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

Please note: this question has been locked as it was used as a sandbox for performing rollbacks. If you want to try out a few rollbacks, do it here instead.

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5 Answers 5


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.

Rolling back a post will also restore its content license (CC BY-SA 2.5, 3.0, or 4.0) to what it was at the time of the target revision.

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.)

What 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

Can I provide a reason for rolling back?

The "Rollback" button will not provide you an opportunity to specify a reason for rolling back. However, you can provide a reason for rolling back by using the "Edit" button on a specific revision instead and specifying your reason in the edit summary field. Do note that you must not change anything in the post for it to be counted as a rollback - if you make any change, it will be treated as an edit instead.

Rollbacks performed when overriding an approved suggested edit will contain an automatic summary that the edit approval was overridden.

If you're a moderator, and you accidentally use the Rollback button instead of Edit, you can change the summary of the rollback revision to add a reason for rolling back.

Do rollbacks affect suggested edits?

If there is a pending suggested edit on a post at the time of the rollback, the suggestion will be automatically invalidated (cancelled). Such suggested edits will not count toward automatic edit bans, much like automatic rejections due to edit conflicts, except the Community user will not be involved in the review. Such reviews show as "no longer reviewable" in the edit item itself, as "rejected edits" in the user activity summary, and as "invalidated" in the post timeline:

timeline of a post with an invalidated suggested edit

Rollbacks will not affect previous approved suggested edits: using the "Rollback" button in the revision history will only reverse the edit and take no other action, and is useful if a suggested edit is not useful but was made in good faith. Only those rollbacks which are performed using the suggested edit override button - and which are specifically noted as "Edit approval overridden" - will deduct the earned reputation and rewrite the edit as a rejected edit for the purposes of edit suspensions.

  • 12
    All offensive tags, or just ones set during the current revision? Either way, I see potential to circumvent the offensive mechanism. Commented Oct 29, 2008 at 14:09
  • 10
    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
    Commented Oct 29, 2008 at 14:11
  • 10
    "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. Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 17:35
  • @MarkBiek what is the criterion to get access to this feature on others post?
    – cmbarbu
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 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. Commented Jul 19, 2017 at 14:00
  • 1
    @Sonic can you provide source for the claim that roll back would not invalidate all spam/rude flags? AFAIK, the system doesn't keep track of which revision a flag was raised.
    – Braiam
    Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 13:46

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.


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).

  • The 5-minute grace period no longer exists, as it was being abused by spammers.
    – tripleee
    Commented Apr 23, 2023 at 7:43

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 Stack Exchange probably should implement it to prevent people from doing this just to get the badge.

Do note though, it might take a while before the badge is given to you (like all the badges). So don't constantly rollback until you get it.

  • 6
    I literally never ever remember posting this. How did that happen? Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 17:48
  • 3
    Couple of beers and such things can easily happen. ;-) Commented May 5, 2018 at 14:24
  • 1
    Seems legit, I am starting to notice that it's my writing style :P Commented May 6, 2018 at 12:45
  • No worry, having thousands of posts, I also sometimes totally forget I asked/answered something. :-D Commented May 6, 2018 at 12:49

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.

  • 1
    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. Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 19:36

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