|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. Consider these views with discretion. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines.|
Reverting means undoing the effects of one or more edits, which normally results in the page being restored to a version that existed sometime previously. More broadly, reverting may also refer to any action that reverses the actions of other editors, in whole or in part. Any change to an article which was last edited by another user meets the technical definition of a revert.
Revert vandalism on sight, but revert an edit made in good faith only after careful consideration. Edit warring is prohibited. See . Editors should provide an explanation when reverting.
When to revert
Revert vandalism and other abusive edits upon sight but revert an edit made in good faith only after careful consideration. You might want to discuss the matter on the article talk page, but this is not obligatory. A reversion can eliminate "good stuff", discourage other editors, and spark an edit war. So if you feel the edit is unsatisfactory, then try to improve it, if possible – reword rather than revert is a useful guideline. Similarly, if only part of an edit is problematic then consider making a partial revert by modifying only that part instead of reverting the whole edit. Try not to revert constructive edits for minor problems – don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you are uncertain about the plausibility of an edit, you may want to add a tag or template instead. However, if you can see that the edit is wrong and cannot see how to improve it, then it should be reverted.
If you make an edit which is good-faith reverted, do not simply reinstate your edit – leave the status quo up, or try an alternative way to make the change that includes feedback from the other editor. If there is a dispute, editors are encouraged to work towards establishing consensus, not to have one's own way. Instead of engaging in an edit war, propose your reverted change on the article's talk page or pursue other dispute resolution alternatives. During a dispute, until a consensus is established to make a change, the status quo reigns.
If you are unsure whether or not a revert is appropriate, then first propose the reversion on the article's talk page. If there is reason to believe that the author of problematic material will not be induced to change it, editors sometimes choose to transfer the text in question to the talk page itself, thus not deleting it entirely.
Finally, do not revert any edits that can be verified per WP:V and would be an improvement to a page, within the boundaries of other Wikipedia policies such as WP:NPOV and WP:Undue. If an edit can be verified as encyclopedic, and improves a page but you still worry that someone else might disagree, then let the person who disagrees with the change revert the edit. Do not revert verifiable changes that may be an improvement just to maintain status quo or to comply with the "discuss all changes first" approach, which may run counter to the Wikipedia be bold policy.
Edit summaries, always a good practice, are particularly important when reverting. Provide a valid and informative explanation including, if possible, a link to the Wikipedia principle you believe justifies the reversion. Try to remain available for dialogue, especially in the half-day or so after reverting.
A reversion is a complete rejection of the work of another editor and if the reversion is not adequately supported then the reverted editor may find it difficult to assume good faith. This is one of the most common causes of an edit war. A substantive explanation also promotes consensus by alerting the reverted editor to the problem with the original edit. The reverted editor may then be able to revise the edit to correct the perceived problem. The result will be an improved article, a more knowledgeable editor and greater harmony.
In addition to helping the reverted editor, providing information regarding the reversion will help other editors by letting them know whether – or not – they need to even view the reverted version, such as in the case of blanking a page. Explaining reverts also helps users who check edit histories to determine the extent to which the information in the article is reliable or current.
If your reasons for reverting are too complex to explain in an edit summary, leave a note on the article's Talk page. It is sometimes best to leave a note on the Talk page first and then revert, rather than the other way around; thus giving the other editor a chance to agree with you and revise their edit appropriately. Conversely, if another editor reverts your change without any apparent explanation, you may wish to wait a few minutes to see if they explain their actions on the article's or your user's talk page.
Revert wars are considered harmful
Revert wars are usually considered harmful, for the following reasons:
- Revert wars destabilize the article in question, and may be off-putting to the observant and wary editors who would otherwise contribute stabilizing improvements to it.
- Revert wars tend to cause ill-will and probably delay editor development and reduce editor retention. To a sensitive editor a revert is "a slap in the face"—"I worked hard and someone reverted it!"
- Revert wars do waste space in the database, make the page history less useful, and flood recent-change lists and watchlists.
- Revert wars are often myopic, occurring while neither participant is familiar with the big picture. The editors involved tend to focus only on one part of an article without considering other sections of the article or other articles linked dependently to the area in question, resulting in inconsistencies with the big picture concerning the content in question. The noticeboard is part of the big picture too.
Editors should not revert simply because of disagreement. Instead, explore alternative methods, such as raising objections on a talk page or following the processes in dispute resolution.
As a means to limit edit wars, Wikipedia's policies and guidelines state that one may not revert any article more than three times in the same 24-hour period. This is a hard limit, not a given right. Attempts to circumvent the three-revert rule, such as making a fourth revert just after 24 hours, are strongly discouraged and may trigger the need for remedies, such as an editing block on one's account.
Edits that do not contribute to edit warring are generally considered to be exceptions to the three-revert rule. These include reverts of obvious vandalism, reverts of banned users, and removal of potentially libelous text.
Please request protection rather than reverting. Violation of this rule may lead to protection of the page on the version preferred by the non-violating party, blocking or investigation by the Arbitration Committee.