PhysicsWiki:Pending changes

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Pending changes protection is a tool used to suppress vandalism and certain other persistent problems on PhysicsWiki while allowing good-faith users to submit their edits for review. Intended for infrequently edited articles that are experiencing high levels of such problematic 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 reviewer. There are relatively few articles on PhysicsWiki with this type of protection.

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

Both logged-in users and anonymous users who click the "edit this page" tab edit the latest version 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 vandalism, violations of the policy on living people, copyright violations, or other obviously inappropriate content. Reviewers are users sufficiently experienced 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 PhysicsWiki. Reading the reviewing guideline, where the reviewing process and expectations for a reviewer are detailed, is recommended.

Acceptance of an edit by a reviewer is not an endorsement of the correctness 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 PhysicsWiki: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 January 2013, edits are rarely unreviewed for more than two to three hours and the backlog is frequently empty.

Effect of various protection levels

PhysicsWiki users, page protections, and page edits
  Unregistered, New Autoconfirmed, Confirmed Reviewer Administrator Appropriate for*
No protection can edit;
changes go live** immediately;
no acceptance required
The vast majority of pages
Pending changes
level 1 protection
can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer
can edit;
changes go live immediately (if no previous pending changes remain to be accepted)
can edit;
changes go live immediately;***
can accept pending changes
Infrequently edited articles that are experiencing high levels of vandalism or BLP violations from unregistered and new users
Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
Articles experiencing high levels of vandalism or edit warring from unregistered and new users, and for some highly visible templates and modules
No consensus for use of Pending changes level 2 on the English PhysicsWiki per PW:PC2012/RfC 1; for all types of PC, see the full table.
  Unregistered, New Auto/Confirmed Template editor Reviewer Administrator Appropriate for*
Template protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
High-risk templates and modules
Full protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
Articles experiencing persistent vandalism or edit warring from (auto)confirmed accounts, and for critically important templates and modules
* See also: PhysicsWiki:Protection policy
** "Go live" means the edits will be visible to readers who are not logged in. In all cases, edits are always visible to readers logged into PhysicsWiki.
*** When editing articles with un-reviewed pending changes, Administrators and Reviewers are prompted to review the pending changes before saving their edit.

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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), he/she 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 kind of pages can pending changes be used?
It was determined by consensus that pending changes could only be used on articles, subject to the protection policy. The only exceptions are pages in PhysicsWiki namespace reserved for testing at PhysicsWiki:Pending changes/Testing. It is not technically possible for talk pages to be placed on pending changes. As of 2013, pending changes on templates is functional only if both the template and the article using that template are placed under pending changes protection. Protecting the template alone does not prevent unprotected articles from displaying the newest, unreviewed versions of the template.
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. During the first three to six months, only pending changes level 1, affecting the edits of new and unregistered users, is being used. The use of level 2 may be proposed for truly exceptional cases, but is rarely accepted.


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

See also