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Minor edits

One of the most useful tips for people who want to see what's really changed, is to make use of the "Hide minor edits" option, which will mean you won't see every little typo and grammatical error that got fixed, but only the changes where real content was modified.

Changes starting from...

The page lists the pages which have been changed recently. You can set the number of items or the number of days covered in the list by clicking the relevant links at the top of the page. The items in the list are grouped by the day the change occurred. In general, it's best to keep the Recentchanges page open and to browse from it by opening new tabs or new windows, to save reloading the page all the time.

Diff, Hist, summary

For each item in the list, there is a lot of information, predominantly, a page name, a time, and a user-name or computer address. This essentially means that at that time, that user (or someone using a computer with that address), saved a new version of the relevant page. Additional information is provided to help you find out more about the changes:

  • first, there's a link labelled diff. Following this link allows you to see the changes which were made to the relevant page in comparison to the previous version.
  • next, the link labelled hist. This link provides a history of the page, showing who has edited this page before, when that happened, and short summaries of each change. From the history, you can compare any 2 versions of the same page.
  • there's a short summary of the change made to the page. This is the summary left by the person editing the page, so it's recommended to leave an informational message in the "change summary" box when you edit a page, since it makes life easier for all the other visitors.
  • some symbols (just before the page name) give you more information on the changes: a N indicates a new page, a m means a minor change.

There's also a talk link next to the username or computer address - this can be used if you want to leave a message with the editor of a certain page.

Change summary abbreviations

To make the change summary shorter, users on Wikipedia have developed a range of abbreviations for the change summary. Some of the most common, useful ones are:

  • sp: Spelling fix
  • gm: Grammar fix
  • ce: Copyedit (i.e. rewording of text to improve style)
  • fmt: Formatting change (e.g. changing heading levels, table styles or image placement)
  • rm: Remove (e.g. "rm links" means "removed links".
  • rv: Revert (undo a previous edit, e.g.: "rv mistaken edit" = "revert mistaken edit")
  • rvv: Revert vandalism (use this if someone is messing with the wiki and you undo it.)

A more complete list is at the wikipedia help site.