MeritBadgeDotOrg:Recent changes patrol

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Recent changes patrol or RC patrol refers to the process whereby Administrators (also called Sysops) check the recent changes to various articles for harmful or non-constructive edits. The RC Patrol is entirely voluntary and carries no obligation. At its heart, it is really just a way to try to ensure that every edited article gets checked in a timely manner.

Regular RC patrollers may wish to put the RC patrol userbox on their user page by adding {{User RC Patrol}} to their user pages.


What to do

RC Patrolling primarily consists of a four step process:

Identify "bad" or "needy" edits
RC patrollers efficiently identify problematic edits. A bad edit is an edit that for one reason or another may need to be entirely removed. A needy edit requires maintenance or improvement in some manner.
Remove or improve the edit
Needy edits should be tagged according to their need (e.g. {{wikify}}), or boldly changed immediately. Bad edits should likewise be tagged or deleted. Because Wikipedians do not like their edits to be deleted, it is important to leave concise but clear justifications on the talk page or in the edit summary. When adding tags, please consider placing them on the article's talk page rather than in the article itself.
Warn the editor
In the cases of deliberate vandalism or an evident lack of knowledge on Wikipedia procedure, offending editors should be warned on their talk pages. While this is an optional step, it should be a regular part of a patroller's duties, as it minimizes conflict, educates new editors and alerts administrators of repeat offenders. For efficiency and consistency, standard warning templates can be found here. However do feel free to simply write a warning if the available templates are not appropriate.
Check the user's other contributions
You will often find more edits with similar problems. Fix those as well.

Being nice

Throughout the entire process of RC patrol, it is important to remember not to bite the newbies. Far from being a monolithic horde of vandals, trolls, and spammers, the available evidence seems to indicate that newcomers write most of Wikipedia's content.[1]

If you see a new user or IP address contributing, welcome them if you're so inclined, and include a pointer or two of feedback about how they can make their contributions even better. Most will gladly welcome the support.

It is also important to assume good faith as much as possible, or, minimally to assume incompetence instead of malice. For example, remember not everyone is as computer literate as you; some people will accidentally blank or damage pages when attempting to cut and paste material from Wikipedia. Others may not understand that, yes, their changes really are visible to the entire world.

Recent Changes Patrollers must maintain a level of respect for fellow editors.

Patrolling edits to existing pages

In general, one thing to keep in mind is not to focus only on patrolling articles in the main namespace. Image pages, for example, are frequently victims of nonsensical edits and vandalism. Such uncaught edits may be harmful due to malicious modification or collateral removal of copyright tags.

Newbie tests

Look for newbie tests (odd edits which are not vandalism), but do not bite the newcomers. Revert their experiments and leave one of the following messages on their user talk page. Be sure to sign and timestamp (~~~~) the warning.

{{subst:uw-test1}} ~~~~ 
{{subst:uw-delete1}} ~~~~ (a variant suitable for blanking) 
{{subst:uw-test2}} ~~~~ 
{{subst:uw-delete2}} ~~~~ (a variant suitable for blanking) 

Lack of sources

Addition of unsourced material without proper citations

{{subst:uw-unsor1}} ~~~~ 
Image:Information.svg Welcome to Wikipedia. We invite everyone to contribute constructively to our encyclopedia. However, adding content without citing a reliable source{{#if:|, as you did to [[:{{{1}}}]],}} is not consistent with our policy of verifiability. Take a look at the welcome page to learn more about contributing to this encyclopedia. {{#if:|{{{2}}}|Thank you.}}
{{subst:uw-unsor2}} ~~~~ 
Image:Information.svg Please do not add content without citing reliable sources{{#if:|, as you did to [[:{{{1}}}]]}}. Before making potentially controversial edits, it is recommended that you discuss them first on the article's talk page. {{#if:|{{{2}}}|Thank you.}}
{{subst:uw-unsor3}} ~~~~ 
Image:Nuvola apps important.svg Please do not add unsourced or original content{{#if:|, as you did to [[:{{{1}}}]]}}. Doing so violates Wikipedia's verifiability policy. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. Thank you. {{#if:|{{{2}}}|}}

Further non-constructive edits sometimes can be viewed as vandalism, and dealt with as below.


Copyright violations

  • Look for copyright violations and revert them. As per the instructions at Wikipedia:Copyright problems, just revert pages to remove copyright violations. However, take care to indicate in the edit summary that this is what you are doing. If an entire article is a copyvio see the section on copyvios in the new pages section below.


Look out for vandalism, and revert it. It is often worthwhile to check the page history after reverting to make sure you have removed all the vandalism. Also, check the user contributions of the vandal - you will often find more malicious edits.

Additionally, leave warning messages on the vandal's talk pages using the following system.

Warning templates

Note that these templates need not be used sequentially. If the edit is clearly vandalism, use the template {{uw-vandalism1}} instead. For continuing severe vandalism, {{uw-vandalism2}} may be skipped and {{uw-vandalism3}} given straight after the first warning. If, however, you are not sure that the edit is vandalism, always start with {{uw-test1}}. If a user made such an edit and reverted it himself, use a {{selftest}}. For extreme or extensive cases of vandalism committed by users who have received no prior warnings, {{uw-vandalism4im}} may be used. The ~~~~ in the templates below cause the time and your signature to be added to the warning.

{{subst:selftest}} ~~~~ (use if an edit appears to be a reversion of a newbie test) 
{{subst:uw-test1}} ~~~~ (use if an edit appears to have possibly not been an intentional act of vandalism) 
{{subst:uw-vandalism1}} ~~~~ (use if an edit is clearly vandalism)
{{subst:uw-test2}} ~~~~ 
{{subst:uw-delete2}} ~~~~ (a variant suitable for vandalism that consists of blanking text) 
{{subst:uw-test3}} ~~~~ 
{{subst:uw-vandalism4}} ~~~~ (not suitable as a first warning) 
{{subst:uw-vandalism4im}} ~~~~ (used as a first warning for extreme cases of vandalism) 

Alternatively, you can use:

{{selftest-n|}} ~~~~
{{subst:uw-test#|}} ~~~~
{{subst:uw-vandalism#|}} ~~~~
{{subst:uw-delete#|}} ~~~~
{{subst:uw-vandalism4im|}} ~~~~

to explicitly state which articles were vandalized. Where appropriate, replace the "#" with the warning level number (1 to 4). Insert the title of the article being referenced. For example:


The "subst" causes the template text to be pasted into the talk page as if you had typed it out, instead of leaving {{subst:uw-test1}} visible when editing the page. This makes the messages more personal to the user, and thus, more friendly. Also, if someone vandalizes the template, then the vandalism will not affect every page that uses the text from the template.

If the vandal will not stop, list them at Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism. Ensure that the user has been warned thoroughly before posting a notice on Wikipedia:Administrator intervention against vandalism and has had time (three or four minutes) to read the warnings and still ignore them. If a user has not been sufficiently warned, or has only vandalised a couple of times an administrator may simply remove the notice without action.

The blocking administrator will usually leave this on the vandal's talk page:

{{subst:uw-block1}} ~~~~ 
Template:Uw-block1. Once the block has expired, you are welcome to make constructive contributions. If you believe this block is unjustified you may contest this block by replying here on your talk page by adding the text {{unblock|your reason here}} .

Remember to sign and timestamp your warnings by leaving four tildes (like this: ~~~~).


Template:Wikipedia:Cleaning up vandalism/Tools

See also

Personal tools