I posted this idea in the wikipedia village pump proposals, and voice-of-all refered me to this mailing list. So here it is:

A while back, i made a suggestion on [[Wikipedia_talk:Stable_versions#Semi-automation_-_recent_stable_version_detector]] for a mechanism i called a "recent stable version detector".  I've now looked at it from a different perspective and realized that it could be used as a simple vandalism filter for anonoymous / logged-out viewers (which will also filter out edit wars).  The idea is simple.  Each revision of an article is scored according to a simple formula:

:score = [time of next revision - time of revision] - [current time - time of revision] * constant

: = [time before next revision] - [age of revision] * constant

The revision with the highest such score is the revision that the public will see (i.e. non-logged in users).

The effect of this would be to impose a small delay between when a revision is made and when that revision is published publicly.  Revisions that lasted a relatively shorte amount of time before being revised again will be "skipped".  Thus, vandalism that is quickly caught by a logged-in user or recent change patroller is vandalism that ''the public will never see.''

Similarly, all the quick flips back and forth between two versions of an article in an edit war will be "skipped".

This mechanism wouldn't require any user intervention, wouldn't interfere with any existing processes, and will alway show the public a relatively stable, vandalism free, and ''current'' revision.