Suggestion: Allow us to edit our posts

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. :smiley:

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

But thanks for the suggestion, we appreciate you thinking of us and the overall good of the board.


But it is broke. And we want to be able to fix it. :frowning:

It would definitely cut down on all those “Ooops, I meant THE not TEH” and if you could edit/delete, it would probably eliminate double posts.

Only the Spelling And Grammar Nazis care about “teh” typos, and TPTB don’t care whether the Spelling And Grammar Nazis are kept happy.

For a board that’s uncharacteristically a majority of decent individuals, who can be very finickity about accuracy, it is really disheartening to see a boneheaded mistake that is glaring and cannot be changed.

And it frankly seems extremely childish to not allow us that particular freedom, especially since there can be restrictions applied if they wish.

Some aspects of this board are glorious. And some are downright madness.

Even within one minute, we’d have people posting something and then retracting it… after two or three responses.

I actually think that, time and three vs two pages aside, there is a positive aspect to not being able to edit your own post: namely, we don’t get anywhere near the number of people being picky about other’s posts. used to be, anyone made a typo, you’d get a slew of “Nyah, nyah, you mean ‘was’ not ‘were’!” kind of posts… rather than substantive comments. We don’t get many of those anymore – everyone makes typos, so there’s a “don’t do unto others what you don’t want done unto you” attitude. And I, for one, think that’s a major plus.

Any serious typo, and mods are happy to fix 'em, like coding, or “now” for “not” or whatever.

Edit functions are for the weak.

Isn’t this the reason there is a Preview Post button?

Okay, I don’t preview because it adds an extra five minutes to my posting times. About half the time it locks up there and I abandon it. I would have about twice the post count if the hamsters hadn’t eaten so many of my posts, almost always while being previewed.

On the other hand, I would have about half the number if I didn’t have to go back and correct one or two stupid mistakes (as opposed to those very intelligent mistakes).

I don’t think I’ve even seen another board where the MEMBERS don’t have editing privileges for their own posts. Sometimes it’s a 5-minute window (afraid I would need longer; often I can’t even tell 5 minutes later if the post has actually been submitted–but then, most boards are about a hundred times faster than this one, too).

This is a flaw. The mods argue that people would come back and retract things they’ve said–so what? The post will reflect that is has been edited by the poster, and if you say something really idiotic and really want to retract it, why ont?

why not
and then there are those of us who hit submit instead of preview…

That’s why there is “quoting for truth” with controversial posts on message boards that allow user editing. You can’t retract a message when it’s quoted in someone else’s post.

vBulletin also perits timed editing; the time window for editing a message is set by message board administration.

I know, I kow … “use preview.” Maybe, but I’ve previewed, previewed and previewed more, and when I post - whoops, there’s the typo or farked up vB tags you didn’t see the first five times I previewed. I can’t be the only one that experiences this.

By the way … the hamsters stopped tunning twice when I previewed the past message.

From a query standpoint, it must involve less work for the server to post once and edit once rather than preview several times before posting, with many of those messages just fine to begin with.

Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree whether it’s broke. Thanks for your time, though.

And for the record, is it the opinion of the administration that everything is working to its potential? I have a number of other suggestions, but I don’t want to bother you with them if there’s no reason to.


Tide fun tonics are for the week.

There are technical issues with respect to editing posts. While vBulletin has made the feature available, this does not mean a board owner needs to implement every feature. The SDMB has a long history of technical glitches caused by the poor nutrition and feeding of the hamsters. Implementing the editing feature could very well makes things worse overall.

Convenient form who? As Hilarity N. Suze points out, using Preview adds an extra five minutes to posting. How does that compare to several hundred posters regularly editing their posts and slowing down the entire board? What time is saved now? One can save considerable editing/preview time by writing a post offline using an external program and using that program’s spell-check before posting to the board.

Finally, what about the legal issues? As has been seen on the SDMB several times, potential legal issues rear their ugly heads. Perhaps the Chicago Reader just doesn’t want to go there and not allowing the editing of posts is just one way they wish to minimize legal issues.

No, we certainly don’t think things are perfect. However, some decisions were made long ago for what were then considered good and sufficient reasons. In some cases, a rethink is certainly valuable – we’ve changed policies on a number of issues. (Quick example: we now have suspensions, not just bannings.)

So, sure, we’re always willing to consider. In some cases, however, we will come out confirming our original policy: the reasons haven’t changed all that much.

As I said before, I think that not allowing editing means that folks are focused on content, not on grammar/spelling. If you weren’t there, you can’t imagine how awful it was back in the days when people jumped all over typos. Someone would post, “I’m upset, my dog died and my boyfriend left me and my house burned down” and the first six responses would be about spelling errors in the OP.

I think the posts correcting misspellings like this one are really unnecessary. The post correcting the minor mistake is often more distracting than the mistake itself. (A lot of times, it’s for something I wouldn’t have noticed to begin with.)

What do you mean, it can’t be changed? Of course it can. If a mistake is that serious, you make a new post saying “Sorry, I meant to say 1986, not 1968”, or whatever.

As for previewing vs. editing, yes, sometimes you notice a mistake after posting but not on preview. And sometimes you notice a mistake after 5 minutes, but not before 5 minutes. And sometimes you notice a mistake two days later. If you make the case for editing with a time limit, why have the time limit at all?

The latest version of vbulletin has a post editing feature using AJAX, which allows the edit to happen without refreshing the whole page. Same with their Quick Reply.

Worth considering, as I think it would greatly reduce hamster power.