I noticed this mostly in community wiki questions. When two edits of the same answers are merged, their summaries are not, and the later summary just replaces the earlier one. This can lead to loss of information, e.g. like this:

  • Edit on 12:00: +500 chars, with good descriptive summary describing the reasoning
  • Edit on 12:01: +3 chars, summary: "fix two typos"

If these two edits get merged, we get one in the history:

  • Edit on 12:01: +503 chars, summary: "fix two typos"

The actually useful summary is now lost.

Request: when merging edits, also merge their summaries, at least if total summary length is below limit.


2 Answers 2


Personally, I actually prefer the replacement technique, and that may make me quite the minority here. Usually, I'll only have to make edits in the 5 minute window if I made a mistake somewhere. And there are two cases where I'd like the summary of the past to be cleared - if my fix of the mistake invalidates the content of the original summary, or if the mistake is in the summary.

This is especially the case when secondary and tertiary edits cancel out the effects of the original edit. If I tagged something using my edit powers, then did some typo corrections, I would like that if I changed what tag I added, then as far as the revisions list is concerned I never added the first tag at all. If my original edit summary indicated this (and I usually do comment about tagging), then I'd like to be able to remove that as well so that there are no traces of the act. This is one of the secondary reasons for the 5 minute window to exist in the first place - to allow the editor to backpedal any minor and/or silly errors without the system recording it.

In the second situation, this is the same. If I made a typo in my edit summary, I don't mind taking the extra steps necessary (two edits minimum if no new edit content is necessary) in order to fix up my edit summary to look as if I got it right in the first place.

However, I don't mind refining my edit summaries with later input, and also don't mind just plain retyping my edit summary when I don't actually need to change it in secondary and later edits. This probably weighs in heavily with why I prefer to keep the replacement technique.

  • 3
    Is there any easy way to predict if edits will get merged? I noticed this in Code Golf answers on SO and I didn't quite understand the pattern. I think it might be sth. like "within 5 minutes and no intervening vote or comment", not sure.
    – user146239
    Jun 12, 2010 at 11:25
  • I don't think community wiki had any differences, I assume it operates the same as a normal post. In which, all edits within 5 minutes by the same author excepting special circumstances. Votes and comments don't matter as far as I've known.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Jun 12, 2010 at 11:28

Note that edit summaries are merged if you don't provide your own summary:

  • 10:00 "blah blah blah"
  • 10:01 "blah blah blah; edited title; edited tags"

This is the most common scenario as most within-5 edits are relatively minor. Though I'm not sure if that generated text is worth adding, it's a minor issue.

I also find the replacement behavior desirable, since I can copy the old summary and add to it or choose to replace it, as needed.

So, editing guidelines:

  • Provide a summary on your first edit if needed.
  • When doing within-5 edits, either copy the old summary to amend it or leave the summary blank.

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