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What is a 'rollback' on Stack Exchange sites? I have seen this mentioned but I do not understand the term.

Please note: This post is not a sandbox for performing rollbacks. Please do not perform rollbacks on this post without valid reason. If you want to try out a few rollbacks, do it here instead.


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What is a rollback?

A rollback reverts a post back to a previous version in the edit history. The rollback action itself then appears as the most recent item in the edit history.

A rollback also clears any spam or rude/abusive flags that have been set on a question. For example, if the post originally had two spam flags, was edited, received one more spam flag, then the edit was rolled back, the last spam flag will be cleared, leaving the first two.

How do I rollback a post?

You can find the rollback button in the revisions page:

rollback link in revision

If you don't have enough reputation to edit the post, you won't see the button. Also, there is no 5-minute grace period for rollbacks (i.e. any edits you make after the rollback will create a new revision, and not fold them into the rollback revision.)

How do rollbacks look like in the edit history?

Here's an example of what an edit history with a number of rollbacks looks like:

Edit history with rollbacks

  • 11
    All offensive tags, or just ones set during the current revision? Either way, I see potential to circumvent the offensive mechanism. – Kyle Cronin Oct 29 '08 at 14:09
  • 9
    All offensive flags. But that doesn't happen if you rollback your own question. It happens on a rollback by a user with high enough rep to edit other people's posts. – Mark Biek Oct 29 '08 at 14:11
  • 9
    "Notice that each revision that's not a rollback has a rollback link next to it." How come rev 11 and 14 are rollbacks but do have a rollback link, while 13 is not a rollback and does not have a rollback link? Sorry but I'm confused. – Fabrício Matté Jul 18 '13 at 17:35
  • @MarkBiek what is the criterion to get access to this feature on others post? – cmbarbu Apr 15 '15 at 18:21
  • @MarkBiek But that doesn't happen if you rollback your own question. But it can surely prevent that guy from accumulating more flags and stop his loss of 100 rep. But maybe it's there to make sure the OP learns that offense isn't tolerated here. – Unitato says Reinstate Monica Jul 19 '17 at 14:00
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I have edited your question. There is now a "rollback" option which you can press to revert the changes I made back to the original. That is the meaning of the term "rollback" as it is used on Stack Overflow and sister sites.

If you want to leave a comment with the rollback, then click the date next to "edited" to show the revision history, and next use the "edit" link of a specific old revision instead. Then, when not changing anything but simply only typing a comment in the "Edit Summary", you're also rolling back when saving.

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Once a post has been edited, it could be rolled back by anyone with edit permissions for that post to a previous revision. The rollback button appears on the edit page after an initial edit has been made. Note this excludes edits that do not cause a revision history (edits by the OP made within the 5-minute grace period).

6

Assuming that you do want to get the badge and you always (very unlikely) ask questions that never need to be edited (and if they are, never need to be rolled back). You can get this badge by editing your post and then rolling back to the first revision and you will get your badge.

jcsanyi's answer isn't correct in saying it's not enough to do that, I've tested it and it is. Although StackExchange probably should implement it to prevent people from doing this just to get the badge.

It just takes a couple of minutes before the badge is given to you (like all the badges). So don't constantly rollback until you get it.

  • 4
    I literally never ever remember posting this. How did that happen? – Barry Michael Doyle Dec 23 '16 at 17:48
  • 1
    Couple of beers and such things can easily happen. ;-) – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask May 5 '18 at 14:24
  • Seems legit, I am starting to notice that it's my writing style :P – Barry Michael Doyle May 6 '18 at 12:45
  • No worry, having thousands of posts, I also sometimes totally forget I asked/answered something. :-D – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask May 6 '18 at 12:49
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Note that it looks like it's not enough to edit the post and just select an earlier revision in the dropdown at the top. That will effectively set the content back to what it was earlier, but it doesn't actually count as a rollback - it doesn't count towards the Cleanup badge, and it (presumably) doesn't clear any flags.

| improve this answer | |
  • This is not correct today. These actions will count as a rollback today, provided you don't make any edits to the post after selecting the earlier revision. This is also the official way to provide a reason for a rollback. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Jun 24 at 19:36

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