Last modified: 2011-03-13 18:04:38 UTC
The current "Edit Summary" field is too short to for all its purposes.
For example, look at the history of a wikipedia page in the URL above and search
for 'factual errors'. I cite an external URL in the summary to motivate my
changes. I think creating a larger field would encourage to provide extra
information like this and make it easier for multiple editors to resolve
conflicts. And providing a nice textbox would make all the formatting
capabilities of the wiki (such as making URLs clickable) available for edit notes
Also, this is perhaps the right way to resolve Bug 1153. If we add a new field
people won't try to cram too much into the summary field and the 'recent
changes' page will look nicer. And it won't deter people from providing details
just because they don't want to spoil the looks of the recent changes page.
Adding a new field would create a back-channel for wikipedia editors to
communicate, though, and it does raise interesting questions about how to manage
it. Does the changes page become a wiki page of its own? Or perhaps it needs an
email-like interface, with threading. I like this latter idea: Two of my edits
in the above example are to earlier edits many edits ago.
The discussion pages should be used for longer discussions of changes.
Oops, sorry about that. I read about that but it seemed like adding a new
field is a straightforward change. I suppose one can argue about whether
it's useful without thinking about the management of the back channel.
I was about to put a much less succinct reply saying much the same thing as
JeLuF just did, but I'll just a few related thoughts:
* I had an idea a while back for making it easier to refer to the discussion
page from edit summaries (which I've submitted for comments as bug 1796),
precisely for these situations
* you mention citations, which should probably go in the article itself - since
the information you add/change will remain in the article, so probably should
* you mention threading, and indeed people find discussion pages awkward, but no
adequate replacement has yet been coded