Help talk:Edit summary

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See en:Wikipedia talk:Edit summary for older discussion about this feature on the English Wikipedia.

The automatic part of the summary is no longer surrounded by "="-signs[edit]

Since MediaWiki version 1.3 (May 2004), the automatic part of the summary is no longer surrounded by "="-signs.

That is a pity, it is clearer than just another color. And there is quite a difference in meaning between a section title, e.g. a question or a remark, and a comment with the answer or an opposite opinion.--Patrick 13:40, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)

C style comment characters[edit]

I think many newbies would appreciate a remark about usefulness or uselessness of the C style comment characters /* ... */ in the summary field (as filled in by default on section editing). MFH 00:19, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I totally agree. I'm a full-time software developer, so the C-style comments "sort of" make sense to me... but I still think they're pretty silly and useless to be used in this context, and non-programmers are 90% certain to not understand them. Where did this silly convention come from and can we change it? --TylerRick 11:55, 20 April 2007 (UTC)


Multiple links to section headers are possible[edit]

...as shown by this test, conducted over on en:. The diff linked to is the last of five parts to the experiment. You can see the edit summary in which I showed it to work here. Just thought someone might be interested. --Blackcap | talk 02:34, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Disturbing guideline[edit]

I don't agree with the strong wordings in which this guideline urges users always to fill in edit-summaries. The reasons which are given don't convince me. I follow a handful of pages which have my interest. Once in a while I check the history by comparing the versions. The edit summaries aren't helpful at all for me. If I am knowledgeable about a subject I want to inspect the exact wording of the change - not just a clumsy summary. Otto ter Haar 17:21, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

I have changed the wording to a more moderate tone. This included changing superstitious wordings like "sneaky" and "misleading". Otto ter Haar 08:10, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I have reverted this change, as edit summaries seem to be helpful to most people. If you look at a long page history and want to see when a specific topic was included, good edit summaries make that easy and fast. Also, deletion can be seen as vandalism, so it is important to warn the editor strongly not to do that without an edit summary. Kusma 14:01, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Guidelines should be based on consensus which here is not the case. Many or even most editors don't bother to write edit summaries so the support for this guideline seems to be small. My perception is that the support comes most prominently from administrators who want to ease their task of checking recent changes for vandalism. I can understand that for that reason they demand this guideline, but editors don't edit for administrators who are scrutinizing history files, but for readers of the encyclopedia.
Further it is clear that removing of a clearly incorrect/misunderstood or not anymore actual line in an article doesn't constitute vandalism. It is ludicrous to invent a guideline to sanction poor judgement.
It is easy to revert a change you don't like, but it stays clear that I don't consent with this guideline. I don't give it my support. Otto ter Haar 06:07, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
There is consensus that edit summaries should be used, see old discussions at w:WP:RFA, for example, where it was quite common for some time to oppose applicants for adminship based on not using enough edit summaries. Kusma 15:30, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I know about these discussions. It appears that even under candidate administrators there is no consensus about this guideline let alone under the much larger group of editors. As far as I know there has never been a voting about this guideline so it lacks not only consent but also democratic legitimacy. Otto ter Haar 06:20, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
I think you are mistaking consensus for voting. We don't vote on everything, because Wikipedia is not a democracy. --Parasite 23:55, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
No I am not mistaking consensus for voting. Your conclusion that I am mistaking these two different things is incomprehensible for me. It seems to me that you didn't do an effort to understand the text you were reacting on. That makes discussing these points very difficult if not impossible. I concluded from the discussions where Kusma referred to, that there is no consensus about this guideline even under candidate administrators let alone under the much larger group of editors. It seems to me that this guideline has been pushed by a minority of administrators, who now are harrasing editors with their own fabricated guideline. Otto ter Haar 19:40, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

With the introduction of the sectionheader "Recommendations" and the rewording of the term "sneaky" this guideline has improved in my view. Otto ter Haar 11:11, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks Otto - the sneaky thing was my edit :D - Jake in San Diego

Re-printing the "How to sign a comment" key[edit]

I think that the key detailing 'how to sign a [comment, edit summary, etc.]' should be added to the Help:Edit Summary article. Thoughts?

[P.S.] I'm not logged in right now because apparently one needs a different account for the meta.wikipedia.org domain, which I think is frustratingly dumb, however, I am sure there's some complicated "internal" reason ...somewhere in these billions of pages  :D Thus, me=user:Homtail (on "Wikipedia Normal")

Reasons to use edit summaries[edit]

I think the reasons given in this article are kind of lame. Here's what I wrote to a user about why edit summaries are important.

First, edit summaries help people understand what changes you are making and decide whether or not to look at the change. Many of us have hundreds of pages on our watchlists and we're looking for a number of things: vandalism, inappropriate edits or interesting edits. Edit summaries help us decide which edits to click on for more details.

Second, failure to use an edit summary suggests vandalism to many vandal-fighters. I check out most contributions by anonymous editors that show up on my watchlist. I also check out questionable edit summaries or empty edit summaries. You will make the job of vandal-fighters easier if you use edit summaries to let us know that yours was a legitimate edit rather than vandalism.

Third, many times edits are back-and-forth dialogs between two or three editors. Edit summaries help us figure out what the dialog is about and whether we want to jump in and read more or just stay out.

--Richardshusr 18:34, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

I think that edit summaries should be required by the system. Not writing them makes edit tracking much more difficult, when effort on the internet is supposed to be as minimal as possible.

- Anonymous User - Jake in San Diego

The part about the Monarch of Bermuda etc. was not intended for Wikipedia. It was simply sent as additional info about Frederick Abinger (Tom) Warder,(the inventor of the Gyroscope Brake, etc.) as I am doing all I can to prevent the deletion of the article about him.

Venturian (talk) 00:43, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

Mention section editing in intro[edit]

A common mistake, which I committed countless times, is to assume the auto-filled summary when section-editing is good enough. I believe that should be mentioned in the intro as many of the reminders I'm leaving people has to do with that. Xiner 17:09, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree! Having it auto-filled-in does seem to give the impression that you need not add your own text. --TylerRick 11:55, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Changing an Edit summary[edit]

I just changed a page, previewed the change, and submitted the change. Of course as soon as I did this, I realized I forgot to enter a summary. Oops. Is there anyway I can alter my summary now? (Ha ha, and I forgot to add a summary for that edit. And forgot to sign it. Also didn't realize I needed a login for meta, so I created an account. I should just give up for the night.) --Smiller933 03:21, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

The answer, if you're still tuned in, is no -- but you should know about previewing if you don't already. Don't fret too much, though -- but try not to do it in the future. Lenoxus 17:14, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Unrelated, but what about changing an edit summary if I can directly edit the database? Is there anything one should be aware of aside from just editing the respective SQL row? --The CyberShadow 10:37, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

For consistency you would need to make the change in two DB tables, see Help:Advanced editing#Records of edits in the database.--Patrick (talk) 11:15, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Use Javascript to help you generate a summary[edit]

In reply to: "Unfortunately you can copy only one line of text from the edit box into the edit summary box. The contents of further lines can be pasted at the end of the line. Thus, for example, a bulleted "see also" list is cumbersome to put in the edit summary box. One possible workaround for a new list is putting the list on one line, separated by the asterisks for the bullets, copying it to the edit summary box, and then, in the main edit box, putting the new lines before the asterisks."

In this particular case, couldn't we make some kind of javascript feature (like the toolbar icon, only not on the main toolbar because most people wouldn't care about it) that, when clicked, would take the selection, remove newlines, and insert the value into the edit summary box? I think it would be technically possible, but I doubt there's enough interest for such a feature...
It would be cooler yet if it could fill in the edit summary automatically for you with the sum total of all of your additions, deletions, and changes (so you didn't have to manually copy and paste and wouldn't be prone to forget one of your changes). Then the only manual step would be to trim it down (a lot), pick out the key words/phrases/changes to keep and delete the rest so that it fit within the field size (the textbox would need to be changed into a limitless textarea and have size checking done server-side). Or maybe it wouldn't work as well I imagine. Who knows. :) --TylerRick 11:55, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Persistent Summary[edit]

Hello, I am a pre-Wikimedian wiki person. I still use other wiki software that leaves the edit summary from one edit to another, persistent edit summaries is what I call them. I was unaware that MediaWiki had a function like this, but a wiki I volunteer for, and helped get updated recently, is complaining about the persistent edit summaries being gone. Can anyone speak to this? Best, MarkDilley

Bold face in Edit Summary[edit]

A persistent vandal in tr.wiki uses boldface italics in edit summary. How do you think it is possible? Warning:Link includes file names for some adult content [1]--Alperen (talk) 10:54, 17 November 2013 (UTC)