The MediaWiki rollback user right provides users with a button that will revert, with a single click, the last edit to a given page, along with any consecutive previous edits made by the same editor to that page. It is used to undo problematic edits such as vandalism. Some counter-vandalism tools also require the user to possess the rollback user right to use the tool.

An editor with rollback user rights will see a button rollback n edits next to relevant revisions on pages such as their watchlist, on user contributions pages (including their own), and on the edit history of pages.

MediaWiki rollback is enabled and available to all administrators automatically and can be given to other users upon request, subject to the approval of an administrator. A user who has been assigned this right explicitly is called a rollbacker. There are currently 856 administrators and 6,832 rollbackers (7,688 total; however, most of these accounts haven't edited for years), not including global rollbackers and stewards who have been assigned the right across all Wikimedia projects.

Where the following text refers to MediaWiki rollback, it means the form of rollback built in to the MediaWiki editing software. MediaWiki rollback may only be used in certain situations. Editors who misuse MediaWiki rollback (for example, by using it to make unexplained reversions of good-faith edits in situations where an explanatory edit summary would normally be expected) may have their rollback rights removed. Since rollback is part of the core administrator tools, theoretically an admin could be stripped of their administrative privileges entirely to remove those tools.

How it works

Users with the MediaWiki rollback permission have extra "rollback" links next to revisions on the recent changes page, page histories, diffs, user contribution pages, and their watchlist:

Clicking one of these links restores the page to the most recent revision that is not made by the revision's author. This appears in the page history with a generic summary that looks like this:

m Reverted edits by Vandal (talk) to last version by Helpful contributor

A link to the reverted user's contribution history is provided, so that it may be easily checked for further problematic edits. The link on the user's name does not appear if you are reverting contributions done by a user whose username is not visible, previously having been removed or suppressed prior to the reversion, the result being "a hidden user":

m Reverted edits by a hidden user to last version by Helpful contributor

If the username is removed after reversion, the default edit summary remains and will need to be deleted separately in its entirety:

m Reverted edits by Grossly offensive or libellous username (talk) to last version by Helpful contributor

All edits using the MediaWiki rollback feature are tagged with the "Rollback" tag in recent changes and page histories.

Technical limitations:

Other tools can perform similar edits with non-generic edit summaries; see the Additional tools section below.

Mobile

For the standard mobile interface, MediaWiki rollback links are only available on the Special:Contributions page. Users may want to enable the advanced mode in settings to be able to access rollback links on the recent changes page, page histories, and their watchlist. There are no rollback links on diffs. Another way is to click desktop view below any Wikipedia page. It will redirect you to the desktop interface, which allows you to access rollback links in all of the usual places on Wikipedia pages.

By default, each click on the MediaWiki rollback link requires confirmation, to prevent misclicks on mobile.

When to use rollback

"Wikipedia:Rollback policy" redirects here (although this is a guideline, not a policy). For the content previously at that title, see Wikipedia:Rollback policy (failed proposal).

MediaWiki rollback is a fast way of undoing problematic edits, but it has the disadvantage that special tools are required to provide a custom edit summary. MediaWiki rollback may be used:

  1. To revert obvious vandalism and other edits where the reason for reverting is absolutely clear
  2. To revert edits in your own userspace
  3. To revert edits that you have made (for example, edits that you accidentally made)
  4. To revert edits by banned or blocked users in defiance of their block or ban (but be prepared to explain this use of rollback when asked to)
  5. To revert widespread edits (by a misguided editor or malfunctioning bot) unhelpful to the encyclopedia, provided that you supply an explanation in an appropriate location, such as at the relevant talk page[1]
  6. With a custom edit summary explaining the reason for reverting the changes.

As with any other methods of reverting, when using rollback to restore text to a page, ensure that the content being restored does not violate any Wikipedia policies.

MediaWiki rollback and edit summaries

The built-in "rollback" link does not provide an option to provide a custom edit summary, though some user scripts and tools allow this. Use of MediaWiki rollback with the default summary for any other purposes – such as reverting good-faith changes which you happen to disagree with – is likely to be considered misuse of the tool. When in doubt, use another method of reversion or supply a custom edit summary to explain your reasoning.

Also, do not use the default rollback edit summary when it will contain disruptive text which may need to be revision-deleted. For example, avoid use of the default edit summary to revert edits made by an account with an unambiguously offensive, insulting, or egregious username that maliciously violates Wikipedia's username policy. MediaWiki rollback automatically includes the username of the editor who made the edits you are removing.

Administrators may revoke the MediaWiki rollback user right or impose a block in response to a user who is persistently failing to explain their reverts, regardless of the methods or means that are used to perform the actual reversions. However, they should notify or warn the editor sufficiently first, and allow the editor the time and opportunity to respond and explain their reversions before taking any action – there may be justification of which the administrator is not aware (such as reversion of edits made by a banned user). Similarly, editors who persistently engage in edit warring – especially those who have a repeated history of doing so – may have their MediaWiki rollback permissions revoked, regardless of the methods or means that were used to engage in the behavior. Additionally, administrators who persistently misuse MediaWiki rollback may theoretically have their administrator permissions revoked by the Arbitration Committee, solely in order to remove the rollback user rights from them.

Requesting rollback rights

To request MediaWiki rollback rights, ask at Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Rollback or ask one of the administrators listed here. Any administrator may grant or revoke rollback rights, using the user rights page.

While there is no fixed requirement, a request is unlikely to be successful without a contribution history that demonstrates an ability to distinguish well-intentioned edits with minor issues from unconstructive vandalism. Rollback is not for very new users: it is unlikely that editors with under 200 mainspace edits will have their request granted. In addition, editors with a recent history of edit warring will often not be granted rollback given concerns of abuse.

If you have been granted rollback rights, you may wish to test it out here.

Accidental use of rollback

What to do with accidental rollbacks

Because MediaWiki rollback only takes a single click, without asking for confirmation, even experienced users may sometimes accidentally click rollback when attempting to click somewhere else. If this occurs, simply revert your edit manually, with an edit summary like "Self-revert accidental use of rollback". You could rollback the rollback, but this can cause confusion for others who look at the page history.

If MediaWiki rollback is used accidentally instead of undo to revert a good-faith edit, you could take a quick look to see if there is anything in the article you could improve (like a typo), and while making that edit also add the reason for the earlier reversion. You could also explain the reason for reversion on the talk page of the user who made the edit or on the article talk page, if appropriate. Alternatively you can follow the rollback with a dummy edit (not a null edit), with an edit summary like "Accidental use of rollback – your reason for the original reversion". This won't change the edit summary for the original rollback edit, but it will help people understand why you reverted the original edit.

Ways to reduce the risk of accidental misclicks

Editors have the option of installing any of the multiple user scripts that enable mandatory confirmation from the user before rolling back an edit. This is enabled by default on mobile devices via the "Require confirmation before performing rollback on mobile devices" gadget.

It is possible to hide the [rollback] links at Special:Watchlist (where most accidental clicks happen) while leaving [rollback] links available in other locations (e.g., diffs). See WP:Customizing watchlists for instructions.

Additional tools

It is also possible to make rollback and rollback-like edits with an explanatory edit summary (instead of the default edit summary). Various editing tools let you do this; for example, see this list of tools.

Custom edit summaries for MediaWiki rollback

To manually add a custom edit summary with MediaWiki rollback, you can hand-edit the URL. First, copy the URL of the rollback link. Depending on your browser, this might be done by control-clicking on the [rollback] link on a history page so you can copy the URL. Then paste the URL into your browser's address bar, and append &summary= followed by your desired summary to the end of the URL.

Twinkle and RedWarn/Ultraviolet

Example diff showing both Twinkle (top line: AGF, rollback, and vandal) and MediaWiki rollback (third line)

The patrolling tools Twinkle and RedWarn/Ultraviolet have rollback-like features in similar places to the MediaWiki rollback links, and (as of 2024) they also call them "rollback". Unlike MediaWiki rollback, these scripts may be used by any autoconfirmed user. The scripts do basically the same thing as MediaWiki rollback, but they differ in their choice of edit summaries, and, in some small but significant ways, in their behavior.[2] Twinkle and RedWarn/Ultraviolet also offer additional options.

Users with the MediaWiki rollback user right and these scripts installed will see multiple "rollback" links, which can be confusing (see the picture). Twinkle's rollback feature can be disabled by unticking every box in the option Show rollback links on these pages: at Twinkle preferences.

Twinkle and RedWarn/Ultraviolet don't have an official version for the standard mobile interface. A mobile user can use those tools in full access by switching to desktop view.

User scripts

For further customization, you can use the following user scripts:

See also

Notes

  1. ^ See also WP:Requests for arbitration/Ryulong#Rollback.
  2. ^ Namely:
    • Rollback customization scripts, including massRollback, only work on true rollback.
    • Twinkle/RedWarn/Ultraviolet rollback is slightly slower than true rollback and uses two API calls instead of one. (RedWarn/Ultraviolet will conduct its rollbacks using true rollback if the user is a rollbacker. Twinkle will still use the slower form even if the user is a rollbacker.)
    • True rollback is subject to a slightly more forgiving rate limit (as of April 2022, 100 per minute, versus 90 per minute for all other kinds of edits, including Twinkle/RedWarn/Ultraviolet rollback).
    • True rollback edits are exempt from the edit filter, while Twinkle/RedWarn/Ultraviolet rollback is not (although some edit filters manually exempt it).