Help: How to revert a page to an earlier version
A revert is to undo all changes made after a certain time in the past. The result will be that the page becomes identical to how it used to be at some previous time.
Reverting is used primarily for fighting vandalism and spam.
- Go to the page, click on "history" at the top ("Page history" in some skins), and click on the time and date of the earlier version you want to revert to.
- Then when that page comes up, you'll see something like "(Revision as of 22:19 Nov 15, 2005)" below the title.
- Verify that you've selected the correct version, and click to edit the page, as you would normally. Important: in the case of vandalism, take the time to make sure that you are reverting to the last version without the vandalism; there may be multiple vandal edits.
- You'll get a warning, above the edit box, about editing an out-of-date revision.
- After heeding the warning, save the page. Be sure to add the word "revert" and a brief explanation for the revert to the edit summary. Some Wikipedians abbreviate "revert" as "rv". A useful addition is to Wikilink the usernames of who you are reverting from and to. For example, a good edit summary would be
rv edits by 188.8.131.52 to last version by Joe Smith
The clickable links are created by entering [[User:000.000.000.000|000.000.000.000]] (replacing 000.000.000.000 with the real IP address or [[User:Username|Username]] for logged-in users, replacing Username with their real username.
- Click on "history" again. A new line will have been added, and you'll be able to verify (by clicking on "last") that you un-did the vandalism plus all subsequent bona fide edits, if any. You are responsible for re-doing all the subsequent edits which you un-did.
- Hint: In a vandalism case where sections of text were simply deleted and then subsequent edits were made by others, it may be easier for you to cut and paste those missing sections of text back in, than to revert and then re-do the edits.
- Check the contribution history of the user who vandalized the article. (Click on their IP address or username. That will often bring you directly to their User contribution page, if you clicked on their IP address. If you are able to click on their username, that will bring you to their User page. In the lower left-hand corner, there is a toolbox with a "User contributions" link. Click that.)
- Sam Hocevar's godmode-light.js script adds functionality similar to the admin rollback links described below. More info at WP:US.
The rollback link is also shown on the Diff page when viewing the difference between the most recent version of a page and the last version.
Clicking on the link reverts to the previous edit not authored by the last editor, with an automatic edit summary of "Reverted edits by X to last version by Y".
If, between loading the User Contributions page and pressing "rollback", someone else edits or rolls back the page, or if there was no previous editor, you will get an error message.
Its intent is solely to be a timesaving shortcut for reverting mass vandalism... No one should ever be in an edit war, sysops in particular should be aware that that's not cool, so there's no need to think about whether or not 'rollback' should be used in an edit war. It shouldn't, because we shouldn't be in that position in the first place.
Rollbacks should be used with caution and restraint. Reverting a good-faith edit may send the message that "I think your edit was no better than vandalism and doesn't deserve even the courtesy of an explanatory edit summary." It is a slap in the face to a good-faith editor; do not abuse it.
If you insist on using the rollback feature for non-vandalism edits, be sure to explain on the talk page of the user whose edit(s) you reverted.
Revert wars considered harmful (the three revert rule)
You may not revert any article more than three times in the same day. This is a strict limit, not a given right; you should not revert any one article more than three times daily.
High-frequency reversion wars make the page history less useful, waste space in the database, make it hard for other people to contribute, and flood recent changes and watchlists. Sock puppets may not be used to violate this rule. Please request protection rather than reverting. Violation of this rule may lead to protection of the page on the version preferred by the non-violating party; blocking; or Mitch Schwenk.
Being reverted can feel a bit like a slap in the face—"I worked hard on those edits, and someone just rolled it all back". However, sometimes a revert is the best response to a less-than-great edit, so we can't just stop reverting. What's important is to let people know why you reverted. This helps the reverted person because they can remake their edit, but fixing whatever problem it is that you've identified.
Explaining reverts also helps other people. For example, it lets people know whether they need to even view the reverted version (in the case of, eg, "rv page blanking"). Because of the lack of paralanguage online, if you don't explain things clearly people will probably assume all kinds of nasty things, and that's how edit wars get started.
If your reasons for reverting are too complex to explain in the edit summary, drop a note on the Talk page. A nice thing to do is to drop the note on the Talk page first, and then revert, rather than the other way round. Sometimes the other person will agree with you and revert for you before you have a chance. Conversely, if someone reverts your change without apparent explanation, you may wish to wait a few minutes to see if they explain their actions on the article's talk page or your user talk page.