Edit Summary

Table of Contents When editing an article on a wiki there is a small field labelled "Edit summary" under the main edit-box. It looks like this:

Edit summary text box

The text written here, up to 200 characters, will appear on the Recent changes page, in the page revision history, on the diff page, and in the watchlists of users who are watching that article.


Always fill the summary field. Even a short summary is better than no summary. Accurate summaries help people decide whether it is worthwhile for them to check a change. Summaries often pique the interest of Wikipedians with an expertise in the area. This may not be as necessary for "minor changes", but (e.g.) "fixed spelling" would be nice even then.

When uploading an image one should supply an upload summary.

Use of edit summaries in disputes

If a content dispute develops, proper use of edit summaries is critical. Edit summaries should accurately summarize the nature of the edit, especially if it may be controversial; if the edit involves reverting previous changes, it should be marked as a revert in the edit summary. However, edit summaries are not the place to carry on debates or negotiation over the content. Doing this will actually exacerbate the situation, because it naturally encourages the other party to respond in the same manner - in other words, by making an edit and using the edit summary - and what might have been productive dialogue instead becomes an edit war. The proper place to discuss changes to article content is on the talk page.

See also