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The Recent Changes page in MediaWiki lets you see the most recent edits made to pages in your MediaWiki project. Using this page, users can monitor and review the work of other users, allowing mistakes to be corrected and vandalism to be eliminated. There is a link to the Recent Changes page at the top of each page (the "history" tab) and in the sidebar of each page ("Related changes"). You can also create a link to the page as [[Special:Recentchanges]].

Understanding Recent Changes

With the default preferences, the bulk of the page consists of fifty lines, one for each edit, looking like this: :)

This indicates three edits: the first by a user who is not logged in, to MediaWiki User's Guide: Editing mathematical formulae; the second by Brion VIBBER to MediaWiki User's Guide; and the third by Maveric149 to Endnotes.

From left to right:

  • "diff" links to the diff-page for this edit; it is not available for new pages, or for page moves
  • The "hist" link corresponds to the Page history link on the edited page: it shows not just this edit but also older and newer ones. For page moves, the hist link leads to the history of the new page title
  • A bold m indicates that the user marked the edit "minor". Only logged in users can mark edits minor, to avoid abuse.
  • A bold N indicates that the page is "new", i.e., previously did not exist. It is possible for a change to possess both the "minor" and "new" indicators; this is typically used for new redirects.
  • A bold ! indicates that the page is unpatrolled. For more information see the Help topic Patrolled Edit.
  • The next link is a link to the current version of the page in question.
  • 10:06 refers to the time in UTC. You can change the time to your time zone using your preferences - see how to set preferences.
  • For logged in users, the next link is a link to their user homepage (as usual with internal links, the view page if the page exists, the edit page if it does not, the two being styled differently). For users who are not logged in, the link is to their User Contributions.
  • Finally, there is a link to the user's talk page (the same remarks regarding existence apply).
  • For page moves, a link is given to both the old and new title.

Preferences

Logged in users can set preferences to adjust the way that Recent Changes looks. For help in doing this, see how to log in and how to set preferences. The options that affect recent changes are:

  • Hide minor edits in recent changes - this hides all edits that have been marked as minor by logged in users;
  • Enhanced Recent Changes - with this option enabled, multiple edits are grouped together. This option uses JavaScript, and won't work in every browser (see m:Browser issues with MediaWiki). See Help:Enhanced recent changes
  • Number of recent changes. You may select the number of changes which will be shown by default on the Recent Changes page. Once on that page, links are provided for other options. In the case of Enhanced Recent Changes this number of changes includes those that are initially hidden.

Top of Recent Changes page

The content of MediaWiki:Recentchangestext is what appears at the top of Special:Recentchanges. It can be edited when necessary. MediaWiki talk:Recentchangestext is for discussing what might go on it.

Viewing new changes starting from a particular time

If you have loaded the recent changes at, for example, 09:45 Feb 25, 2003, it gives a link "Show new changes starting from 09:45 Feb 25, 2003", giving you the changes you have not seen yet. In order to use this link later, after you have used the browser window for other things, or if you switch off the computer in between, you can instruct your browser to bookmark it (with Internet Explorer: right-click on the link and choose "add to favorites"). Alternatively, you can save the page with recent changes.

To get the new changes without one of these preparations, use (in this case, if the time above is UTC+1):

http://textbook.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=Special:Recentchanges&from=20030802064526

(format yyyymmddhhmmss, UTC time).

You can copy this URL to the address bar and change date and time.

The "Number of titles in recent changes" set as preference is applicable.

This feature can not be used in conjunction with "hide logged in users" (see below) unless the URL is modified manually.

Hiding logged in users from recent changes

Special:Recentchanges/hideliu is a version of recent changes that only shows changes by users who have not logged in. This can be useful for those watching out for vandalism. Features such as viewing changes starting from a particular time can be used with the hideliu feature, but only by manually altering the URL to add &hideliu=1 to it. For example, clicking the time (as described in the section above) may take you to the url

http://textbook.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=Special:Recentchanges&from=20030802064526

You would need to change this to read

http://textbook.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=Special:Recentchanges&from=20030802064526&hideliu=1

in order to view the recent changes without logged in users starting from this time.

Restriction on number of edits; alternatives

A maximum of 5000 edits can be obtained, currently on the English Wikipedia covering ca. 3 hours (use "limit=5000").

Checking changes for a longer period are restricted:

  • watched pages: (use "My watchlist" in combination with "Revision history"). This runs less smoothly: on the English Wikipedia it often does not work ("database error" or "sorry, we have a problem").
  • pages that are linked from a given page (use "Related changes" in combination with "Revision history")
  • newly created pages (use "Newly created articles", then view the current version, or, if desired, also the revision history).
  • individual pages (use "Revision history") and individual users (use "User contributions" in combination with "Revision history").
  • namespace filter in the "Recent changes" (since MediaWiki 1.5) lets users see recent changes for the given namespace.

See also below.

Edit records that are changed or lost

After a page has been renamed (moved), earlier edits, including the original creation of the page, are shown in Recent Changes etc. under the new name.

After a page has been deleted, earlier edits, including the original creation of the page, are not shown in Recent Changes etc.

In this Recent Changes differs from a real log of editing events (the latter in the sense that something that has happened can not be changed afterwards). Compare Historical revisionism.

However, some edit lines are in Recent Changes (as long as it lasts) but no longer in edit histories, watchlists, Related Changes or User Contributions: when moving a page over a redirect, the creation of that redirect is only in Recent Changes (and only if that was recent enough, of course). In particular this applies in the case of re-renaming a page back to its original name, and subsequent renamings back and forth.

Bots

Bots can be hidden from recent changes by adding &hidebots=0 to the url. It is possible for sysops to mark some edits as bot edits, thereby preventing them displaying in the default recent changes. See Help:Reverting for more information on this.

Patrolling edits

See Help:Patrolled edit

Other MediaWiki features showing lines about edits

(see also Help:Edit summary#Places_where_the_edit_summary_appears).

Revision history (also called page history)

Every line represents one edit to the given page and the version resulting from it

  • "last" is similar to "diff", explained above
  • "cur" gives the difference between this version and the current one (i.e., excluding the edit shown by pressing the "last" next to it), which is the cumulation of all later edits, including those which are not in this revision history because they were made after loading this page
  • the date and time link to the version of that day and time, except that in the first line, which is about the latest edit at the time of loading this revision history, the date and time link to the current version, hence with the changes made after this revision history was loaded;

The "cur" and "last" features are similar to those in Enhanced Recent Changes, except for "cur" in the first line: it is not linked in the revision history, while in the Enhanced Recent Changes it gives the differences corresponding to the last edit; just after loading the revision history this is the same as the "cur" link of the second line gives, but if there have been edits after loading it is different.

Template:H:


edit

Wikipedia-specific help

Template:Ph:Recent changes


This page is a copy of the master help page at Meta (for general help information all Wikimedia projects can use), with two Wikipedia-specific templates inserted. To update the main text, edit the master help page for all projects at m:Help:Recent changes. For Wikipedia-specific issues, use Template:Ph:Recent changes (the extra text at the bottom of this page) or Template:Phh:Recent changes for a Wikipedia-specific lead (text appears at the top of this page). You are welcome to copy the exact wikitext from the master page at Meta and paste it into this page at any time. To view this page in other languages see the master page at Meta.


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Recentchanges

A screenshot of a recent changes list

Recent Changes (or as it's sometimes referred to, RC) is much like Wiki Activity: they both track contributions on a wikia. However, Recent Changes records all of the activity - it's more of a technical feed of everything that's taking place on a wikia.

Recent Changes is also really helpful to look back and find something you edited, uploaded or removed. It's a quick short-cut to seeing what's happening on your community and all of the wikias you are stopping by to check out. Whenever a change occurs, it is listed along with the user who made the change, the time, and a link to the edit. Recent Changes can be found at Special:RecentChanges.

Interpreting Recent Changes

The components of a recent changes item

An example change:

(diff | hist) . . N Page Name; 03:10 . . (+65) . . User Name (Talk | contribs ) (test edit)
'diff' and 'hist' links
  • diff - takes you to the page diff view, which shows you what was changed from the last version in comparison with the newest version.
  • hist - takes you to the page history where you can compare old versions of the page.
N, m, b or no letter at all?
  • These are listed before the page name.
    • N signifies that the page is a new page.
    • m means that the editor marked the change as a minor edit.
    • b signifies that the page was edited by a bot.
  • If there's no letter before the page name, that means it was a normal edit. It could have been something like adding a section or sourcing claims.
Page name
  • The page name is listed and links to the most recent version of the page (including images and files).
Timestamp
  • A timestamp follows the page name, and is in sync with the time zone you have chosen in your preferences.
Strange colored numbers, what do they mean?
  • The positive/negative numbers after the page name and timestamp show how many characters were added to or removed from the old page, which gives you a rough idea how much the page has changed.
  • This can be very helpful in spotting great new additions, or page-blanking vandalism.
What is that in italics inside the parentheses?
  • The italic comment inside the parentheses is the edit summary of an edit: a small comment explaining how someone changed a page. For example, if you cleaned up a messy page, you could leave cleanup as the edit summary.
  • Since edit summaries are made by choice, not all edits in recent changes have edit summaries.

What do the links at the top do?

Rclinks

Links at the top of recent changes page

Thee first line provides links to allow you to increase the size of the RC page, so that you can see more edits going further back in time. (Items do eventually drop off of the Recent changes — you can't go back forever.)

The second line allows you to hide or show edits marked "minor", "bot", "anon", "logged-in" or your own edits. Each of these is helpful to different kinds of editors, who use Recent changes for different tasks.

The drop-down box allows you to show only recent changes for a particular namespace, such as 'File' or 'Template'.

The "Hide grouped recent changes" link turns off and on the advanced Recent Changes page, described below.

Advanced Recent Changes

By default, 'advanced/grouped recent changes' is enabled. The preference is located in the "Under the Hood" tab of Special:Preferences, under "Use advanced recent changes".

It groups recent changes per day, where "day" is defined according to local time. For each day, it groups the changes for each article, and displays the titles of the changed articles in order from new to old latest change of the day concerned, or in the case of hiding minor edits, latest major change.

This feature is especially useful if many edits are likely to occur to a single article over the course of a day, as that article will only show once on the list, with all changes to it grouped together.

See also

Next steps

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