Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Archive/Disruptive edit notification watchdog

Disruptive edit notification watchdog

 N Withdrawn, as it was agreed that there is no longer a need to pursue this proposal

  • Problem: Some disruptive edits may go unnoticed for months or years, simply because there is no convenient means of detecting them as they occur.
  • Who would benefit: Admins and editors engaged in protecting the content of large wikis.
  • Proposed solution: Introduce a generic, user-configurable watchdog feature to obtain notification of certain types of rare edits to any page or object. This is similar to the watchlist feature, but while the watchlist feature is selective as to which pages it tracks, this watchdog is meant to be selective with respect to the types and characteristics of the edits it tracks.
  • More comments: Please see a longer write-up for more details of this proposal.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: SM5POR (talk) 07:49, 18 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]


  • I just found mw:Help:New filters for edit review which may help tracking changes like the one that inspired this proposal. However, I haven't had the time to find out whether it makes the entire proposal redundant, wherefore I'm not withdrawing it, but I'm leaving it in place just in case it may help improve the functionality of the filtering mechanism. --SM5POR (talk) 06:02, 19 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • @SM5POR: communities can already configure many filters that check targeted, or even every, edit(s) via the Special:AbuseFilter - which produces a public log: Special:AbuseLog that editors can review. I think that takes care of most of your request? As far as getting a "notification" for such hits - that seems quite cumbersome - where would it "send" these? To all users, to all opt-in users? If a notification went to say 1000 editors, would you expect that they all spend time reviewing it? — xaosflux Talk 15:30, 20 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @Xaosflux: Thank you for pointing me to the alternative solution. The AbuseFilter mechanism however appears targeted at willful abuse of a fairly frequent kind, and I haven't found out how to create such a filter yet. While my proposed watchdog might catch those cases of abuse as well, it's not them I'm looking for, but supposedly quite rare changes, more likely done by mistake than by intent.
    Take the case I wanted to report as an example. A restore is typically used to revert a recent series of bad edits in bulk I believe. It should be done swiftly in order not to destroy good edits as well. Yet there is a restore link next to the undo link on every line in the revision history. The restore I found was far from swift; for no apparent reason it hit a revision that was already eight months old, destroyed 15 good intermediate edits, and remained unnoticed for another 15 months while editors gradually cancelled out some of the effects of the restore, probably unaware that they were redoing edits already done but lost, like ants repairing an anthill for the Nth time without knowing the value of N.
    As to the notifications, they should be sent to users requesting them only. If you are looking for events happening maybe once a month in the entire wiki, you will hardly check a log file on an hourly basis (which you would have to do to attend to those cases in due time). It's just like the page-specific watchlists in that regard. If two users happen to watch the same page, then I would expect both to review the notifications they get as well. -- SM5POR (talk) 08:52, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
  • My bad -- The restore feature appears limited to Wikidata only! Then I understand why this proposal makes little sense elsewhere, and I should probably withdraw it as the remaining functionality may well be served by the AbuseFilter mechanism as suggested by @Xaosflux: (thanks for making me find out). Now, where is the "cancel" button..? --SM5POR (talk) 09:40, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    @SM5POR: there is a category of wikidata-specific wishes, so you can just tweak it with more details and it can be moved to that category if you could still find it useful there. — xaosflux Talk 11:05, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    That could be an option, thanks, but since the cross-platform usefulness was a significant part of my motivation for writing that proposal in the first place, it would require a major rewrite to fit the more limited Wikidata context, and I simply don't have the time to do that. Another option would be to repurpose it to add some notification feature to the Abuse filter processing, if that doesn't exist today, but same thing there, I don't have the time this weekend, and I'm not familiar enough with the filter system to do it anyway. If anybody else sees some potential use for this entry, I will gladly offer it for them to work on (if that's permissible). -- SM5POR (talk) 11:50, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
    Hello there, thanks for taking the time to write the proposal and engage in conversation! I do agree it makes sense to cancel given what you learned. Will archive this! Regards, NRodriguez (WMF) (talk) 13:23, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]