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Flag changes to redirects on changes lists
Open, LowPublic


Author: robert_horning

On Wikibooks we have been discussing the internal status of trying to deal with
wheither a redirect needs to be deleted or not. Some are patent nonsense and
have no reason to remain. In writing a reply, I began to think that with all of
the anti-vandalism changes that have occured on Wikimedia projects, that a new
vector of vandalism might come through redirects.

Generally redirect pages are not on the watch list of very many users, and
especially if a particular redirect is "hard linked" from another website (like
slashdot or, the redirect itself would become a very easy vandalism
target that would be hard to detect for typical members of a Recent Changes
Patrol. As the page already exists, it would not stop anonymous users from
editing the redirect and adding a parody article instead or something else
tantamount to vandalism. And the usual target of the redirect would remain as
it would be undetected.

What I'm suggesting is that if a redirect is somehow changed, especially if the
redirect itself is removed and an article added it its place, that it be flagged
seperately on the recent changes list. To have it look something like this
(from Wikibooks, as just an example. To copy part of the current recent changes
list as well (with hopefully an obvious fictional example that didn't really
occur) where a vandal could be detected:

  • (diff) (hist) . . Formal Logic/Sets; 04:39 . . JMRyan (Talk | block)

(→Ordered sets)

  • (diff) (hist) . . m Investigations in Gastroenterology; 04:38 . . The Doc

(Talk | block)

  • (diff) (hist) . . m Symptoms and Signs in Gastroenterology; 04:38 . . The

Doc (Talk | block) (- ip address + :it)

  • (diff) (hist) . . User talk:Robert Horning; 04:30 . . Robert Horning (Talk
block) (→Wikimania redirects)
  • (diff) (hist) . . m Wikijunior Dinosaurs/Brontosaurus; 04:27 . . Konstable

(Talk | block)

  • (diff) (hist) . . R Wikimania 2005; 04:25 . . Ass Puss (Talk | block)
  • (diff) (hist) . . m Japanese; 04:24 . . Marsian (Talk | block) (several

minor changes including (perhaps) better HTML markup using dl, dt, and dd)

  • (diff) (hist) . . N Wikibooks:How to revert a page to an earlier version;

04:22 . . Wolf385 (Talk | block)

  • (diff) (hist) . . Wikijunior Solar System/Kuiper Belt; 04:21 . . (Talk | block) (typo)

I am using the "R" symbol to note that the page was a redirect prior to the edit
change. This could also be added to the list of filters that can be used to
monitor the recent changes. This is mainly a way to make a page stand out when
otherwise it might go by completely unnoticed, yet is likely true vandalism on a
project, or at least something to be investigated as a newbie mistake.

I'm rating this bug as a high priority mainly because I think it is something
that most MediaWiki installations could use...especially larger projects with a
high volume of page changes. And by writing this up and drawing attention to
this point at all is likely by itself to cause this to become an issue on some
projects. How often this is an issue is something that can be debated.

Version: unspecified
Severity: enhancement



Event Timeline

bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Low.Nov 21 2014, 9:08 PM
bzimport set Reference to bz5040.
bzimport added a subscriber: Unknown Object (MLST).

gangleri wrote:

To be consistent with other requests please use a
[[MediaWiki:Redirectpageletter]] (default "R").

marking as dependend of
Bug 5054: The code that generates the linewise result section for 'Special:'
Contributions, Recentchanges, Recentchangeslinked, Watchlist should be merged
and reused for other special pages with linewise result section

Changed component to "RecentChanges"

As a result of by @Catrope (per T167656 and T73236), making a redirect into an article, changing a redirect's target and converting a non-redirect into a redirect are all tagged (as mw-removed-redirect, mw-changed-redirect-target, and mw-new-redirect respectively). I don't think that a separate tag is needed, as this task proposes.