How to Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow

Every wiki has a list of Recent Changes (RC) that shows every edit made to its website. Here at wikiHow, any logged in contributor is invited to become a patroller. Responsibilities involve reverting any unhelpful edits as well as one-to-one coaching. Would you like to help out?

For a short hands-on lesson in patrolling, you can also check out our interactive RCP tour.


  1. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 1
    Go to the RC Patrol App. Here you will see edits displayed which haven't been patrolled by another contributor.
  2. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 2
    Compare the old revision of the page to the new revision. The old revision is on the left, and the new revision is on the right. This is called a "diff" (difference page) because it shows the difference between two revisions.
    • If something was removed, that section will have a yellow border/highlighting on the left side of the "diff" that highlights the removed content.
    • If something was added or changed, that section will have a blue border/highlighting on the right.
    • Any text that was changed will be highlighted blue.
    • If you scroll down, you will see what the page currently looks like, after the edits that were made.
  3. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 3
    Make sure you understand what you're looking at, and what to look for. Look at the title at the top of the RCP tool to check out whether the edit is on an article, a user page, a talk page, or a discussion page. Consider the following:
    • Article edits: If they're accurate and helpful additions that don't just repeat existing advice in the article, keep them. If they're vandalism or involve unnecessary inclusions of brand names or external links, roll them back (see below). If they are helpful but are not in wikiHow style, format, or the edit contains mistakes, click Quick Edit and fix the edit (see below).
      • When you see a diff that shows "no change," this is generally because an article has had a change made to it that's been rolled back, and you're reviewing both edits at once. The best course of action is to open the article history separately and review whether the rolled back change was good before marking it (or restoring the good edit, if needed).
    • Articles in need of lots of work: If you come across an edit or article with mistakes in it, you can use Quick Edit to fix them up, or you can add any relevant templates to ask other editors to help out with any issues. If you're not sure what needs fixing, just go ahead and skip them, rather than marking them patrolled.
    • User pages: You'll only see user page edits if they were made by somebody other than the user in question. If they look like vandalism or abuse, you can roll them back or ask the editor what they were doing.
    • Talk pages: Generally, messages on talk pages that aren't vandalism or abuse are fine, too. If you see a lot of non-wikiHow related messages, you can let the user know that we try to keep chat to a minimum because all edits have to be patrolled, and maybe direct them to the forums for more casual interactions.
    • Discussion pages: Read through the comments before marking them as patrolled. Generally, most comments here are fine to patrol, but if you see obvious or repeat spamming, abusive or offensive content, you can roll it back. You will often find valuable information about things that can be improved in the article. If so, you should check the article and:
  4. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 4
    Click Skip if you're not sure whether the edit improves the page or if you do not completely understand the edit. Clicking this button will move you on to a new edit to patrol and leave the previous edit for someone else. It is better to skip often rather than to risk patrolling a bad edit, or undoing a good edit.
  5. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 5
    Use Quick Edit to fix changes that have been made to the article. For example, if someone adds a good tip with incorrect spelling, use this feature to make corrections before you mark it as patrolled. When you press the button, a window (textbox) will open to edit the page. Find the part of the edit that needs fixing (and feel free to make other corrections while you have the quickedit tool open) and then click Publish.
  6. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 6
    Use Rollback when the entire edit should be removed (reverted) so that the article is changed back to the earlier version on the left. Do this only when all the changes are unhelpful and unfixable. Most of the time, unless they are outright vandalism, edits are fixable.
  7. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 7
    Press the "Thumbs Up" button to give the person who made the edit a little extra recognition for making a good contribution if the edit improves the page significantly.
    • If the edit is by multiple people, i.e, the edit shows by a certain contributor "and others," the thumbs up will go to the most recent editor in the bunch.
  8. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 8
    Use the "Quick Note" button to send a message to the contributor who made the edit (or one of the edits) you are currently patrolling to let them know their contribution has been noticed.
    • Write a personal note. In the textbox, tell the contributor why you thought the edit was great. An example: "Thanks for fixing that typo in [[Get a Job]]. I always confuse "your" and "you're" myself so I'm happy we have people like you fixing that for people like me!" If you want, you can use the "basic thanks" button to start off the message, but it's more encouraging if you add a sentence that is specific to the edit, like "The tips you added were really insightful."
    • Only use the "coach for bad" template button for when you had to rollback someone's edit.
    • If you're patrolling edits made by more than one person, it'll say "and others" in the header for the current revision on the right. When you open quick note, there will be a dropdown menu for you to choose who to send the note to. By default, it'll send the note to whoever made the biggest edit to the page, who is often not the same person listed before "and others" (that's the person who made the most recent edit to the page). If you're not sure you're sending the note to the right person, the only way to find out is by looking at the page history. If you don't want to do that, just skip or don't leave a quick note.
  9. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 9
    Click Mark as patrolled when you're done making any necessary changes to the edit.
  10. Image titled Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow Step 10
    To become a respected and expert patroller, do not rush; read and follow the tips in Patrolling Best Practices.


  • Recent Changes is inaccessible to anonymous users. If you're anonymous, please create an account if you would like to become a patroller.
  • Do not revert/edit articles with an {{inuse}} tag unless there is an obvious problem with it, such as blatant vandalism.
  • If you get the message saying all recent changes have been patrolled, but the number is still not at zero, meaning there are still unpatrolled edits, you can patrol them the traditional way. The process is still the same, except you visit Special:RecentChanges and patrol each diff page individually. This can help lower the patrol count even more, but it's important to know that skipped edits won't reappear, and reverted edits will add to the queue.
  • Remember, some edits are only partially bad. A good tip with terrible grammar, for example, is still a good tip. Try to rollback edits only when the information isn't salvageable in any way. Otherwise, it is better to use Quick Edit to delete the bad and incorporate the good.
  • Develop your own method.
    • Begin slowly, patrol safely, then pick up speed.
    • Make easy fixes and add templates or spend more time on each article.
  • If you see no difference, that's probably because an edit was reverted by someone else while they were patrolling, and the page now looks the way it did before. It's worth looking at the page history, though, to see if that edit should've been reverted or not. Maybe it was a good edit that just needed some fixing, but the person accidentally judged it as a bad edit. You can view the page history by clicking Advanced and then Page History. It'll open in a new window or tab so that you don't lose your place in RC Patrol.
  • If you want to patrol only a particular kind of edit, click on the "RC Ordering" tab and explore the dropdown menu. Discussion, User, and User Talk are easier to patrol because wikiHow allows pretty much anything except obvious vandalism.
  • With most browsers, you can also use keyboard shortcuts to navigate through the tool:
    • Rollback: Ctrl+Alt+R
    • Mark as Patrolled: Ctrl+Alt+M
    • Skip: Ctrl+Alt+S
    • Quick Edit: Ctrl+Alt+E
    • Quick Note: Ctrl+Alt+Q
    • Thumbs Up: Ctrl+Alt+T
    • Back: Ctrl+Alt+B
  • Bunch Patrol on wikiHow can be used to view a scrollable RC list of diffs for a logged in editor who has four or more unpatrolled edits. There is no preview to view in this list. "Mark as patrolled" by clicking check boxes to left of each diff; skip some (if desired), then submit.


  • Sometimes, RC Patrol can act slow, and if it's taking a long time to function the rollback or mark as patrol buttons, you may rollback some good edits or mark some bad edits by accident if you click many times on those buttons, so it's best just to click it once.
  • Do not approve vandalism. If you continue to do so despite coaching, you may be blocked from patrolling recent changes.


Article Info

Categories: Patrolling | Help