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This page explains and provides the guidelines for the review process associated with the new Pending changes feature introduced on PhysicsWiki as a trial on 15 June 2010. Reviewing is the process of checking pending changes to determine if they should be accepted, reverted or fixed through editing.

Articles under Pending changes can be reviewed by administrators and users who have reviewer permission (reviewers). Currently, there are 3 administrators and 2 reviewers.

Becoming a reviewer

Requests for reviewer permissions are not processed at this time because these permissions are currently not needed as a result of the community's decision to remove pending-changes protection from articles. Requests will be accepted again if and when the community decides to reintroduce the pending-changes system.

Previously, criteria for requesting the reviewer permission were as follows:

If you meet the criteria below, then ask! Add your name to the list of requests at PhysicsWiki:Requests for permissions/Reviewer.

  1. You have an account, and routinely edit.
  2. You have a reasonable editing history – as a guide, enough edits that a track record can be established.
  3. You have read our policy on vandalism and understand what is and what is not vandalism.
  4. You are familiar with the basic content policies: Biographies of living persons, Neutral point of view, No original research, Verifiability and What PhysicsWiki is not.
  5. You are familiar with the basic legal policy: PhysicsWiki:Copyrights.
  6. You have read the guideline on reviewing.

If you have rollback or autopatrolled rights, you are a good candidate for reviewer rights as well – the level of trust is similar; though it is not necessary that you will be granted reviewer rights if you have rollback or autopatrolled rights.[1] Administrators automatically have reviewer rights.

For the duration of the trial, the permission may be removed only in certain circumstances.

Purpose of reviewing

The purpose of reviewing is to catch and filter out obvious vandalism and obviously inappropriate edits on articles under pending changes protection, a special kind of protection that permits anonymous and newly registered editors to submit edits to articles that would otherwise be semi- or fully protected under one or more of the criteria listed in the protection policy.

A reviewer ensures that the version of the article visible to a casual reader is broadly acceptable. The reviewer checks the pending change(s) for an article and can then decide to either accept it, revert it or modify it then later accept it. Reviewers are not expected to be subject experts and their review is not a guarantee in any way of an error-free article. They are expected to have a reasonable editing history, distinguish what is and what is not vandalism, and be familiar with basic content policies. Reviewer rights are granted by administrators; and in cases of misuse of the right or to protect PhysicsWiki from possible misuse, the rights can be removed by an administrator. The permission can also be removed at the request of the user, the community, or the arbitration committee.

A key goal of the trial is to see if pending changes reviews occur quickly enough to keep the few affected pages on PhysicsWiki up to date while protecting readers and the project from inappropriate edits.

Reviewing process

Articles with pending changes are marked as such in watchlists and recent changes. In addition, there is a special page, Special:PendingChanges, which lists all articles with pending changes. Clicking on [Pending changes] will return the diff between the latest accepted revision and the last revision to the page. If you find an article with pending changes in another way, you can access the history and select the diff between the latest accepted revision (accepted revisions are marked) and the last revision. Most of the time, you should be able to complete the process from the diff alone, while in more complex cases you may have to check the recent history.

You should not accept the new revision if in analyzing the diff you find that:

  1. it conflicts with the Biographies of Living People policy
  2. it contains vandalism or patent nonsense
  3. it contains obvious copyright violations
  4. it contains legal threats, personal attacks or libel.

Reviewers should take special consideration of the reason given for protection, and attempt to uphold it. For example, if the article is protected because of repeated inappropriate edits by a sockpuppeter, and if the same inappropriate edits are made by a new or anonymous account, they should not usually be accepted.

Removal of content ('blanking') should also be examined. If this is vandalism the new revision should not be accepted, but blanking can be perfectly legitimate.

If you find no reason not to accept the new revision, then accept it from the reviewing screen; accepting doesn't prevent you from later editing the article to address concerns you may still have. Otherwise, if you think there are reasons not to accept the new revision, then you should edit the article to address the concerns:

  1. in case of obvious vandalism by one user, use native rollback or undo to revert the edit(s) (the new revision is automatically accepted)
  2. revert to a prior revision (justifying your revert if this is not clear vandalism), then accept the new revision
  3. See below for reviewing multiple edits.

Step-by-step "how-to" for reviewing multiple edits

Note: When reviewing multiple edits, bear in mind there may have been a good edit that has been removed by subsequent vandalism. Do not rely solely on what you see in the "pending review" page.

  1. Check the page history regardless of whether the version you see contains vandalism.
  2. If all the edits were made by one editor, and the most recent edit is vandalism, it is reasonable to assume they are all vandalism. Return to the review page, undo the series, and you are finished with your review. Go to 7.
  3. If the most recent version is good, you can review the previous edit in the series from the page history, and accept all edits that way.
  4. If the pending edits were made by multiple editors, review each edit individually from the page history. Undo any edit that is vandalism, a BLP violation, or clearly unacceptable according to review criteria. Each undo will create a new edit under your username, but will not be automatically accepted. Leave good edits in place, unreviewed.
  5. Once you are satisfied that all inappropriate edits have been undone, you will be left with good edits. Check the most recent pending edit to be certain you've removed all vandalism. Review that edit.
  6. This will clear the backlog of pending changes.
  7. Don't forget to breathe!

If you are unsure about what to do in a specific case, ask for input at PhysicsWiki:Pending changes/Noticeboard, issues related to reviewing can be reported there as well.

Testing is possible on dedicated pages in PhysicsWiki namespace.

Editing pages with pending edits

If you edit a page with pending edits, there will be a note mentioning this between the page title and edit window, you can click to show the diff between the latest accepted revision and the last revision, and review pending edits. There is an option to accept the new revision you will save below the edit summary at the right of "watch this page". Be sure to have reviewed pending changes before clicking it. If you don't click it, after saving the software will ask if you want to accept the new revision.

Unaccepting (reversing an action to accept)

Unaccepting is reversing an action to accept, manual or automatic (hence you cannot unaccept a revision which has not been previously accepted). You should generally not unaccept revisions, except to undo yourself if you realize you have made a mistake. If you have concerns with an accepted revision, then edit the article to address the concerns. If you think a revision should not have been accepted, you may discuss the issue with the reviewer if you feel this is needed. Automatically accepted revisions should generally not be unaccepted, even if they were vandalism, because there is no benefit in doing so (it only removes the [automatically accepted] tag appended to it in the history).

See also


  1. Autopatrolled rights are granted to new article creators whose contributions are trusted enough by the community to not be reviewed by new page patrollers. Similarly, rollback rights are granted to editors for rollbacking vandalism. But a reviewer has to critically understand the additional aspect of what does not constitute vandalism (for example disruptive editing) apart from other basic content and copyright policies mentioned above. The lack of such an understanding - and of the policies/guidelines mentioned above - can lead to a rollbacker or an autopatroller not being granted reviewer rights. Occasionally, even a lack of reasonable command over English is one of the reasons why a rollbacker or an autopatroller might not qualify for the reviewer flag.