Stewards can assign an 'oversight' permission on Wikimedia projects which can be used to semi-permanently remove individual edits from an article's history.
This feature is approved for use in three cases:
- Removal of nonpublic personal information such as phone numbers, home addresses, workplaces or identities of pseudonymous or anonymous individuals who have not made their identity public.
- Removal of potentially libellous information either: a) on the advice of Wikimedia Foundation counsel or b) when the subject has specifically asked for the information to be expunged from the history, the case is clear, and there is no editorial reason to keep the revision.
- Removal of copyright infringement on the advice of Wikimedia Foundation counsel.
Hidden revisions remain accessible to Oversight users through the log, and can be restored by a developer if a mistake was made.
Oversight removal is not used on usual vandalism — even egregious and offensive vandalism — unless it is one of the above. Oversight is for material that should not be available even to an admin.
Revision hidings are logged privately, visible to other oversight-admins at Special:Oversight with a comment.
The log lists who made the removal, when, from which page, and a provided comment. A diff link to compare the previous live revision to the hidden one is available.
A user with oversight privilege will get an extra "hide revision" tab when viewing an old revision, a diff, or a deleted revision. Click this tab and fill out a comment to remove the displayed revision.
Note that the most recent edit to a page cannot be hidden; revert the edit first. If a page has only one revision, blank it to make a second revision and oversight the first one, then delete the page.
Users should be aware that remove revision can create misleading diffs, for example if user A adds personal information which must be hidden, then user B adds vandalism, then user C removes the personal information without removing the vandalism, then user D removes the vandalism, and then A and Bs edits are hidden (the minimum required to hide the personal information) then it will appear that C made the vandalism. In this case the confusion could be avoided by also hiding the vandalism, but in situations where good content is added there may be no simple solution. It is possible that the system will be changed to replace the removed revisions with an explicitly visible marker.
If you believe that a page revision qualifies for hiding under this process, please e-mail a request per Wikinews:Oversight#Oversight_Use.
Users who require the oversight permission are typically members of the Arbitration Committee and former Arbitration Committee members. For those users who are not, in order to be granted the oversight flag, a case should be made and sent to the ArbCom. If confirmed by the Arbitration Committee to have a need for oversight, an Arbitrator will post a request on Requests for permission on Meta-Wiki and a Steward will assign the permission.
Just as easily as the oversight permission can be granted, it can be revoked. If a Wikimedia Steward feels that the editor has abused oversight by hiding revisions which do not qualify under one of the above criteria, they will immediately remove the permission from the editor. Alternatively, if the editor with oversight permission is deemed unfit to serve by the Arbitration Committee, an Arbitrator will post a request on requests for permission on Meta to have the permission removed, and a Steward will then remove the permission.
See mw:hiding revisions for more detailed description of how the feature works, etc.
Users with Oversight permissions
An automatic list is available at Special:Listusers/oversight.
Requests should be via private request by email or IRC personal message. Please do not put your request on wiki or broadcast it on IRC.
This page is based on a Wikipedia policy, Wikipedia:Oversight, which is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It is not licensed under the CC-BY license as Wikinews story content unless and until completely rewritten.