What is the "Why are you editing" field for?

What is it for ? Is it just a hangover from the old board (Discourse is telling me
my topic is similar to this ( and - for once - it’s right !)).
Or is it something for mods ?

It’s a standard Discourse feature, so it has nothing to do with the old board.

I moved this to the Site Feedback forum as it is pretty much a Discourse feature.

As to “what it’s for”, it’s for the self-evident reason: allowing you to explain why you felt the need to edit your earlier post. It becomes visible in the final post.

I surmise almost no one feels the need to make use of this capability, much as they generally didn’t use the equivalent capability in the earlier vBulletin system (which is what your linked post is about).

Editing to add: testing using the “why did you edit” feature.

If you click the "edited post’ marker (a little pencil-looking icon in the top-right of the post), you get a page with a side-by-side before-and-after comparison. If you set the “why” field during your edit, that text is in the bottom of the “after” pane.

Testing …
adding something to the “why are you editing” field …
and some more …

Ah ! That’s what i needed to know. Thanks.

Interestingly enough, I don’t see the “before-and-after” page when I try to click on the “edited post” marker in your posts, @pjd . If this is not a bug, it reduces the utility of the “why” field (because no one but the poster can see the explanation).

I can’t see yours either…

Oh well, i was just curious.
Thanks all

No problem.

Like i said, the failed implementation (not being able to see other folks’ edit reasons) defeats what I understand to be the purpose of the thing. Rather disappointing.

Only you and the mods can see your prior edits and the reason field. You can put a reason in there if you feel some mod might question why you bothered and it’s not self-evident from the changes you made. Also, if a mod edits your post, they can put a reason there for YOU to see…

I suspect it’s there because they copied wikimedia features, where it’s very common to summarize one’s edits for everyone to see. Perhaps some versions of Discourse are run more like a wiki, where everyone can see your old edits, there’s no time limit, and it’s very important to note the edits being made to prior posts?

That’s standard Discourse, yes. (For edits made more than 5 minutes after posting, anyway.)

I can’t swear to it, but I think the Why are you editing thing is fairly new.

But I do remember a “reason for editing” field from the old vBulletin board, which I assume is what the old thread the OP linked to was discussing.

Yes. I saw that the linked thread mentioned it, so i wondered if it had just
been added to the discourse board for completeness, but not implemented.
(I’d never noticed the red “edited” pencil thingy until gnoitall pointed it out.)