WMDE Technical Wishes/Rollback/Research

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First insights based on interviews and discussions[edit]

How do users interact with the rollback function? This was investigated on several meetings with the international (Wikimania 2017) and German community (WikiCon 2017, AdminCon 2018). Also, several in-depth interviews were conducted. The Technical Wishes team learned the following:

  • Generally speaking, the rollback link is rarely being used. It is reserved for acts of vandalism; the code of behaviour is that all other reverts have a comment.
  • Some users use the rollback feature on their mobile devices because it’s hard to write the edit summary on mobile.
  • The majority of users do rollbacks when they encounter singular instances of vandalism and they use the rollback function in the diff view for that. Even though there are clear criteria for determining vandalism, it should always be checked for each individual instance if it is indeed vandalism.
  • Exception: If one realizes that a person conducted acts of vandalism on several places, it is okay to rollback multiple acts in one go via this user’s latest edits page and check them afterwards.

Problems that occur when using the rollback function

  • The page jumps when loading, leading to shifting links.
  • The links are located too close together.
  • On a touchscreen, you try to scroll, but you accidentally click.
  • Accidental clicks happen both in the diff view and in lists (version history, recent changes, user contributions etc.)

If you use the feature differently or encounter different problems when using it, please describe your experiences on the talk page.

Proposed solution and feedback round (April/May 2018)[edit]

This is what the confirmation prompt could look like.
Turning it off in the user preferences.

Based on first insights based on interviews and discussions, the Technical Wishes team suggested this solution:

  • Per default, a confirmation prompt is added in the diff view.
  • Per default, the rollback button is hidden in lists (version history, recent changes, user contributions etc.)
  • With one click in the user preferences, the confirmation prompt can be disabled and the rollback button can be inserted back into the lists.

From April 19th to May 4th 2018, a feedback round took place on Meta and on German Wikipedia. The goal was to understand how rollbacks are being used and if the suggested idea could work. Participation was remarkable: 124 people commented, 85 of them here on Meta, 39 on de-wiki. And the results are clear: Internationally, most people don't want to have a confirmation by default, and on de-wiki, most people do. The reason for that is probably the different way rollback rights are granted. On de-wiki there are 18000 “Sichter” (editors) who received the right to rollback automatically, and many of them are hardly ever using it. On most other wikis, you only get the rollback right by actively requesting it, and are thus more likely to use it.

Summary of the feedback on Meta[edit]

The participants here on Meta come from many different Wikipedias and other wikis. Only a handful of them described that they themselves sometimes accidentally hit the rollback button. It became very clear that the majority of participants oppose a default-on feature to add a confirmation prompt to the rollback link. The most frequent feedback was:

  • Most people would not want a confirmation, as they were concerned that this would impede rollbackers from quickly reacting to vandalism.
  • Some people would not want a confirmation because they were concerned that adding a confirmation would water down the difference between rollbacking and reverting.
  • Most people would not want a removal of the rollback link from lists, since this is where they mostly use it.
  • Many users mentioned that they wouldn’t want a confirmation or a removal, but could imagine this feature being useful for other users. It would be interesting to find out more about the reasons why other users might have use a for this.
  • Several participants would like to use either the removal from lists or the confirmation, but not both. They wished that these two elements were separated in the settings.
  • Several people were concerned that they would need to disable a potential new setting on many wikis, since they rollback globally.

Summary of the feedback on de-wiki[edit]

Out of the 39 participants on de-wiki, 75 % agreed or partly agreed with the proposed solution.

  • Most people (40 %) completely agreed, many of them describing that they themselves sometimes accidentally hit the rollback button.
  • Another 35 % agreed with the proposal in principle, if some changes were made:
    • Several participants would like to have either the removal from lists or the confirmation, but not both. They wished that these two elements were separated in the settings.
    • Some users find it important that people give reasons when they rollback multiple edits (also vandalism), and they suggested automatic or semi-automatic summaries for rollbacks.
    • Some people appreciated having confirmation prompts but wished for them to look different.

15 % of the participants on de-wiki opposed the proposal. The major concerns were that a confirmation would water down the distinction between rollbacking and reverting, that it would hinder rollbackers in their ability to quickly react to vandalism, and that switching this off in the preferences would be too complicated.

The rest of the participants didn’t clearly say whether they agreed or opposed.

A huge thanks to everyone who took their time and gave us feedback. It is much appreciated and helps us move forward in a way that takes into account the needs of the different users and communities! We’ll soon publish which steps will follow.

Rollback situation in different Wikipedias[edit]

We examined how rollback rights are assigned across the different Wikipedias:

  • Each wiki can define individually which of its user groups have the rollback right. Most wikis give this right to the groups rollbackers (40 Wikipedias) and sysops (39 Wikipedias). 10 Wikipedias assign the right to bureaucrats, five to patrollers, four to editors and two to eliminators. Most Wikipedias assign the rollback right to more than one user group. (source)
  • Overall, the majority of people who can perform rollbacks (~21 500) are in the editors group (graph 1).
    Most of them are editors from dewiki (~ 18 000) and plwiki (~3 400). (graph 2)
  • The second biggest group of people with rollback rights is the rollbackers group. (graph 1)
    More than two thirds of these users (~76 %) come from enwiki (~6.000) and ruwiki (~2 000). (graph 3)
  • The amount of people with rollback rights differs a lot from one Wikipedia to another. There are only 4 Wikipedias where more than 1 000 people can perform rollbacks: dewiki, enwiki, plwiki, ruwiki. (graph 4)
  • In most Wikipedias, users must explicitly request rollback rights. This is the case e.g. in enwiki and ruwiki. On dewiki and plwiki, on the other hand, users automatically receive the rollback right when they become editors.

Existing solutions to prevent accidental clicks on the rollback button[edit]

It’s not possible to get a complete list, but a first research shows that people in different wikis are already using several solutions to prevent accidental clicks on the rollback button: Some add a confirmation to the rollback button, some hide the button. In enwiki alone, there are 14 different user scripts for a confirmation.