Free to edit post at any time


(Caue Rego) #1

NOTE: If admins want to allow edits at any given time, enable the following setting:

post edit time limit

Set it to 0 to make editing available forever.


I vow users should be able to freely edit their own posts. And convert them to wiki as they will.

I also understand that’s probably not the case to keep the “conversation flow”. Maybe due to some notification technical aspects. But not all topics are conversations. And there is a big value in updating posts.

Technically there could be a feature to allow “minor edits” like in wikipedia. Those as opt-in, along with edits within the grace period (currently default to 5 minutes) would not trigger notifications.

Makes any sense?

Now, I’m not sure of any of my assumptions… Because of the following context:


Searching for “edit post” didn’t bring me any hits on this, surprisingly. I still think there must be a topic about this already (although marking topics as duplicate would be another feature to suggest).

I’m also not sure if this was a feature in the past (I think it was) and, if so, now it certainly has a reason to have been removed. Why, though? Why can’t we edit posts at any time? At least here on meta, I suppose (also not sure there is a configuration for this).

I was trying to edit this post, just about 3 months old, and couldn’t. Not that I think how old a post is should matter, but apparently it currently does.


(Felix Freiberger) #2

There is a configuration item, post edit time limit, that limits for how long posts can be edited. It defaults to 86400 minutes (2 months).


(Jeff Atwood) #3

Yes that is a default safety feature. Feel free to set it to years, instead of the default of two months, on your Discourse as needed.


(Caue Rego) #4

Thanks both! Such a confusing question with such a simple answer! :slight_smile:

Although…

Why exactly is it default to anything other than 0 (no time limit)?

Also, how about the “convert to wiki” part?


(Sam Saffron) #5
  1. Post some benign replies to a topic…
  2. Come back 14 month later and edit in links to your favorite spam kittens
  3. Cat profit

(Caue Rego) #6

But to me you just said “because we couldn’t figure out a good way to fight spam on edits, unlike with replies”.

Isn’t this just a matter of notifications?


(Sam Saffron) #7

I guess, but I for one don’t want topics with 1 year old edits in the middle bumped on to the front page, nor do I want blue notifications telling me that bob happened to edit a post on a topic I participated in.


(Caue Rego) #8

How’s any of that so much different than replying?


(Sam Saffron) #9

Cause replying unconditionally bumps a topic.


(Caue Rego) #10

So should non-minor editing. :slight_smile:


(Sam Saffron) #11

did you think this through?

Its impossible to define “minor”, also, its mega confusing to see bumps on the front page when post #22 of a 200 post topic got edited … good luck explaining that


(Caue Rego) #12

People learn, “minor” is just a checkbox.

And there could be automatic linked updates to the bottom of the thread for that, like the “42 days later” thingie.

I’m thinking this through as we go. It’s fun to couple think! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


(cpradio) #13

I’m with @sam on this. I would find it very confusing if I were to get notified that post #22 out of 200 sent me a notification because the OP edited it. It is old news by post 200 and likely isn’t very relevant anymore. Allowing it to be edited, likely makes posts 23-26 meaningless too (or has the potential to).

We have a 5 hour edit window on our setup (it may be a day now), and we’ve yet to have any complaints. We even experimented with a shorter 30 minute window and we got several complaints, so I think we’ve found the sweet spot for our particular community.

You will just have to find that sweet spot for yours too or make it outrageously large so it feels like there isn’t one and deal with the consequences whenever they come. An edit in the middle of a topic is never going to be meaningful to the community as a whole, it will only be suspicious to the staff (and the solution for that already exists, shorten the edit window).


(Caue Rego) #14

I like how you’ve experimented in the opposite side of what I’m suggesting.

Yes, it sure can become confusing, but I also think those are technical programming solvable issues while not being able to edit is a technical hurdle to usage, a flow bug if you will.

Granted, should we fix the “confusing” part (and I’m not sure if either of you thought about my prompt suggestion there on one way to do it), this new functionality may be mostly useless in the grand scheme.

Dropbox once offered unlimited history file recovery, they were saving everything. Then they realised nobody (from the pro accounts) really use it (I still pay for pakrat and never used it) and removed it - leaving just for 30 days on free and 1 year on paid. Adding such a counter intuitive “flow bug” made sense to them cost wise.

The only point I can see in not resolving this flow bug is priorities and resources. It could be I’m overlooking the complexity in adding such thing… But from what I can tell on Sam’s input, that’s not the case.


(cpradio) #15

I’ve yet to see a good use case that describes why someone needs to edit a post many years later. What would prompt them to do such?

The complexity is in two parts, 1) no good indicatior as to why this is necessary, which is detrimental to figuring out what the best work flow is, you say edit anytime, but what-if the real solution to the problem doesn’t need to involve edit at all?, and 2) mitigating the noise that 99% of the community doesn’t need and likely doesn’t care about.

Those aren’t simple issues, the mechanics, surely are there, but those are the complicated pieces and using them may be going down the wrong solution to the actual problem. I still don’t feel you have a good grasp of why you need everyone to edit posts forever and why it is important to be notified of every edit that happens. It sounds awful noisy.


(Caue Rego) #16

Oh, so many good use cases… Internet is completely filled with them. Have you never stumbled upon a outdated and undated blog post and wondered if that was up to date? How about those dated and updated blog posts, have you never thanked them to be updated?!

Now, a forum topic is no blog post… Is it? But what’s so different about it, anyway?

The “solution” to the problem of “easy to google information” can only be solved by editing the post.

As for mitgating the noise, you’re just assuming the noise will be huge. But will it? You said yourself most people don’t care for editing their post for w/e after 5 hours, so I don’t see how they can generate so much noise. The only noise left would be spammers… But then again, given a good notification system for edits, how’s that any different from replying?

To me this is still a clear and good idea. Although I’m not so good at making things all that clear as my first post here can easily reveal… Do keep asking away, I’m loving this! :wink:


(cpradio) #17

Because they edit them within the 5 hour window. There are hundreds of edits within that window. I don’t want notifications for them all. And those are legit edits, typo correction, clarity, etc.

Because a reply is new information, an edit by definition shouldn’t be new information, but a correction to something they typed incorrectly or grammar/spelling corrections. That stuff isn’t useful.

That is apples to oranges. A post is a response to a prior created reply/topic/question. Sure a new way may have come about 3 years later, but that doesn’t invalidate the solution/response you gave 3 years ago. Just reply to the topic with the newer method.


(Mittineague) #18

The only legit reason I can think of for allowing unlimited edits is pride. eg.

My reply has “teh”, “theyre” and I change to “the”, “they’re” to conceal my lack of typing skill.
(I usually catch these during the grace period)

I answer

  • ABC
  • DEF
  • GHI

log out, get some sleep, wake and while eating breakfast realize “OMG!! I forgot to mention JKL !!”

Personally I have no problem posting a follow up reply saying "D’oh! I forgot to mention JKL " but I can understand that others may have appearances to keep up.

Discourse already has a Wiki feature for posts that are likely to need frequent updating.
And I would rather get a Notification for a topic that got a correction / additional information post than get a Notification for an aged post that got edited.

IMHO if a topic is old and no longer relevant it should probably get some type of “deprecated” post pointing to the up-to-date topic.

But,if that doesn’t work for your forum, as Jeff said


(cpradio) #19

And Unlisted works great for this too, as once you unlist, it tells crawl bots to not index that page anymore. Thus making the search in those engines go to the newer more up to date topic.


(Caue Rego) #20

Minor edits. Make the minor edit checkbox default. Or make 2 edit buttons, one that will notify people, and one that won’t. And… Hundreds in 5 hours? Seems very unlikely.

Really bad and limiting definition. Just call it another name if you prefer. “Update” or “Review”.

That was just one easy instance, though. And just my point of view. Not the main point you should hang on to defend your stance - you should have addressed the “easy to google information” issue. Replies don’t solve it. People don’t scroll. I don’t scroll. You don’t scroll. When we want fast data.

There is edit history revision. There’s nothing to do with pride.

I’ve already set mine, I think default should be zero so people will tag along. It could be really useful.

I think he meant it could have an automatic unlisting feature. Which isn’t too bad, there sure is some value in forgetting things. But I’d rather demote rather than unlisting - though I’ve got little idea if there is any good technical way to achieve that.


Look, I get discourse is for promoting conversations. With that mindset, editing old posts might make little sense - it’s probably better to have new conversations. I agree with that.

But there are good narrow usage cases for “free speech”, and no good reason to incentivize otherwise. The way I see it, this is just going against free speech in the textual sense.

People will adapt and adjust if you just let it be free. You’re worrying too much about possible (and I argue unlikely) scenarios.

And no, nobody installing discourse knows about this “feature” as it is, indeed, quite fringe.

When I opened this topic, I was hoping to hear Jeff answering something on the lines “we used to have it to always edit, too many customers complained, we implemented the time frame” - that would be a good practical reason to me. Other than something on those lines sound like way too much speculation.