Wikipedia:Revert only when necessary

Reverting is reversing a prior , in whole or in part. Revert vandalism upon sight but revert an made in good faith only after careful consideration. It is usually preferable to make an that retains at least some elements of a prior than to revert the prior . Furthermore, your bias should be toward keeping the entire .

Reverting drives away ors[]

Reverting tends to be hostile, making ing Wikipedia unpleasant. Sometimes this provokes a reciprocal hostility of re-reversion. Sometimes it also leads to ors departing Wikipedia, temporarily or otherwise, especially the less bellicose. This outcome is clearly detrimental to the development of Wikipedia. Thus, fair and considered thought should be applied to all reversions given all the above.

Good reasons to revert[]

The main purpose of reversion is to undo vandalism or other disruptive s. If you see an that you're sure was intended by its author to damage Wikipedia, and it does, there is no need for further consideration. Just revert it.

In the case of a good faith , a reversion is appropriate when the reverter believes that the makes the article clearly worse and there is no element of the that is an improvement. This is often true of small s.

Whenever you believe that the author of an was simply misinformed, made a mistake, or did not think an through, go ahead and revert. If that or (or anyone else) re-reverts, you will know it is more than that, and you should be more conservative in deciding whether to revert it again.

Another kind of acceptable reversion is an incidental one. A Wikipedia or is not expected to investigate the history of an article to find out if an being considered is a reversion of some prior . The rule against reversions applies only to cases where the reverter is aware that the is a reversion of another .

Bad reasons to revert[]

There are a number of things that sometimes motivate an or to revert, but should not.

Alternatives to reverting[]

The most important principle is to continually improve rather than destroy.

If a good-faith which adds correct information that readers would find useful is wrong for other reasons, fix it. If a contribution is ungrammatical, improve the grammar, if a citation is incorrectly formatted, fix the format, if you have some minor nitpick of policy, then fix it.

When you find you disagree with an , try to find a third version of the text that incorporates at least some of the elements of the prior text and the current text. Sometimes that's as easy as making the article state that there is controversy about something.

You might discuss an on the talk page before reverting. But note that Wikipedia does not in general require advance approval of s, and reversions are no exception. If you believe you have a case of an acceptable reversion, you are invited to make that unilaterally and if there is disagreement, you'll find out from subsequent s. (But note the special rules for avoiding wars.)

You could also discuss an directly with the or who made it, on that or's talk page, and request that the or modify their own work. Or convince you that it's best as it stands.

If an has value, but also problems, and you don't have time to fix the problems, tag it. If you're really rushed you can just leave the article alone, other ors will likely notice the same problems. In either case, someone with more time will fix the problems. You don't have to take personal responsibility for protecting the article from imperfection.

Revert wars are considered harmful (the three-revert rule)[]

High-frequency reversion wars make the page history less useful, make it hard for other people to contribute, and flood recent changes and watchlists. Wikipedia policy forbids anyone from reverting any single article more than three times within a period of 24 hours, with certain exceptions. This is a strict limit, not a given right; you should not revert any one article more than three times daily. Violation of this rule may lead to protection of the page on the version preferred by the non-violating party, blocking, or investigation by the Arbitration Committee. Usage of sock puppets attempting to circumvent this rule does not prevent a violation. See Wikipedia:Three revert rule for details on this.

Explain reverts[]

Being reverted can feel a bit like a slap in the face – "I worked hard on those s, and someone just rolled it all back". However, sometimes a revert is the best response to a bad , so we can't just stop reverting. What's important is to let people know why you reverted. This helps the reverted person because they can remake their while fixing whatever problem it is that you've identified. Obviously it is best to fix the problem and not revert at all.

Explaining reverts also helps other people. For example, it lets people know whether they need to even view the reverted version (in the case of, e.g., "rv page blanking"). Because of the lack of paralanguage online, if you don't explain things clearly people will probably assume all kinds of nasty things, and that's how wars get started.

If your reasons for reverting are too complex to explain in the summary, drop a note on the Talk page. A nice thing to do is to drop the note on the Talk page first, and then revert (referencing the talk page in your summary), rather than the other way round. Sometimes the other person will agree with you and revert for you before you have a chance. Conversely, if someone reverts your change without apparent explanation, you may wish to wait a few minutes to see if they explain their actions on the article's talk page or your user talk page, or contact the or and ask for the reason for their revert. Do not engage in discussions in summaries. Doing so is a hallmark of warring; instead, stop ing and use the talk page.

Avoiding or limiting your reverts[]

Having realized that article development has ground to a halt because of incessant reversions, two or more people may agree to give higher-than-usual respect to each other's s. Unlike the three-revert rule, these rules are usually voluntary and self-enforced. For cases where they are imposed as restrictions, see Other revert rules in the warring policy.

One-revert rule[]

Some ors may choose to voluntarily follow a one-revert rule: If you revert a change and someone re-reverts it, discuss it with the re-reverter rather than reverting it a second time.

In a situation where two ors disagree, if both follow this rule, the history will show two reversions (one by each or) before discussion starts.

Sometimes, users may be limited to one revert by the Arbitration Committee or by the community per the ing restrictions guidance. In other cases, articles or entire topics may be placed under a standing 1RR restriction.

Don't re-revert[]

Editors with this pledge choose to voluntarily follow the rule that if someone reverts any change of theirs, they don't re-revert it, but discuss it with them. (See Proposal.)

In a situation where two ors disagree, if both follow this rule, the history will show one reversion before discussion starts.

Zero-revert rule[]

Editors may also choose to adhere to a zero-revert rule, for example:

"Revert only obvious vandalism. Instead of removing or reverting changes or additions you may not like, add to and enhance them while following the principle of preserving information and viewpoints. If you can't figure out how any part of an benefits an article ask for clarification on the article's or the or's discussion page."

In a situation where two ors disagree, if both follow this rule, the history will show no reversions before discussion starts.

Using a zero-revert rule gives fellow ors the benefit of the doubt in all cases. Even in instances where you know the other or's viewpoint is dead wrong, the fact that some people have this viewpoint can be relevant in itself, and their contributions might be expandable into a useful addition to the article. This rule can be very difficult for some to follow in practice and may sometimes require some creative ing.

See also[]