Reverting refers to the act of returning a page to a previous state. All versions of a page are stored in the page history, so it is easy to revert an edit. Anyone who can edit may revert a page to a previous state. Reverting will not delete versions from the page history, and reversions can be reverted as well. Reverting a page is typically done to remove vandalism, although even good faith, positive edits may be reverted at times.
If your edit is reverted, it is not an attack against you or your opinions. Even experienced editors sometimes find their edits being reverted. There may be very good reasons or explanations as to why an edit was reverted. In any case, reverting should be done to protect or to improve the project.
How to revert[edit source]
Before reverting, it is usually a good idea to stop and ask if there are any better options available than reverting. If you are reverting the contributions of a constructive editor, you should have a reason for your revert, and you should consider whether or not something better can be done that does not require reverting.
If you do choose to revert, you should explain why in your edit summary or, if your explanation is very long, at the talk page of the page in question. It is not necessary to explain your revert if you are removing obvious vandalism or spam.
There is an "undo" button available that can be used to revert a single edit. To use this button, go to the page history of the page you want to revert, or view the diff of the edit you want to revert. Then, click on "undo" next to the edit in question. You will be brought to the edit window. If it is possible to undo the edit, the wiki software will tell you and will automatically create an edit where the edit you are reverting has been removed. The software will also generate a default edit summary that you can modify. To complete the revert, simply click Publish page.
It is possible to undo edits that are not the latest edit on the page, and the software will try to revert that one edit without affecting the changes made in other edits. If this is not possible, you will be shown a message informing you of this.
If it is not possible to use the "undo" button, or if you need to revert multiple edits, you can use this method to restore a specific version of a page. To do this:
- Go to the page history of the page you want to revert.
- Click on the time and date of the earlier version that you want to revert to. You will see a message somewhere along the lines of: "This is an old revision of this page, as edited by User:Example (talk) at 15:47, January 24, 2020. It may differ significantly from the current revision."
- Click the "Edit" button like you normally would. You will see a message somewhere along the lines of: "You are editing an old revision of this page. If you save it, any changes made since then will be removed."
- Consider explaining the reason for your revert in the edit summary.
- Click Publish page to complete the revert.
Administrators, content moderators, and editors who have been granted access to the rollback feature will have an extra "rollback" link that appears on page histories, user contributions, and diff pages that can be used to revert multiple consecutive edits by the same author quickly in one click. Rollback:
- only works for the latest edits to a page;
- reverts all consecutive edits made by the same author to the last revision not made by that author;
- works immediately, without confirmation;
- adds an automatic edit summary "Reverted edits by Example (talk) to last version by Example2";
- is marked as a minor edit
Because of the nature of rollback, it should only be used for reverting obvious vandalism or spam. Rollback does not provide the choice to revert to a specific edit—it is always the last edit not made by the same author—nor does it allow for a customized edit summary to be left behind. Rollback should never be used to edit war. Misuse of rollback will typically result in its revocation.
Reverting images[edit source]
To revert an image or file to a previous version, go to the file page and scroll down to the "File history" section. You will be presented with a list of all previous versions of a file, along with a "revert" link adjacent to each entry. Simply click the "revert" link next to the version you want to revert to in order to make the change. You will be given the opportunity to provide an explanation.
Reverting multiple non-contiguous edits[edit source]
Sometimes, if multiple editors have been editing the same page, their changes may overlap or get intertwined with each other, and reverting with any of the above methods will result in you reverting both editors. If you want to revert the changes of only one editor while keeping the changes of another, reversion becomes much more difficult.
To do this, you will need to go into the page history of the page and then carefully examine the diffs of each revision, and then you will need to edit the page and manually make the changes. Sometimes, to reapply helpful edits or remove unhelpful ones, it is easier to copy and paste portions of the desired version of the article into the page. It is a good idea to use the 'Show changes' button to see the changes you are making.
Remember that if you are choosing to revert using this method, it is your responsibility to make sure that helpful changes are either not reverted or are reapplied to the article.