I’m sure it has been pondered in the past, and the current policy wasn’t established without due consideration, but I think it’s a mistake not allowing users to edit their posts for a brief time on the SDMB. Here’s my thinking:
The main reason for disallowing editing is to prevent people from changing their posts for the wrong reasons, such as after getting called on something in a debate. Back in the olden days this was a big problem on messageboards, especially those where the debates got heated. I remember times where people would go back days later to change something they had set on one of my old messageboards to cover their tracks.
Fortunately, the developers at vBulletin addressed this problem and added an option to allow editing for a certain amount of time after a post is submitted. I think enabling this option with a low time limit (maybe one minute) on the SDMB would be a Good Thing.™
Currently I would assume that most of the long-timers like myself make it a point to preview their posts before they submit them. Personally, I do it every single time, even if it’s a quickie. However, thanks to my significant skills using the internets, I rarely have to change anything, and the post gets submitted unaltered. Of course, occasionally I do have to change something, but that’s not a majority of the time. Maybe once every ten submissions.
Here’s the process now, which each number counting a page loaded from the server:
[li]Open a thread.[/li]Type a response in the “quick reply” box at the bottom of the page (add one extra step if the person uses the normal reply function instead).
[li]Click to open the advanced view. Examine the previewed text, if there are no mistakes, submit it to the database. [/li][li]The system then opens the thread with the new post attached.[/li][/ol]
So, three page loads for each post, unless the person doesn’t use the quick reply function, which makes it four pages every time. I use QR so it’s three for me. So over a good morning of avoiding actual work around the office that’s thirty page loads for ten responses.
However, were editing allowed for one minute after posting, the usual procedure would look like this:
[li]Open thread.[/li]Type response into quick reply (again add a step for normal reply)
[li]Submit it, and the page loads with the new post attached. [/li][/ol]
That’s two steps instead of three, assuming I don’t need to edit anything. Editing would involve opening the edit page back up, then the main thread page again after submitting the changes, so we’re talking about two more page loads. However, because that’s not going to happen every time, you have to look at the numbers overall. Thirty pages (per ten posts) loaded under the current setup would be reduced to twenty assuming no edits were needed, and to 22 pages assuming users need to edit one out of ten.
Saving eight (or five, or one) page loads over ten posts may not seem like much, but on a messageboard that I assume receives thousands of new posts every day, the numbers can really add up. Additionally, it would save some strain on the moderators who are currently getting emailed with requests to fix typos and coding errors.
Anyway, I just thought I’d throw that out there. Time to get back to pretending to work.