Pending changes protection is a tool used to suppress vandalism and certain other recurrent nuisances on Wikipedia while allowing a good-faith user to submit an edit for review. Intended for infrequently edited articles that are experiencing high levels of such troublesome edits from new or unregistered users, pending changes protection can be used as an alternative to semi-protection and full protection to allow unregistered and new users to edit pages while keeping the edits hidden to most readers until they are accepted by a pending changes reviewer (also called a "reviewer"). There are relatively few articles on Wikipedia with this type of protection.

When a page under pending changes protection is edited by an unregistered editor (also called an "IP editor") or a new user account, the edit is not directly visible to the majority of Wikipedia readers until it is reviewed and accepted by an editor with the pending changes reviewer right.

Pending changes are visible in the page history, where they are marked as "pending review". The latest accepted revision is displayed to the general public, while logged-in users see the latest revision of the page with all changes applied. When editors who are not reviewers make changes to an article with unreviewed pending changes, their edits are also marked as "pending review" and are not visible to most readers until they are reviewed.

Both logged-in users and unregistered users who click the "edit this page" tab edit the latest revision as usual. If there are pending changes awaiting review, there will be a dropdown box next to the article title pointing to the pending changes.

Pending changes may be used to protect articles against persistent vandalism, violations of the biographies of living persons policy, and copyright violations.

Applying pending changes protection

Administrators may apply pending changes protection to pages that are subject to heavy and persistent vandalism, violations of the biographies of living persons policy, or insertion of content that violates copyright. Pending changes protection should not be used as a preemptive measure against violations that have not yet occurred, nor should it be used to privilege registered users over unregistered users in content disputes. Pending changes protection should not be used on articles with a very high edit rate, even if they meet the aforementioned criteria. Instead semi-protection should be considered.

In addition, administrators may apply temporary pending changes protection on pages that are subject to significant but temporary vandalism or disruption (for example, due to media attention) when blocking individual users is not a feasible option. As with other forms of protection, the time frame of the protection should be proportional to the problem. Indefinite PC protection should only be used in cases of severe long-term disruption.

Like semi-protection, PC protection should never be used in genuine content disputes, where there is a risk of placing a particular group of editors at a disadvantage.

Editors without administrator privileges can request page protection if the above criteria are met. Removal of pending changes protection can be requested of any administrator, or at requests for unprotection.

Reviewing pending edits

The process of reviewing is intended as a quick check to ensure edits don't contain:

Reviewers are sufficiently experienced users who are granted the ability to accept other users' edits. Reviewers have a similar level of trust to rollbackers; all administrators have the reviewer right. Potential reviewers should recognize vandalism, be familiar with basic content policies such as the policy on living people, and have a reasonable level of experience editing Wikipedia. Reading the reviewing guideline, where the reviewing process and expectations for a reviewer are detailed, is recommended.

Reviewers and administrators will see a pink watchlist banner on their watchlist whenever there is a pending edit needing review. If a reviewer or administrator wishes to disable it, they can paste #mw-fr-watchlist-pending-notice {display: none} to their common.css.

Acceptance of an edit by a reviewer is not an endorsement of the edit. It merely indicates that the edit has been checked for obvious problems as listed above.

Reviewer rights are granted upon request at Wikipedia:Requests for permissions. While any administrator has the technical ability to remove the reviewer permission, removal should occur only as the result of consensus from a discussion or when an editor requests the removal of their own permission. Discussion regarding removal of the reviewer permission should normally occur at the Administrators' noticeboard. Discussion with the involved editor and/or a request for a second opinion at the Pending changes talk page is recommended before formally requesting removal.

Reviewing of pending changes should be resolved within reasonable time limits (at most a few hours). Backlog management should be coordinated at a community level. The backlog can be viewed at Special:PendingChanges. As of July 2021, edits are rarely unreviewed for more than a day or two and the backlog is frequently empty.

Pending changes adds highlighting that is lost when disabled

In the edit history, accepted revisions are highlighted, which improves readability. Additionally, visible tags are applied to indicate why particular edits were accepted ("automatically accepted"/"accepted by [Username]"). As of September 2018, this highlighting is still permanently lost for past changes on a given page whenever the pending changes setting is disabled.[1] When pending changes are enabled again, the highlighting will only be applied to newer changes. Therefore, it is a good choice to leave pending changes enabled when other protections are applied.[2]

Effect of various protection levels

Interaction of Wikipedia user groups and page protection levels
  Unregistered or Newly registered Confirmed or Auto-confirmed Extended confirmed Template editor Admin Interface admin Appropriate for
(See also: Wikipedia:Protection policy)
No protection normal editing The vast majority of pages. (This is the default protection level.)
Pending-protection-shackle.svg
Pending
changes protection
all users can edit.
Edits by unregistered or new editors (and any subsequent edits by anyone) are hidden from readers who are not logged in, until reviewed by a pending changes reviewer or admin. Logged-in editors see all edits, whether accepted or not.
Infrequently edited pages with high levels of vandalism, BLP violations, edit-warring, or other disruption from unregistered and new users
Semi-protection-shackle.svg
Semi-protection
cannot edit normal editing Pages that are frequently edited by anonymous and registered users; some highly visible templates & modules
Extended-protection-shackle.svg
Extended-
confirmed prot.
cannot edit normal editing* Specific topic areas authorized by ArbCom; pages where semi-protection has failed; high-risk templates where template protection would be too restrictive
Template-protection-shackle.svg
Template prot.
cannot edit normal editing High-risk or very frequently used templates & modules; also some high-risk pages outside template space
Full-protection-shackle.svg
Full protection
cannot edit normal editing Articles with persistent disruption from extended confirmed accounts; critical templates & modules
Interface-protection-shackle.svg
Interface protection
cannot edit normal editing Scripts, stylesheets, and similar objects central to operation of the site
* In order to edit through extended confirmed protection, a template editor must also be extended confirmed, but in practice this is essentially always the case.

Other modes of protection:


Frequently asked questions

If an established user edits an article with unreviewed pending changes, is the new version automatically accepted?
No. If the user is a reviewer (that is, the user has been granted the "reviewer" permission), they will be prompted to review and accept any unreviewed pending changes. If the user is not a reviewer, the edit will also be marked as "pending review". (Reviewers can test this by unaccepting the current version of a page under pending changes and then trying to edit.) An exception to this is when a user reverts a pending edit to the latest accepted revision: in this case the revert is automatically accepted.
What happens if several IP edits to an article under pending changes result in a null edit? (For example, an IP makes an edit, then another IP undoes it.)
If they were all made by a single IP, the new version is automatically accepted. If different users edited, the new version is not accepted (to prevent potential abuse).
On which kinds of pages can pending changes be used?
At first, it was determined by consensus that pending changes could be used only on articles, subject to the protection policy, and on test pages in project space. A later request for comment found it permissible to use pending changes beyond articles; however, it is restricted by the software to the main and project namespaces, and no request to allow other namespaces was made. It is not technically possible for talk pages to be placed on pending changes.
Wasn't pending changes protection dropped?
Yes and no. Pending changes protection was deployed on a trial basis in 2010. In 2011, pending changes protection was dropped as a mechanism for protecting pages, until a consensus agreement on its deployment was reached. There have been a series of discussions on using the feature and it was put back into service on December 1, 2012. Since then only pending changes level 1, affecting the edits of new and unregistered users, is being used. As of January 2017 there has been consensus to drop pending changes level 2, and as a result only level 1 is now used.
How can you tell if a page has pending changes protection?
Protected pages are normally marked with a small padlock symbol in the top corner depending on its level of protection. Also, there will be a drop-down box next to the article title, pointing to the pending changes, if there are any.

Timeline

See also: Template:Pending changes discussions

Below is a list of past discussions and polls relating to the Pending Changes feature:

See also

Interface

Logs

Footnotes

  1. ^ "⚓ T189422 Disabling pending changes removes visual highlighting and labelling of reverts and accepts". phabricator.wikimedia.org. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  2. ^ As of September 2018, there are no protections weaker than pending changes level 1 (PC1), therefore PC1 will not interfere when other protections are enabled.