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For a more detailed description of what importing is, see Help:Import.

The local import tool is at Special:Import. This tool brings - or "imports" - a page from a different Wikipedia to the Simple English Wikipedia. It can also bring the page history of the page to the Simple English Wikipedia.

Types[change source]

There are two types of imports:

Administrators automatically have the ability to perform transwiki imports. Other users may request this flag if they need it (see below). Upload import is disabled on most Wikimedia wikis, but this wiki has elected to allow bureaucrats to assign and revoke the flag if needed.

Permission[change source]

To gain access to the local import tool one must place a request on the requests for permissions page. This is only required for the first instance of granting the tool. Subsequent grants can be accomplished by placing the task request on the Administrators' noticeboard. An attending bureaucrat will grant the tool.

The editor must meet certain requirements:

  • Gain a local consensus
  • Have a minimum of three months on the project
  • Have a minimum of 200 mainspace edits on the project
  • Have a clear, specified task

Once all the requirements are met, a local bureaucrat will issue the flag. The same user will remove the flag once the task is done.

With the importer tool, if you need it, get it. Once you are done, then give it back.

Import process[change source]

The import screen
  1. Go to Special:Import
  2. Enter the name of the page to import.
  3. Uncheck "copy all history revisions for this page" if you want only the most recent line of history to be imported over.
  4. Be cautious to not check the box to bring all the templates over, this feature will overwrite many templates, even ones you don't intend to overwrite.

Importing over a page that already exists locally will usually cause visible conflicts in the page's revision history. Before using the tool, consider the common problems below.

Import guidelines[change source]

If you import an article, simplify it. If this cannot be accomplished in a reasonable time an administrator will either delete or move the page to your userspace.

Common issues[change source]

This shows the difference between edits #11 (a local edit) and #12 (an imported edit), seen when cycling through the revision changes. The software recognises the edit from 2005 as the "next" edit after the 2010 edit (because it was imported right after the 2010 edit was made). Through the timestamps, however, the software calculates that there are 104 revisions between these two edits (going backwards from the 2010 edit).
This shows the first revision (#1) made to the page. The diff is completely empty, as though the user added nothing. But content can be seen when comparing it with the next edit (#2).
An example of an overlap caused by importing foreign revisions over the top of a local page. The software recognises the first revision as the edit with the lowest revision ID number, which in this case is the local edit that created the page (#1). The oldest revision is calculated as the edit with the oldest timestamp (#12, indicating that 11 local edits were made to the page before the foreign revisions were imported). The difference is therefore shown as (-2,837), even though it is the earliest revision in the database. This is because it is compared with the last local edit made before the page was imported (#11, shown upper left).

Importing over the top of a page that already exists locally will usually cause problems with the page's revision history.

The chronology of a revision table is arranged using two methods. The system that calculates which edits are the previous/next edits (and the number of bytes between them) is based on revision numbers; while the system that calculates the number of revisions between two edits is based on timestamps.

When a page's revision history is imported, the foreign edits are assigned local revision numbers. Each number assigned is one higher than the last, starting from the earliest. Therefore, any edits already made to that page at the time of the import will have lower revision numbers than the imported edits, even if their timestamps indicate they were made at a later time. If the timestamps on any of the local edits were made more recently than the imported edits, it causes an overlap and a break in continuity.

This can make the revision table difficult to read, both for humans and computers. The difference between edits may look strange on the revision table (see image, far right). The exact change can still be seen correctly by clicking on the diff links, but only if you specify both of the revisions you wish to compare. Cycling through the changes without specifying both, in this instance, will lead you round in circles (see image, upper right).

Another description of these kinds of complications can be found here.

Avoiding the overlap

Importers can avoid conflicts in revision histories by checking to see whether local edits have been made to a page. If they have, the following options will prevent an overlap:

  • If the latest revision you want to import has a later timestamp than the most recent local edit to the page, uncheck the box that says "Copy all history revisions for this page". The imported edit will be sorted after the local edit.
  • Some wikis ask users to import the page to a rarely used namespace (such as MediaWiki talk) or a subpage of the page being imported, where the overlapping revisions can be safely left deleted. For an example, see Wikipedia:Requests for page importation: Guidelines for admins on the English Wikipedia.
  • You may find the easiest way to avoid it is to simply not use import. Copying the code directly from the source and pasting it here is perfectly acceptable, as long as you attribute the source with its URL or a hypertext link.
Correcting the overlap

The only way to correct the conflict once the page has been imported is to split off the conflicting revisions.