Help:Edit summary

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An edit summary is a short description of an edit made, entered in the summary field on the edit page. Edit summaries must be filled out before the editor clicks the "Save page" button.

When you make changes to a page on Ballotpedia, it is up to you whether or not to provide an edit summary. However, edit summaries are highly encouraged, and will assist you and other writers in identifying changes and remembering contributions when using the "View history" page or reviewing user contributions.

Providing an edit summary

Edit summaries can only be provided when you are in edit mode. Once you have saved an edit, you cannot go back and add an edit summary to that edit, so it is essential to add them before you save the page.

The "Summary" field appears directly after the edit box on the edit page. The "Summary" box sits directly above the check boxes for "This is a minor edit" and "Watch this page". Below these functions is a paragraph informing editors about their contributions to Ballotpedia, and, finally, the "Save page," "Show preview," and "Show changes" buttons.

Typical edit summaries might include:

  • The type of edit that was made, such as a section addition, section expansion, grammar correction, or formatting changes.
  • An explanation of the reason for the change. This is especially helpful when dealing with vandalism or complex issues. For example, you might make a formatting change because writing guidelines for that type of page have been altered. In that case, your edit summary might read as follows: "Changed formatting to comply with new page layout standards"

Linking in summaries

You can link in edit summaries just as you would on any page. If you are reverting vandalism, or making changes to text entered by another editor, it can be useful to link to their userpage. You can link to them just as you would in the edit box. For example, [[User:Abqualls|Abqualls]] will show up in the edit summary as Abqualls.

Minor edits

There is a check box under the "Summary" that states "This is a minor edit." If you make a small change to the page, such as a minor formatting or wording change, or the correction of a misspelled word, you can choose to check this box. When checked, this field will put an m on the line of that revision in the page history, which informs users that only a small change was made during the revision.

Edit sections

When you edit a section of a page by selecting the [edit] link next to the section heading, part of the edit summary will already be filled out. For example, if you are editing a section of a page called "Minor edit," when you edit that section, /* Minor edit */ will appear in the edit summary automatically.

If you do nothing else to the edit summary, once you save the page the edit summary will consist of a linked arrow and the title of the section you have edited in gray. If the arrow is clicked, the user will be taken to that section of the edited page. You can also choose to add more to the edit summary, in which case your summary will consist of a linked arrow, gray section title, plus whatever else you choose to enter.

Reviewing edit summaries

Edit summaries can be accessed in several ways:

  • You can access the edit summary for a given page by visiting that page's "View history" page.
  • You can see all edit summaries made by a given user by visiting that user's contributions page.
  • You can see the most recent edit summaries on the site for all pages and users on the recent changes page.

See also