Community Central
Community Central

Hey everyone!

We're excited to present post/reply edit histories publicly to all our logged in users!

This feature satisfies a long-term editor and admin desire and adds much-needed transparency and accountability in Discussions, but also on Message Walls and Comments. This was one of the new features we announced last year at Community Connect, so we’re excited to be able to deliver on that promise.

Moderators often have to make tough judgment calls because they could not see the reason why a piece of content was reported when the content author had since edited the post or reply. They could not verify claims made by users since previous versions of posts and replies were not visible. Post/reply edit history encourages safety and eliminates confusion so editors can now do what they love and no longer rely on those judgment calls.

Plus, it’s viewable by everyone who uses Discussions, Comments, and Walls! So whether you’re using those features to talk about your favorite games, movies, shows, books, and comics, or you’re just chatting with your friends, you’ll always be able to see what changed if a post or reply is edited.

What Can I Expect?[]

Much like with page history on wiki articles, every logged-in user will have access to the history of a post or reply by clicking the three dots in the upper right corner of the message and selecting the "Post History" option from the dropdown menu. This opens a new tab, so you don't lose your place in the feed or thread, and shows all the past versions of the content, category, and tag changes, when it was changed, and by whom. Entries are grouped by date, and each change will be presented as a separate entry in descending order.

We tested this feature on eleven highly social wiki communities and used their feedback to make styling changes to the post/reply history entries, making them more accessible for editors to consume and differentiate. Other changes we carried out thanks to the received feedback and what you can thus expect are:

  • The "contribs" link on post/reply history pages now leads to Special:UserProfileActivity/Username rather than the generic editing contributions
  • "Back to post" link for reply history leads back to the actual reply and not the original post. The wording of that "back" link has also been updated to say "back to reply" rather than "back to post"
  • Post/reply history was made accessible on deleted Discussion posts and replies
  • For privacy reasons: the post/reply history link is hidden/doesn't work on posts that have been deleted with the data suppressed

It is important to note that there are a few things Post History does not deliver, most notably no differences or undo option. Moderator actions, such as locking, unlocking, deleting or undeleting posts, and reporting or approving content, are also not included in the histories. The work involved in building Post History was, like we’ve talked about in our bi-weekly Technical Updates, more challenging than we originally anticipated due to challenges in the Discussions codebase. As a result, that meant we had to make difficult tradeoff decisions for what to include and what not to include, so we could make sure we timeboxed the work so we would be able to deliver additional new features to the community as well. So, we know there will be feedback about what’s not there, but we’re happy to hear from our test communities that this version of post/reply history meets a need that was missing from Discussions!

Why Post History is Visible to Logged In Users[]

A number of people have mentioned this in the comments, so we’re adding this section as an addendum to the blog, that they feel the feature should be available only to admins and mods. We wanted to take a moment to talk about why it’s available to all logged in users (users who are not logged in can’t see the history of posts and replies).

One of the foundational principles of wikis is transparency and accountability. Wikis have always been based on open source principles, and Discussions should be no exception. Being able to have some level of parity between page history via MediaWiki and post/reply history in Discussions, Walls, and Comments has been a long-requested feature, with admins/mods and non-admins/mods asking for it for years to be more similar to the wiki experience.

As we were exploring how to build Post History and talking to different communities about it, we actually asked people if this should be available to only admins and mods. The answer was a pretty resounding no. The feeling was that all logged in users should be able to see it, as part of keeping mods and admins accountable. If only admins and mods can see it and then take an action, like banning a user, based on what was said and then edited, you can only take the admin or mod at their word. By having anyone be able to see the history of a post or reply, the transparency can keep admins and mods accountable. That’s ultimately good for everyone.

The concern over safety and private information is totally understandable, though, so this isn’t meant to discount that. It should, however, serve as a reminder that Discussions should primarily be about discussing the topic of the wiki (so the show or the movie or the game or the anime or whatever it may be) rather than chit chat with friends. It’s also not for private conversations - given the transparent nature of the platform, we explicitly don’t support private conversations at all. So that should dramatically reduce the opportunity for personal information to be shared. And it’s important to remember that private information should always be kept private, and that there’s no reason to share anything like that. On the off-chance it does happen, though, you can report it to a mod or admin and Wiki Representatives or Fandom staff, just like if it was to ever happen on a wiki page. Mods and admins will be able to delete the post, and Wiki Representatives and staff will be able to suppress it so no one can ever see it again.

Share Your Feedback[]

One ticket that's still in the works is to add the Post History link to poll posts, and that will be added soon! We’re excited to launch Post History! We are so happy to deliver this version to you all.

Thank you to everyone that provided helpful feedback for Post History! We greatly appreciate your help and valuable input. We hope you enjoy it! Remember to share your feedback with our Wiki Representatives, contact the Customer Support Team, and reach out to us on Discord. We also encourage you to take a look at the Post History help page! We won’t be able to add anything new to Post History just yet, but we will be sure to note it for the future.

Stay tuned for more updates about creator tools!

Fandom Staff
Hey I'm JP, Senior Community Manager, Creator Outreach at Fandom.
I'm a huge fan of Law & Order, VEEP, and a long list of anime.
Want to stay up to date on the latest feature releases and news from Fandom?
Click here to follow the Fandom staff blog.

Click here to sign up for the From the Desk of Community email newsletter.

Want to get real-time access to fellow editors and staff?
Join our Official Discord server for registered editors!