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Basically, only the character change count of your last edit (within the 5-minute boundary) is counted. This gives odd results: if — after a major update — you change one character to fix an SO markdown bug or a spelling error, the count will be one.

Probably not high on your list, but I'd like to suggest to show the count of the combined changes, which will raise less eyebrows I reckon :)

Example: see revision two here, where the big green block really isn't one character long.

EDIT: In case this revision tree ever changes or this bug ever gets fixed, here's screenshot:

PS: this issue seems solved for new edits, see answer below, can someone close this?

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Looks like merged edits inside the five minute window now append to the edit summary the actual changes made to the post between those soft touches. – random Feb 2 '10 at 10:54
What if you make two edits within the window? Then the count of the combined changes will appear twice, which obviously isn't right. – mmyers Feb 2 '10 at 14:16
@random: exactly: the last "soft touch" change is remembered, not the change from previous "big touch" to last "soft touch", and that's wrong. – Abel Feb 4 '10 at 13:18
@mmyers: whether you make one or ten edits within the 5 minute window, the total change should be shown. You should know what to revert back to when you click revert, and the character count should show the actual change, which is correctly shown in annotated text. – Abel Feb 4 '10 at 13:19
@Jeff Atwood: thanks, and great to find out that even unanswered bug reports get attention eventually! – Abel Jul 29 '10 at 14:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Apparently somebody has been working on this issue. Apart from the first count of characters (which was removed for some reason in the history of this question), the other counts seem to be correct. This makes an excellent fix for the reported bug, so I opt to close it. The remaining little bug should be reported separately, if anybody ever sees it.

See revision history of this issue's question. A quote:

added screenshot; added 14 characters in body; added 48 characters in body; added 8 characters in body; added 83 characters in body; added 35 characters in body

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