Having edited non-wikimedia mediawikis for years it was always clear that the special:recent changes was a nightmare. Aside from the filters that were all over the place, the biggest issue is the actual result list. Browsing the list of results is a pretty complex experience with revision data moving about randomly.
Some concrete issues with it:
- The location of the user name isn't consistent
- The extent of the changes are always unclear - bytes added or removed aren't a good enough indicator of anything. Someone can easily alter the whole article, and still only "add" 20 bytes.
- Hard to identify individual editors - one or two editors might be vandalizing and thus editing a lot, yet it is not possible to sort the list to see this easily.
- Cluttered content - everything is jumbled, and it sometimes becomes hard to see where one revision ends and another begins
- Organize key elements of the revision data into a grid like layout
- Username at the end - truncated to certain characters , expand on hover or click.
- Use symbols to indicate some changes - use colors and an icon or symbol to denote extreme changes, e.g page blanking
- Tags - could also be truncated with hover, or click to show more, or use symbols for some changes, e.g. visualeditor (✎) , mobile (📱), etc
- Show a summary of visible recent changes - e.g. top editors (Joan, pierre, Yu)
- Separate content - put it in predictable areas so that users always know where to look for them.
Even the best filters can't help when the result set is a complex mix of content.