Wikipedia talk:Added or removed characters

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Changed characters[edit]

I wonder if these things get affected when people re-arrange the order of stuff but not add anything. Anomo 01:28, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Found out. Same # bytes makes a 0. Anomo 01:31, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why have these numbers been added (now)? GoodDay 01:37, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikimedia is always testing new features, upgrading their software. Anomo 01:49, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see, thanks for explanation. Happy Holidays. GoodDay 02:08, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That doesn't explain anything. Where is this feature documented? Who wrote it? Why was it added to the software without community input? How do we get it removed? — Omegatron 19:20, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think people want it removed. You can remove it yourself with css, as I'm sure you know. If you're curious, LeonWeber wrote the feature in response to bug 1085 and added it in here. —Mets501 (talk) 19:33, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the info.
I think people want it removed. I'll see if I can figure out how. Telling people to hide it with CSS is inappropriate, as I already explained below. — Omegatron 21:01, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How does having this number help me, either as an editor or as an RC patroller? I don't object to them, I just seem to be missing the point. Vandalism can be the removal of content, replacing of content, or addition of content. Neil916 (Talk) 07:28, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You can check whether someone who writes "fix typo" in their edit summary is really telling the truth, for instance. 09:30, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed - someone "fixed a typo" on one of my watchlisted articles, however the (-2,753) triggered my interest :) Daniel.Bryant T · C ] 12:20, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with the original commentor, and think the numbers should be off by default (with an option to turn them back on of course). Generally speaking, new information is good, but for a new user trying to help out, this is misleading. It encourages the idea that all deletion is bad (big, red, bold), even if the deletion is appropriate. It will encourage users to skip over small edits, when those can be the most problematic [1]. The new information is useful f you have enough experience with wikipedia to know how to use it, but to new users it seems entirely misleading. --YbborT 14:44, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've figured it out instantly, without looking anywhere. It's very intuitive, showing increase/decrease of length. IMHO, default should be on. CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project| 18:05, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It might be more useful if it presented both the number removed and the number added, rather than the difference in the length of the article before and after. htom 15:23, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed. And what if a clever vandal deleted 80% of the page, added the same amount of text from somewhere else, plus a few more characters, and left "fixed typo" as the edit summary? Others would see the character change of +3 characters, see the edit summary, and assume it was a good faith effort. — Jonathan Kovaciny (talk|contribs) 23:35, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm. If we have these data (they are harder to collect), I agree. Then a possible implementation would be to display the number of chars changed afterwards. I mean looking like "(+328)(805)", where 328 is length addition, 805 were changed. There are two ways, though - display just number changed (only changed, not counting additions/removals), or total difference. It could be displayed in light-gray normally or yellow if total difference considerably exceeds number added or removed. For instance, if we use only number changed, in (+328)(120) it would be light gray, but in (+328)(410) yellow; bold yellow would be counted as normally. CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project| 17:51, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you do a history compare on the (say) current with the immeadiately previous revision, I get a display showing red characters (on yellow) showing deletions on the left, and red characters (on green) showing additions on the right. A total of the red characters would be a better indication of the quantity of change. htom 21:50, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, but I refer more to large watchlist ergonomics - it should be possible to instantly see more substantial edits. This way, the most effective is to show the result, not parts. I'd also suggest that really minor edits, like less than 10 (or, say, 20 or 40) characters, would better be gray. So could be character replacements if being less than total addition/removal, but yellow to instantly indicate where they are more substantial, and bold yellow when major. CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project| 18:05, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To Omegatron, "Where is this feature documented?" MediaWiki software is generally lacking in documentation. It is normal not to document. Kimchi said, "You can check whether someone who writes "fix typo"" of course they could blank the page and then actually fix a typo next edit. Not that useful in watchlists. I also agree with # chars changes instead of # bytes different. Also disabling should be an option in user preferences eventually not just some CSS stuff. Anomo 21:08, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I think this is a great idea!

Can it also be put in the article history? That would make it much easier to find the important edits because it seems like a lot of times people make a big edit and then go back and touch it up with little ones, but if there's a few main contributers you see the same names all the time and have to painstakingly go through to find the ones you're looking for. -LambaJan 14:37, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I can definitely see the benefit of putting in an article history for that very reason. Neil916 (Talk) 05:52, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed I would rather see these numbers in the page history rather then sitting there uselessly on my watchlist --T-rex 21:36, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


How comes they are not coloured anymore? I was actually liking the red and green. Simply south 14:39, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See Wikipedia:Added or removed characters; you can add back the bright colors without the bold by just adding
.mw-plusminus-pos {

.mw-plusminus-neg {
Mets501 (talk) 15:18, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By the way, green for positive, red for negative is a POV, since they are exactly oppose in East Asia cultures, where red for positive and green for negative. Yao Ziyuan 14:32, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd disagree - removals aren't necessarily bad, additions good. But red color is clearly more attention-attracting, and more attention is needed towards removals. So we shouldn't mark too much as POV, this would be nitpicking (yes, I get you were likely not serious, just a comment). CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project| 17:35, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not speaking of removal. But how about to use a much neutral colours to avoid this problem, such as purple, yellow, and etc? The color confused some users. If you read the screen in a Chinese stock market, you might feel strange and very uncomfortable, and so do I here. Yao Ziyuan 18:00, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think any colours could be considered completely neutral, they all have their own associated connotations. If they confuse people, the colours can always be changed in the users' monobook.css. Tra (Talk) 20:16, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's a given that anyone with the knowledge of changing their monobook.css is probably intelligent enough to use the numbers appropriately. The issue arises with new users who aren't intelligent enough to either access their .css, or use the numbers effectively. --YbborT 21:04, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it it's wrong to say that removals deserve more suspicion than additions, and therefore to imply that by using red colours. The fact is that "red" generally suggests things like "Alert! Danger! Wrong!", and "green" suggests things like "OK, no problem" (so in traffic lights, spell checkers etc.). This is likely to influence people. Adding bad material is just as bad as removing good material, if not worse (the absence of some correct information is not as directly deceiving as the presence of incorrect information). Yes, many vandals delete en masse, but many add nonsense, too, and direct vandalism is one of Wikipedia's lesser problems. For some reason I have only now started to see my edits in colours, and my first thought was that the emotional and symbolic implications of green and red would make other people more unconsciously predisposed to assume that any "red" edit, especially by an IP like myself, must necessarily be bad. I would suggest more neutral colours like violet and yellow. -- (talk) 14:18, 28 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What does it signify when the number is bolded? =Nichalp «Talk»= 16:17, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A lot of characters were removed (if it's red) or a lot were added (if it's green). —Mets501 (talk) 16:33, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would, BTW, really help to make these thresholds depend on article total length. BTW, I don't see bold green somehow, even for +17,000. CP/M comm |Wikipedia Neutrality Project| 17:51, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, maybe it's only bold red. —Mets501 (talk) 18:01, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bot edits[edit]

I have my preferences set to hide bot edits from my watchlist, but this does not prevent the bot edits from affecting the total character change count on pages where there are multiple edits. For example, one page on my watchlist had 23 edits yesterday, all showing additions to the page, but the overall count is negative because a bot archived the page and removed 24,000 characters. Is there any way to have bot edits not counted in the overall count? — Jonathan Kovaciny (talk|contribs) 23:32, 25 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's a bugzilla question. —Mets501 (talk) 18:00, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To remove these numbers completely[edit]

"To remove these numbers completely from your watchlist and the recent changes page, add ... to your personal CSS."

Um, no. Whoever wrote this extension also needs to write a preference to turn it off. Editing CSS is not a user interface. — Omegatron 07:32, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And how the hell do useless features like this go live in the software without community input? This is like a crippled version of Wikipedia:Automatic edit summaries. Let's make the edit as mysterious as possible by just telling patrollers how "big" the edit was, instead of just summarizing what the edit actually was. — Omegatron 07:38, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree 100% with Omegatron. -- Chabuk T • C ] 22:54, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Yes. So do I. -- Raeven0 06:45, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Ditto. There's no such thing as too many "I agree"'s until something gets changed. --YbborT 21:10, 28 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I really fail to see the use of such a "feature" For the vast majority of editors it's nothing more than distracting page clutter. Surely something like this should be disabled by default on all accounts? and then If some character counting geek feels the need for it then let them hack around with their css file! M100 22:27, 31 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My numbers aren't colored or bolded[edit]

I wonder why.  Grue  07:51, 26 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. Several users began screaming at the development team about it
  2. Said developers patiently pointed out that they had nothing to do with the emboldening or colourisation of the numbers
  3. A local administrator reverted the change 19:51, 28 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nice feature[edit]

Just noticed this - nice feature, thanks to everyone who's worked on it! AndrewRT(Talk) 01:02, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I totally second that. A neat li'l bonus stat fer sure. Is it possible to include it in when checking edit histories as well?
Peter Isotalo 14:15, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What is nice about this "feature"? My watchlist is suddenly cluttered up with bright bold distracting numbers that provide no meaningful information. A more robust automatic edit summary feature would be infinitely more helpful. Let's compare with some examples from my watchlist:

"(+4)" - anonymous edit, no edit summary

Number is useless. It's apparently a small change, but I don't know what; I'll have to check it.

If, instead, it said "energy → energy", I wouldn't even need to even view that diff; I would know that they just linkified a word.

"(-5)" - registered user, edit summary: "→Super Shuffle"

Useless and misleading. It looks like a small change; maybe a single word, but in reality, a lot of words have been changed: "which, cosmetically, is strikingly similar to iPod" → "which bore a striking resemblance to the iPod". If it said that explicitly, I would know exactly what was changed, and I wouldn't even need to check the diff because it's just an improvement in wording.

"(+9)" - registered user, edit summary: "→Pole labelling confusions - Removing implication of certainty."

I know it was a small change, but I still need to check this diff to see what they added. If, instead, it said "is produced" → "is probably produced", I know that it's not obvious vandalism, and can move onto another edit. I'll probably double-check the diff to see that the addition of the word "probably" is a valid change in that context.

Let's remove these pointless numbers and put some effort into a better feature for summarizing what actually happened in each diff. See this for an example. — Omegatron 20:53, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I've transcluded this page at the relevant help pages for Recent Changes and Watchlist (Help:Watching pages and Help:Recent changes) because it pertains there; any changes on this page (while it is transcluded) will be reflected there. I've also removed the link to this page from both the recent changes header and the watchdetails, as it's been a few days and the information is now linked in the relevant locations. I've also added this information in on the master copies at Meta. Thanks! Flcelloguy (A note?) 16:24, 27 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To make it smaller aswell[edit]

This is what I have done, it removes the message, un-bolds it and reduces the size(in monobook.css):

#watchlist-notice { display:none; }
.mw-plusminus-pos {font-weight:normal; font-size:75%;}
.mw-plusminus-neg {font-weight:normal; font-size:75%;}
.mw-plusminus-null {font-weight:normal; font-size:75%;}

HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 02:23, 28 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal: Make positive numbers black rather than green.[edit]

As discussion above, green for positive and red for negative may confuse some users. I proposal to change the default color schema to black for positive and red for negative, since we don't actually have to highlight those positive numbers right? And I think this could be accepted by people with different culture background. Yao Ziyuan 09:48, 28 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it would be better no colors at all. The colors try to get too much attention so people don't see the more important things. Anomo 02:05, 29 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can the numbers be moved to the near the beginning of the line?[edit]

Current version:

m   18:00 Domain kiting (diff; hist) . .  (-41) . . GreenJoe (Talk | contribs)
    17:57 Japanese New Year (diff; hist) . .  (+30) . . Benlumberkid (Talk | contribs) (2007 update)

Desired version:

m   18:00 (-     41) Domain kiting (diff; hist) GreenJoe (Talk | contribs)
    17:57 (+     30) Japanese New Year (diff; hist) Benlumberkid (Talk | contribs) (2007 update)
    17:56 (+999,999) Example (diff; hist) Example (Talk | contribs)

I really like seeing the numbers, but I think that change shown above would make my Watchlist soooo much easier to read without all of those colors zig-zagging all over the page. BlankVerse 06:12, 3 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Add character deltas to the history pages[edit]

Per this thread at VPR: Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Add character deltas to the history pages, can the byte-difference numbers be added to the article-history pages and user-edit-history pages?

The only problem I can think of is the server-hit, as we'd probably want/need them generated retroactively for all the 100million+ edits done so far... Would that be a big problem? If not, can someone help me file a bug request in the appropriate place? —Quiddity 21:32, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How to categorize this page[edit]

Should this page be tagged as a {{How-to}} or something else? Or maybe it should be moved to the Help namespace? -- œ 20:38, 24 September 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

have added to Category:Wikipedia page history help Lee∴V (talkcontribs) 00:02, 16 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]