An edit conflict occurs when two users try to edit the same wiki page at the same time. Whoever hits "Save page" first wins, but this is not always the best outcome. The other user needs to know how to recover from an edit conflict, so they don't lose their work.
- John clicks Edit on an article.
- Mary clicks Edit on the same article.
- John finishes editing, clicks Save page and the article now contains his version.
- Mary finishes editing, clicks Save page and is presented with the "Edit Conflict" page. This shows the current source of the page on top (in this case, John's version), followed by the new edits (in this case, Mary's version). This enables the editor to merge the changes manually.
A similar situation would have happened if Mary had saved her version of the page first, since when John clicked Save page his edits would then conflict with the current version of the page.
In practice, manual merging is not always necessary as the Conservapedia system is able to resolve many potential edit conflicts automatically, if the edits were made to different paragraphs or sections of a page. The edit conflict page normally only appears when two people were editing the same few lines and automatic merging cannot tell which words or lines to save.
A great way to avoid edit conflicts on talk pages is to communicate off the wiki; see instant messaging.