Status of "Editing Window" Feature? February 28, 2010 7:49 PM   Subscribe

We last discussed the edit window last September, after it was tried out in December '08. I was just curious what the current status of the feature was ... has any definite decision been made one way or the other whether it'll be rolled out, and if so, has a date been set?
posted by WCityMike to Feature Requests at 7:49 PM (46 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

change bad
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:50 PM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Actually, I think the last time was about a month ago. Paraphrased upshot reads like: no definite decision, and no mod enthusiasm for it. I'd suspect the eventual paraphrased upshot this time would be the same.
posted by Drastic at 7:57 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah. Somehow, I missed that MeTa. Sorry, didn't mean to rehash something so recently covered. Well, I do hope we'll see the feature soon ... there may not be a lot of mod enthusiasm for it, but there sure is a lot of user enthusiasm for it, and not just mine. There's some antipathy, too, but I think the enthusiasm outweighs the antipathy.

Anyway, if the mods want to close this, they're certainly welcome to ... hadn't realized there was a January thread on this (and it's even still open, although I think it's right on the brink of closing).
posted by WCityMike at 8:03 PM on February 28, 2010


Paraphrased upshot reads like: ... no mod enthusiasm for it.

Where are you getting that from?

Here are the mods' opinions of it expressed in the most recent thread:

"As far as I know, we're planning to give it a go at some point, but I can't say exactly when. I know folks who want to see it happen are excited about the idea, and I can appreciate that, but you're just going to have to be patient in the mean time." -- cortex

"I'm cautiously in favor of the edit window with the caveat that there would be some stiff penalties for bad behavior" -- Jessamyn

I wouldn't call that "no enthusiasm." I'd call that cautious enthusiasm.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:18 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plan is the same. Yes we'd like to do it. No, we have no timeline. We're also working on a Terms of Service that is a little more pressing. That is what I know.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:21 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I get that from my language centers indexing "cautious enthusiasm" in the same way it indexes "a little pregnant." Also from me never being enthusiastic for something I fully expect to be a pain in the ass. So you could chalk that bit of the paraphrase up to projection on my part, fair enough.

Accordingly, modify to: a mostly-cautiously-hesitantly-maybe-definite "sometime" but no timetable, but the mods are enthusiastic in a hesitant cautious ass-pain expecting way.
posted by Drastic at 8:25 PM on February 28, 2010


Oh no, not again.
posted by loquacious at 8:29 PM on February 28, 2010


I think I get that from my language centers indexing "cautious enthusiasm" in the same way it indexes "a little pregnant."

You can be cautiously enthusiastic. You can also be a little bit pregnant.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:30 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really want an edit window. I think the problem is it will be abused. New users that haven't been around all that long will be up to hijinx. Older users should know how to preview their comments by now and will have an even bigger advantage when arguing with users such as myself than they normally would. I think it should be be allowed for a certain range of users, perhaps those with IDs above 34025 and below 34027.
posted by floam at 8:31 PM on February 28, 2010


You can be cautiously enthusiastic. You can also be a little bit pregnant.

You can also be cautiously enthusiastic about being a little bit pregnant.
posted by amyms at 8:38 PM on February 28, 2010


Can you be a little bit enthusiastic about being cautiously pregnant?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:40 PM on February 28, 2010


Yes, but only hesitantly.
posted by Drastic at 8:42 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


You can be a little bit cautious about being enthusiastically pregnant.
posted by amyms at 8:42 PM on February 28, 2010


I am dreading six months of ostentatiously edited comments with an appended "Fixed That For Me".
posted by shothotbot at 9:03 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I say we start a betting pool on the rollout date for this feature.

I'm in for June 17th, 2010 for $5.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:13 PM on February 28, 2010


Speaking purely as a bad spller, I love this idea! Thank you for considering it.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:16 PM on February 28, 2010


Instead of having a link to the edit history to people you could just make it so it's limited to changing no more than 5% of the post, and have the comments show the diff inline with striken text and perhaps a background color added to added parts.

It'd make abusing it to secretly offend people and then hide it afterwards and that kind of thing kind of difficult, and it'd be good to avoid relying upon it because people would still see your typos and think horrible thoughts about you. At least, that's why my greasemonkey script will do assuming the edit history is exposed in any user-findable way whatsoever.
posted by floam at 9:20 PM on February 28, 2010


I think it would be nice it people could quit going "Edit window please!" every time they make a typo. It's getting to be common enough to be annoying and will probably not bring your precious edit window to you any faster.
posted by frobozz at 9:22 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't your idea a little elaborate, floam? The simplest thing is to just make it a short window, like 5 minutes or something. On most threads, anyone who posts within five minutes of you was probably composing their comment before you posted yours, so the potential for "I didn't say that" hijinks would be pretty limited.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:27 PM on February 28, 2010


Well, I've now replied to you Kevin and your post was less than five minutes ago. So now if you had a unlimited do-as-you-please edit window you could change it to say 7 minutes.
posted by floam at 9:32 PM on February 28, 2010


Yeah, the mod consensus was we'd like to offer this as a short 3min window with stiff penalties for abuse (I think longtime users might goof with it, new users would just expect it as it is offered on several other sites like flickr and just use it as intended, etc). We will not be mucking up the UI with complicated edit histories or inline diff controls, but editing will be visible to mods so we can pick up on who is using it and how much (and if they are abusing it, etc).

There's no timeline for it and we've got a lot of things in the hopper, so it's tough to say exactly when it will be released.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:42 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm just saying the potential for abuse is limited with a length of five minutes, since it's clearly not impossible. And I imagine anyone who made a habit out of changing their posts to make respondents look bad would be called on it pretty quickly by other members, since that's a pretty obvious kind of trolling.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:45 PM on February 28, 2010


Sorry about that, mathowie, I didn't see your post before replying. Three minutes would be plenty of time. And I understand that you've got more important things to do. Thanks again for considering the idea.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:47 PM on February 28, 2010


If one can be enthusiastic about visiting the dentist, then I am in that sense enthusiastic about rolling out the editing feature. I would use a phrase like "resigned acceptance", maybe. I no longer believe it is a bad idea, and I suspect it will be a good thing in the long run once we roll it out, but that's about as far as it goes for me personally.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:55 PM on February 28, 2010


Will it be a one time thing in that three minutes? Or can I edit as many times as I can edit in three minutes? In reality I'll probably never find out because one go at it is enough.
posted by shelleycat at 10:14 PM on February 28, 2010


Another stupid editing thread. Great.

Can you please clarify what you define abuse as? Because I can name a whole spectrum of things that users do that make threads harder to follow that aren't outright abuse. For example, say I think of one more extra point to my argument, and I add that on to the end of my comment. Is that abuse? It damn well sure be, because that causes replies to not match up quite to what was said. And if you do define this as abuse, then what are you going to do to stop it? Because as I've tried to point out earlier, no matter what the Approved MetaFilter Social Norms are, people come to the site from elsewhere and have expectations on how things work elsewhere, and one of those expectations is that if you can edit posts then you can pretty much do whatever you want to your comment in your edits. No amount of socialization will change this, as is evidenced by the constant influx of the annoying @username bullshit that people bring from Twitter.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:20 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Another stupid editing thread. Great."

It's the first one for me. Before WCityMike asked the question, I didn't even know that this was a possibility, or that it had been discussed before. No offense meant to you or anybody else who's tired of discussing edit windows. It's just that this is the first pony I ever really wanted, and it's kind of exciting to think about the possibility. No need for Live Preview or spell checking! Just a nice, clean edit and the post is done. It's a change that could actually make Metafilter simpler, rather than cumbersome.

"For example, say I think of one more extra point to my argument, and I add that on to the end of my comment. Is that abuse? It damn well sure be, because that causes replies to not match up quite to what was said."

I don't know. If somebody can think of a substantial thing to add, compose it, and then type it in under three minutes, then they probably deserve the chance to make that change, 'cause they sure worked for it. ;-) That's some seriously quick speed typing. With my semi-drunken hunt and pecking, I'd be lucky to just fix the spelling errors before time ran out.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:40 PM on February 28, 2010


What makes you think that you will magically be able to spot typos during their first three minutes where you aren't currently able to spot them by reviewing your comment in live preview? I don't know about you but once a comment is posted I pay less attention to it than I do when I'm typing it.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:14 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rhomboid: I catch most typos after posting within 30 seconds.

It's because I can't learn to preview things, and then I post, and then I read any new comments that were added since I started to type my comment followed by my post so I can see what I look like on the Internet.
posted by floam at 11:18 PM on February 28, 2010


"What makes you think that you will magically be able to spot typos during their first three minutes where you aren't currently able to spot them by reviewing your comment in live preview? I don't know about you but once a comment is posted I pay less attention to it than I do when I'm typing it."

Maybe it's a culture thing, or a question of how one first learns to write on the Net. For me it's Write Mode, then Edit Mode, and I try to edit the comment as much as possible before pressing post, but somehow a few errors always slip through. Or redundancies, split infinitives or who knows what else. Sometimes there's even a disconnect between sentences that come from different drafts. It's usually not obvious until the words are "dead" on the page, but then they stand out like big old neon signs.

Not that "this would make things easier for me personally" is an argument for changing Metafilter. I"m just trying to answer your question.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:32 PM on February 28, 2010


i'm excited about the tiny window becoming available at whatever point. i like that it'll be a simple "you get this one chance, and then that's it" opportunity to fix a proofing error. yay.
posted by batmonkey at 11:41 PM on February 28, 2010


We've gotten along this long without comment editing, so I don't really see the benefits compared to the work that mathowie and pb have to do to put it in.

I guarantee that you'll still have people complaining in threads and on MetaTalk that they made a typo but can't correct it since the edit window's closed. Is the preview function not good enough for everyone? (Or do people just ignore it?)
posted by armage at 11:50 PM on February 28, 2010


(I'm betting that it has something to do with the growing culture of "racing" to post a comment. I say that if you're that in a hurry to post something, you deserve any mistakes you make -- myself included.)
posted by armage at 11:52 PM on February 28, 2010


I preview. I edit my posts. When I'm at work stuck using ie I even throw them into word to catch typos. Yet I still make mistakes which I then see the second it has posted. This goes for my blog too, and every other forum I've ever used. Something about seeing the actual post in context on the page makes things really show up better for me, I don't know why.

Editing is often what brings the problems. I try to make it shorter (I tend to run on) and end up hacking stuff so it makes no sense. I can live with my typos, after a concerted effort to be at peace with them, but occasionally a sentance here or there really needs sorting out. So I'll use the edit window if it appears.
posted by shelleycat at 12:09 AM on March 1, 2010


guarantee that you'll still have people complaining in threads and on MetaTalk that they made a typo but can't correct it since the edit window's closed.

Ugh, you're right. Where we now have useless noise comments consisting of "d'oh, I meant 'foo' not 'fooo'. Hey, where's that comment editing feature anyway?" we'll have useless noise comments consisting of "Darn, I'm too slow to edit, I meant 'foo' not 'fooo'".

(I hope it is clear here that my point is not that three minutes is too little, but rather that in the majority of cases it was pretty obvious that you meant 'foo' and not 'fooo' and the compulsive need to correct minor typos is more about the commenter's self-consciousness and neuroses than it is about making the site more enjoyable and easier to read for everyone -- otherwise people wouldn't drop those little correction turds in threads when it's obvious what was meant.)
posted by Rhomboid at 1:03 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


This topic bums me out because I'm so unenthusiastic about this new feature. This is a solution without a problem, and in my experience those kinds of things magically breed problems like frying bacon creates hunger.
posted by OmieWise at 5:08 AM on March 1, 2010


Can the mods just close this rather than have the whole "edit sucks! no it doesn't!" argument again?
posted by smackfu at 5:33 AM on March 1, 2010


Maybe the "solution" is that for 3 minutes following a post, only the poster is able to see it (because it hasn't really been posted yet, but don't tell them that!) If no edits are done during this window, it turns into an actual post. Yes, this punishes those who have no wish or need to edit with a slight delay, but it's only 3 minutes and it's not like they have to listen to classical music.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:58 AM on March 1, 2010


No amount of socialization will change this, as is evidenced by the constant influx of the annoying @username bullshit that people bring from Twitter.

Someone said the same thing in an earlier MeTa. I didn't understand it then either.

Jokes or drastic alterations through editing would be nothing like @username. I personally don't like @username. But no one could ever explain what was wrong with it aside from "I don't like it" or "It's what people use on Twitter." To someone who uses @username as a reflexive custom and happens to like it or not mind it, those probably aren't good reasons to make any extra effort to change their custom.

In contrast, I don't think people would have trouble understanding the rule of "You can edit your comments, but only to fix typos and stuff, not to change the content of what you're saying or to make jokes." And people could hardly maintain that they have simply gotten into the habit of editing their previously innocuous statements to say "Hitler rules" or "Go to hell" or whatever.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:19 AM on March 1, 2010


Oh, and 3 minutes is not nearly long enough.

The mods themselves regularly edit their own statements more than 3 minutes after posting.

There is nothing wrong with this. It's quite understandable. Instance: I post a comment to AskMe, and it has an error. Half an hour later, I'm interested to see what kinds of other responses the question got, so I look and, of course, being in a more objective frame of mind, I immediately notice the error that I missed back when I re-read my comment 10 times because that's just how the brain works.

It's important for there to be some time limit. I'd prefer, say, 2 hours, but I'd also be fine with an hour or half an hour or so. It has to be within the time period that lots of people will still be reading the thread, so that the community will be likely to catch any abuse. (And I certainly admit that a small amount of abuse is inevitable.)

But if it's just going to be 3 minutes, we might as well skip the edit function altogether and just tell people to spend a couple extra minutes proofreading.

If it's good enough for the mods, why isn't it good enough for us?
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:26 AM on March 1, 2010


Another thing about @username: you can say people didn't succumb to "socialization" the way you had hoped, but I'm pretty sure there was no official decree about it. No matter what was said on MeTa, most Mefites aren't going to see a given MeTa thread. I assume that when they design the edit window, they'll have some kind of small message in the "Everyone needs a hug" style, except it'll say, "Please only edit your comment to fix minor cosmetic errors such as typos and HTML."
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:32 AM on March 1, 2010


DarlingBri writes "I say we start a betting pool on the rollout date for this feature."

And give pb a nice early spot as encouragement.
posted by Mitheral at 6:34 AM on March 1, 2010


Jaltcoh writes "But no one could ever explain what was wrong with it aside from 'I don't like it' or 'It's what people use on Twitter.' To someone who uses @username as a reflexive custom and happens to like it or not mind it, those probably aren't good reasons to make any extra effort to change their custom. "

The problems with @username in no particular or mutually exclusive order:
  • This is an educated space and it isn't in any way proper english. It is therefor called out for the same reason texting writing, EG: C u l8r, would be called out or that goofy Zalgo writing is deleted.
  • Similar to above but more personal preference is that it looks stupid. We have markup available to draw attention to elements. We even have fancy little buttons to code it for you if you don't know how or choose not to do it manually.
  • It's jarring like a Hawaiian shirt at a wedding. Fine and great at a beach wedding, not so much in a church.
  • It's not how we do things here and it's almost invariably noobs who are doing it. Why join up if you are unhappy with the culture?
  • We talk to people not at people, a user name is sufficient. @username is like prefacing every RL statement with Yo Adrian.
posted by Mitheral at 6:49 AM on March 1, 2010


Um ... I didn't mean to turn this into a derail about whether we like @username. As I said, I don't like @username either. I agree with all the points in your list. They're irrelevant to the discussion about the edit window.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:59 AM on March 1, 2010


> Can the mods just close this rather than have the whole "edit sucks! no it doesn't!" argument again?

Seconded. Christ, I'm sick of this discussion.
posted by languagehat at 7:07 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can you please clarify what you define abuse as?

Using the editing feature to accomplish anything other than minor editing issues, which more or less falls to typos, forgotten words, mispastes, html errors, etc.

The rollout of an editing feature would come with the rollout of a clear rundown of what is and is not okay and what the consequences of doing the not-okay stuff will be. Our general position is that intentionally fucking with people in the least bit with the editing feature is asking for a ban; unintentionally (or ambiguously) using it in a problematic way is going to get you talked to by us about what needs to not happen, period, going forward; and the fuzzy edgecase issues of usage that seems maybe problematic in an unanticipated way will get talked out the way they normally do, in Metatalk or over email, with revisions to the edit feature policy over time if they're needed.

As far as the short-vs-long window, the three minute thing is an attempt to find a compromise between the desire to edit and the desire to keep the situation simple and temporal effects to a minimum.

Having a short editing window strikes a balance between letting folks who do want this for the primary described reason—fixing last-minute typo revelations in comments—do so while minimizing the possible volume of edits we have to wrangle and the possible scope of difficulties that editing might introduce.

In any case, we're really not looking to rethink the whole editing process or rehash the how-and-why-and-whether argument right now, and it's been a nutso week on the site anyway with us not operating at full capacity, so I'm going to request that folks save further discussion for the feature for the next time we're actually ready to make progress on it; we'll be sure to start up a discussion then, but for now it's just spinning wheels and one more thing for us to have to keep an eye on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:24 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


« Older Let us rock the 310   |   Meetup: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass Newer »

This thread is closed to new comments.