The simplest thing would be to cut down the amount of time between when you click on "Edit this page" and when you click on "Save".
If you are writing a large block of text and having trouble with edit conflicts, try writing it in Notepad first, then clicking on "Edit this page" and copying and pasting it in.
If you are going to be making lots of scattered changes to a page that is being changed a lot, you could try making the single change of saying so first - put something like "XXX is editing this page at the moment, should be done in XX minutes, if you check stuff in now you risk ToothyWikiInternals/EditConflicts.
Um. I'm all out of ideas. Automatic locks are A Bad Thing (tm) because someone who clicks on "edit this page" and then walks away (I do that, actually - I start thinking about writing stuff, and then change my mind) would cause denial of service.
Bobacus: What would be wrong with a locking system that locked the page for editing, while still allowing the existing version of the page to be read? With a "break lock" option that could be presented to other wannabe editors after a certain amount of time has passed without the locked edit being committed, perhaps.
MoonShadow: The "certain amount of time" would be the problem. Situations where /EditConflicts are likely - that is, where there is a lot of discussion on a single Wiki page - are precisely those where having to wait before you can break a lock - because someone - maybe even yourself - clicked on "edit page" and then changed their mind and/or clicked "back", or their computer crashed, or maybe they maliciously locked the page - would be highly annoying. Nevertheless, it is something that could be tried if and when /EditConflicts become a serious problem.
Bobacus: Well, the "certain amount of time" could be set very low, or not implemented, or one could always break one's own lock. But there may be a better idea, which would be to break pages into independently-lockable sections. And appends don't really need locking anyway. This would probably be acceptable for Wiki pages that were being used as discussion threads, where people should not need to erase each others' comments (though it would beg the question, "Why not set up an NNTP server instead?").
Vitenka has a suggestion/request - can we have a recent changes style diff when we get an edit conflict? So that we can see what was posted while we were posting - because currently there is no (obvious) way to see it. Counterpoint to this though - it forces you to read the whole page carefully looking for the change (which leads to more edits, which leads to more edit conflicts)
MoonShadow has been wondering about something along those lines. Will happen when (sigh) he has the time..
I second this request (and a lot of people on ToothyChat have been too) - something which shows the changes that both parties made would be good. It wouldn't have to show them together - in fact I think I'd prefer the diffs to go next to the text areas they describe. --SGB