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When editing a post, that edit will be combined with the previous one, or the original post if there was no previous edit, but only if not too much time elapsed between these two. It would be nice to have a clear indication while editing whether that edit will be combined or not. Particularly when writing the edit summary, it is important to know whether to describe just the last bit, or all parts of it.

I know that if the edits will be combined, then the original edit summary will again be included in the summary field, to be modified or not as appropriate. But if the original edit didn't have a summary, or if there was no previous edit, then this hint is too weak. And even with that hint, it took me a while to figure out that replacing that summary to only describe my latest modification might be a bad idea.

Edit: Comments below indicate that even this hint isn't really accurate, so it seems that currently while writing the summary I cannot know whether or not the server will apply it to the latest edit only or the whole recent bunch. I understand that this fact will make implementing a good hint a hard thing. But it will make it more important as well, so users know what to describe. The easiest possible solution would be to decide based on when the edit page was opened, at least within reasonable limits. A more advanced solution would use a JavaScript countdown in the page, and have the server accept merges for a slightly longer period of time, as long as the sent form data indicates that the countdown hadn't expired on the client side by the time the form was submitted.

So I'd ask for a stringer indication as to whether the edit will be combined or not. Nothing cryptic, but a clear line of understandable text, or something equally obvious.

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I've never been too worried about this, and I'd be less concerned about adding edit reasons on your own posts. The not too much time elapsed is 5 minutes; you get 5 minutes after the last revision to make further changes, which are merged into that revision. – Matt Jul 19 '12 at 9:00
This might actually be hard. What if your post is 4 minutes and 30 seconds old? Should the page have a timer on it counting down the last 30 seconds while you frantically edit? The timing could never be precise enough to account for slow page loads and such either. – Martijn Pieters Jul 19 '12 at 9:01
@MartijnPieters, so the presence of absence of the old summary isn't a definite indication either? Hadn't noticed that yet. – MvG Jul 19 '12 at 9:03
It is not the point in time you started the new edit, but the time you server receives your edit that determines if you crossed the 5 minute line. – Martijn Pieters Jul 19 '12 at 9:06

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