the highest number of people who can perform rollbacks, and the feedback round showed that many of them don’t use it. A confirmation makes sense here to prevent users who didn’t want the rollback right from accidental clicks. But the international need for this feature is smaller: In most Wikipedias, people request the rollback right because they explicitly want to fight vandalism. Hence, they don’t want or need a confirmation.

Instead of declining the wish, we decided to build this solution below because we see the strong need from dewiki and also from individuals in other wikis (see this thread, for instance).

What influenced this decision:

  • We’re deploying the feature to all wikis because the problem also sometimes occurs in wikis where rollback rights are only assigned upon explicit request (see this thread, for instance).
  • We’re doing an opt-in feature for most wikis because there are clearly many people who don't need a confirmation. As an opt-in feature, the confirmation doesn’t affect people who don’t need it.
  • We’ve decided for a smaller solution because we want to spend our team’s resources on products that have a high impact across all wikis and because, in our opinion, an even better solution would be to change how rollback rights are distributed in some wikis: It seems likely that less accidental clicks would occur if the right was only given to users who explicitly want it. So one idea would be that the four wikis where editors have rollback rights rethink their current way.
  • We’re doing an inline confirmation because the feedback round showed that there are supporters and opponents for both confirmation types (inline and pop-up). Because rollback confirmation and thanks confirmation are one logical package and an inline confirmation doesn’t introduce a new pattern to the interface, we stick to the current behavior. Improving the inline confirmation – both for thanks and rollback – could be a follow-up wish.

The implemented solution[edit]

The confirmation prompt works inline, like the thanks confirmation.
You can activate the prompt in your preferences, if you want to.
On dewiki, you can deactivate it in your settings.
  • In the majority of wikis, the confirmation for rollback links will be disabled per default.
    • Opt-in: You can turn it on individually in your user preferences.
  • On German Wikipedia, the confirmation for rollback links will be enabled per default, because users here automatically receive rollback rights without requesting them.
    • Opt-out: You can turn it off individually in your user preferences.
    • Other wikis can have the confirmation as a default like dewiki if they wish so.
  • The confirmation will open inline (i.e. not in a pop-up). This way, the behavior is consistent with the thanks confirmation.
  • For people don't have JavaScript, the confirmation will show on a special page (T215303).
  • The confirmation, if enabled, will appear for all rollback links, no matter if on the diff page or in list views (such as history, Recent Changes).

Bot rollbacks[edit]

Bots that use the rollback URL with GET might also receive a confirmation prompt. To avoid this, the bot should ideally use the rollback URL with POST. An alternative is to deactivate the confirmation prompt for the user account of the bot.


This is the planned deployment schedule of this feature:

2019-03-26 Done Mediawiki.org and test wikis (group 0) The confirmation prompt is available, but it's turned off for everyone by default.
Opt-in: You can turn it on individually in your user preferences.
2019-03-27 Done non-Wikipedias (group 1)
2019-03-28 Done Wikipedias except dewiki
2019-03-28 Done dewiki The confirmation prompt is not yet available, but can already be deactivated beforehand.
2019-04-08 (the Mediawiki train deployment on April 4 was blocked) dewiki The confirmation prompt is available and is activated for everyone by default.
Opt-out: You can deactivate it individually in your user preferences.


The software messages for this feature can be translated on translatewiki. Any help is much appreciated!


Feedback about this wish is always welcome on this talk page.