Wikipedia:Flagged protection and patrolled revisions

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This page describes two new features approved for trial, based on the concept of flagged revisions. The first feature is flagged protection, since renamed to pending changes, which uses flagging as an optional alternative to semi protection and full protection. When a page is protected in this way by an administrator, the latest flagged revision is shown to readers by default. The second feature is patrolled revisions, which uses flagging passively to coordinate the monitoring of articles, but has no effect on the version viewed by readers.

Background[edit]

The "Flagged Revisions" feature was initially developed for the German Wikipedia (de.wikipedia.org) so that wikis could review contributions by users before allowing their publication. In 2007 and 2008, flagged revisions have been proposed to better handle several issues faced by the English Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org), such as vandalism and violations of our policy on living people. Aggressive use of the feature was rejected by the English Wikipedia community, essentially for too drastically reducing the ability of anyone to edit Wikipedia. In late 2008 and beginning 2009, more specific implementations were discussed in order to reach a compromise, and finally the joint proposal for flagged protection and patrolled revisions reached consensus for a trial on the English Wikipedia.

Description[edit]

Those features are principally aimed to address the lack of flexibility of our current protection mechanisms and the relative inefficiency of our basic monitoring tools such as recent changes and watchlists. Flagged protection allows more granularity than the classic page protection system: while the latter prevents any editing, flagged protection allows editing but requires review before changes by new or unregistered users are displayed on the version viewed by readers. Like classic page protection, it can be enabled only by administrators, for a fixed period of time or indefinitely. Patrolled revisions provide a way to review edits similar to Flagged Revisions but without affecting the version viewed by readers, thus it is a passive way to monitor articles much more efficient than recent changes and watchlists which tend to become ineffectual with the huge volume of editing and articles on the English Wikipedia. While recent changes and watchlists display bare edits with no possibility of organization of the reviewing at the individual or community level, patrolled revisions allow users to review changes made to an article since the latest patrolled revision, and patrol new revisions when appropriate; and thus allow to coordinate and optimize the reviewing efforts.

Pending changes (flagged protection)[edit]

This feature was formerly known as "Flagged protection"

Pending changes introduces new protection levels which can be used as an alternative to regular semi-protection and full-protection. In terms of policy, the conditions for using pending changes protection at level 1 are the same as for using semi-protection, as determined by the protection policy, and the condition for using level 2 are the same as for using full-protection. Disputes should still be handled by full protection[1]. Classic protection can and should still be used, for example in cases of exceptionally high levels of vandalism, where using flagged protection would be counter-productive. The full spectrum of protection levels are shown in the following table:

Wikipedia users, page protections, and page edits
  Unregistered, New Autoconfirmed, Confirmed Reviewer Administrator Appropriate for*
No protection can edit;
changes go live** immediately;
no acceptance required
The vast majority of pages
Pending changes
level 1 protection
can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer
can edit;
changes go live immediately (if no previous pending changes remain to be accepted)
can edit;
changes go live immediately;***
can accept pending changes
Infrequently edited articles that are experiencing high levels of vandalism or BLP violations from unregistered and new users
Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
Articles experiencing high levels of vandalism or edit warring from unregistered and new users, and for some highly visible templates and modules
Pending changes
level 2 protection
can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer
can edit;
changes go live immediately;***
can accept pending changes
No consensus for use on the English Wikipedia per WP:PC2012/RfC 1
Pending changes level 2 with Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer
can edit;
changes go live immediately;***
can accept pending changes
No consensus for use on the English Wikipedia per WP:PC2012/RfC 1
  Unregistered, New Auto/Confirmed Template editor Reviewer Administrator Appropriate for*
Template protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
High-risk templates and modules
Full protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
Articles experiencing persistent vandalism or edit warring from (auto)confirmed accounts, and for critically important templates and modules
* See also: Wikipedia:Protection policy
** "Go live" means the edits will be visible to readers who are not logged in. In all cases, edits are always visible to readers logged into Wikipedia.
*** When editing articles with un-reviewed pending changes, Administrators and Reviewers are prompted to review the pending changes before saving their edit.

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Advantages over the current system
  • Even though their edits are not visible immediately to readers, unregistered and new users can edit pages protected by pending changes, while they cannot edit semi-protected pages. So this allows constructive changes while disallowing vandalism and other unconstructive changes.
  • Semi-protection is insufficient in certain cases, especially for articles targeted by persistent vandals or sockpuppets, or subject to extreme BLP violations; these sometimes require full protection. The option to deactivate auto-reviewing for autoconfirmed users who are not reviewers (autoconfirmation) provides a protection level adapted to handle those cases.

Patrolled revisions[edit]

The aim of patrolled revisions is to coordinate and improve the monitoring of all articles, especially biographies of living people. Reviewers can mark a revision patrolled, which has no effect but only to inform that this revision contains no vandalism, no blp violations, and satisfies certain other requirements defined by a guideline. In particular, this does not affect the revision viewed by unregistered users by default, it's still the latest one (unless the article is flag protected). A new revision by a reviewer is automatically patrolled when the previous version is.

Reviewers have access to a special page listing articles that have never been patrolled and a special page listing pages patrolled at least once with an unpatrolled latest revision. They allow respectively to detect never patrolled pages, that may not have been checked for vandalism, blp violations, etc, and monitor changes to patrolled pages, on which vandalism or blp violations may have been inserted since the latest patrol. Those special pages are filterable by category (for example, Category:Living people). It can also be filtered so that only elements on your watchlist appear, and mentions how many users are watching a page.

Currently, the number of edits to articles and in particular BLPs is so large that we don't have the power to check all of them, we have no way to even coordinate our efforts. This system allows us to monitor changes to articles, in particular BLPs, much more efficiently by comparing new edits to previously patrolled revisions. Even if only one edit of 10 is patrolled, it'll allow to bring potential vandalism and BLP violations to the attention of reviewers and so significantly reduce their general visibility.

Patrolled revisions would also allow checking of edits by autoconfirmed users who are not reviewers, to flagged protected pages, as those are generally automatically confirmed when the previous revision is, but would not be automatically patrolled. To avoid work duplication, patrolled revisions are automatically confirmed.

In addition, a special page displays articles with tagged edits that have not been patrolled.

Wikipedia users, page protections, and page edits
  Anonymous, New Autoconfirmed, Confirmed Reviewer Administrator
No protection can edit;
visible immediately
Patrolled revisions can edit;
visible immediately;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
can accept?
can edit;
visible immediately;
can accept
Pending-changes
level 1 protection
can edit;
visible after accept;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
can accept
Pending-changes
level 2 protection
can edit;
visible after accept;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
can accept
Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
visible immediately
Pending-changes level 2 with Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
visible after accept;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
can accept
Full protection cannot edit can edit;
visible immediately
Note: Under pending-changes protections, "visible immediately" assumes no previous pending changes remain to be accepted.

Trial[edit]

Consensus has been reached for a two-month trial of flagged protection and patrolled revisions after series of discussions and a final poll. A trial of flagged protection has been prepared by the Wikimedia Foundation and began on June 15, 2010. At the end of the trial, the Wikipedia community will decide whether to continue or discontinue using flagged protection, and whether to test alternative configurations of flagged revisions. A trial of patrolled revisions is not planned yet.

Implementation[edit]

The Wikimedia foundation has set up a team for the development and implementation of those features. The mediawiki extension FlaggedRevs is the core of the technical implementation for flagged protection; testing was done at http://flaggedrevs.labs.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page. Patrolled revisions is planned to be developed independently of the FlaggedRevs extension and could not be made available for the upcoming trial.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Initially a full flagged protection level, where flagging was restricted to administrators had been proposed but won't be implemented in the trial for simplicity.
  2. ^ http://techblog.wikimedia.org/2010/01/flagged-revisions-your-questions-answered/

See also[edit]