5

I've seen "added 23 characters in body," "edited body," and "fixed capitalization in title." Which of these types of summaries (or another entirely) should we use?

7

You should describe what changes you made, and if necessary why you made them. Edit summaries like "added 23 characters in body" are automatically generated if you didn't provide one when editing. Sometimes this is OK if the edit is really simple or you don't have much time, but you really should always put something in there yourself when you can. It doesn't have to be long (or even a full sentence) but it should contain the essence of the changes you made. Like the edit on this post.

Admittedly, the majority of my edits have the automatically generated summaries, but that's because a lot of my edits are moderation-related. However, most users will edit to change the content, and in those cases the description is important.

  • If I try to edit something without a summary, It won't let me submit the edit. I assume this is because at this amount of rep my edits are reviewed? – Timothy Mueller-Harder Mar 9 '12 at 11:36
  • Ah, yes, it's probably because you're submitting edits for review instead of making them directly. All the more reason to develop good habits when editing. – Kyle Cronin Mar 9 '12 at 11:40
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    Comments are great for letting the OP know why you are changing things - with the system documenting what exactly changed, the why helps everyone make things better. Once you get the rep to edit without review, your comments are a big part of how people will see your focus and contributions here. – bmike Mar 9 '12 at 13:59
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    Also, do keep in mind that those edit summaries can be read by anyone, so be descriptive but not insulting. "Changing this because the OP is a moron who can't spell" isn't a very nice thing to read in the change log. – Daniel Mar 9 '12 at 18:57

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