A dummy edit is a change in text that has no effect on the rendered page, of which the purpose is to save a useful edit summary. A dummy edit does change the page source, although slightly.
By a dummy edit, an edit summary can be supplemented, aiming at:
- correcting a previous edit summary such as an accidental marking of a previous edit as "minor" (see Help:Minor edit).
- a user who does not wish to contribute and yet wishes to provide proof of activity from time to time may execute a dummy edit in his own talk page with no useful edit summary.
Sending a short message via the edit summary is one way of communicating with other editors if there is no need to create a new thread for the message. The edit summary box can hold one line of 200 characters. If you attempt to type or paste more, only the first 200 characters will be displayed – the rest will be discarded. For example attempting to add 10 new characters (at the end or in between) to a summary already containing 195 characters will result in the first 5 new characters being inserted and the second 5 being disregarded.
- 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 be 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 to a page will not affect its presentation.
Note that an attempt of a dummy edit may not be really dummy if done incautiously – for example, excess blank lines can result in inadvertent paragraph breaks. It may also make the page more difficult to edit if dummy edits make the text poorly spaced (for example, between two words in a sentence).