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I realized that, 90% of the time, whenever I edit another person's post, my editing summary looks like this:

Improved formatting, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, indentation, removed the bloody xcode tag.

I'm pretty sure that I've written the same thing a million times, I was thinking that maybe we could introduce a check-boxed editing questionnaire at the end, instead of the editing summary.

Mockup

Mockup of the new feature

(Link to the previous version)

The mockup swaps the Summary text input with a series of checkboxes, each checkbox representing a category of change, and having their own custom tooltip detailing what/which changes fall under the category.

The "Save Edits" box would need at least one check box to be marked.

The "Other" text box auto-marks the checkbox to its left, so the older editing flow is supported.

Advantages

  1. Convenience
  2. Being able to track individual changes easier, for instance, a user could be black-listed for spelling, but at least he gets the format right.
  3. Easier for new users to get accustomed to how the editing works, and what they are expected to do, like "Can I change the grammar? Oh, there's a box about it, then I can". And users are genuinely asked if they have changed all that they can change with this system. You get accounted for what you've changed.

Suggested Categories

  • Grammar: The text has been moved around, punctuation was changed, or other changes that don't modify words but the way they are delivered.
  • Spelling: Individual words were modified.
  • Text format: Stylistic changes were made to improve readability. Things like bold, italics, links or code blocks were added or removed. Or removed a link and pasted the contents it held.
  • Code format: Indentation, spacing or comments were modified to ensure that the code is readable.
  • Tags: Gets automatically marked if there are differences between the tags, the user cannot manually check or uncheck this box, this is as a feedback that the tags were changed, in case he forgot.
  • Other: None of the above cut it? Have a text box that can be clicked (checkbox gets marked when doing so) and write away.

Possible Side-Features

  1. Auto-check boxes depending of the nature of the change, if it's mostly whitespace, then add the code format tag, if there's minor changes in a lot of words, then might be spelling.
  2. New users could be asked to fill two or more checkboxes of changes, as part of their learning.
  3. "Translation". Mark a checkbox with a drop-down, and marking that the text has been translated from another language, so that users proficient in that language can verify the correctness of the translation in the review queue (or even a custom queue, like "translators queue"). This would be a big feature for SO.
  4. Badges for each category, here's a mockup for those.
  • 2
    +1 Yes! Yes yes yes! I have no idea how much time I've wasted fixing typos in edited tags; reformatted code; fixed grammar; dethank+desig edit summaries. (And I just made a typo in this comment...) – michaelb958 Jul 26 '13 at 1:07
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    The only objection I have is that I don't want to have to click the "other" option in order to type something. That's just inconvenient for those of us who have things to type. – animuson Jul 26 '13 at 1:14
  • Some other useful ones are "put images inline" and "moved code from linked site" which tend to come up a bit as well since new users can't link photos, and lots of people like linking to their site rather than putting the code inline (though the code portion could just be added to the "added code tags" I suppose). – jmac Jul 26 '13 at 1:15
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    I guess we could keep the "Other" in a separate line with the text box, and as soon as you click the textbox, the checkmark is.. well.. checked. – Can Jul 26 '13 at 1:22
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    I agree with @animuson that it would be annoying for the other box to require an extra click. But I think the solution of just leaving the other box visible and auto-checking Other if anything is entered would be fine. On all other points, I love this idea! – Ben Lee Jul 26 '13 at 1:37
  • @animuson Ok, I edited the mockup as to reflect what I suggested. – Can Jul 26 '13 at 1:40
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    Or not even bothering with an other checkbox at all - if I enter text into the textarea, just include it. I've always found that funny (and annoying) when you have to check a box and enter text. Entering text implies that you wanted to check the box, so what's the point? – Aaron Bertrand Jul 26 '13 at 2:01
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    @AaronBertrand I also thought about this, but decided not to. It makes it clear that the text input is part of the previous choices, and thus, it will counted towards the "Check (n) boxes" at the end. Also, if you regret your choice, you don't need to manually clear out the field, but just uncheck it. – Can Jul 26 '13 at 2:03
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    Browsers kind of do this today via form field history. If I type something in the summary box it shows me all of my text history for that field. For example if I type 'a' the browser shows all prior entries that started with 'a' ('add tag', 'add text', etc). Browser specific info: FireFox, IE, and Chrome. I generally use IE but I would guess the other browsers work the same way. – chue x Jul 26 '13 at 2:05
  • I gave a bad link for the IE form history above (it is more developer specific than end user specific). This is a better one: Remember passwords and fill out web forms. – chue x Jul 26 '13 at 2:29
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    I can't believe I missed this post when originally asked. Love the idea. Would help tremendously with edit comments while reviewing edits... +10000 – psubsee2003 Aug 2 '13 at 0:44
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    The badges are sweet! I'd love to have them... – ADTC Jan 25 '14 at 1:38
  • An hour ago I started the same question not knowing there already is one. But I see, nothing is really happening. SE team haven't even expressed their opinion. I wonder what features get implemented when there are 5 deployments every day. – Ondrej Janacek Feb 15 '14 at 7:37
  • I would add another category, something like "changed links to images" for changing links to images on posts by new users who don't have enough reputation to post images. About 70% of my edit summaries on Super User contain "changed link to image" (sometimes combined with something else, sometimes not). – Donald Duck Sep 10 '17 at 13:13
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I decided to make a userscript for this: Edit summary options

screenshot1

screenshot2

Sure, it's missing advantages 2 and 3, but it makes it much easier to edit and it's the only way until the SE team implements something.

1

The userscript Stack Overflow Extras (SOX) supports this features:

Here is how it will be displayed:

You can add custom reasons on your own:

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