When editing a page, logged-in users have the option of marking a change to a page as a minor edit. A minor edit to a wiki page is generally one that makes only trivial changes such as typo corrections, formatting and presentational changes, and rearranging of text (without changing any of the text's content). When to mark a change as a minor edit is often a matter of personal preference and judgment.
By contrast, a major edit is one that basically makes the article worth reviewing for someone who wants to watch the article closely; therefore, any change that affects the meaning of an article is not minor, even if it is only a single word.
The distinction between major and minor edits is significant because logged-in users have the option of ignoring minor edits when they view the recent changes list, to try to weed out some of the less-important changes. No one wants to be fooled into ignoring a significant change to an article because it was marked "minor". Therefore, remember to consider the opinions of other editors when choosing this option.
Users who are not logged in to MozillaWiki are not permitted to mark changes as minor because of the potential for misuse of the feature during vandalism. The ability to mark changes as minor is an extra reason for the community to appreciate users to register an account with MozillaWiki, provided that they use this feature properly, of course.
- Any change to the source wiki text, 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) does not work, neither does 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 (changing the number of line breaks at that point from 0 to 1 or from 2 to 3, not from 1 to 2); 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.
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