Why Only ~5 minutes to Edit Post

Why is only ~5 minutes alowed for post editing?

IMO it is far too resctrictive, and should be extended to at least 30 minutes.

Try as I may, and that often includes compostion and proof reading on a word
document before copy/paste to the board, I all too often to detect error only
after submitting the post.

If there is a money reason, OK, I understand the need to keep costs down.

But if it is a management whim then it serves no purpose other than to
propogate reversible error for no good reason, and should be changed.

All the other 10 or so sites I have ever posted to have had a time limit
of at least 20 minutes, and some allowed 1-2 hours.

The only reason I ever heard for the shorter limit was that members might
deviously edit for material content under some circumstances. I have never
in several years and 300 days activity per year ever seen noticed anyone
doing that, and i wonder if the porblem would be insignificant if it existed at all.

I believe this is precisely the reason for the 5 minute limit on editing one’s posts. Without the limit, if another member questions something in your post, it would be possible to edit your earlier post in order to render the subsequent poster’s criticism moot. With a 5 minute limit, it then requires you to properly answer the other poster’s response by finding cites or otherwise backing up your opinion, or admit you were wrong if that were indeed the case.

I don’t know how prevalent this practice would be here, but I believe it may have been common enough in the past for TPTB to invoke the 5 minute limit.

Here’s the relevant rule in the FAQ.

Some years ago the SDMB turned its editing over to 1-900-EDIT. This was a bad decision on our part: they charge us $4.99 per post per edit in the first five minutes, and 99 cents for each additional minute. So if we loosened up the restrictions we would go broke in a big hurry and have to shut down. We tried to get out of the contract but they said they’d break our thumbs.

Or if that explanation isn’t to your liking: the board is a conversation in real time, and if the editing window were expanded, things could get confusing. You have unlimited time to compose and preview a post. It’s annoying to go back to an old post and find you made a or realize there’s some other kind of problem you can’t fix, but it’s not the end of the world. You can always post again to correct the mistake. Since that’s the case there’s not much reason to modify the edit window and take on the extra risk of confusing simul-edits or mischief.

I agree, and would think an hour suitable for a site this size — smaller forums can afford 24 hours grace because of greater trust — however here I wouldn’t bother even using the five minutes since even that entails an ‘Edited by xxx’ marker which seems absurd for changing a ‘d’ to an ‘s’.

There is definitely possibility of unscrupulous re-composition by the dishonourable, but in most places vicious mandatory perma-banning if discovered should discourage this.
[ There is no financial reason — editing a post costs a board about the same as posting that or any other post. ]

At least when I started posting, you couldn’t edit your posts at all as I recall. The 5 minute edit limit was actually a liberalization of the rules.

Actually, no it isn’t.

This is the real reason. It is a polite way of saying that some posters are children.

Thanks, Der Trihs. I don’t remember if you could edit posts when I joined, but I do remember someone saying that now.

It can be. Conversations can also be stretched out over hours and days, but some threads go far in a much shorter period of time.

That’s not at all what I said. As far as I’m concerned the bigger issue is that it could get confusing to someone who reads the thread later. The more time you have to edit your posts, the more likely it is that someone who is reading later will find a confusing mix of remarks that have been changed and removed as the conversation was rewritten. With a five-minute window, there’s no chance for that to happen and it’s rare for even two people to edit their posts at the same time. A longer edit window would also make it easier for people to screw around, but they could do that with a five-minute window if they wanted. I’m not sure it has ever been an issue here.

That’s correct. Editing capabilities were added as part of the mid-2008 upgrade.

As I indicated I have had extensive experience on these boards,
and it simply has not been a problem, even with a time limit of an
hour or more.

I know it’s not what you said, but it is what others have said, and your wording implied it as well (otherwise, what did you mean by “mischief”?). Spin it whatever way you like, but the real reason this board uses 5 minutes when other vBulletin boards have unlimited editing is because some people can’t be trusted here.

I also note that, if you find an awkward typo that’s past the five-minute limit (or if you’ve made a typo in a thread title), you can always use the REPORT button (little ! in red triangle in upper right corner of post) to ask a moderator to fix it for you. We’re happy to do that.

Of course, that’s fixing typos or grammar, not changing the entire meaning of your post in reaction to something someone said later… :slight_smile:

Do you mean other message boards apart from this one? Because I see you’ve only been a member here for a month. But as Marley noted, until 2008, you couldn’t edit posts here at all. The limit was increased from no editing at all to a 5 minute window.

This is getting a little ridiculous. I said the main problem with a bigger edit window is that it could turn some threads into a mess as people revised their arguments to respond to points in subsequent posts. I also said it’s possible people could use them to play games by making provocative remarks and then deleting them. Which is true: it can be used that way. But I spent more time on the first reason (and you quoted me saying “confusing simul-edits” in your first post). You seem to be ignoring that whole issue and saying I said posters here are untrustworthy children, which I did not.


But, at least one person has, so that’s enough. Besides, who cares about typhos anywya?

I see what you did there. :wink:

The money part is certainly a reasonable explanation, unless you are
pulling my leg as you are with the thumbs part, in which case you need
to consider going back to comedy school.

In my experience they have not ever gotten confusing at all, with much
longer edit windows.

Few of my edits involve more than one word, and I think most involve
only a few letters. It would be so much easier for me if I could just
go ahead and make these tiny little edits without any hassle.

And I think the risk small enough to justify greatly increasing the edit window.

How about your experience elsewhere with longer windows?

As we say here on the Dope:


The entire thing was a joke.

I realize that, and I’m sorry you find it annoying. But these are all errors you can find ahead of time (especially if you write your posts out ahead of time in a word processing program) or with the Preview Post function. It’s not a compelling reason to expand the edit window.

I think we may have to agree to disagree there. We get asked about this once in a while, and the staff in general feels that five minutes strikes the right balance. I don’t think chaos would break out if we pushed it to 10 minutes, but I also don’t see any particular problem with what we have.

I used to hang out on a site with unlimited post editing. Yes, it could make things confusing.

I have been in the internet chatroom racket for exactly seven years now,
since Feb. 2004, and this is the only place I have ever heard of that ever
had no edit function.

Frankly that strikes me as…well, never mind, but it is becoming clear to me
that Cecil, who I have admired greatly for almost 40 years now, would be
doing himself a favor if he hired a new IS manager.