Personally I really hate it when developers don't add a commit message in subversion.

Here at stackoverflow I am guilty of the same crime. Usually I'm so involved in my answer that I just forget to add an edit summary. What makes things worse is that I edit heavily.

There is no data about edit summaries in the data dump, but a quick look at other answers shows that I'm seemingly no exception.

What do you think? Do you add an edit summary? Is it bad manners to omit it?

Note: I don't want the edit summary feature gone. I just want to gauge the opinion on its usage.

4 Answers 4


I fill in an edit summary if I think it requires an explanation. If all I am doing is fixing grammar, punctuation, title name, etc. I do not fill in a summary.

If I am doing an edit for a specific reason (say to remove a piece of text calling out another user maliciously) I will make the edit explaining my reason why and why it should not be done in the future.

Often times edits speak for themselves. If they don't, that's when you need the summary.


I used to fill it in all the time. Now I almost never do.

Most of my edits are to my own posts, in which case it really doesn't matter. Most other edits are just reformatting code - sometimes I add an edit comment of "Code formatting" but usually I don't. The diff usually does a good enough job, to be honest.


If i'm editing my own post, i'm pretty lax about it.

If i'm editing someone else's post, i try to add a comment for any change not completely obvious (no point in writing "edited tags" when the system will fill that in for me...). I'm not always terribly polite in these comments, but i consider it a matter of respect: i'm changing something someone else wrote, they should have an explanation as to why.

  • 3
    Very important when editing someone else's work. And I try t be polite even when I don't feel like it. It's a kind of preemptive conflict management. Aug 6, 2009 at 19:16
  • 3
    "I'm not always terribly polite in these comments, but i consider it a matter of respect" -- Come again?
    – mmyers
    Aug 6, 2009 at 19:17
  • 1
    @mmyers: if i have to re-write an entire question because the original was [unreadable | argumentative | confusing], then i'm probably going to say so in the revision comment, even if i'm more polite in the comments on the question itself.
    – Shog9
    Aug 6, 2009 at 19:23
  • When i retag I sometimes explain why I retagged (i.e. the tag was useless, it's not the right tag, needs more tags)
    – alex
    Oct 11, 2009 at 6:21

Started off adding in summaries plainly about what was happening. Now, it's just random lines pulled from songs, TV shows and whatever.

  • 3
    IMHO, useless or irrelevant comments are worse than none. They clutter and obscure the content that matters.
    – Ether
    Sep 20, 2009 at 20:07
  • The only relevance between the lyrics and edit summaries are the actions/reason of the edit in question or the question topic itself.
    – random
    Oct 11, 2009 at 6:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .