Saving effort (not having to write something, or copy and paste)
Fixing mistakes and vandalism
Testing When editing a page, logged-in users may mark a change to a page as a minor edit. It is often a matter of personal judgment, but generally implies trivial changes only, such as typo corrections, formatting and presentational changes and rearranging of text without changing any content.
By contrast, a major edit makes the article worth reviewing for anyone who watches it closely. Therefore, any change that affects the meaning of an article is not minor, even if it involves one word.
The distinction between major and minor edits is significant because you may decide to ignore minor edits when viewing recent changes; logged-in users can even set their preferences to not display them. No one wants to be fooled into ignoring a significant change to an article simply because it was marked "minor." So remember to consider the opinions of other editors when choosing this option.
Users who are not logged into No Subject - Encyclopedia of Psychoanalysis are not permitted to mark changes as minor because of the potential for vandalism. The ability to mark changes as minor is another reason to register.
When to mark an edit as minor
- Spelling corrections
- Simple formatting (capitalisation etc.)
- Formatting than does not change the meaning of the page (e.g. adding horizontal lines, splitting one paragraph into two - where this isn't contentious)
- Obvious factual errors (changing 1873 to 1973, where the event in question clearly took place in 1973)
- Fixing layout errors
Things to remember
- Any change to the source text (Help:Wikitext), even if it does not affect the presentation of the page in HTML (if it involves adding a space or a line break, for example) will still be treated as a change according to the database.
- Marking a major change as a minor one is considered poor etiquette, especially if the change involves the deletion of some text.
- Reversions of pages are not likely to be considered minor edits under most circumstances. When the status of a page is disputed, and particularly if an edit war is brewing, then it's better not to mark any edit as minor.
- A user's watchlist will only list the most recent change made to a page, even if that edit was minor. Therefore, a minor change will supersede a major one in the watchlist. This is because a user who keeps a watchlist is generally interested in all changes made to a page. If you are uncertain about the changes made to a page, check the page history to double-check.
- If you accidentally mark an edit as minor when it was in fact a major edit, you should make a second, "dummy" edit, but note that "the previous edit was major" in the edit summary. As a trivial edit to be made for this purpose, just opening the edit box and saving (changing nothing) will not work, neither will adding a blank space at the end of a line or a blank line at the end of the page - in these cases the edit is cancelled and the edit summary discarded. However, one can, for example, add an extra space between two words, or a line break. These changes are preserved in the wikitext and recorded as a change, although they do not change the rendered page.
An administrator can semi-automatically revert the edits of the last editor of a page; all such "rollback" reversions are marked as minor by the wiki software. This is because the cumulative effect of the edits and the rollback is nothing. The most frequent use of the rollback feature is in cases of vandalism, where the act of reverting any vandalism should be considered minor (and can be ignored in the recent changes list). This has the undesirable effect that if preferences have been set to hide minor edits, and an undesirable edit has not been marked minor, one sees that, but not a possible semi-automatic reversion, in Recent Changes and Enhanced Recent Changes.