How to track and patrol page changes in MediaWiki
On an open wiki site anyone can add and edit page content. This makes the process very dynamic and so MediaWiki has convenient features and tools for keeping track of all the changes that are made on the site. There are pages dedicated to listing all the changes to the content of the site; ones that are specifically intended for existing pages and new pages. You can track all the changes performed by a user, or the whole page history of a specific page. You can create your own list of pages that you want to monitor. There's also a feature called patrolling with which trusted users can share the responsibility of checking, and if necessary correcting, the changes.
In this article we'll go over these things. For more details and screenshots we also have a tutorial on how to track changes and patrol edits in MediaWiki.
For a basic information on managing pages you can read the tutorial on how to manage pages in MediaWiki.
Recent Changes Page
This is one of the most useful pages in MediaWiki. To access it click on the Recent changes button on the left. You can also access it by going to Special pages link on the left>Recent changes button on the page that opens. The Recent changes page presents a list of the changes to the content of pages, including the creation of new pages. It also lists various actions performed to pages (e.g. deletion, redirecting, moving, etc.), and related to users (e.g. user account creation); these are taken from the various logs.
Above the list there are some options with which you can select which changes should be shown: e.g. the number of items in the list, for how many days back should the changes be shown, etc. There's also a legend with the symbols used in the list (e.g. N stands for a newly created page).
Each item/change that's in the list has different buttons and links associated with it. For example, for each page change you'll see the title of the page which is also a link to the actual page; in front of it there is a button diff for comparing the differences between the selected edit and the previous revision of the page, and also a button hist that shows the revision history of the page. You'll also see shown the username of the user who performed the change with links to their user talk page and the list of their contributions.
The logs in MediaWiki list different page changes that are not related to the content itself; these include actions like deleting, moving, redirecting, etc. There are also logs related to user accounts and uploaded files. To access the logs, go to Tools menu on the left>Special pages link>Recent changes and logs section on the following page>Logs button. On the page that opens you'll see the complete list of all the logs. With the options at the top of the page you can select a particular log and you can also filter the list based on the user who performed the action and/or the time period.
There's a special page in MediaWiki that lists only newly created pages. To open it, go to Tools menu on the left>Special pages link>Recent changes and logs section on the following page>New pages button. This will display the list with the newly added pages. At the top of the list there are some options with which you can filter which new pages should be shown in the list.
Each page has a page history which you can use to track all the changes made to that page. To access the history of a page, after you open the page click on the View history button in the top right corner. This will open the page that lists all the revisions of the page. The items in the list are shown in a similar format as on the Recent changes page but with slight differences.
You can compare each of the revisions of the page with any other revision. With the cur button that's available for each revision you can compare that revision with the current revision (i.e. the most recent one). With the prev button you can compare the revision with the previous one. To compare a revision with any other mark the radio buttons of the chosen revisions and click on the button Compare selected revisions.
View the Changes Performed by a Particular User
You can also track changes per user. This means that you can view a list of all the changes made by any of the users who has made changes on your site. These changes are also called user contributions. To view the contributions of any user, go to Tools menu on the left>Special pages button>Users and rights section on the following page>User contributions button. On the page that opens type in the text field the username (or IP address for unregistered users) and click on the Search button. There are also some other options which you can use to filter the results. This will display a list of the changes made by the user.
You can also access the page listing the contributions of a user from the pages that list changes, like the Recent changes page or the logs. For each change listed on these pages the username of the user who performed it is shown. Next to it there's a contribs button that displays a list of the contributions made by that user.
Each registered user can create their own watchlist. They can choose which pages to put on that list. The watchlist displays all the changes made to the pages on the list. To add a page to your watchlist or to remove it from it, after you access the page use the button in the upper right corner that looks like a star.
To access the watchlist, after you log in click on the Watchlist button in the top right of the screen; it's next to the other account buttons (e.g. for the preferences, for logging in and out, etc.).
This is a feature that's related to managing pages and that's enabled by default in MediaWiki. It's not available to everybody. Since version 1.5 it's enabled only for administrators/sysops. This feature is intended to make it easier to check and manage page revisions and new pages, and to see which ones have been checked by other users who are allowed to patrol edits. In this way users with the patrol permission can make sure that the new content that's added isn't inappropriate and meets the standards and rules of the site.
Those users that can use this function see indications of which new revisions haven't been patrolled (by any of the users with that right).
- On the Recent changes page each new change that hasn't been patrolled is indicated with a red exclamation mark in front of the title of the page. To mark the page as patrolled, click on the diff button at the beginning of the line and on the next page click on the button Mark as patrolled.
- On the page that shows new pages (Special pages link>New pages) the newly created pages that haven't been patrolled are listed with a yellow background color. To mark the page as patrolled, after you open it click on the button Mark this page as patrolled that's in the lower right corner.
- You can give the right to patrol edits to existing groups or you can create a new group with that right. There are two permissions related to that. The patrol right gives users the right to mark edits and pages as patrolled, and also to see indications of which ones haven't been patrolled. The autopatrol right means that all users with that right have their own edits automatically marked as patrolled. To give these rights to a user group insert the following two lines (respectively for each right) on new lines at the end of the LocalSettings.php file of your MediaWiki:
$wgGroupPermissions['group-name']['patrol'] = true;
$wgGroupPermissions['group-name']['autopatrol'] = true;
You should change group-name with the actual name of the group. If the name of the group has more than one word, separate them with hyphens or underscores. If it's a group that doesn't exist then the group will be created. This is useful if you want to give only certain users the right to patrol edits; in this case then you have to put the users in that group. You can do that from Tools menu>Special pages button>Users and rights section>User group rights button.
- To disable the patrolling function for the whole site, put the following on new lines in the LocalSettings.php file:
$wgUseRCPatrol = false;
$wgUseNPPatrol = false;
For screenshots and some more details visit the tutorial on how to track changes and patrol edits in MediaWiki.
You may also find useful the other tutorials related to pages (or their respective shorter article versions):
Was this answer helpful?
- How to display a site notice at the top of pages in MediaWiki
- How to require users to confirm their email address before being allowed to edit pages in MediaWiki
- How to set external links in MediaWiki to open in new browser tab windows
- MediaWiki Extensions Installation and Management
- How to limit the sitemap to specific namespaces in MediaWiki