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Forums: Index > Wiki proposal votes > Edit summary clarity - vote

During the July Meeting of the Minds, there was significant discussion revolving around edit summaries, how they are and are not used, with focus largely on blank summaries and summaries with little actionable information actually provided. After the MotM, the discussion moved to forum, here. The following proposals were a result of the solutions presented during the meeting as well as feedback from the subsequent forum.

Try fixing problems

An important point raised by Dave, there does not appear to be a current emphasis or policy on fixing information which could be a solid if refined, but is instead only added poorly. Valid information, that suffers from a less than articulate user or one who is not well versed in the rest of wiki policy. Information which the article might otherwise be lacking, but is not presented in the appropriate manner. Speaking with Mara via talk page, he disagreed, stating "That sentiment is the opposite of what it should be. Less than stellar edits that aren't addressed as quickly as possible slip through the cracks and go unnoticed for hours to months, also while there are admins actively going through their personal projects on the wiki and not paying attention to the changelog." Rather than leaving this as a sentiment alone, the proposition is to adopt a modified version of Wikipedia's "Try to fix problems" editing policy as part of our own.

Fix it

Fix problems if you can, but preserve appropriate content and information. As long as the underlying information, if not the manner in which it has been added, is solid, it should be retained and corrected rather than being outright removed. Consider rewriting the edit to improve the quality or cleaning up formatting to meet Nukapedia standards. If the error cannot be corrected when found, rather than lose valuable information, flag the section for correction, so that it can be attended to and neither the information nor the incorrect formatting go unaddressed.

Instead of removing content from an article, consider:

  • Rephrasing or correcting grammar to improve readability.
  • Fixing errors formatting or style.
  • Merging or moving the content to a more relevant existing article, should it not already be represented, or splitting the content to an entirely new article.
  • Doing a quick search for sources and adding a citation yourself.
  • Requesting a citation by adding the {{citation needed}} tag.
  • Adding appropriate cleanup tags where necessary, if you are unable to correct the error when it is discovered.
  • Correcting any accompanying inaccuracies, while keeping the rest of the content intact.

If you are unsure about the content of the information, it may also be necessary to make mention of the any concerns or rationales behind tags in the edit summary or article talk page, so that it is clear what specifically needs to be sourced or what other issues should be addressed in order to improve the page. Vandalism should obviously be removed at face value.


Mandatory summary field

After speaking with a few of our tech savvy editors, one option to alleviate the completely blank summaries, is instituting a forced summary prior to an edit being made. While this does not guarantee a quality summary, it does at the very least mean there will be one. Something must be conveyed, both by the user making the original edited, and something done by the editor who is subsequently making edits as a result of the first user's actions.

If possible, a short explanation of what a "summary" should entail could accompany the existing blank space, just to stupid proof the mandatory field. "Please leave a brief description of changes made. This is a mandatory field. Summary:" as opposed to the "Summary:" only option we have currently. The note might be catering to the lowest common denominator, but better to have it than not.

Accompanying this would have to be one slight change to the user conduct guideline, and to address the broader conversation, a few other points would need to be added.

Current -
Use edit summaries: Edit summaries are there to explain your changes - use them as often as possible. It helps with getting everybody on the same page and prevents conflicts with other editors.
Update -
Use edit summaries: Edit summaries are there to explain your changes. It helps with getting everybody on the same page and prevents conflicts with other editors when an explanation of changes made is listed. A summary should not contain gibberish or nonsense. If an edit is likely to be contentious, the summary should not be pointlessly thin ("Bad", "Wrong", "Irrelevant", or other language which conveys no real useable information to any other editors visiting the page).

The key differences there would be the removal of "use them as often as possible" since they would be required, rather than optional. And the addition of "when an explanation of changes made is listed" to really drive home the function of summaries. The section "A summary should not contain gibberish or nonsense. If an edit is likely to be contentious, the summary should not be pointlessly thin ("Bad", "Wrong", "Irrelevant", or use other language which conveys no real useable information to any other editors visiting the page)." would be there to cover summaries such as "aoe;rogilerog" being slapdashedly typed out, as well as to address the original issue of staff actions which are so slim, it hurts rather than helps. "If an edit is likely to be contentious," is there to keep the requirements from being a crushing burden; there are many, many cases where a very brief summary can work. If someone is hammering out a couple dozen minor changes as part of maintenance, something like default summaries "/* Gallery */ " is perfectly fine, or if its an edit to a forum, such as this, where "voting" or "commenting" says everything that needs to be said.

Polls

Fix it! Poll

Yes, adopt the modified policy

  1. Yes Xporc (talk)
  2. Yes The Appalachian Mandalorian insignia.png
  3. Yes Gilpo1 (talk) 14:01, 9 September 2021 (UTC)
  4. YesFindabairMini-JSPnP Logo.pngThe benefit of the doubt is often doubtful. 17:14, 9 September 2021 (UTC)
  5. Yes Katy Webb Icon vaulttec.png A better future, underground! 00:48, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  6. Yes I kept forgetting to do this because of university, sorry! :X DirtyBlue929 (talk) 00:52, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  7. Yes Slipmcripfist (talk) 00:54, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  8. Yes --Ryon21 Ryon21 Signature Image.png (talk) 17:07, 29 September 2021 (UTC)
  9. Yes - Pickman heart.png kdarrow take her for a spin! 01:16, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  10. Yes I don't really edit much here, but there is no reason a policy like this shouldn't be in place to begin with. ~the elusive legume FO2 Goris Undresses.gif 01:18, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  11. Yes -Eckserah User Eckserah.png Head Dataminer 01:41, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  12. Yes JustDoggo2 MugSmol.png I swear to god if I don't get my damn mugs! IM GOING TO EXPLODE 03:36, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  13. Yes All information is valuable, so long as it is accurate and is / can be substantiated. -Illogical Paradox TERMINAL LOCKED 06:48, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  14. YesArcaneous Arc nuclearhazard.png "The Bull and the Bear and the Bull and the Bear and the Bull." - Ulysses 08:12, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  15. Yes Darrowdeo (talk) 17:31, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  16. Yes Everyone needs to be using summaries even administrators and bureaucrats like Jspoelstra. They aren't exempt from the rule that everyone else has to follow. -Hellotalos (talk) 01:56, 2 October 2021 (UTC)
  17. Yes As a new editor, an empty edit summary is about as helpful as someone punching me in the face. If an editor is too lazy to spend an extra 10 seconds to be courteous to others, they ought to rethink if participating in a group activity is a really a good fit for them to begin with. bowndarrow Burger box.png 11:39, 3 October 2021 (UTC)
  18. Yes Kendallb9000 (talk)
  19. Yes OrigamiPhoenix (is F'ing tired and needs to sleep) (talk) 22:39, 3 October 2021 (UTC)
  20. Yes ExplorerSmaily (talk)
  21. Yes seems reasonable -Boulder City 17:53, 4 October 2021 (UTC)
  22. Yes Scribe-Howard (waster_93) (talk) FO76 vaultboy transparent face.png 21:32, 4 October 2021 (UTC)
  23. Yes Master Miraak (User talk:Master Miraak)
  24. Yes HRHFlameprincess

No, leave it be

Neutral

Fix it comments


Mandatory summaries - Poll

Yes, summaries should be required to save pages

  1. Yes The Appalachian Mandalorian insignia.png
  2. Yes Gilpo1 (talk) 14:01, 9 September 2021 (UTC)
  3. YesFindabairMini-JSPnP Logo.pngThe benefit of the doubt is often doubtful. 17:19, 9 September 2021 (UTC)
  4. Yes Same as above, I agree with all this just forgot the vote was happening... :XDirtyBlue929 (talk) 00:55, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  5. Yes Katy Webb Icon vaulttec.png A better future, underground! 00:56, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  6. Yes Slipmcripfist (talk) 01:01, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  7. Yes - Pickman heart.png kdarrow take her for a spin! 01:16, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  8. Yes You just edited an article on a volunteer wiki. With your free time. You have time to make an edit summary of like three words explaining what you did and why. ~the elusive legume FO2 Goris Undresses.gif 01:22, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  9. Yes I believe that this is a good addition to the wiki and will help bring clarity to edits and reverts. -Eckserah User Eckserah.png Head Dataminer 01:40, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  10. Yes In agreement with all who have commented thus far. -Illogical Paradox TERMINAL LOCKED 06:50, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  11. Yes Darrowdeo (talk) 17:31, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  12. Yes Everyone needs to be using summaries even administrators and bureaucrats like Jspoelstra. They aren't exempt from the rule that everyone else has to follow. -Hellotalos (talk) 01:56, 2 October 2021 (UTC)
  13. Yes As a new editor, an empty edit summary is about as helpful as someone punching me in the face. If an editor is too lazy to spend an extra 10 seconds to be courteous to others, they ought to rethink if participating in a group activity is a really a good fit for them to begin with. bowndarrow Burger box.png 11:39, 3 October 2021 (UTC)
  14. Yes While I feel making summaries mandatory is a little harsh, it's unfortunately the best way to enforce the change in policy. Even two-word summaries (i.e. New X, Fixed X, Clarified X, Bulleted list, etc) for tiny changes are easy and a good habit. OrigamiPhoenix (is F'ing tired and needs to sleep) (talk) 22:39, 3 October 2021 (UTC)
  15. Yes seems reasonable Boulder City 17:53, 4 October 2021 (UTC)
  16. Yes I have this option enabled in the settings. It has had a positive impact on my editing style. Scribe-Howard (waster_93) (talk) FO76 vaultboy transparent face.png 21:32, 4 October 2021 (UTC)
  17. Yes Master Miraak (User talk:Master Miraak)
  18. Yes HRHFlameprincess (talk) 12:24, 6 October 2021 (UTC)

No, summaries are fine as they are

  1. No Coerced behavior with good intentions is still coerced. Features and requirements like this drive editors off of wikis and turn new ones off from editing. Seen firsthand on wikis that implement similar. Great Mara (talk) 00:59, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  2. No Although I largely agree with the update, I'm not a big fan of it being mandatory. At least not for every edit other than reverts. --Ryon21 Ryon21 Signature Image.png (talk) 17:07, 29 September 2021 (UTC)
  3. No Per Ryon. There have been a few rare times where I did not know how to summarize my edits. There are some edits that frankly don't need summaries, like forum comments or even routine maintenance. - Sigmund Fraud Talk Contributions 03:17, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  4. No It really is just fine as it is. I don't feel at all like summarizing every 100 edits I make everyday. Takes the fun all out of it. Asking them to "Use them as often as possible" (and "use them when applicable -large edits, sensitive edits-") is really enough. Shouldn't be mandatory. I'm heavily against it, even doubt if it's managable and will probably scare off new users. Jspoel Speech Jspoel.png 10:14, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  5. No No, this is unnecessary in every regard. And I'm not confident that it will solve the issue that this policy is trying to remedy, that being newer editors not knowing why their edits were removed. Branebriar1930 (talk) 09:23, 2 October 2021 (UTC)
  6. No Per Great Mara. Nonstopmaximum (talk) 22:17, 3 October 2021 (UTC)
  7. No Instituting forced summaries would detract from Fandom's streamlined and user friendly editing format, and I don't imagine it would resolve any of the grievances mentioned in this proposal anyway for the simple reason that there is nothing stopping the editor from just typing in a one letter summary just to bypass the annoyance of having to fill one out.MadMikeRyan (talk) 04:27, 4 October 2021 (UTC)
  8. No People will enter bogus summaries for minor edits, and I think it's just silly to block/ban them for that. (Ironically, several "Yes" voters did not add an edit summary for their vote.) - FDekker (talk)
  9. No Forcing edit summaries will discourage people from editing, even if they have something to add. Having to go through that one extra step will decrease edits dramatically, good and bad. TheRealHunterWorld (talk) 11:54, 4 October 2021 (UTC)
  10. No Per Hunter and others. — Arcaneous Arc nuclearhazard.png "The Bull and the Bear and the Bull and the Bear and the Bull." - Ulysses 00:33, 5 October 2021 (UTC)

Neutral

  1. Neutral Im conflicted on this, i will neither support nor not support this for the time being, my oppinion might change later on but for now im neutral JustDoggo2 MugSmol.png I swear to god if I don't get my damn mugs! IM GOING TO EXPLODE 21:51, 1 October 2021 (UTC)
  2. Neutral ExplorerSmaily (talk)
Summaries comments

With regard to the language describing Edit Summaries and their purpose in the guidelines, I would rearrange the contents of the second line to read "When an explanation of changes made is listed, it helps to get everybody on the same page and to prevent conflicts with other editors." I believe it would be more important to describe what an edit summary is, then what its purpose is, rather than the other way around, especially for new users, who may not yet know what an edit summary is. I also believe that with regard to grammar, the second sentence introduces a new subject's pronoun and verb before the subject itself(depicted below), so I believe it would be a good idea to place the subject first before its verb for the purpose of clarity.

"Edit summaries are there to explain your changes. It helps with getting everybody on the same page and prevents conflicts with other editors when an explanation of changes made is listed."
[Blue = Subject 1] [Green = Subject 2 Pronoun] [Pink = S2 Verbs] [Orange = Subject 2]

-Illogical Paradox TERMINAL LOCKED 07:45, 1 October 2021 (UTC)

Results

Results for both votes will be shared here. Because of the related nature of both these votes, they were kept together as part of a single larger topic with two points to be addressed, rather than separated into different votes all representing the same topic. The Dyre Wolf (talk) 13:05, 9 September 2021 (UTC)

Both pass, closing forum, moving to implementation with tech squad. -Pickman heart.png kdarrow take her for a spin! 17:33, 8 October 2021 (UTC)
Added to policy pages. Results of first poll added to Editing guideline: Correct instead of remove and results of second poll added to User conduct guideline: General. -Pickman heart.png kdarrow take her for a spin! 22:00, 13 October 2021 (UTC)




Policy vote forum overview
GuidelineEditing guideline
Amendment 1Article title capitalization · Vote · 25 June 2010 · 9-6
Amendment 2Proper noun phrases · Vote · 13 November 2010 · 5-3-1
Amendment 3Third person view · Discussion · Vote · 20 April 2013 · 11-0-0
Amendment 4Category redundancy · Discussion · Vote · 26 June 2015 · 12-1
Amendment 5Referring to the player · Vote · 5 April 2021 · 24-8-2
Amendment 6Infobox capitalization · Vote · 18 June 2021 · 8-0
Amendment 7Fix don't revert · Vote · 8 October 2021 · 24-0-0
Amendment 8Registered user requirement · Discussion · Vote · 22 November 2021 · 24-12-5
Related topicsContent policy · Content organization guideline · User conduct guideline


Policy vote forum overview
GuidelineUser conduct guideline
Amendment 1Comment policy · Vote · 18 January 2011 · 4-3
Amendment 2Talk page blanking · discussion · Vote · 11 March 2012 · 16-4-1
Amendment 3Signature image size · Discussion · Vote · 24 January 2013 · 8-3-0
Amendment 4Multiple accounts · Discussion · Vote · 15 June 2013 · 8-2
Amendment 5Article talk pages · Discussion · Vote · 15 October 2013 · 8-2-1
Amendment 6Plagiarism enforcement · Vote · 27 August 2015 · 13-0-0
Amendment 7Mandatory edit summaries · Vote · 8 October 2021 · 18-10-2
Amendment 8Editing user and talk pages · Discussion · Vote · 8 April 2022 · 11-0-0
Amendment 9Multiple accounts and block carryover · Discussion · Vote · 8 April 2022 · 11-0-0
Related topicsAdministration policy
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