After making an edit to someone else's post, there is a small yet relevant text box with the prompt "Edit Summary". This clearly suggests that you supply a shortened version of your edit. It has been pointed out to me that this box is not really for a summary, but rather for the reason for your edit.

A prompt such as "Justification", "Reason for Edit", or something similar would be more appropriate and less misleading.

I realize that this flies in the face of how others may use the box, as in Clickable edit summary options, which talks about the most common change reasons.

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    Not sure how that it is misleading. It's asking for a quick one liner about why you made the edit. Fixed grammar, brought images inline, put code into code section etc. – Dave Jul 12 '18 at 20:44
  • Although the existing wording seems understandable, I can see how something like "Summary of Edit" could be more obvious. (It's at least possible that "Edit Summary" could be misinterpreted by someone as editing some kind of summary of the post rather than of the edit itself.) – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 13 '18 at 3:00

So, we discussed this internally, and... Can't really seem to come up with a better wording. As with many things related to edits, there are myriad reasons for editing and... It's hard to beat a generic description of the field when trying to fit a wide range of edits.

Or, maybe we just didn't hit on the right ideas. So, I'm declining this for now, but... Open to suggestions. If someone can think of a phrasing that describes the purpose of the edit summary more effectively... Or even just some helpful guidance that could be added in addition to the field-name... Toss 'em up for review!


It has been pointed out to me that this box is not really for a summary, but rather for the reason for your edit.

But these are the same thing. When you write a "summary" of something, you explain, using usually all-new wording and certainly much more tersely, the essence of what it is you are summarizing. In this case, you're supposed to be writing a summary of your "edit". An edit is not, in its essentials, really about the +two characters here, -5 characters there minutia. And the easiest and best way to see those is almost always in one of the diff views. No, an edit is about making changes so the post will have certain desirable characteristics. And once you list the desirable characteristics that you had to edit to meet, or the types of changes needed to meet those characteristics, you have an itemized edit rationale ready to go.

Of course, most people are very bad at writing titles, summaries, and so forth. This is a difficult task and not a skill most practice very much. But I'm not convinced trying to fit in two or three more words, or even a line or two of just-in-time help, will make any real difference. This is a subject for a college course, in all likelihood.

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