A dummy edit is a slight change in an page's wikitext that has no effect on the rendered page but allows you to save a useful edit summary. (For comparison, a null edit does not modify the wikitext and does not allow you to leave an edit summary.)
Through a dummy edit, an edit summary can be provided, aimed at:
- Sending messages regarding editing issues (however, dummy edits should not be used to hold extensive content discussions; that should be done through talk pages)
- Correcting a previous edit summary, such as an accidental marking of a previous edit as minor
- Addressing an accidental use of rollback that includes rollback of a good faith edit
- Providing an edit, from a user via a logged-in account, that notes a previous edit made by an IP was from that same user who edited while logged out
- Providing proof of activity from time to time by a user who does not wish to contribute but does not want to be seen as entirely inactive (such an edit is normally made to a user's own user or user talk page)
Sending a message via the edit summary ("SMS") is one way of communicating with other editors where it appears there is no need to create a new talk page thread for the message. Such "text messages" in a page's history may also be seen by users who otherwise would not be informed. For example, users who do not have accounts may edit from a dynamic IP address, and thus communication through the IP's talk page may not be well suited to reach that person. Such messages may also be useful to reach an editor who might not see a talk page thread, if a discussion was opened there. When raising some issue in the edit summary, it may be useful to provide a link in that message to the talk page and state that further discussion is or should take place there. Each edit summary can hold 250 bytes.
- Adding or removing a double space or editing a reference by adding one space before </ref> in the string "}}</ref>" so that it appears as "}} </ref>" allows for an edit summary without affecting the appearance of the article.
- Changing the number of newlines in the edit text. Changing a space to a line break in running text or vice versa; or adding or removing a single blank line after a header.
- Adding an extra blank line where there was none is not a dummy edit in general, which may add a paragraph break.
- Adding newlines to the end of the article will not serve as a dummy edit; that change won't be saved, so it will result in a null edit.
- Changing the number of spaces. Changing one space character to two or more (or vice versa) also has no effect on the rendered page. Multiple space characters always render as a single space, unless the line begins with a leading space.
- Adding an HTML comment. For example, adding <!-- dummy edit; can be deleted. --> to a page will not affect its presentation.
Note that an attempted dummy edit may result in a substantive change if done incautiouslyTemplate:Nsmdnsfor example, excess blank lines can result in inadvertent paragraph breaks. It may also make the page more difficult to edit if the method of making the dummy edits causes poor text spacing (for example, extra spaces between two words in a sentence).