An edit conflict occurs when user X begins editing a page, then user Y begins editing and saves his edit, and then user X attempts to save his edit.
Resolving an edit conflict
If X only made a few small changes and Y made large changes, he may choose to work from Y's version, and re-merge his changes in. X might choose to add some text like "via edit conflict" to the edit summary, to warn Y and others that he had to do this – Y can then review his merging for accuracy.
If X made large changes, and Y made small changes, he may choose to work from his version. One option is for X to copy the bottom text into the top text (or just copy over the one section of the top text, if X was section editing), with an appropriate edit summary (e.g. "via edit conflict, will remerge"). Then X can view the page history, determine Y's changes, and re-apply them to his version, in a separate edit.
If both Y and X made large changes, matters become complicated, and Y and X just have to do the best they can. For example, if both Y and X simultaneously add a large section of text on the same subject, then it may be best for X to submit his changes, and then for Y and X to both have a look at the two versions and decide between themselves which version is better.
X should not just post his changes over the top of Y's. We assume good faith – mistakes are occasionally made, and newcomers may not understand the edit conflict window. However, X must not routinely ignore edit conflicts. It is absolutely not acceptable for X to overwrite Y out of laziness. We encourage contributors to double-check their merges by using the "Diff" feature.
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