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An edit summary is a brief explanation of an "edit to a Wikipedia page. When you edit a page, there is a small text entry field labeled Edit summary located under the main edit box and above the Publish changes button:

Edit summary (Briefly describe your changes)


This is a "minor edit "Watch this page

By publishing changes, you agree to the Terms of Use, and you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the "CC BY-SA 3.0 License and the "GFDL. You agree that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient attribution under the Creative Commons license.

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The edit summary field appears above the "Publish changes" button

It is good practice to fill in the edit summary field, or add to it in the case of section editing, as this helps others to understand the intention of your edit. Edit summaries are displayed in lists of changes (such as "page histories and "watchlists), and at the top of "diff pages.


Always provide an edit summary[edit]


It is considered good practice to provide a summary for every edit, especially when "reverting (undoing) the actions of other editors or deleting existing text; otherwise, people may question your motives for the edit. Edits that do not have an edit summary are more likely to be reverted, because it may not be obvious what the purpose of the edit was.

Accurate summaries help other contributors decide whether it is worthwhile for them to review an edit, and to understand the change should they choose to review it. When a major edit (e.g. deletion of a substantial amount of text, a significant addition, or a substantial rewrite) doesn't have an edit summary, there are fewer reasons to "assume good faith and busy editors may be more inclined to revert the change without checking it in detail. Summaries are less important for "minor changes (which means generally unchallengeable changes such as spelling or grammar corrections), but a brief note like "fixed spelling" is helpful even then.

To avoid accidentally leaving edit summaries blank, you can select "Prompt me when entering a blank edit summary" on the Editing tab of your "user preferences, if you have "created an account.

How to write an edit summary[edit]


What to avoid in edit summaries[edit]


Use of edit summaries in disputes[edit]


Proper use of edit summaries is critical to resolving "content disputes. Edit summaries should accurately and succinctly summarize the nature of the edit, especially if it could be controversial. If the edit involves "reverting previous changes, it should be marked as a revert ("rv") in the edit summary.

Avoid using edit summaries to carry on debates or negotiation over the content or to "express opinions of the other users involved. This creates an atmosphere where the only way to carry on discussion is to revert other editors! If you notice this happening, start a section on the talk page and place your comments there. This keeps discussions and debates away from the article page itself. For example:

reverted edits by "User:Example, see talk for rationale


After you publish the page, you cannot change the edit summary, so be careful with it, particularly if you are in a heated content dispute – do not write things you will regret.

If you make an important omission or error in an edit summary, you can correct this by making a "dummy edit (a change in the page with no visible effects), and adding further information in its own edit summary.

In the extreme case of an edit summary containing certain kinds of harmful content, the summary can be deleted on request. They may be removed from public view by "administrators using "Revision Deletion; such edit summaries remain visible to administrators. In even more limited circumstances the entire edit may be "oversighted, leaving it and its edit summary visible only to the handful of users with the Oversight permission.

Edit summary properties and features[edit]

Places where the edit summary appears[edit]

The edit summary appears in black italics in the following places:


  1. ^ Use the enhanced watchlist to see all recent changes in the watched pages, not just the last change in each page.

Section editing[edit]

When adding a new section to a discussion page with the "new section" button, the section title is used as the edit summary. When "editing an existing section, the section title is inserted at the beginning of the edit summary, enclosed with /* and */ marks, for example /* External links */. Details of the edit should be added after this text.

When viewing such an edit summary, the section name will appear in grey, with a small arrow next to it: External links. Click the arrow to view the section (if the section no longer exists, the link will simply take you to the top of the page).

If you create a new section before or after an existing section by clicking a section "edit" link, delete the text between /* and */ marks (or change it to the new section title) to avoid confusion.[1]

  1. ^ It used to be possible to manually include links to multiple sections using the /* */ syntax – this may be useful when editing several sections at once. The edit summary:
    /* Foo */ test /* Bar */ test
    should be rendered as:
    Foo test Bar test.
    See this edit.

Automatic summaries[edit]

In certain circumstances, an automatic summary is generated when an edit is published without one. This is slightly different from the summary added when editing a section, as that can be modified by the user before saving.

With the exception of the automatic summary when creating a redirect, which usually says all that needs to be said, these are not a substitute for a proper edit summary – you should always leave a meaningful summary, even in the above cases. They are, however, useful in providing some context for edits made by inexperienced users who are not aware of the importance of edit summaries, and for spotting vandalism.

When starting a new thread on a "talk page by using the "New section" tab, the text you type into the "subject/headline" field becomes both the heading of your discussion topic, and the edit summary for that edit.


Tags (i.e., edit tags) are brief messages that the software automatically places next to certain edits in "histories, recent changes and other special pages. They are implemented by the "edit filter to help assist vandalism patrollers and other page watchers. They cannot be added or removed manually.

Notes for experienced users[edit]

If you are a "registered user and want to show your commitment to always leaving edit summaries, which will remind other users of the importance of doing so, you can use any of the following userboxes: {{"User edit summary}}, {{"User:Marek69/edit summary template}}, {{"User:Ritchie333/Userbox ES}} or {{"Use Edit Summaries}}.

""WikEd logo39x40 animated.gif
This user uses edit summaries.
This user's "mind-reading skills are not so good. Please leave an "edit summary.
WTF? This user ALWAYS leaves
an edit summary.
What did you do? This user includes edit summaries in their contributions and thinks that everybody should use these as well

The 500-character limit[edit]

The limit of 500 characters is an approximation. The actual limit is 500 "Unicode "codepoints. Most characters occupy one codepoint, but some characters like those with "diacritics or "emojis may consist of more than one codepoint. The limit of 500 codepoints includes the section title marker (and the associated /*  */) and also any Wiki markup that may be present.

For editors who have JavaScript enabled, there is a script included with the page that monitors the codepoint-length of the summary and prevents entering summaries longer than 500 codepoints (both in "Edit source" and in Visual editor). A count is displayed at the right-hand end of the text entry field, showing the number of unused codepoints. When JavaScript is disabled, this safeguard can't function and the only protection is the browser's limit of 500 characters, which may overflow the 500-codepoint limit as a result of any characters that are represented by more than one codepoint.

When the edit is done by a bot, through an external tool (such as "WP:AWB) or through some user script or gadget, it's the responsibility of the tool or script to safeguard against overflowing this limit. In any situation where more than 500 codepoints are entered for the edit summary, the summary is truncated to 500 codepoints when the page is published.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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