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Typos shall not stand!
November 30, 2011 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Pony request: In an effort to save people from their own mistakes how about an extremely minimal editing ability for comments?

I guess this might be an open and shut case if the 3-minute moderating window I've seen mentioned previously becomes a real thing but if not how about letting people edit their posts/comments for grammar/spelling?

I completely understand that the onus should be on the poster but when mistakes do happen (such as a silly grammar mistake) would it be possible to have some editing such that the message of the post couldn't be changed but one letter or character could be changed.

Simply put I see the options we currently have as follows,

A) preview and proofread things to death to ensure zero errors get through
b) contact the mods for typographical edits everytime
c) employ some new feature/policy such as the 3 min rule or something like what I'm talking out here or
d) let them slide and don't worry about them.

A would be ideal if people were without flaw, sadly Adam/Eve took care of that for us.
B seems to be a bit asinine and I'm hesitant to bother mods with trivial mini-pony requests, I don't know about others.
C is what we're talking about.
D is probably the easiest option, which makes it obviously wrong.
posted by RolandOfEld to Feature Requests at 10:38 AM (56 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

People should come to terms with the fact that typographical errors are bound to occur, and learn to let them go. We should not change the behavior of MetaFilter to assuage individual's psychological concerns that everything they post on the website be perfect.
posted by OmieWise at 10:39 AM on November 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


No thank's.
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:42 AM on November 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's, dammit!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:46 AM on November 30, 2011


I think trying to come up with a set of rules for when it is okay to change certain characters of certain words and implementing them in a way that isn't open to abuse as a solution to making a comment that says "whoops, I meant..." is like trying to come up with a suitably complex metaphor for a situation that was just explicated rather well and is not in need of such a metaphor at all.
posted by griphus at 10:46 AM on November 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right now the plan is lots of (A), a fair amount of (D), and a little bit of (B) when it's something that is bugging you enough to want to ask.

I totally appreciate the "minimize the work/impact" thinking you're doing here with the one-character thing, but in practice building a very restrictive editing feature doesn't actually save us any work compared to a not-so-restrictive feature: all the same moving parts need to be there for it to work, all the same user education stuff comes into it.

If we do at some point roll out an editing feature, it'll be the editing window that's been discussed to death previously. The scheme we've come up with on that front is in principle manageable and solves as many of the editing-related problems as possible among those we've been able to think of, in terms of both what people should reasonable be wanting to use the feature for and what we'd need to do to make sure it's not abused.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:47 AM on November 30, 2011


oh hell I meant simile
posted by griphus at 10:49 AM on November 30, 2011


I'd like to edit other people's comments, so they all agree with me and go on to tell me that I am valued as a person and loved despite my faults, giving me the strength to endure in this overwise pitiless world. Or to make fart jokes.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:49 AM on November 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's going to be really embarassing when I have the three minute window and still spell embarrassing wrong.
posted by Grither at 10:50 AM on November 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've recently started using explorer at work and am just now realizing that it doesn't have a spellcheck feature like firefox. I have learned that I totally suck at spelling.
posted by Think_Long at 10:52 AM on November 30, 2011


I don't care about your miner mistakes
posted by philip-random at 10:55 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's going to be really embarassing when I have the three minute window and still spell embarrassing wrong and God, quidnunc - you are just the greatest and I think I love you

Right back at ya, Grither.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:56 AM on November 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


Yeah we really have an okay balance between

- fixing egregious typos when we see them or people bring them to our attention [including HTML errors and other weirdnesses]
- deleting comments that just make fun of other people's typos or spelling if they seem to be just dickish digs at people
- counseling people not to worry too much about small errors
- having a word with repeated [like several times per week] "please fix my typo!!" folks that they may not be previewing well enough.

We're really okay with the occasional typo-edit request and feel like it's a better line than trying to manage a new feature that would only be considered mission critical by a tiny subset of the userbase here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:58 AM on November 30, 2011


Puppies are awesome!
Posted by user A at 11:04am

I totally agree!
Posted by user B at 11:05am

==================
Two minutes later
==================

Hitler is awesome!
Posted by user A at 11:06am

I totally agree!
Posted by user B at 11:05am
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:59 AM on November 30, 2011 [16 favorites]


Man, I bet the mods just love it when someone asks them to edit a typo.

Mistakes happen. It's no big deal. Get over it and move on.
posted by Decani at 10:59 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't care about your miner mistakes
posted by philip-random at 6:55 PM on November 30


I can dig that.
posted by Decani at 11:00 AM on November 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yep, I'm with ya mods, pretty much what I figured the response to be. Thanks for the input/time.

Oh, and someone will have to teach me one day how you go from Puppies to Hitler and only modify one character. Might come in handy one day.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:01 AM on November 30, 2011


I don't know why we never thought of this before.
posted by crunchland at 11:04 AM on November 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


The real solution to this problem is just to take errors in stride. If they affect the meaning of your post (e.g. when I drop a "n't" at the end of a word like I always do) post a correction. Otherwise, don't spam us with your insecurity about how well you spell "oops, I meant 'sous chef' not 'sue chef'!"
posted by DU at 11:06 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I completely understand that the onus should be on the poster but when mistakes do happen (such as a silly grammar mistake) would it be possible to have some editing such that the message of the post couldn't be changed but one letter or character could be changed

Only one letter? Sweet.

"Everyone appreciates rewards" becomes "everyone appreciates retards".
posted by 23skidoo at 11:06 AM on November 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


The on us should be onus.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:09 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


For all intensive purposes, grammer mistakes barely effect the
posted by Falconetti at 11:14 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and someone will have to teach me one day how you go from Puppies to Hitler and only modify one character. Might come in handy one day.

Well if it was "This is a great website" linking to a redirect to Puppiesaregreat.com you could probably create a redirect that was to Hitlerisgreat.com that was only one character off from the previous redirect link.
posted by Jahaza at 11:15 AM on November 30, 2011


That's "intensive porpoises", Falconetti.
posted by griphus at 11:19 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


If they affect the meaning of your post...post a correction. Otherwise, don't spam us with your insecurity

Agreed. Here's one way to look at it: Maybe you're bothered by typos and you wish MetaFilter would bend toward allowing edits. I'm not bothered by (occasional) typos, and I wish MetaFilter would bend so that I could flag those "oops" typo-correction comments as noise and have them deleted. So what we have today is kind of a middle ground.
posted by cribcage at 11:19 AM on November 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


RolandOfEld: I completely understand that the anus should be on the poster

It's amazing what you can do with one character.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:20 AM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure is, Horace Rumpole.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 11:22 AM on November 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


The convention on another forum I go on, where technically you could sneakily edit, is to do it openly by preceding any change with ETA or similar. People who don't get taken less seriously.
As a sort of tech-fix version of that, how about if any edits were just appended below the original text? I realise that's not far from just posting a new comment, but different enough to maybe not break the flow and satisfy a poster's need to correct any errors and so forth.
Should add I'm largely OK with the current situation of just hoping for a charitable reading of any typos or manglings, so really just chucking this out as a possibility, as I know pb values my input so highly (ahem).
posted by Abiezer at 11:56 AM on November 30, 2011


My problem is that when I write a comment I often leave words out. When I check it in preview, I know what I meant to write, so I think that's what I see. Then I hit "post" and.... there it isn't!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:11 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only time I ever contacted the mods was to correct the header for this question because it sounds rather silly to have my son shake the dust of this crummy little town off my feet as he sets off to see the world. Other than that, option D works for me.
posted by headnsouth at 12:17 PM on November 30, 2011


Something like only allowing strikeouts and added text might be transparent enough, but I imagine actually implementing the UI for that is a lot more work than it's worth for minor typos, much as they bug me.
posted by lucidium at 12:19 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd like to edit other people's comments, so they all agree with me and go on to tell me that I am valued as a person and loved despite my faults,

You have faults??!?

*cries*
*comes to terms with new worldview*
*goes to pick some rainbows to feed to the unicorns*
posted by rtha at 12:19 PM on November 30, 2011


e.g. when I drop a "n't" at the end of a word like I always do

Now I'm confused: do you or do you?
posted by yerfatma at 12:39 PM on November 30, 2011


m’t'g’ll’nts’ls’d'a
posted by griphus at 12:41 PM on November 30, 2011


edit window plz.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:55 PM on November 30, 2011


typos are the flaws that keep my comments from attaining perfection, for perfection is the right of God alone.
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on November 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


We're really okay with the occasional typo-edit request and feel like it's a better line than trying to manage a new feature that would only be considered mission critical by a tiny subset of the userbase here.

I guess we'll just have to make ourselves a bit more vocal, then - down with the 99%! We demand to be heard and allowed to correct ourselves!
posted by daniel_charms at 1:01 PM on November 30, 2011


Oh, and someone will have to teach me one day how you go from Puppies to Hitler and only modify one character.

----------

"Sparkle Pony Makes a Friend"
by D. Advocate
Dramatis Personae:
Sparkle Pony, a pony
Hipty-Hop, a frog
Bernard K. Peterson-Thistlewaite, an owl
Barky, a puppy
Rex, another puppy
----------

"Sparkle Pony Makes a Friend"
by D. Advocate
Dramatis Personae:
Sparkle Pony, a pony
Hipty-Hop, a frog
Bernard K. Peterson-Thistlewaite, an owl
Barky, a puppy
Hitler, a genocidal dictator
----------

See, that's how.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:03 PM on November 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think the idea of being able to edit comments in an environment where members stand or fall on their words is a bad idea. Most of the time, it would be fine, of course. However, in fast-moving threads (and these are not uncommon), the inevitable result would be someone responding to a comment that suddenly says something else. This is not necessarily the result of someone abusing the feature, but we all say things that, in that brief instant just after we click 'Post Comment', we wish we hadn't. The ability to send that comment down the memory hole after it has incited a riot will inevitably have nasty consequences regardless of the intent of the person making the change.

While I'd appreciate the ability to fix my stupid typos, the downside would far outweigh that. Please don't do this. But if you must, at least don't allow comments to be edited once another comment has been made in the thread. Please?
posted by dg at 2:12 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I vote ni.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:36 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


We want...AN EDIT WINDOW. We shall say 'ni' again to you if you do not appease us.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:39 PM on November 30, 2011


Where's my herring?!
posted by owtytrof at 2:43 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


This pony was beaten to death years ago, but I'll take a few cracks, again.

I am for it, all for it, under a few conditions.

1) there is no memory hole. All edits are transparent.
2) it is framed as a typo edit feature, not a "I'm having second thoughts about the content of my comment" feature.
3) the expectation is that intentional misuse, dumbassery, or other assorted shenanigans would be frowned upon sternly by the community at large and the mods in specific and would be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.
4) "edit shenanigans" would be a new flag.
posted by dirtdirt at 3:13 PM on November 30, 2011


someone will have to teach me one day how you go from Puppies to Hitler and only modify one character.

A: Rap is awesome!
B: I totally agree!

Two minutes later...

A: Rape is awesome!
B: I totally agree!
posted by stebulus at 3:24 PM on November 30, 2011


how you go from Puppies to Hitler and only modify one character.

"Man's best friend" -> "Man's best fiend"
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:33 PM on November 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've said this before, but I thrive on the adrenaline rush that I get from knowing that if I make a mistake, it will be immortalized forever.

*proofreads 10 times*

Looks perfect.

*post*

Crap.

It's like an emergent metafilter mini-game, where shame is the potential consequence.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:48 PM on November 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have glossed over amazing typos in manuscripts after having read them, slowly, on paper, with a pen, eight times. There is no hope.
posted by The Whelk at 5:05 PM on November 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


How about someone writes up a Greasemonkey script that analyzes comments to see if they parse as a vi substitute command and if so, it applies that command to the poster's preceding comment in the thread? So for example philip-random could post
s/miner/minor
and everything would be hunky dorky.
posted by XMLicious at 5:58 PM on November 30, 2011


I think it would be an awesome April fools' joke to make it so that the editing box appeared to work normally, but actually what happened is that it recorded every keystroke. And then posted the result, terminal-style, with all the corr^H^H^H^H editing shown.
posted by ctmf at 6:15 PM on November 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm against the general-purpose edit window, but I think a feature where a user could click any "it's" in any of their comments to turn it to "its", and vice-versa, would be fun.
posted by nicwolff at 6:40 PM on November 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I and for it's.
posted by fuq at 9:53 PM on November 30, 2011


Or, let people opt into a "three minute edit window", but secretly just don't post their comment until it's passed.
posted by lucidium at 1:56 AM on December 1, 2011


Not much to add to last time, but I'm still in favour of comment editing.

There is one more data point: G+ allows comment editing, lots of Mefites use G+, and yet again, it has completely failed to cause the much-dreaded catastrophic troll-apocalypse of sneaky self-editing. Pretty much like all the other places on the web that have comment editing.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:11 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


The lack of an edit window makes me think very long and hard before I post comments, which means I rarely post. This alone is reason enough for everyone to be against an edit window.
posted by Apoch at 4:15 AM on December 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mistakes happen. Our flaws and how we respond to them are a big part of what fuels our creativity and serendipitous humor.
posted by Puppies to Hitler at 5:44 AM on December 1, 2011


Also, great names for sockpuppiespuppets.
posted by Puppies to Hitler at 5:44 AM on December 1, 2011


I just wish people would stop posting little retroactive corrections.

I DIDN'T NOTICE YOUR TRIFLING MISTAKE AND CARE NOT A WHIT FOR IT.

LET IT DIE.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:52 PM on December 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


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