Wikipedia:Reviewing pending changes

This page explains and provides the guidelines for the review process associated with the pending changes protection feature (enabled on 1 December 2012). Articles with pending changes applied can be reviewed by administrators or users called pending changes reviewers (reviewer user group) who hold the pending changes reviewer permission. 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.

Currently, there are 1,082 administrators and 7,666 pending changes reviewers on the English Wikipedia. (In total, 8,748 user accounts have this right.)

The purpose of reviewing is to catch and filter out obvious inappropriate edits and vandalism 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.

Reviewers do not take responsibility for the correctness of edits they accept. A reviewer only ensures that the changes introduced to the article are broadly acceptable for viewing by a casual reader. 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 Wikipedia from possible misuse, the rights can be removed by an administrator. The permission can also be removed at the request of the user, or the Arbitration Committee.

Articles with pending changes are marked as such in watchlists, histories and recent changes. In addition, there is a special page, Special:PendingChanges, which lists all articles with pending changes. Clicking on [review] at Special:PendingChanges or [pending revisions] in watchlists, histories and recent changes will return the diff between the latest accepted revision and the last revision to the page. 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 or edit the article.

As a general rule, you should not accept the new revision if in analyzing the diff you find any of the following:

The protection policy limits pending changes protection to clear-cut cases, so interpretation issues should be minimal.

When reviewing, it is crucial to first check the number of users having edited the article; this information is provided in the middle of the page just before the diff content starts: "(X intermediate revision(s) by Y user(s) not shown)".

Also note that you remain subject to editing policies like edit warring and ownership of content.

For a list of tips and optional criteria you can apply when reviewing, see tips for pending changes reviewers.

Technical note on the reviewing interface: If you revert ("Revert changes" button), the comment you provide is automatically appended at the end of the standard revert edit summary, and you are asked to confirm your action. If you accept ("Accept revision" button), the comment is entered in the review log.

If all the edits were made by one editor, then check if they are clear vandalism or not. If the most recent edit is clear vandalism, it is reasonable to assume they are all vandalism, and you may revert the changes without comment. If it isn't clear vandalism, then you should check if there are any of the obstacles to accepting described above (sneaky vandalism, BLP violations, etc.). If there are obstacles to accepting, then you should revert with an explanatory comment or edit the page to ensure compliance, such as by reverting citing BLP violations, or modifying the text to remove copyright problems. After a revert the new revision is automatically accepted, while if you edited the article and dealt with all obstacles to accepting, you may subsequently accept.

In ambiguous cases, reverting is not the default option; you should properly investigate the case or leave it for a second opinion. For example, if information is modified without a new source, which may be sneaky vandalism, you should not presume vandalism but check whether the article has an existing source for it, which may have changed as well (e.g. number of YouTube views, box office results, etc.). If no source is provided, you may search for one and if none is straightforward but there are no reasonable reasons to believe the new edit is vandalism, it is acceptable, but if on balance you estimate that the edit is more likely to be vandalism, you should not accept and may revert.

If there are no obstacles to accepting, then it is presumed that the new revision is acceptable. You should treat the edits as you would habitually, following the appropriate policies and guidelines. It is not necessary for you to ensure compliance with the content policies on neutral point of view, verifiability and original research before accepting, but of course you are free to uphold them as you would normally with any edit you happen to notice. For example, in case of additions for which you can find no reference in the article but estimate unlikely to be vandalism, treat them as you would treat any such edit: do nothing, tag as needing citation, provide an appropriate citation, or revert – depending on the situation at hand. In general, there are three options:

Accepting, immediately or after some modifications, is the default position, and even if an edit may appear suboptimal, this is in itself not a reason to revert, as for all edits, since they may yet be improved.

If the pending edits were made by multiple editors, 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" diff page, instead:

For any specific issues related to reviewing, please use Wikipedia talk:Pending changes. For discussing the guideline itself, please use Wikipedia talk:Reviewing pending changes.

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.

If you meet the above criteria, then ask! Add your name to the list of requests at .

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 necessarily the case that you will be granted reviewer rights if you have rollback or autopatrolled rights. Administrators automatically have reviewer rights.