“Patrolled edits” is a MediaWiki feature that allows edits by certain users to be double-checked (“patrolled”) for accuracy, validity, and appropriateness. At Wiktionary, only administrators can mark an edit as “[having been] patrolled”, and only administrators can see whether an edit has been patrolled. The software marks all non-administrators’ edits as waiting to be patrolled, but we have a tool that let administrators automatically mark as patrolled edits by editors who are known to know what they’re doing.

Patrolled edits is one of the main tools in Wiktionary’s anti-vandalism arsenal, since administrators can (for example) visit <https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Recentchanges&hidepatrolled=1&limit=500> to see the 500 most recent unpatrolled edits.

How to patrol

Patrolling is restricted to Sysops, and this section is therefore unlikely to be of interest to anyone else.

First steps

  1. In the “Gadgets” tab at Special:Preferences, Lupins popups is highly recommended; and several other Gadgets are also useful. There are also various useful preferences at Wiktionary:Per-browser preferences.
  2. Continue editing Wiktionary as normal, but every five to ten minutes go to Special:RecentChanges and click refresh and see what has been happening.
  3. You will notice that some edits have a (mark ?) button, some have a (marked) indicator, and some have nothing at all. The ones that need patrolling are those that say (mark ?).
  4. Go through the ones that look problematic, check the changes (using the “open link in new tab” or Popups is the easiest way) and deal with them appropriately.
    The edit is pure bad faith and offensive
    Rollback the edits, or delete the article and block the user.
    The edit is nonsense but not offensive
    Rollback the edits or delete the article and, if you wish, warn or block the user (check their contributions/talk page for context).
    The edit is good but not formatted correctly
    Either fix the edit or, if you know that AutoFormat will pick it up, leave it be. You may also need to leave a note on the user talk page explaining the problem.
    The edit is perfect
    If the user doesn’t yet have a talk page, and you see them making one or two good edits, feel free to welcome them—either with a personal message or if you don’t have time, slap on a {{welcome}}, {{welcomeip}} or {{welcomepedia}}.
    You are unsure
    If you don’t speak the relevant language then it is often hard to tell, in general assume good faith, however if you are doubtful then don’t mark the edit. If you think it needs expert attention then try the IRC channel, or look up someone in the Wiktionary:Babel system; otherwise pass the buck and don’t click “(mark ?)”.
  5. Then, most importantly, click “(mark ?)” otherwise some other poor sysop will have to re-patrol.
  6. When there are no more, or when you get bored, go back to whatever you were doing.

Second steps

OK, you’ve done that for a bit but it doesn’t seem to be the best, try one of the following.

Batch mode
Instead of looking every five minutes, set aside half an hour from time to time and click on the above link to see a never ending list of what is to be done. This can be more productive than switching continually between tasks.
IRC channel
Get yourself an IRC client and sign into the antivandalism IRC channel #cvn-wt-en. Then continue to wiki normally, but review edits as they appear in your chat window.
Rat Patrol
Download and tinker with the pywikipediabot until you have login.py working. Then download User:Robert Ullmann/Rat Patrol and start it up. This gives you a list of the last 500 unpatrolled edits to go through at your leisure, and is by far the most thorough way to patrol, yet can be very time consuming (you never get to the end of the list, though if enough of us are using it…).


  • Any edit no matter whether it is good or bad should be marked as patrolled once it has been dealt with, whether by you or someone else. Do not be scared to mark an edit patrolled after someone else fixes it.
  • If you revert an edit with rollback, the edit is automatically marked as patrolled, however if you edit a page manually (or use the undo button) you will need to mark the edit manually.
  • If you want help making a quick decision, bring it to the normal Wiktionary IRC channel #wiktionary and ask. The chances are that there are people there who can help you decide.
  • If a new registered user makes a mistake you must tell them about it, as they are likely to stick around. If an anonymous editor makes one mistake there is generally no need to leave a note as they are probably not going to be back. However if they make the same mistake more than once a block or a warning is appropriate.