WikiAlerts Glossary

What types of changes does WikiAlerts track?

WikiAlerts tracks many types of changes including:

  • Template message changes –

Templates on Wikipedia are used to store data so that the same message can appear on multiple articles.  Template messages often relate to what needs to be done to an article so that it fully meets Wikipedia’s editorial requirements , or if it doesn’t, warning that the article will soon be deleted.  Since template messages can essentially be viewed as a warning by the editors, we believe these to be the most significant ’change’ and it will appear first in the subject line. Template messages can be added (#TemplateMessageAdded) or removed (#TemplateMessageRemoved)

Template messages appear in a box, usually with some sort of icon (like a broom for cleanup) and often with links for how to fix the problem.

Wikipedia template message - written like a resume

Why should you care?  

In the best case scenario, a template message is an indication that something needs to be fixed; in the worst case scenario it’s a warning that your article is up for deletion. Either way, it is not a good feature for the article status.

  • Infobox changes

An infobox is a panel in the top right of an article, next to the lead section (in the desktop version of Wikipedia), or at the end of the lead section  (in the mobile version) that summarizes key features of the page’s subject. Infoboxes may also include an image, a map, or both.

The Infobox changes can included the addition of an Infobox (#InfoboxAdded), the deletion of an Infobox (#Infoboxdeleted) and the most common, a change within the Infobox (#Infobox changed).

Wikipedia infobox edit alert for Sarah Jessica Parker

Why  should you care?

The Infobox is generally what visitors to your page see first.  If the content is wrong or will reflect poorly on your reputation, it is the first, and often only, impression visitors will receive.

  • Feature article changes

Featured articles are considered to be the best articles Wikipedia has to offer, as determined by Wikipedia’s editors. They are used by editors as examples for writing other articles. Before being listed here, articles are reviewed as featured article candidates for accuracy, neutrality, completeness, and style according to the featured article criteria. There are 5,231 featured articles out of 5,551,685 articles on the English Wikipedia (~0.1% are featured). Thus, about one in 1,060 articles are listed here. Articles that no longer meet the criteria can be proposed for improvement or removal at featured article review.

Wikipedia featured article star

On non-mobile versions of our website, a small bronze star icon () on the top right corner of an article’s page indicates that the article is featured.

An article can either be added to the featured list (#featurearticleadded) or removed from the list (#featurearticledeleted).  

Why  should you care?

When a featured article standard is removed, its usually a good idea to visit the article and try to revert the article back to the way it was when it was considered so good that it was ’featured’.  A change in standard for article may also indicate that the article was vandalized or changed in a way that doesn’t represent your story.

  • Good article notation changes
Wikipedia good article icon

A good article (GA) is an article that meets a core set of editorial standards but is not featured article quality. Good articles pass through the good article nomination process successfully. They are well written, contain factually accurate and verifiable information, are broad in coverage, neutral in point of view, stable, and illustrated, where possible, by relevant images with suitable copyright licenses.

An article can either be added to the good article list (#GoodArticleAdded) or deleted from the list (#GoodArticleDeleted).  

Why  should you care?

As with the the featured article status, interested parties should visit the article and revert changes, if possible, so that the article is re-entred to the list.  Deletion from the list could indicate vandalism or simply a bad editorial decision.

  • Text changes

WikiAlerts will send notification whenever text has been changed, added or deleted.  

Why should you care?

Sometimes text is changed in order to make the flow of the paragraph clearer or to correct an error.  However, often, it is changed by a vandal intent on harming your reputation. In other cases, content you would rather not appear closer to the top (like lawsuits) are moved, to the detriment of your online reputation.

  • Image changes

Images are sometimes added (#imageadded) or deleted (#imagedeleted), or an image might replace another image.  In the case where an image is deleted, it is sometimes because of copyright issues. In those cases, the image is deleted from Wikipedia Commons as well, and we can’t access the image at all and won’t show it.  In other cases, we will show both the image added and the image deleted.

Why  should you care?

Occasionally, the image that is added is detrimental to your reputation, or your logo is changed and no longer represents your brand.  We recommend checking the image to ensure that you feel comfortable with it in the article.

  • Image Caption change

The caption under an image is sometimes changed (#ImageCaptionChanged).  

Why  should you care?

As with other changes, the changed caption might not reflect your best story.

  • Portal notation changes

The idea of a portal is to help readers and/or editors navigate their way through Wikipedia topic areas through pages similar to the Main Page. In essence, portals are useful entry-points to Wikipedia content. An article is sometimes added to a portal.  For example in the Birds Portal, The Albatrosses article was selected as the featured article. (#PortalAdded, #PortalDeleted)

Why should you care?

Portals are another way for an article to show its significance and to show that it fits within the wider scope of Wikipedia. Wikipedia wants things integrated;  the more that your topic or article is integrated, the more validity you are showing that you belong up on Wikipedia. If you get a portal added to your page, it is certainly a good thing and getting one deleted would not be positive.

  • Category changes

The central goal of the category system is to provide navigational links to Wikipedia pages in a hierarchy of categories which readers, knowing essential—defining—characteristics of a topic, can browse and quickly find sets of pages on topics that are defined by those characteristics.  An article might be added or deleted from a category. (#CategoryAdded, #CategoryDeleted)

Why  should you care?

The category the article is added to might be misaligned with your brand or story.  Or the converse, the article might be deleted from a category you might want to be included in like: Fortune 500.

  • Internal link changes

Internal links are links that connect to other articles within Wikipedia.  An anchor text might be added or deleted, in which case the link from that anchor text might also be added or deleted. Alternatively, the link will just be deleted or added, or the link will be changed from one page to another.  A link can appear multiple times within one article and the number of times the link appears can also change (#InternalLinkAdded, #InternalLinkDeleted, #InternalLinkIncreased, #InternalLinkDecreased).

Why  should you care?

While links are not major aspects of the article,  very occasionally a malicious editor might delete a link that is relevant to your story;conversely, they could add a link to an article with which  you do not want your name to be associated.

  • Reference changes

By citing sources for Wikipedia content, users  verify that the given information  is supported by reliable sources, thus improving the credibility of Wikipedia.

Why should you care?

There are cases where editors add references that do not present the brand or individual in the best way.  

Further Questions:

When do we alert you about Wikipedia Page changes?

We note each time there is a significant change and alert you.

Which changes does WikiAlerts not track?

WikiAlerts tracks all changes. However, we do not display small changes like punctuation or spacing.  

What do the three dots signify?

We endeavor to give some context for the change without including vast amounts of text. The 3 dots or ellipsis indicate an intentional omission of content.  Generally, we provide the closest heading as context, and show an ellipsis if the change is further down the page.

Why did I get an email signifying a change but there was no actual change?

Sometimes there are changes that are so minute that its difficult to show the actual change.  For example, a space added or deleted, punctuation and other very small changes that have little effect on the content of the page.

The editors comments often provide the best explanation for the changes.  

What is a bot and why don’t we display the change?

A bot (a nickname for a software robot) is an automated tool that carries out repetitive and mundane tasks.  We don’t show the actual change, but we do show that a bot has made a change.

How is Wikipedia constructed and how does that affect the changes we show?

Wikitext, also known as Wiki markup or Wikicode, consists of the syntax and keywords used by the MediaWiki software to format a page.  While the rules are fairly simple to follow, editors do make mistakes.  The result is that WikiAlerts will display changes that look like we’ve made a mistake reporting.  However, in most cases (we are not perfect) an editor has not used templates or Wikitext correctly and we simply reflect and display the results of their mistake.

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