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July 7, 2011 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Whatever happened to introducing a three-minute edit window for comments?

We've talked about this in the past and it seemed like it was at the brink of adoption- It would be a pretty useful feature.
posted by dunkadunc to Feature Requests at 9:52 AM (128 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

You're thinking of MeFiPro.

last edited by Curious Artificer at 12:54 PM on July 7
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:55 AM on July 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


I've been taking Mefipro for a week and my unsightly plague sores are almost completely gone. Thanks Mefipro, you've let me live my life again.
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on July 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


I thought it was a Mefi Turbo Pro Gold feature. I've been missing out!
posted by bonehead at 10:02 AM on July 7, 2011


It was supposed to be implemented about a two weeks ago and then Meatbomb went and did that thing and now the mods are having second thoughts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:04 AM on July 7, 2011


What thing?
posted by philip-random at 10:08 AM on July 7, 2011


The thing. With the noodles.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:11 AM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh. Not the thing with the ping pong balls?
posted by eyeballkid at 10:12 AM on July 7, 2011


To be fair, Travolta had it coming.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:14 AM on July 7, 2011


We are not supposed to be talking about The Noodle Incident.
posted by iamabot at 10:16 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The status is the the same from our last few conversations about this. We're considering it. It's on the back burner of things to do, but we haven't made any steps toward making it happen.

Some quick history: we ran a test of a three-minute edit window in December 2008. It went ok. Some people were jazzed about it, some people thought it would be the end of MetaFilter. We didn't find a good resolution between those two camps so we let the issue drop. In the meantime Team Mod has had more discussions about this, we have a better sense of how we want it implemented, and a few years later the site is in a different place. We're leaning toward implementing it. Not tomorrow, probably not this summer, but it won't be another two years before we try again.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:19 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe not tomorrow, probably not this summer, but soon-- and for the rest of your life.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:20 AM on July 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


This will be introduced as part of MeFi Vista.
posted by schmod at 10:23 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


With cabal membership you can edit other people's comments.

I like to shave my scrotum.

last edited by Brandon Blatcher at 10:29 AM on July 7
posted by eyeballkid at 10:27 AM on July 7, 2011 [13 favorites]


It'll happen as soon as the feature is rolled out on a site Matt loves.
posted by Eideteker at 10:30 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, a different site* he loves. I'm sure he loves MetaFilter very much.

* something cool and indie that you've never heard of let alone have any chance of getting an invite to. Sucker.
posted by Eideteker at 10:31 AM on July 7, 2011


With cabal membership you can edit other people's comments.

Can we at least be able to edit other people's comments that use "women" when the poster meant "woman"? That drives me up a freaking wall. You did not "see a women standing at the bus stop."
posted by desjardins at 10:35 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The mispelling window seems to be spreading.
posted by buzzman at 10:35 AM on July 7, 2011


Oh, I meant to type misspelling. sawry,
posted by buzzman at 10:36 AM on July 7, 2011


This will be introduced as part of MeFi Vista.

Nope. It will be part of MeFi 365, where you pay $5/month until the end of time for access to your account. That's $15 less than in town.
posted by zachlipton at 10:45 AM on July 7, 2011


I was actually thinking about this today. It looks like it was last mentioned in January of this year.

I think it would be a good addition, and in fact I'm not really sure why people argue against it. If you are against the editing window, then do you mind saying why that is?
posted by codacorolla at 11:13 AM on July 7, 2011


Can we at least be able to edit other people's comments that use "women" when the poster meant "woman"? That drives me up a freaking wall. You did not "see a women standing at the bus stop."

Your wrong.

Grammar Police! Cheese it!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:15 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


why not make it optional i.e. set by the poster if the post is about some article that actually takes time to read....
posted by ennui.bz at 11:20 AM on July 7, 2011


err... wish i could edit that comment... different pony.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:21 AM on July 7, 2011


I think it would be a good addition, and in fact I'm not really sure why people argue against it. If you are against the editing window, then do you mind saying why that is?

I most dislike that commenters would be responding to multiple versions of the same comment: the one pre-edit, and the one post-edit. It fractures the discussion with the fracture proportional to the amount of editing done.

I also worry that with the "safety buffer" introduced by the window, people may feel less reliant upon their own sense of restraint.

In terms of the most basic problem-solving it would do (fixing spelling errors, for example), I usually don't even notice those until quite some time has passed; I rarely read my comments immediately after posting them.

If it gets implemented, I'll learn to live with it, but I don't really like the idea at all, and would prefer not to have this feature introduced.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:23 AM on July 7, 2011 [11 favorites]


If you are against the editing window, then do you mind saying why that is?

These are what I recall, perhaps not exactly how I feel personally:

1. Disrupts the flow of the conversation. The whole linear discussion format has done MeFi well, and why change a good thing? Anyway,
2. Own your mistakes. Only you are responsible for your comments—the content and the format and the grammar too—and being responsible entails proofreading to death, owning the mistakes you make anyway, and/or maybe just not clicking the post button at all that time.
3. Who cares? It's the content that really matters, the intent and meaning conveyed by the words you're using, and so what if they're slightly out of order. It's probably a helpful example for descriptivists, anyway. Plus, see 1.
posted by carsonb at 11:23 AM on July 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jinx Greg, you owe me a coke.
posted by carsonb at 11:24 AM on July 7, 2011


If you are against the editing window, then do you mind saying why that is?

Here's what I wrote in 2008. I still think it's right, but I'll confess that I care about the site about 45% less than I did then, and you'll see if you read through that thread you'll see that that the set of Metafilter denizens who opine in Metatalk turns over with some regularity. Maybe this time you'll get your votes?
posted by Kwine at 11:25 AM on July 7, 2011


and you'll see if you read through that thread you'll see

You'll find this to be pretty funny if you click through and find out what my reasoning is on this issue.

*sees self out*
posted by Kwine at 11:26 AM on July 7, 2011


If you are against the editing window, then do you mind saying why that is?

Because it could be abused in contentious threads, and you're never really sure if someone said what you thought they said. For example, someone says something blatantly racist or sexist. 14 people respond to the outrageous comment. The person then edits it to something innocuous before the mods have a chance to delete the offensive comment. The whole thread would go off the rails, because anyone who read the original comment would KNOW it was offensive, but none of the people commenting after the edit would understand (or maybe wouldn't even believe) why they are so outraged.
posted by desjardins at 11:28 AM on July 7, 2011


On one hand, if we got comment editing then we would lose these awesome request threads.

But on the other hand, comment editing and it subsequent abuse would create a bunch of awesome fighty metatalk threads.
posted by mullacc at 11:32 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


The edit window affords you nothing that Preview doesn't already, it just affords it to you later (after clicking Post, not before). And, as Greg said, I'd venture most folks don't read their comments right away.

If there's an edit window, it should be a matter of only a few seconds, a la facebook. For cases where you accidentally hit Post, for example, say by tapping Tab one too many times. And what it would amount to is a tape delay before your comment hits the site; the comment is held in a limbo where only you can see it until the window closes, whereupon it goes live for everyone. This reduces abuse (I hesitate to say "eliminates" because folks are clever).
posted by Eideteker at 11:40 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


carsonb and Greg Nog speak eloquently for me on this issue.

But on the other hand, comment editing and it subsequent abuse would create a bunch of awesome fighty metatalk threads.

I can't help but feel that the mods are sort of shooting themselves in the foot in this regard, as there now seems to be a whole new level of "policing" that will be required of them, particularly when things get most heated, chaotic, FAST.

"Why did you just say that?"
"I didn't."
"Yes, you did, but then you edited it."
"Well, yeah, because I realized I was overdoing it."
"That's the fifth time you've overdone it in a contentious thread in the past 24 hours. You're abusing the edit feature."
"No, I'm not. I'm USING it. And anyway, you guys are keeping on tabs on my edits now, too!?!? Holy 1984, Batman."

And so on. The odd typo seems somehow much more agreeable.
posted by philip-random at 11:41 AM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Still want an undo for flags, though. Meant to flag mullacc's as fantastic.
posted by Eideteker at 11:41 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, those reasons do make sense. I would agree that the window should be smaller than 3 minutes, and maybe there should also be something like a strikethrough (or red text, which is a tag outside of the regular user's toolbox) to indicate an edit. Maybe I'm not as much for it as I'd thought I was...
posted by codacorolla at 11:45 AM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


If anyone has changed their mind since last time, speak up. Otherwise, we can just assume that everyone feels the same way they did the last 14 times this came up on MeTa.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:00 PM on July 7, 2011


Edit window, yes, do it now. Many sites have them, the world doesn't end.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:10 PM on July 7, 2011


I cast my vote for "try it out for a month or so to see how well/poorly it works" (and maybe only in MetaTalk for starters.)
posted by MrFTBN at 12:15 PM on July 7, 2011


I say don't implement it and instead use this space to argue about it.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:25 PM on July 7, 2011


I want to kill this edit window pony with a baseball bat and then feed it to the trolls.
posted by phaedon at 12:39 PM on July 7, 2011


Many sites have them, the world doesn't end.

Most other sites suck.
posted by desjardins at 12:47 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter isn't actually that much of a special snowflake.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:51 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


> and maybe there should also be something like a strikethrough

I like this idea. Maybe the deleted text could be replaced with a small [edit] tag which has the original text as a rollover title.
posted by lucidium at 12:52 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I vote for a full revision history like Wikipedia, with an individual Metatalk-like page for each revision.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 12:58 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


An even slicker, more transparent implementation could leave the original text right where it is, and have the edit show up later in the thread, just like an ordinary comment, with its own timestamp and everything. This would be very flexible, and people could identify (or not identify) their edits in their own personal style.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:59 PM on July 7, 2011


the three minutes is up.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:09 PM on July 7, 2011


Wolfdog, I don't see how that's more transparent. It makes things way more noisy. Most edits are going to be for typos, so take this example:

I have too cats.
posted by desjardins

I have to cats.
posted by desjardins

I have two cats.
posted by desjardins

Jesus, we get it already.
posted by Wolfdog
posted by desjardins at 1:12 PM on July 7, 2011


I have changed my opinion on this edit feature.

Greg and carsonb make good points and I am no longer in favor of it. I mostly want it to correct dumb typos but can foresee it not taking long before I use it to correct dumb comments I never should have made in the first place.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:14 PM on July 7, 2011


MetaFilter has become very little-c conservative.
posted by smackfu at 1:32 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Due to people flipping the fuck out over everything.)
posted by smackfu at 1:33 PM on July 7, 2011


Personally, I can't think of any abuse of the feature that would take away from my enjoyment of the Filter more than the unnecessary distractions caused by random errors and their derailing corrections now. It is sure as hell better than some form of Auto-Correct (which probably causes half the errors made by mobile users).

My birthday is September 30th. Can I PLEASE have this as a birthday present? Then everybody who hates it can blame it on 'the former wendell'. I'm used to that.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:57 PM on July 7, 2011


If you are against the editing window, then do you mind saying why that is?

- It won't solve the problem for us which is people bugging us to fix typos. Having an edit window--which at some level I agree is the civilized thing to do on a website in 2011--just means that a different set of people will bug us about typos. I get people bugging me about typos for stuff they wrote years ago. Typos and people's anxiety about them are a social problem that can not be totally fixed mechanically.
- People will fuck with it. We can ban them for it if we want to but that starts a whole bunch of bad juju about banning people for making jokes which we'd hate to do.
- There is a preview feature already that did not solve the problem.
- It's one more thing people can argue about in MeTa ["Three minutes is not enough, can it be four?" "I want a wikipedia like diff of people's edited comments"] and I'm sick of arguing about features.

That said, as the site has grown, making users more responsible fo rtheir own anxiety about their typos while at the same time being pretty stern about people using this to fuck around is looking like the only sane solution. But we'll need time to work on it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:15 PM on July 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


If it's not too technically time consuming , how about a somewhat larger edit window (say 5 or 10 minutes) but with a little button that you could click on to expose what had been added or deleted?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:34 PM on July 7, 2011


As someone who makes typos all the time on this site, I'm eh about it. Great if it happens, the world won't end if it doesn't.

But I would not want to a mod responsible for policing its mis-use. It just sounds like work that'll end in angry users and more Meta posts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:34 PM on July 7, 2011


Of course I'm still headbanging myself over my "...your lick of insight..." comment in a thread dealing with woman's issues. I think typos are the Universe's way of keeping my ego in its proper place.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 2:37 PM on July 7, 2011


It's enough of a wildcard for how things will play out in actual practice that I think it needs to be understood up front that any roll out will be necessarily provisional: if it works and isn't a pile of clusterfuckery or an unmanageable mess, awesome possum, but if it doesn't work out, away it goes and we get back to mild typo anxiety and (preferably only legitimately problematic) "oh god help" correction requests to the contact form for the egregious typos.

The editing feature as only and specifically a low-stakes, small-window-of-opportunity "damn, need to quick fix that typo/formatting/mispaste" tool with stiff sanctions for fucking around is probably the least abuse-prone, and least distracting, solution available, and is basically what we're talking about when we say this is worth giving a shot.

I remain skeptical of how much it will solve in practice, but I feel like we can make a safe bet that, designed to purpose and monitored mod-side (hopefully very lightly at most) for abuse or misuse, it won't do any harm and it might be a big psychological boon to folks even if mostly as a security blanket.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:40 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


There goes that skit.
posted by clavdivs at 2:49 PM on July 7, 2011


> Of course I'm still headbanging myself over my "...your lick of insight..." comment in a thread

Ha... I totally remember that comment. Now I'll never forget it.
posted by stp123 at 2:57 PM on July 7, 2011


What's wrong with a 5-10 second "tape delay" as I mentioned above? Other than the technical implementation (and is that harder than a 3-min, abuse-prone window)?
posted by Eideteker at 2:59 PM on July 7, 2011


above
yay mobile posting woes
posted by Eideteker at 3:03 PM on July 7, 2011


If you are against the editing window, then do you mind saying why that is?
Wiser heads than I have already chimed in on this, but I have always and will always think this is a bad idea. Think about the recent discussions about the Rebecca Watson thing and how fast those threads were moving - I regularly saw 10-15 comments pop up on the 'new comments' gadget while typing my own comment (less than the oft-proposed 3 minute edit window) - imagine if all those comments could then be edited while a dozen people are responding to them all at once, without knowing they had been edited.

One of the features of MeFi is that you have to own your words the moment you click the post button. There's no going back - you know, just like in real life (oh, what I wouldn't give for an edit window in real life!). By making sure that you can't take back your words, the lack of an edit window makes conversation here more like a real conversation and I'm sure it makes people think just a tiny bit more about what they are saying before they commit.

An edit window would lead to lazy commenting and even more GRAR! because of the lack of commitment to what people say and the ability to do the equivalent of punching people in the face and running away before they have a chance to hit back.

A delay in posting comments would fracture the conversation even more in fast-moving threads, because there would be more overlap.

If you really want to give people a chance to think more carefully about how their words look in the context of the on-going conversation, bring back the forced preview. It does effectively he same thing as a delayed commenting feature, but puts the user in control of how quickly they respond.
posted by dg at 3:10 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I regularly disown anything and everything I say.

Keeps everyone else on their toes, I say.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:45 PM on July 7, 2011


YOU ARE NOT READING WHAT I WROTE.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:47 PM on July 7, 2011


Well, I suppose there could be typo-elves appointed. Responsible users who would (anonymously) have the Power to Fix Typos and nothing else. (Anything else being kicked to a mod for review).

Then, the socially-anxious-about-typos (of which I admit to being one) could have a "Fix My Typo" link that could be distributed to the logged-in typo elves at random. Typo fixes could be logged for accountability, and our beloved, revered, and sainted moderators could be spared this onerous chore.

How does that strike you? (I would volunteer to take a share of typo-fixes, as payback for the many wonderful times Metafilter has given me.)
posted by pjern at 4:33 PM on July 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have to admit, I do a lot of typo-flagging. I'm sorry, but only kind of, because typos (mine and everyone else's) burn like a perpetual unholy flame on my very soul.

I would make ample use of any such correction window, but I would only use my powers for good, really.
posted by SMPA at 5:57 PM on July 7, 2011


How about if every single post or comment you've ever made on the site were editable for three minutes SIMULTANEOUSLY and then never again? That would be pretty interesting.
posted by briank at 7:17 PM on July 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


As someone who proofreads my comments dutifully (and has worked as a pro proofreader and editor!) but never fails to, I don't know, close an italics tag or something, I still want this very, very much. Like SMPA, typos hurt my soul.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:40 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


maybe there should also be something like a strikethrough (or red text, which is a tag outside of the regular user's toolbox) to indicate an edit

Or we could make a separate page for edits that contains every edit that's ever been made since the beginning of the comment, including random students logging on from HS IP addresses and changing everything in the comment to "FART" every few days.
posted by NoraReed at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2011


I got it.

Guys. I got it.

For every word you add, change, or remove in any given post, it costs you one favorite. Editing a comment removes all of its favorites. So if you aren't accumulating favorites, you don't get to edit anything, and editing comments with favorites potentially depletes your edit bank severely. It becomes costly to edit anything people are actually paying attention to.

the problem solves itself
posted by Mikey-San at 9:39 PM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


People aren't going to just use this to fix typos. Seems like a bad idea.

I comment something fucktarded, five of you respond to it, then I go in and edit it out -- is this a good thing?

As for typos, well, there's a live preview, as well as a click to preview option, and if you're limiting this puppy to 3 minutes, then it's redundant.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:43 PM on July 7, 2011


Allowing edits is a bad idea. Language is language, it flows. There's nothing wrong with mistakes here and there.
posted by koeselitz at 11:26 PM on July 7, 2011


desjardins i writes "Can we at least be able to edit other people's comments that use 'women' when the poster meant 'woman'? That drives me up a freaking wall. You did not 'see a women standing at the bus stop.'"

I see a women standing at the bus stop all the time thanks to the side double vsion side effect of a medication.

philip-random writes "And so on. The odd typo seems somehow much more agreeable."

I could give a flying smeg about obviously accidental typos however I seem to make the mistake of leaving a "not" or other negative out of a sentence thereby inverting it's sense with distressing regularity. EG: I do kill puppies on a regular basis instead of I do not kill puppies on a regular basis Despite previewing comments. This would be the only thing I can see myself using the edit window to fix. I think the amount of fuckwittery it is going to be used for is minimal. Especially if mods can see the original and the edit; it won't be hard to see when people have abused the feature. The banhammer; she is very convincing.
posted by Mitheral at 11:26 PM on July 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


The existing comment window allows editing. If you think an extra three minutes will make you a better speller, don't hit the post button right away.
posted by ryanrs at 1:59 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have made horrible typos that caused public humiliation, and they always pop out at me immediately post-Post Comment button, no matter how much I preview, so personally, I had been a pro-edit-window thinker for a while, but the well-reasoned anti-edit comments so far in this thread are kind of swinging me towards anti. Site culture is one thing, and while it's arguably less important, the continuity that Greg Nog states pretty well could get problematic in fast moving threads, even with well-intentioned edits. The not-well intentioned edits in contentious threads could make for some really untenable moderation situations, and I can't see that doing site culture any good.

I think i'm content to very occasionally ( once or twice a year) flag or contact-form a particularly egregious typo, and live with the rest of them. I had another member repeatedly attempt to call me out on a simple misspelling a couple weeks ago, but I didn't rise to the bait, though it would be nice if people did less of that.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:49 AM on July 8, 2011


Note: Everyone needs a hug. Also, no-one but you cares about your typos, so stop bugging us for an edit window.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:45 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think an edit window is a terrible, horrible idea, and I hope that it never comes to MetaFilter.
posted by Aizkolari at 4:54 AM on July 8, 2011


Even a 60-second window would be welcome.
posted by yeti at 6:29 AM on July 8, 2011


Is anyone going to close their account if this is enabled? If not, just do it.
posted by smackfu at 8:09 AM on July 8, 2011


no-one but you cares about your typos

No, I do care about other people's typos. There's one person here who routinely leaves out words and makes minor spelling errors, and though I often agree with that person's ideas, I have an impression of that user as careless and inattentive. It would be the same as if I saw that person show up to a cocktail party in ragged clothes.

Is anyone going to close their account if this is enabled?

If it were routinely abused? Yes, I think it would ruin the functionality of the site and I wouldn't bother coming here.
posted by desjardins at 8:22 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have an impression of that user as careless and inattentive

I just assume they're posting from a smartphone and have giant thumbs.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:25 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is anyone going to close their account if this is enabled?

Yes, I will definitely close my account if this feature is enabled.
posted by ryanrs at 10:55 AM on July 8, 2011


The existing comment window allows editing. If you think an extra three minutes will make you a better speller, don't hit the post button right away.

There's a qualitative difference between seeing something in a preview window--where the formatting doesn't identically match what we see on the actual site--and seeing it within the actual thread. For the same reason, I print out all my manuscripts before editing them.

I've been on many message boards/communities that allowed this kind of editing, and I've never seen the kind of widespread abuse that people are predicting here.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:21 AM on July 8, 2011


If it were routinely abused? Yes, I think it would ruin the functionality of the site and I wouldn't bother coming here.

Which, again:

1. It'll roll out provisionally when it does. We'll see how it goes. If it goes not so great and doesn't seem worth the associated trouble after it's been given a fair shake and debugged as necessary, away it will go.

2. Absolutely implicit in it rolling it out is the idea that we'll be super clear about what is okay and what is not.

Okay: editing typos and formatting errors and other such small fixes of the sort that currently we get emails about saying "whoops, help" or that we see people correcting a minute later in "whoops, typo" followup comments.

Not okay: pretty much anything else.

Doing not-okay stuff with the editing feature will be a quick trip to a conversation with us and anywhere between a Do Not Do That Again (for non-malicious misuse) to a Well, It Was Nice Knowing You (for people electing to actively fuck with the site).

My expectation is that we'll see very little not-okay stuff, and that most of it will be more the sort of thing that is borderline and will get a "that's not what it's for, please do not use it like that" note from us than someone out on their ass, but outright abuse of the feature would be grounds for a timeout or ban just like any other outright abuse of the site/community is.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:26 AM on July 8, 2011


Not to repeat myself excessively, but I feel like the facebook-style tape-delay obviates the abuse issue. Like a longer edit window, it's just a time-shifted preview, but if folks really want an edit feature, I think this is the way to do it with the minimum of headaches.

And everyone's shifted, so there's not really any issue with any "fracture" or "overlap". That's the only refutation of it that I've heard. Yes, it's a smaller edit window, but I sincerely doubt that people really notice that many typos a minute or two after their comment that they don't notice right away. And if they do, well, the site's worked ok with typos so far. It's just a way to get any edit feature (which some folks seem to want) without the abuse (which no one wants).

(I don't have any research, but I feel like from a social psych. perspective, this would actually make people more careful commenters, because that frustration you feel at missing the short edit window reinforces more careful commenting. Typos are one ding. Typos and missing the edit window are two dings against your self-concept. You give people a chance to fix things, and doing it right becomes more important (because you had the chance to fix it and you still messed up!). A shorter interval means the getting-it-right effort has to be front-loaded. But yeah, folks are still going to mess up. Just idle speculation.)

Let me know if I'm supposed to STFU about this or make a separate MeTa or whatever. I just haven't seen anyone really address it, so I wanted to make sure people are actually seeing it. It's quite possible it's stupid, but I haven't heard anyone say so.
posted by Eideteker at 11:51 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Introducing some sluggishness into the system on purpose like that is specifically something we do not want to do, no. The vast majority of comments do not need to be edited, so making them all show up later than expected has basically zero utility, and the obviating-the-abuse issue is something we're planning to deal with through moderation of the rare-even-among-edits abuse situations.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:55 AM on July 8, 2011


Not to repeat myself excessively, but I feel like the facebook-style tape-delay obviates the abuse issue.

We're not planning on doing that. What we're planning on doing is a three minute edit window like we tried out last time. A tape-delay would dramatically shift the way the site worked for all users which is what we're trying not to do. I saw your suggestion, it makes sense for the way you see the site, but the large scale culture shift that is required for everyone makes it something we're not thinking about.

Let me know if I'm supposed to STFU about this

You're welcome to talk and ask questions, but I don't want to turn this into a situation where you try with increasing levels of frustration to convince us to do something one way when we've been clear we're doing it another way. We are not considering the tape-delay option. It changes the culture here radically and does not solve the general problem any more than what we're considering.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:57 AM on July 8, 2011


"but the large scale culture shift that is required for everyone makes it something we're not thinking about."

What does this mean? How is the edit window not a "culture shift?"

Not pestering; I really don't understand what you mean by a vague term like "culture shift." It doesn't really tell me anything. I'm fine with there not being a (few second) delay, but I'm curious about the why. Curious doesn't mean "going to hold your feet to the fire until you give me what I want," but I definitely would appreciate a little more info, when you have the time (I know, never; I get that you're all busy folks).

Again, for me it's not much different than a forced preview. I just don't get how it's a bigger impact than suddenly (well, as cortex said, with a roll-out) being able edit live comments on the site. That's a legitimate head-scratcher for me.
posted by Eideteker at 12:14 PM on July 8, 2011


One of the features of MeFi is that you have to own your words the moment you click the post button.

I'm fine with that and don't obsess over typos, but sometimes a mistake in phrasing, a brain fart, or simple carelessness can result in unnecessary confusion. The problem is not one of whether people are willing to own their words, as such, but the necessity of doing so combined with:

- the lack of threaded/collapsible comments, which mean that misunderstanding clog the rest of the thread (especially if someone posts something dumb just before walking away from the computer)

- the lack of a WYSIWYG editor, which makes proofreading a pain. I get it that some people would rather type in code than click the buttons, but there's this thing called autoreplace. Sure, there is a live preview, but the visual context is different in both color and layout, and thus obscures errors.

- the lack of a proper quote attribution mechanism, which leads to a lot of avoidable misunderstandings.

- the lack of a 'postcript' function, which would enable the user to append a correction but not to delete an embarrassing comment, so as to prevent snark-and-delete attacks. Another approach would be to allow corrections but retain the original text in strikeout form. Obviously that ruins the strikeout code for ironic effect, but typographical irony is down there with bad puns on the wittiness scale so I think people would manage to adapt to it.

- some other shit that I can't remember right now, but will probably stick in a second comment much later and confuse everyone with.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:21 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


especially if someone posts something dumb just before walking away from the computer

An edit window won't help at all with this. I did exactly this the other night - posted something dumb and thoughtless and went to bed. Next morning when I checked the thread, there were several comments saying "I can't believe you said that" or "that's a dumb thing to say." I owned my words, said I was sorry for saying the stupid thing, and life moved on.
posted by desjardins at 12:42 PM on July 8, 2011


This feature will breed a who new class of annoying jokes, and you mods aren't going to ban people for making jokes. You need to ask yourself if correct apostrophe usage is worth the price.
posted by ryanrs at 12:59 PM on July 8, 2011


I'm sorry, but can someone point me to the argument where someone said "I would like an edit window so I don't have to own my words." I don't believe I've ever seen that and I don't think anybody is hoping that's what they can use it for. I don't think the mods believe that will be the rule either but actually the exception or otherwise I don't see it as something they would even put on the list. People use hyperbole all the time when interpreting other people's comments even when they're their in professional black and white, or rather not so professional blue and yellow. Stating that an edit window will inherently change people's responsibility is kind of low balling every user's maturity level. Either you think this is an upright community and believe people can accept the responsibility or maybe you should rethink the people you spend to converse with.
On the flip side, yeah I get it. I understand it is a potentially easy way for people to grief with this utility and without it griefers gonna grief anyway. FIAMO. By the way, how is the joke thing going to work?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:04 PM on July 8, 2011


Metafilter: how is the joke thing going to work?
posted by ryanrs at 1:12 PM on July 8, 2011


This feature will breed a who new class of annoying jokes, and you mods aren't going to ban people for making jokes. You need to ask yourself if correct apostrophe usage is worth the price.

I do not know how to be clearer than I have been about the whole "using the feature to fuck around will get you in trouble" thing. "But it was a joke" doesn't keep comments from getting deleted from askme, and it won't keep people abusing the edit feature out of trouble.

It's not a moderating-humor thing, it's a brightline don't-fuck-around thing. The only potential whole new breed here is one of people getting their asses timed out or banned because they can't follow a really unambiguous rule; I don't think it'll be a very large cohort.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:18 PM on July 8, 2011


Metafilter: how is the thing going to work?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:19 PM on July 8, 2011


As someone who proofreads my comments dutifully (and has worked as a pro proofreader and editor!) but never fails to, I don't know, close an italics tag or something, I still want this very, very much. Like SMPA, typos hurt my soul.

When you said "never," you meant "sometimes," right?

(*winces sympathetically)

I really wanted to ironically fail to close the italics tag on this comment; pulled out at the last moment. see the 'extended scenes' feature on disc 2.

All this irony's giving me a headache, though-- I'm going to got lay down.
*click....*
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:25 PM on July 8, 2011


(especially if someone posts something dumb just before walking away from the computer) An edit window won't help at all with this.

There's a reason I mentioned that particular problem in the context of threaded/collapsible comments. However, an editing facility of some kind would allow you to correct/retract the offending comment at source, so that people who come along and read the thread later don't waste time rekindling an argument that has already been resolved.

Example:

A: B is a doo-doo head. I'm off to bed.
C: You are a bad person for saying that, A.
D: Yes, I think so too.
E: I like pie.
C: How can you think of pie at a time like this.
(much later)
A: I should not have said that.
B: A, I see you consider me a doo-doo head. Well you are a poopyhead.
D: This.
E: ?
(repeat to fade)
posted by anigbrowl at 1:27 PM on July 8, 2011


Cortex, this is not at all similar to deleting comments in Ask. You're not actually going to start giving people timeouts for making jokey comments. Or if you do, it's a big change in how you handle moderation on this site. Right now, one-off lighthearted crap does not earn a timeout.
posted by ryanrs at 1:29 PM on July 8, 2011


ryanrs: The existing comment window allows editing. If you think an extra three minutes will make you a better speller, don't hit the post button right away.

I submit that ryanrs's comment is the only thing that needs to be said about this issue.

I'm even proof-reading this tiny comment.. I don't need an editing window any more than I need a traffic-department employee in my passenger seat reminding me that the red octagon means 'stop,' just in case I have a mental lapse.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:31 PM on July 8, 2011


You're not actually going to start giving people timeouts for making jokey comments.

If they specifically use the edit feature to make jokes that involve the edit feature in a "ha ha I said THIS but then I edited it to look like I said THAT" we absolutely will.

That is, we'll be clear with user education that this tool is for fixing typos and there will be some adjustment where people make jokes and we tell them publicly to knock it off. After that, sure, we'll time people out. It's the same way we ask/tell people not to make smalltype "posted by soando" jokes that confuse people.

All the jokes that are okay now will be allowed in a post-editing-allowed MeFi. New jokes that rely on post editing and fucking with other users won't be. I'm not that worried about it, and it also seemed dumb of us to have a "we think people will fuck around" reason for not doing something that so many people clearly want. We should trust people. We did this with tagging and it worked out well, I think.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:37 PM on July 8, 2011


Wait, do you mean people farting around with the edit feature for the lulz (not okay) or just people making occasional jokes about the edit feature's existence and use (totally fine)?

Because the latter is what people do about literally everything that happens on the site and plenty of things that don't, including, to date, the notional edit feature. People have been joking about it since 2000. It is not something I consider a problem if someone isn't specifically being super obnoxious about it, and people here are pretty good about telling someone when they're being super obnoxious.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:37 PM on July 8, 2011


I submit that ryanrs's comment is the only thing that needs to be said about this issue.

Sure, although it's also dismissive and not categorically true.

People make mistakes. What's wrong with correcting them?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:37 PM on July 8, 2011


People make mistakes. What's wrong with correcting them?

You have a point. I think that my position has largely involved a 'don't-let-people-fuck-with-this-feature' hysteria, and at this point in the thread, I'm with the mods on it-- a trial period, moderated as they've specified.
posted by herbplarfegan at 1:46 PM on July 8, 2011


It's the same way we ask/tell people not to make smalltype "posted by soando" jokes that confuse people.

Huh, because the first time I noticed this was yesterday when I did such a thing (not in the context of a joke) and got a finger-wagging screen. Maybe the screen has been there for awhile and I just don't do that often enough to get the warning? In any case if the edit feature is rolled out, I think the "no joking around" rule needs to be explicit and prominent, because I had no idea that the "posted by soandso" thing (as a joke, or as an example) was not cool.
posted by desjardins at 1:47 PM on July 8, 2011


it also seemed dumb of us to have a "we think people will fuck around" reason for not doing something that so many people clearly want.

but that's precisely the argument against the img tag
posted by desjardins at 1:48 PM on July 8, 2011


And now we don't have an img tag.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:50 PM on July 8, 2011


but that's precisely the argument against the img tag

Not originally it wasn't actually. There was a security issue originally at the time and then we realized that having the site image-tag-less was a ton easier to manage and deal with and images were sort of ancillary to the main purpose of the site. I can't speak to whether there's still an ongoing security issue. The fact that people fucked around with it was sort of small scale but yeah there were maybe 5-10 people who were consistently fucking with it. We didn't take the image tag away because people were annoying with it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:52 PM on July 8, 2011


It's been a long time since the brief fuckaround heyday of the fake-byline thing, and filtering on comment styling has gotten more restrictive since then, so it's more of a non-event than a problem at this point: the occasional joke, usually blatantly a joke, but that's it.

The fingerwag code itself is old and not exactly robust; it's not hard to intentionally or accidentally dodge around it.

Anyway, if we saw someone start to act like a jerk with the fake byline thing, they'd hear from us.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:53 PM on July 8, 2011


OK, so why did the <big> tag go away?
posted by ryanrs at 1:53 PM on July 8, 2011


"Cortex, this is not at all similar to deleting comments in Ask. You're not actually going to start giving people timeouts for making jokey comments. Or if you do, it's a big change in how you handle moderation on this site. Right now, one-off lighthearted crap does not earn a timeout."

This is not a culture shift, if you see the site the correct way. (Sorry, sorry!)
posted by Eideteker at 1:55 PM on July 8, 2011


BTW, I don't anticipate many surreptitious editing jokes. I'm predicting a flood of obvious, funny-once formatting gags.
posted by ryanrs at 2:01 PM on July 8, 2011


Metafilter: a flood of obvious, funny-once formatting gags.
posted by herbplarfegan at 2:04 PM on July 8, 2011


Metafilter: a flood of obvious, funny-once formatting gags
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:04 PM on July 8, 2011


Metafilter: a flood of obvious, funny-once formatting gags.
posted by cortex at 2:04 PM on July 8 [+] [!] [edited]
posted by ryanrs at 2:07 PM on July 8, 2011


Exactly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:09 PM on July 8, 2011


Hi, I'm late to this thread - but I thought I should chime in as I am someone who might benefit from this change. I am dyslexic and have written several comments here that say what I want to say, but which if read back don't always have the grammar or sentence structure I was intending. I try to preview my answers so that I can read them back to myself, but I don't always remember to do that , and a small editing window would probably help me in some cases. Alternatively, an optional setting to always force a preview of your comment would give the same effect.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:28 PM on July 8, 2011


When you said "never," you meant "sometimes," right?

(*winces sympathetically)


Never fails to not close an italics tag was what I actually meant to say, which of course I realized exactly after I posted. As usually.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:35 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


GAH. As usual. To be fair, I didn't proofread that one.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:36 PM on July 8, 2011


Okay: editing typos and formatting errors and other such small fixes of the sort that currently we get emails about saying "whoops, help" or that we see people correcting a minute later in "whoops, typo" followup comments.

Not okay: pretty much anything else.


I think it's silly that people are that concerned about their typos. We all do it. Get over it. Is this a bright-line rule? Can you build it into the programming?

How much of this is an "intent to fuck with people" thing? Right now, if I say something offensive that came out the wrong way or something and immediately regret it, can I email you guys and ask you to delete or post a clarification to my asshole comment? Can I use the edit feature to do that? If not, why not? If so, how do you draw the line?
posted by J. Wilson at 4:36 PM on July 8, 2011


I'm convinced. If this causes a torrential outpouring of jokes, I simply won't stand for it! You hear me mods? Will. Not. Stand.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:46 PM on July 8, 2011


I'll sit.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:46 PM on July 8, 2011


Right now, if I say something offensive that came out the wrong way or something and immediately regret it, can I email you guys and ask you to delete or post a clarification to my asshole comment? Can I use the edit feature to do that? If not, why not? If so, how do you draw the line?

You can take your chances with us, that one of us will be around before someone else sees your comment and comments on it. But we've definitely deleted people's comments when they've asked us to, if we can do it without fucking up a thread. The edit thing has come up recently and been a problem where a user asked us to edit a comment in a fast moving thread [because they forgot the crucial words at the end] people had already jumped all over them for it and then when we edited it (which I was on the fence about doing, but deleting it was going to be super difficult) then got mad at people like "See that was what I MEANT" and it was ugly and annoying and given the option we'll probably not do that again.

The edit feature is basically meant for typos. We'll roll it out and see how people use it. We'll see what we need to do in terms of user education. We'll see if it creates more problems than it solves. It's a twitchy bunch of people here in some ways and people sort of stew over their errors. I can tell them they shouldn't care, but in point of fact they do care. That's true whether we want it to be or not. While I can, and do, look at my typos and say "well fukkit," in truth the mods can edit their own comments and often do. We feel weird having a feature that we like and like to use and not giving some variant of it to the members.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:55 PM on July 8, 2011


You know Thanksgiving weekend would probably be the best time to try this out.
posted by Sailormom at 5:15 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's silly that people are that concerned about their typos.

On the one hand, so do I.

On the other hand, as a mod I have access to an edit feature and I use it all the fuckin' time to insta-correct my own typos.

I could argue that as someone in a position of policy explication here it's more important for me to be able to communicate unambiguously, that a misplaced negative or so on could compromise my ability to convey site guidelines &c. in a way that doesn't apply to most mefites.

But it's not a particularly robust argument. I think that, generally speaking, mefites are people we can trust to just fix their typos and commas and such without fucking around, and if we roll this out and precisely that happens and the sum total of typo anxiety lowers with no other concomitant negative effects, that's totally great.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:40 PM on July 8, 2011


On the other hand, as a mod I have access to an edit feature and I use it all the fuckin' time to insta-correct my own typos.

Sounds like the real solution is to make us all mods, then. Where's my locker?
posted by Mikey-San at 8:02 PM on July 8, 2011


Whenever the edit feature is rolled out, will it be okay for people to use it to completely delete their comments? If so, will there be some kind of placeholder to indicate that a comment was deleted? Regardless, I assume their will be some kind of indication that comments have been edited?
posted by nooneyouknow at 8:42 PM on July 8, 2011


We've been debating whether to allow deletions, and there's basically two thoughts:

1. Allow deletions, within the same brief window, with the specific prohibition that it needs to not be something that happens casually.

2. Straight up do not allow deletions at all, and if someone really truly genuinely regrets a comment they need to edit it down to e.g. "Never mind, regret what I said." or something and suck it up thereby.

The reason in either case is that, while we occasionally get "I immediately regret this comment" emails and will usually respect the requests to delete therein, occasionally is the keyword and we don't want people to treat the edit feature as a casual security blanket. It needs to be an at-most once in a blue moon thing, and if we see someone nixing not-a-big-deal stuff on a casual basis we will talk to them, regardless of what the implementation is per above. Think first, type second remains the rule; this feature is fundamentally an effort to help with minor typing and formatting errors, not a hedge against poor judgement in comment content.

We do not plan to have any indication of edits. If people are using the feature as intended, it should have basically zero effect on thread coherence; if when we roll it out for testing that turns out not to be the case, we'll have to seriously reconsider our hopeful assumptions about the feature.

In practice edits should have at most as much impact on the conversation (and usually even less) than the sort of typo-fixing and editing and deletion work we do mod-side right now—almost none of it remarkable, and the occasional remarkable or confusing thing something more for the contact form or maybe metatalk than something to make a stink of in-thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:06 PM on July 8, 2011


we occasionally get "I immediately regret this comment" emails and will usually respect the requests to delete therein

I've done this exactly once in my time here, in one of those monster, fast-moving posts. Even with quick action by a mod, less than a minute as I recall, it still screwed up the replies in the thread for a page or so: people replying to my dumb not-good comment, then people wondering what the hell the people replying to my then deleted comment were on about. Messy. I regret the whole thing.

I`m not convinced that a deletion window would work out well, even if people only used it in good faith.
posted by bonehead at 9:23 PM on July 8, 2011


We do not plan to have any indication of edits.

!!!
posted by ryanrs at 6:32 AM on July 9, 2011


Metafilter: the occasional remarkable or confusing thing
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:54 PM on July 12, 2011


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