Misuse of 'edit' feature

dux's picture

In my opinion this feature is detrimental to discussion.

Things are said and that is that. You can retract or change opinion, but to overwrite (or delete) a previous comment is disengenuous and unhelpful for discussion. Besides, you can't do it in speech as much as you might want to!

In a previous thread a message was removed that essentially changed the conversation and appearance of what I was saying. So much so, someone emailed me to say they were offended by what appeared to them was bullying, when in fact it was v. much the opposite.

Let's edit this feature out

just me? ok...

Renko's picture

I second that.

pattyfab's picture

I disagree. This topic has come up before, ever since the update last summer which has caused edited posts to drop to the bottom and therefore out of context.

It was a long tradition on the Type ID board for people to post a quick ID and then go back in and add the link. The edit feature was very important there.

I often reread my posts and edit for spelling, grammar and clarity. I only (now) do this when there isn't another post after mine, but there have been MANY times when I've wished I could change or add something and have refrained for fear of the thread not making sense.

Additionally there have been times when I've said something in the heat of the moment and later regretted it. In those cases where I edit for content, I always indicate that I have done so.

My suggestion would be to allow the edit feature as before, where the comment remains in its proper order in the thread, but for there to be a way for readers to know that the comment has been edited.

Don McCahill's picture

Since this will probably become an opinion poll, I vote FOR edit. Many times I hit post, and then see a typo as the file goes into the ether. I hate typos, and like the ability to correct such for a short time.

jasonc's picture

>>In a previous thread a message was removed that essentially changed the conversation and appearance of what I was saying. So much so, someone emailed me to say they were offended by what appeared to them was bullying, when in fact it was v. much the opposite.
<<

Dux; I guess the moral of the story is you should cut and paste a quote from the message you're responding to in your own message. Unfortunately that will make the threads longer than they'd need to be.
But you're right, otherwise someone who doesn't agree with you could edit their comment after you've replied and completely change the meaning of your response.

Jason C

aluminum's picture

I'd vote for being able to edit for a period of time (24 hours?).

Editing makes perfect sense for typos/spelling/clarification, but not so much for being able to go back to a month old conversation and start changing the entire history of the discussion (which has happened).

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

What Patty said.

aluminum's picture

The problem with that, Patty, is that it can really change the whole conversation.

Bob: You are a jerk.
Sam: No, YOU are a jerk.
Bob: You are a really stupid jerk.
Sam: No, you are the stupidest jerk face ever!

Bob may regret that a year later and change the whole conversation:

Bob: You are a fine human being.
Sam: No, YOU are a jerk.
Bob: I don't know why you are being so hateful. I find you to be pleasant and caring.
Sam: No, you are the stupidest jerk face ever!

(Kind of unfair to Sam).

OK, yea, maybe a stretch, but I think the point is there.

pattyfab's picture

Aluminum, that is why I think it's important that it be made clear the post has been edited.

Bob: (edited) You are a fine human being.
Sam: (edited) I humbly bow to your excellence, sir.

(editor's note: this post has now slipped out of order. Ironically it seems that if you put the word "edited" btw carats it disappears. I had to change it to parens)

I have no problem with typophiles being able to edit offensive comments and return the debate to the topic at hand.

There are also times when posts need to be edited in order to remove references to, say, site which give away pirated commercial fonts.

Every time this subject comes up we have the same debate...

blank's picture

I vote for edit staying around. At one time or another we’ve all written something that came out backward and read horribly, and only realized it five minutes later. Being able to go back and fix it real quick keeps Typophile pretty civilized.

One suggestion I do have is that edits be tracked with comments regarding the nature of the edits so that moderators can spot people who abuse the feature. I frequent a few other forums that handle edits this way, and it keeps people in line.

Ch's picture

i reserve my right to edit anything i write if given the opportunity. if my words in digital archives are going to outlive me you can bet i'm going to optimize them as time and reflection allow.

not sure if the edit in question was a self-edit or admin imposed ?
no reason for the latter beyond de-flaming, but that doesn't seem to be a problem among this erudite group.

what exactly does it mean to "abuse the feature" ?
as far as i can tell in this GUI i have no ability to edit anyone else's posts, and i'm not a coder. self-editing for accuracy and clarity makes sense to me, possibly with some sort of notice : "edited".

jupiterboy's picture

The current configuration is so open to mischief and accidental oddity I kind of like it.

Dan Gayle's picture

>>There are also times when posts need to be edited in order to remove references to, say, site which give away pirated commercial fonts.

Mods should always reserve the right to edit an offending post. That's not the issue here. The issue is that people can fundamentally change an entire conversation unfairly. I've seen it done, MANY times, here on Typophile.

Being able to edit spelling and grammar errors is one thing, materially changing the intent and content of a post is another. A time element sounds like the best idea to me. You have 24 hours to edit your post. After that? You go down in cache as the stupidest jerk face ever.

Hiroshige's picture

I agree with jupiterboy's comment. The edit feature is kind of quirky, I likes it.

jasonc's picture

I think Bob was kind of being a (edit) not-very-nice-person.

aluminum's picture

Jupiterboy is onto something. It certainly opens things up to some fun mischief. ;o)

Patty...I think we're just disagreeing where that 'line' is between 'rephrasing something we recently said in the heat of stupidity' vs. 'affecting the permanent record'.

Rephrasing during a debate/discussion is fine. Changing history by altering 2-year-old posts can lead to some issues, however.

pattyfab's picture

Aluminum: to the person who would edit a two-year old post I say get a life.

Altho... I did do that once when I client I had mentioned by name (it was germane to the discussion) came across the thread in a google search and wasn't happy. I had called her the client from hell - which she was. We had long severed our working relationship by then, but still I didn't want that on the record.

Paul Cutler's picture

You should have until another post shows up and then no editing. That is the only fair way.

Correcting grammar? Type slower.

Said something you wish you didn't? Think before you post.

Patty has made a perfectly reasonable case for the Type ID forum - let that be editable but keep the rest of it real, real time, really…

pbc

russellm's picture

When you speak with someone in the same room, your words don't hang in the air forever. Here, they do.

Responsible people can and will edit responsibly.

-=®=-

Oisín's picture

«You should have until another post shows up and then no editing. That is the only fair way.»

And if that happens to be 2.3 seconds after you make your own post?

It’s so easy to miss a typo or a left-out word while typing that it should always be possible to come back to correct your misfortunes, whether someone else has posted since or not. Imposing a time limit (24 hours works quite well on most board I’ve frequented that have time limits) is a good compromise. If you haven’t caught your typo within 24 hours, chances are no one else has, either; and your options for attempting to alter the outlook of the thread for posterity are limited.

And naturally all edits should be visible. The most efficient way I’ve seen of doing this is the Wikipedia-style way of displaying edits. In it, a string of text will be automatically inserted into the post, along the lines of, “Last edited on Wed 23 July 2007 by Poster. Edited 5 times in total. View post history.

With this system, not only can all viewers see when the post was last edited and by whom, but if they so wish, they can also view an entire threaded display of previous versions of the post, with typos, vitriol, broken HTML, and whatever gems may be lurking in the hidden shadows quite intact. It makes it impossible to completely alter the way a thread looks for posterity, since the original remarks will always be visible. It also forces the poster to consider that previous actions are visible when editing, so turning, “You are such a moron” into, “I’ve always really liked you” doesn’t work. Instead, one would have to find other workarounds, such as, “Heat-of-the-moment personal attack removed with apologies”.

jselig's picture

I often reread my posts and edit for spelling, grammar and clarity. I only (now) do this when there isn’t another post after mine, but there have been MANY times when I’ve wished I could change or add something and have refrained for fear of the thread not making sense.

This is what i often use it for.

aluminum's picture

Patty:

Your example of the client is a fine example of why one would want to change a past thread. However, it seems as if that would be something that an admin could do upon request fairly easily/willingly.

The examples you are giving are all valid reasons why editing should be left on indefinitely. Alas, there's a lot of reasons to NOT do that do. ;o)

"Responsible people can and will edit responsibly."

Yep. But until one can somehow restrict a forum so only responsible people post, it probably makes sense to NOT leave editing on indefinitely. ;0)

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

until one can somehow restrict a forum so only responsible people post, it probably makes sense to NOT leave editing on indefinitely. ;0)

Aluminum, you make a very good point. If I edit a post I make it a point to add "[EDIT]" before the amendment, but you're right... I hadn't really thought of that. Some of the responses to a recent Design Observer post by Steve Heller, asking for people to start using their real names when commenting, seems to bear this out.

Miss Tiffany's picture

May I suggest until editing is fixed that you simply post again with your corrections and/or retractions? I find reading a thread that has people's posts out of order tiresome. For those of you who see a typo if you can catch it right away, fine, but if it is late in the game, why bother?

pattyfab's picture

Punchcut had said awhile back that fixing the edit bug was a priority, but I guess they are waiting until they do a more substantial upgrade.

Nick Shinn's picture

I often edit, for many reasons:
-fix grammar and spelling
-fix bad coding of html
-to improve meaning and delete stupidity
-to remove possible offence
-to replace image (too wide, or better image available)
-to acknowledge crossed posts

A lot of this is because what we're doing is honest-to-goodness typography, which looks different when set in Georgia in the Typophile page layout, than Lucida Grande or whatever in the "Post new comment" interface.

A "preview" of what one's post will look like might be an option.

david h's picture

> Let’s edit this feature out

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

And I'm with Nick.

pattyfab's picture

Nick - you can preview your posts.

Scalfin's picture

It seems some people here oppose the edit function because it allows the rare individual with way to much free time to cause an annoyance.
Doesn't the existence of the use of the the edit button to clarify and correct prevent more headaches than unidentified jerkwads showing up and editing post which are doubtful to be read?

edit for ninja (anther good use): the preview function is an unwieldy annoyance.

david h's picture

[Edit]
Nick, I second your opinion

> you can preview your posts.

Let’s edit this feature out :^)

Nick Shinn's picture

Nick - you can preview your posts.

Thanks Patty. I have no idea why I don't use that, as it's right next to the "Post comment" button.
Perhaps because "Preview comment" is grammatically ambiguous?
I've read it many times, but it's never meant anything to me (software interfaces can have that effect).
Maybe it's the redundancy of the word "comment" that I find offensive?
I'm not sure whether I'll use it, though, it's more exciting not to.

And even so, the Preview doesn't show one's comment in situ, so it lacks that page-layout reality.

Ch's picture

what's the big deal with editing ? what's the problem ? this really seems like a non-issue to me. since when are improvements a problem ? people correct themselves in various ways all the time - conversationally and in writing - why not here ?
in my way of thinking, it's unrealistc and unfair to be deprived of that possibilty.

my second thought is usually clearer than my first. i don't post to groups without an edit function. i consider it one of the best features of typophile !

yes, it would be great if edits remained in their original place in the thread.

on my system the preview option does in fact display the true layout and font, which is helpful. i use returns for emphasis sometimes, creating shorter lines than the default line break.

HaleyFiege's picture

I'm all for editing. I type at like a kazillion words a minute, and going back to check my spelling a few min later is exceedingly helpful.

On the other forum I frequent, posts that have been edited have a small [edited on xx/xx/xx] on them.

John Hudson's picture

The subject of this thread says it all: the kind of content editing Luke describe is a misuse of the feature. If we got rid of everything that could potentially be misused, or even had been misused, there would be little of anything left. Heck, we'd have to dump the entire Internet!

charles ellertson's picture

Come on guys, the problem is not with the edit function per se., but its implementation here. I'm a moderator on another forum, where if you edit, the post stays in its original place, but the line "last edited by XXX at [time]" prints across the bottom of the post.

I understand it can't be done (yet) on Typophile, but the edit function is valuable.

Also on my wish list is that posts could be displayed in reverse order -- so the first post given is the most recent. Nice when there are 50 posts, and you're only interested in the latest one.

Ch's picture

right on charles_e - that's the way.
i'm still not clear on what the edit dux cited was.
oh well, now i'd rather read about typography.
smiling emoticon.

dux's picture

I'm happy to keep the edit feature. I rarely use it, but there is the odd occasion when the ol' grey matter has turned like turf and words appear inside out. Some kind of evidence of the original post, whether literal or not, needs to remain in place if not just 'Edited 3 times' etc.

A 24hr period seems a very workable solution to me, but I take your comment on board John ;-)

Ch: the edit in question was from the 'tared apart' thread.

albriks's picture

As long as its the last comment on a thread you should be able to edit. If someone posts after you, then you shouldn't be able to edit in my opinion. That seems to work just fine on other boards.

aluminum's picture

"what’s the big deal with editing ? what’s the problem ? "

See my previous post. It's not an issue of editing...but allowing indefinite editing.

John: I don't think anyone is saying get rid of the editing feature...rather, just put a limit on it...give people x hours/days/weeks to make their edit. (dux's 24 hours seems like a fine suggestion). If one can't properly form/edit their thoughts in a period of hours or days, then they probably never will. ;0)

Any 'emergency' edits after that fact (which should be few and far between) could then just go through the admins.

This isn't really that revolutionary of an idea...most boards that do allow editing also put the time limit feature in.

Ch's picture

i could live with a 24-hour limit or some sort of edit/date stamping,
but to be cut off after the next post makes no sense. as pointed out above,
sometimes the next post is almost instantaneous. out of luck !

i still don't see what the problem is with edits. it's a great feature to be able to rethink a bit, just like in real life ! typophile is great all around. if punchcut could just fix the edit feature to keep posts in their original place in the thread.

no more posts from me on this topic. smiling emoticon.

David Sudweeks's picture

Good edit functions allow a few minutes' window to correct any mistakes, slightly alter tone, etc., but even as good as they are they most likely won't ever be the perfect solution for every user who uses the edit feature. People edit for different reasons. Because most edit to correct small mistakes, the system should accommodate this use adequately. Some do more; much more. But as has been discussed, it's not realistic to expect the forum to document every move you make. I don't want my discussion muddied up with frequent notes of changes in the text. If there are notes that contain potentially important information, (e.g. The comment originally read: ...) they should exist hierarchically lower than the text. For most edits, the appropriate level for explanatory notation is none, invisible.

Oisín's picture

«I don’t want my discussion muddied up with frequent notes of changes in the text. If there are notes that contain potentially important information, (e.g. The comment originally read: ...) they should exist hierarchically lower than the text.»

If this was in response to the scenario I suggested (which works at another forum I frequent), I might have made myself unclear. There is only ever one line of “Last edited by XXX at XX:XX PM” text, which contains a link that has to be actively clicked. This then brings up a pop-up window that contains previous versions of the post, in reverse chronological order.

This line of text including link is placed (at that forum) below the post, i.e., where the “Edit” and “Reply” links are as it is now under our own posts.

Textwrapper's picture

I'm for editing, since I often drink and blog.
The idea for a notice which says "edited" is good.

paul d hunt's picture

*this post has been edited for content*

jupiterboy's picture

Hey Mr. textwrap

http://www.goodsamclub.com/

but I guess you know that.

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