The recent changes special page shows the most recent edits and other changes that have been made to the wiki. These changes include, but are not limited to:
- page moves
- creations of new pages
- file uploads
- and more!
Now, let's find out how to use the recent changes page!
The leftmost two links, (diff) and (hist) link you to the difference view (what was changed) and to the page history, respectively. If the page is a new page, the diff link doesn't exist. The page name is after these two links; it tells you which page the user edited.
After the page name, you can find the timestamp, the amount of bytes added to or removed from the page and the editor's username, links to their talk page and contributions. If you are an administrator, you will also have a block link after the contributions link. This allows you to ban a disruptive editor rather quickly, since it it's faster to click a link on Special:RecentChanges than to go to Special:SpecialPages and from there to Special:Block and enter the username or IP manually.
N, m, b or no letter at all?
- The letter N means that the page is a new page, and Nm means that the page is new and the creator of the page marked it as a minor edit.
- The letter m means that the editor marked the change as a minor edit, so it's something trivial, like fixing a typo.
- The letter b means that the page was changed by an automated bot. This means that the edit would normally be hidden unless bot edits are shown.
If there's no letter before the page name, that means it was a normal edit. It could have been something like adding a section, sourcing claims or such.
Strange numbers, what do they mean?
The positive and negative numbers after the page name and timestamp mean how many characters were added to or removed from the old version of the page.
What is that inside the parentheses?
The italic comment inside the parentheses is the edit summary of an edit. It might not always exists in all edits as some people choose not to enter an edit summary. It's just a small comment about what you did to the page, for example, if you cleaned up a messy page, you could leave cleanup as the edit summary. The maximum limit for edit summaries is 255 characters.
In some cases, such as if you're creating a new page or have blanked a page and you do not leave an edit summary, the MediaWiki software automatically adds one for you. The setting for this feature is $wgUseAutomaticEditSummaries, and its value is true by default. Setting the variable to false disables automatic edit summaries.