Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2006-06-05/Oversight

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The Wikipedia Signpost


New revision-hiding feature added

By Ral315, 5 June 2006

A new revision-hiding user class, "oversight", was created recently. Users with the function can permanently delete page revisions containing personal information, copyright violations, or libelous content.

The permission was created after a number of problems involving the current deletion process. The biggest problem was the insertion of inappropriate content including the phone numbers of administrators and potentially libelous information into revisions and edit summaries. To make matters worse, pages with high numbers of edits, such as the administrators' noticeboard, were often the target of these attacks. Due to the number of edits, removing such revisions was often impossible without the intervention of a developer.

The revision-hiding function works more efficiently than the current deletion function. Rather than forcing the user to delete an entire page and restoring the other revisions, a user with "oversight" privileges can delete revisions individually, allowing for the move to occur with little disruption. The English Wikipedia is the only wiki with oversight privileges assigned so far.

For legal reasons, revisions deleted through oversight are not visible to anyone, including oversight members. The only way to retrieve such revisions is by manual restoration by a developer. There are currently 17 users with oversight privileges. These users include the 14 Arbitration Committee members, Jimbo Wales, developer Brion Vibber, and bureaucrat/checkuser Essjay, who was given the permission by the Arbitration Committee.

By deleting revisions using oversight, rather than having a developer do the work manually, all actions are automatically logged; previously, such actions were not logged. The log can be found at Special:Log/oversight; at press time, 93 revisions had been deleted since the tool was first used on May 28.

Vibber, who created the setup, has stated that the current setup is more of a temporary hack, until the deletion code is rewritten.


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