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It happens that I edit my own answers.

This is because

  • I often write spontaneously and hereby tend to write long sentences.
    Later I realize how incomprehensible my wordings are.
  • English is not my mother tongue and I produce all sorts of linguistic mistakes. (Spelling/grammar/incorrect use of English vocabulary/...)

My edits/changes often do not refer to the code that I present in my answer, but refer to the text passages in which I (try to) explain this code.

Would it, if so, be good practice to note explicitly within the edit summary that one has not changed the presented code?

Would it, if so, be good practice to note explicitly within the edit summary that one has only changed code comments that are not carried out in any way (the remarks behind % in (La)TeX-code)?

The reason why I think about mentioning explicitly that none of the code presented in the answer was changed is to indicate that the changes do not imply that those who use that code in their own work need to take action.

More generally speaking, what kind of (meta-)data would prove useful within in the edit summary?

Any advice for writing good edit summaries is welcome.

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  • 4
    Editing answers to make them clearer or more precise is a good idea, as long as the essential meaning isn't changed. I've forgotten whether a minimum rep is necessary to look at the edit details; I do look if I have any question about what was done, and usually find that it makes sense. But if the OP isn't able to do that, then it may make sense to explicitly highlight what was done. – barbara beeton Jan 18 at 14:42
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    I do not think you need to mention explicitly what you did not change. Unless it is one of these remarkable cases where a second answer pops ups which copies your code and you fix a typo. Of course, in the best of all worlds you would not even then have to mention that you did not change your code, but we may not be living in the best of all worlds. – Schrödinger's cat Jan 19 at 5:41
  • The reason why I think about mentioning that none of the code presented in the answer was changed is to indicate that the changes do not imply that those who use that code in their own work need to take action. – Ulrich Diez Jan 19 at 13:41
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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/289107/…, especially the two middle answers there are useful I think. – Marijn Jan 20 at 16:45
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I used to be concerned with writing an edit summary, but have since only used it sparingly. The only time I write something is when I think the edit itself won't explain what was done.

Why? Every user is able to view the (edit) history of a post - just visit <site>/posts/<postid>/revisions. That history shows a side-by-side change of what was done to the post in the event of an addition/removal; retags just show the relevant tags and their changes. Take, for example, my edit (revision 27) of the LaTeX Editor/IDEs post:

enter image description here

On the left is the post before the edit. The right shows the post after the edit. Additions are highlighted in green, while removals are highlighted in red. A change is considered a removal and an addition. In this case I removed the personalised links in lieu of generic post links due to the post being a community wiki. Since I didn't add an edit summary for these changes, it was marked what an automated "added 35 characters in body." Moreover, it often feels superfluous to say something in the edit summary that is directly visible in the edit history. For example, this edit to one of the answers in our ever-growing and awesome list of Often references questions states the obvious.

The above example(s) aren't meant to discourage edit summaries. Instead, it shows that the site functionality already supports some logic for those who are knowledgeable about their existence. And, if you missed out on the perfect edit summary, consider leaving a comment in the post thread referencing what and why you did what you did. That sometimes help motivate ones intentions (since there is some additional, yet limited markup support in comments).

If you're using the SOX browser extension/user script, you can have routine edit summaries be part of an option (under the top bar Help Centre > SOX: Edit Reasons). Here, for example, I'm adding a "removed thanks" option to summarise when I've removed someone's thanks/signature from their post:

enter image description here

These show up under the edit summary that you can then check as/if needed:

enter image description here

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