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Help:Automatic edit summaries

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Automatic edit summaries are created by the MediaWiki software for certain actions. These summaries appear in recent changes, page histories, and contributions lists, unless you provide your own edit summary.

Auto edit summaries exist for five different actions, if the user fails to provide an edit summary:

  • Blanking a page
  • Replacing entire page with other text
  • Creating a new page (the first 200 characters of the article appear in the summary)
  • Creating a redirect
  • Reverting a revision

Also, when you use section editing, the section title will appear in the edit summary box in light grey text between comment tags, and used as your summary unless you alter or replace it.

Typing the summary is unimportant when a user creates a new page; leaving the summary area blank, the edit summary in this case is automatically set to "Created page with ", followed by about 160 characters of the entered wikitext (the maximum summary length), with a trailing ellipsis.

If the summary describes a redirect or replacement of the content with a {{copyvio}} template, this most likely means that an editor allowed the software to generate the summary out of convenience. If the listed target or replacement text is reasonable, no further action is required.

A summary indicative of an inappropriate edit (such as the blanking or replacement of legitimate content) is probably not a deliberate description on the part of the user (who might not even have realized that he/she was harming Wikipedia).

What to do

If vandalism (or a well-meaning test requiring reversion) is suspected, please examine the edit to determine its nature and respond accordingly. Remember to assume good faith in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Keep in mind that the edit summary was not typed by the user, so it should not be interpreted as such evidence.

When an anonymous editor blanks all or part of a biography of a living person, it is important to remember that this may be an attempt by the subject of the article to remove problematic material. If this appears to be the case then such an edit should not be treated as vandalism. Instead, the editor should be welcomed and invited to explain his/her concerns with the article.

Examples of automatic edit summaries

You can customize or disable auto edit summaries on your wiki by creating/editing messages including, but not limited to, the following:

Action Page Example
Removing all content on a page, resulting in an empty page with no content (criteria: new page size of 0 bytes) MediaWiki:Autosumm-blank Blanked the page
Removing nearly all content on a page, and possibly replacing it with new content (criteria: at least 90% of original content removed, and a new page size not exceeding 500 bytes) MediaWiki:Autosumm-replace Replaced content with 'The cat sat on the mat'
Creating a new page with content (criteria: page size greater than 0 bytes) MediaWiki:Autosumm-new Created page with 'The cat sat on the mat'
Creating an empty page with no content (criteria: page size of 0 bytes) MediaWiki:Autosumm-newblank Created blank page
Creating a redirect to another page MediaWiki:Autoredircomment Redirected page to Help:Contents
Undoing a past revision of the page (by clicking "undo" in the page history) MediaWiki:Undo-summary Undid revision 11572 by Example (talk)
Reverting one or more edits to a page by a user (using the rollback feature) MediaWiki:Revertpage Reverted edits by Example (talk) to last version by Username

See also