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Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Editing/Make default edit summaries available for all wikis

< Community Wishlist Survey 2019‎ | Editing

 ◄ Back to Editing  The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

  • Problem: The purpose of edit summaries is to understand an edit at a glance, and oftentimes the summary is simple: "reply", "expansion", "basics", or a copy of a bolded !vote ("delete"/"merge"/"keep"). Sometimes editors forget or can't be bothered with writing an edit summary, even though there is a dropdown option with a list of suggestions, and the edit history becomes poorer. And it takes a few seconds even for editors who do leave edit summaries. That's many seconds across many edits. Additionally, edit summaries tend to be filled with acronyms/jargon that are hard for passersby to decipher (these could be expanded/linked to give context).
  • Who would benefit: All editors, anyone reading article history
  • Proposed solution: As an editor, I want the text editor feature to suggest suggestions for edit summary as a native feature. I want the edit summaries to be approachable for neophytes whenever possible, with acronyms expanded and linked for context.
  • More comments: As a place to start, take the dropdown of suggested edit summary options and have the editor (standard or VE) suggest summaries when applicable. There's also room to do things like automatically convert shorthand like WP:5P to [[Wikipedia:Five pillars]] so as to be more approachable to new editors.
  • Phabricator tickets: T54859 (VE)
  • Proposer: czar 11:37, 3 November 2018 (UTC)


  • "The dropdown of suggested edit summaries" is entirely a browser-side item. Of course, there is an entire corpus of edit summaries with attendant changes... You'll have to lean on one of the AIs dealing with vandalism. --Izno (talk) 20:11, 3 November 2018 (UTC)
Czar Hello. Izno is correct. The dropdown on suggested edit summary options you mention is actually a list of edit summaries you have entered in the past that your browser remembers. If you change your browser, you won't see them again. I like the wish but it's a tad bit challenging because we will need to make it work across all languages/wikis. On english it is probably not very hard to do something like this with a gadget maybe but making it work for all wikis is going to be very complex. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 00:26, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
Re: the dropdown suggestions, I was referring to the checkbox in Gadgets preferences labeled, "Add two new dropdown boxes below the edit summary box with some useful default summaries". My impression is that these are standard, not based on edit summaries I've entered in the past. Either way, the point is less about using those summaries as sample cases than the larger AI element. czar 02:22, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
Ah, I see what you mean. It is a gadget. I think a good place to start would be to first make some default summaries available for all users in all editors. Right now you only see it if you have enabled the gadget. What you suggest about predicting the edit summaries based on article text - that's technically challenging until we get a hold of some artificial intelligence systems sadly. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 18:37, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
Czar Hello. We discussed this in our team meeting today and there was consensus that we cannot do anything predictive because making it work across different languages will be very challenging and a huge project for Community Tech team. What we can do instead is to allow wikis to add a list of standard edit summaries which are presented to all users on the wiki when they are adding the edit summary (can be an optional dropdown or suggestions as they type etc). If you think that changing the scope for this wish is fine, please reply back to me and I will rename the proposal (or you can do that if you prefer). If we cannot change scope, we will need to turn this wish down because it is too big for our team. I'm sorry about the inconvenience. Thanks in advance. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 22:04, 13 November 2018 (UTC)
Hi @NKohli (WMF) and appreciate your looking into this. Would your described dropdown differ from the dropdown currently available in the enwp Gadget menu ("Add two new dropdown boxes below the edit summary box with some useful default summaries")? If not, the existing gadget would suffice. I think the opportunity here to use patterns to automatically generate edit summaries to create smarter edit histories and/or save editor time. If the scope is too big for the Community Tech team, would there be a better place to suggest such a feature for another team (WMF or independent) with different resources? czar 00:53, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
@Czar: The main difference would be that the solution we devise would bring this functionality to all wikis and not be restricted to English Wikipedia. In addition to that we can look into making the default summaries more configurable by the community (not hardcoded into the gadget like it is). We can also provide UI improvements (such as auto-complete suggestions when user starts typing something that matches up with a stored summary). The reason it is so hard to do predictive summaries is because we don't currently have any machine learning in place which can do any pattern detection with edits diffs. I don't know of a good place for you to suggest this right now but I will be sure to bring this to the attention of other teams in the Foundation. I know there are a couple of other projects that are working on Machine Learning features. Hopefully they will consider adding this too. Czar, can I go ahead and rename and tweak this proposal? Thank you. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 01:43, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
@NKohli (WMF), yes, please! Thank you. czar 01:49, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks so much, Czar. If you disagree with any of the changes I make, please do let me know and I will fix them. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 01:59, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
FYI, on enwiki I've read complaints about mobile's canned edit summaries that imply that vandals or clueless newbies tend to just hit one at random. If the feature is not opt-in, I wouldn't be too surprised if enwiki configures an empty list of canned summaries. Anomie (talk) 15:18, 14 November 2018 (UTC)
There are wikis which have summary buttons. And I many cases I had problem, my edits dint't fit tinto these summaries. JAn Dudík (talk) 13:23, 20 November 2018 (UTC)