Facebook's Edit feature looks mighty perty; can I has edit comments plox? August 8, 2012 12:15 PM   Subscribe

Facebook has finished its roll-out of an edit feature for comments on wall posts/comments. If you have a Facebook account, I'd ask you to take a look at it. I think it works and would like to discuss why it could work on MetaFilter.

Before I get the anti-Facebook crowd all up in my grill, I'm using it as an example because many people have accounts, and I honestly think the implementation is worthy of parroting.

Any post or comment you make on Facebook gets an 'Edit' option; clicking Edit opens the text you entered back up and you can change whatever you like.

Once a text field is saved, it gets the tag "Edited" added right before its date stamp. This tag is a hyperlink that lets you view the edit history of the comment.

I know the prior objections to editing have been concern of someone, say, taking a position for shooting declawed cats across the Middle East, and then editing it a few minutes later to saying they like Pancakes, but this history window would very easily best that.

Thoughts? Comments? Even if it is for a limited time, wouldn't a history feature remedy all of the previous concerns of people shivving each other with comments?
posted by cavalier to Feature Requests at 12:15 PM (386 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Way to pre-empt my in-your-grill up-getting.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [17 favorites]


I've always been a fan of the 3min editing window, and I'd be as much of a fan of persistent history post-editing.

Wasn't the 3min edit window a victim of low priority, rather than disinterest? I'd say the code challenge of edit-with-history would make it an even lower priority.

Still! I like it.
posted by batmonkey at 12:23 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Because Facebook does it" is not a good rationale for doing anything.
posted by tommasz at 12:24 PM on August 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


Measure twice, cut once. I favor rereading your post before posting and letting that stand for eternity.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:24 PM on August 8, 2012 [17 favorites]


I'd rather we encourage people to be more thoughtful about their posts.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:24 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is like the only forum in history that doesn't have an editing feature.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:24 PM on August 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


I also love the idea of the three-minute comment window. Love it. I would love it with money.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:25 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, Facebook is letting me edit comments I made hours ago, and I don't think that's something MetaFilter would enjoy. I know the talk was always about a short edit window, and I used to be for it, but now I'm fine without it. Typos happen, everyone understands that. Sometimes they're funny. And if you contact the mods quickly and ask real nice they might even fix them for you. If your post was unclear, make another to clarify, don't mess with what people have read. Over the years I've come to appreciate that we are held to what we say here.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:28 PM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Maaaaaybe this is an idea whose time has come, but I suspect not. I am a huge proponent of it, and have been forever (see: here). Every typo I've ever made will hang there on MetaFilter, like a booger on the Mona Lisa, forever.

"Think more before you post" isn't a reason to not have an edit window. The only real reason, seems to me, is the potential overhead in implementing and maintaining the feature without messing up the culture. I think the threat is overestimated, but it isn't my site, and the mods deal with so much already.

I still think that an edit window, with full transparency, and zero-tolerance for dumbassry with it, would succeed, would make many people happy, and would have little 'cost'.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:30 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just tried this out on fb. I've got to say...I'm pretty impressed by it. I've also got to say...I could easily, easily see how it could be abused to hilarious purposes.
posted by phunniemee at 12:30 PM on August 8, 2012


To be clear: I am in favor of an edit window for typos and slight brainos. Patently NOT in favor of editing for content. Turning "their" into "they're", or repairing a broken case. Not rethinking the substance of what you've written.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:31 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Typos, maybe. Maybe implement it like ask.me where you only get X per Y time and an edit has to be within 15 min or so.

But again, overhead - even if we don't add the historical capture/view and emaily bits FB has.

However, typos prove I'm not a bot.
posted by tilde at 12:34 PM on August 8, 2012


I am in favor of an edit window for typos and slight brainos. Patently NOT in favor of editing for content.

Oh man. I want to see the RegEx that distinguishes between those two.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:34 PM on August 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Facebook has finished its roll-out of an edit feature for comments on wall posts/comments.

Actually... it's only for comments.
posted by phaedon at 12:36 PM on August 8, 2012


No weigh.
posted by alms at 12:37 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you need to correct a comment you can comment again. If you're really concerned about typos you probably need to learn to live with life's imperfections. Why would t be a good idea to change a culture that works remarkably well?
posted by OmieWise at 12:37 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wasn't the 3min edit window a victim of low priority, rather than disinterest?

It was a victim of irreconcilable differences. We had a working prototype, the test went fairly well technically, but many people felt like it would hurt the site. It might be worth looking at some of the past discussions here, here, here, here, and potentially many more here.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:37 PM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Urgh.
posted by alms at 12:38 PM on August 8, 2012


We do have an edit window. It starts when you post a comment, and remains open for as long as the thread is open. Write another comment.
posted by vidur at 12:39 PM on August 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Maybe you shouldn't be so cavalier about your posting.
posted by Kwine at 12:41 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I find I only want the ability to edit right after I've misspelled something or used particularly horrible grammar someplace. A few minutes after I recover, I'm back to being okay with no edits and reminding myself to proofread better.

That said, I'm not so much against edits as I'm ambivalent. It might be a good idea to try it and see how loud the screaming actually is.
posted by Mooski at 12:41 PM on August 8, 2012


I'm in favor of an edit window that only lets you change "it's" to "its" and back.
posted by nicwolff at 12:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Kwine: "Maybe you shouldn't be so cavalier about your posting."
[rapidly scribbles Kwine's name on the list]
posted by cavalier at 12:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


To refine my point a little bit: Metafilter comments and discussions work amazingly well. An edit window may seem like it's merely a technical change to that, but it might fundamentally change the way that people interact with each other and the site. There is no need for an edit window. It doesn't solve any actual problems on the site, and there is a not insubstantial chance that it will change things about how the site works. It seems to me that it's all (potential) downside for very little upside. I'm also less than sanguine about taking Facebook for a model for anything having to do with Metafilter.
posted by OmieWise at 12:45 PM on August 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


As someone who makes numerous typos, I'd LOVE it if this pony was implemented.
posted by zarq at 12:46 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Were" implemented.
posted by zarq at 12:47 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is like the only forum in history that doesn't have an editing feature.

And that includes the Penthouse Forum and Forum Romanum.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:48 PM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Another vote in favour of the edit window, time limited or with a version link as needed. "Until someone else comments" seems like it might be a reasonable window for comment editing as well.
posted by Artw at 12:48 PM on August 8, 2012


Thanks pb! Ah, I found myself about to make a point, but sure enough, 2010 me already said it:
cavalier: We gave a world without favorites a try for a month, couldn't we do the same with this? I, too, share the concern over trollish "Hitler ruels! "^H^H^H^H^H^H^H I hate socialism." type edits, but couldn't we develop some form of indicator or diff like Malor suggested?

3 minute edit window, 3 hour window, 3 second window, give me a star, give me -5 favorites, give me some way to pretend I'm smarter than I really am!
I think the "Edited" tag very neatly and clearly would indicate it. The history.. oh man.. this just smells so good!
posted by cavalier at 12:49 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd rather we encourage people to be more thoughtful about their posts.

A lot of my typos are from over-thinking my posts. I spend 10 minutes re-arranging things and adding new stuff, and just after I hit post I realize that the partial sentence I added to an existing one doesn't match the tense or whatever and it sounds like I'm an idiot. The rest of my typos are caused by me actually being an idiot.

Write another comment.

I personally am against this practice. I think the follow-up corrections are more distracting than the typos themselves, and if the original comment was readable enough without a correction then there's not much of a point in having them.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:49 PM on August 8, 2012 [21 favorites]


Oh man. I want to see the RegEx that distinguishes between those two.

There's no expression; pb does it manually and then comes to your house and hits you over the head with a rolled-up newspaper.
posted by griphus at 12:50 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


taking a position for shooting declawed cats across the Middle East

Why would any decent American be against this?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:52 PM on August 8, 2012


One of the reasons why FB has this feature is because "carriage return" results in a comment post, and it's easy to forget this and make a half-baked post.

MetaFilter does not incorporate this.

I don't think MetaFilter needs the requested feature. It should be enough to preview before posting.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:52 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I personally am against this practice. I think the follow-up corrections are more distracting than the typos themselves, and if the original comment was readable enough without a correction then there's not much of a point in having them.

I get the impression that generally their written to pre-empt some smartass jumping in with their own correction (with a side load of snark). Sadly fear of that is not just paranoia.
posted by Artw at 12:53 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is like the only forum in history that doesn't have an editing feature.

This is also the only forum on the internet that doesn't have massive drama over abuse of the edit feature.
posted by griphus at 12:53 PM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


taking a position for shooting declawed cats across the Middle East

you mean like with trebuchets?
posted by elizardbits at 12:54 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


you mean like with trebuchets?

Yeah, otherwise known as Saturday night.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


cavalier: “Once a text field is saved, it gets the tag ‘Edited’ added right before its date stamp. This tag is a hyperlink that lets you view the edit history of the comment. I know the prior objections to editing have been concern of someone, say, taking a position for shooting declawed cats across the Middle East, and then editing it a few minutes later to saying they like Pancakes, but this history window would very easily best that.”

For what it's worth, I don't know that that would help so very much. The upshot would be that if you did a lot of clicking you could know what comments had been posted in a thread, but most people will not do that clicking; given that we sometimes have trouble getting people to read the original links in the first place, it seems like there will still be plenty of room for trolling. At best, this would only serve to complicate the discussion and make it less accessible. And – projecting ahead to what I imagine browsing Metafilter would be like if an edit window were possible – it'd be a lot harded to know exactly where a conversation had been going, since it would require a lot of clicking. And there's not really any way around that that doesn't just clutter the page a lot.

“taking a position for shooting declawed cats across the Middle East”

If I may suggest a position, I would recommend the Suez. You're going to need a pretty big cannon if you're going to land those cats inside Iran, though. Or, on preview, a nice big trebuchet, as elizardbits says.
posted by koeselitz at 12:55 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


> This is like the only forum in history that doesn't have an editing feature.

Indirectly probably one of the reasons it's still my favorite after nearly 12 years. Mefi, don't bow to internet peer pressure! I love you just the way you are.
posted by ifjuly at 12:55 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am okay with having an edit feature.

[THIS COMMENT WAS EDITED FOR CONTENT/CLARITY/REMOVAL OF HORRIBLE RACIST SCREED]
posted by item at 12:56 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean "it would be a lot harder to know exactly where..." I was certain I'd make a typo there. It was inevitable.
posted by koeselitz at 12:56 PM on August 8, 2012


It kind of sounds like..

"In my internet, we didn't have an edit feature, and we din'n't need one! You wrote what you thought, you checked your work, you hit post! Bah! Edit feature!"

It's a bit of a straw, but I don't believe that the strength of the discourse or the user base on this site is based on the fact that we don't have an edit window.
posted by cavalier at 12:57 PM on August 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


Should have previewed (ah ha!), but I am also enjoying the two or three comment clarifications that have already been made so far. THE EDIT WINDOW, IT BECKONS YOU!
posted by cavalier at 12:57 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The more I think about it, the more I think that an edit window is a crap idea. SORRY GUISE.
posted by elizardbits at 1:04 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


i mean not like i am in charge of anything
posted by elizardbits at 1:04 PM on August 8, 2012


I TOTALLY SHOULD BE THO AMIRITE
posted by elizardbits at 1:05 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Waiter, he'll have another. Neat.
posted by cavalier at 1:06 PM on August 8, 2012


"Because Facebook does it" is not a good rationale for doing anything.

Then I guess you should be happy that cavalier layed out a well-reasoned argument for why it's a good feature despite where the idea came from?
posted by no regrets, coyote at 1:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I think the threat of intentional misuse is extremely oversold. Generally speaking we have a high level of discourse, intentionality, and good faith here. It's because that culture is cultivated and policed. An edit window would not change that, and after a brief period of people smashing into the learning curve, it would become very normal and non-controversial. Yes, possibly someone would occasionally try to do dumb shit but it would be transparent and be flagged and nuked in moments. Anyone at anytime could post goatse to the front page but it isn't a big issue because the culture and the law enforcement (so to speak) don't allow it. Why would this be different?

Also, "don't make typos, and if you do just deal with it" is not helpful advice if "I don't like my typos" is the issue. Contact the mods is ok, but there seems to be a better way.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Generally speaking we have a high level of discourse, intentionality, and good faith here.

We -- and I mean that in a sense that wholeheartedly includes myself -- also have a high level of making minor complaints in MeTa that then go nuclear, and the responsibility tends to lay in the hands of the same people who are responsible for the level of discourse.
posted by griphus at 1:08 PM on August 8, 2012


cavalier: “Should have previewed (ah ha!), but I am also enjoying the two or three comment clarifications that have already been made so far. THE EDIT WINDOW, IT BECKONS YOU!”

Well, it doesn't hurt to make followup comments. I think that's a system that works fine.

If I'm going to give my position, I guess – having an edit window would clutter the site uselessly, and I just don't like clutter. I think clutter does ultimately detract from the community discourse; even if it's not incredibly direct, the gradual process of making things more complicated makes it all less accessible and direct.

And really, in a nutshell, it boils down to this:

People seem to want an edit window because they get done with their comment and they said its when they totally meant it's, and that little error stands out at them on the screen like it was ten foot high letters written in blood. But no matter how distracting people might think that mistake was, it's nowhere near as distracting as having a little [edited] link at the beginning or ending of their comment. It's really not a solution to the problem at all.
posted by koeselitz at 1:08 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have an edit feature. You click "preview" and edit your comment. When you're done editing, you click "post comment."
posted by The World Famous at 1:09 PM on August 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think the threat of intentional misuse is extremely oversold.

I do too, especially with a history link as described. Even if the edit history is only visible to the mods, that would solve many potential debates over stealth edits. Public disclosure of the edit history, optimal in my view, would make stealth edits impossible to conceal.

With a bit of initial mod support, I think mefi would adapt rapidly and further develop conventions for dealing with edits ethically.
posted by bonehead at 1:12 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could totally get behind this.
posted by George Lucas at 1:13 PM on August 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Metafilter should display it the way "track changes" works, with blacklining. We should also be able to edit other people's comments and view cumulative edits or edits by individual user or ad-hoc comment working group. Perhaps with some sort of ACLs. I would also like to be able to export deltas in PDF and excel format.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:13 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh god I just pictured some sort of horrible Dr. Moreauian chimera of MetaFilter and the shambling mass of the Wikipedia editing bureacracy.
posted by griphus at 1:15 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


dirtdirt: “I think the threat of intentional misuse is extremely oversold. Generally speaking we have a high level of discourse, intentionality, and good faith here. It's because that culture is cultivated and policed. An edit window would not change that, and after a brief period of people smashing into the learning curve, it would become very normal and non-controversial. Yes, possibly someone would occasionally try to do dumb shit but it would be transparent and be flagged and nuked in moments. Anyone at anytime could post goatse to the front page but it isn't a big issue because the culture and the law enforcement (so to speak) don't allow it. Why would this be different?”

I think the threat of intentional and egregious misuse is pretty low. What's a lot more likely is well-intentioned little jokes meant to be humorous and totally not intended to hurt anybody that gradually make conversations more and more unreadable. This is what I like to call the "Treaty of Westphalia conundrum."

And really, I just keep thinking that if every single comment in an entire thread has "edited" next to it, that thread is going to be hell to have to slog through.
posted by koeselitz at 1:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


> This is like the only forum in history that doesn't have an editing feature.

cancel messages worked so well on usenet. The coolest thing about them was it was trivially easy to cancel other people's messages. Can we have an editing window on other people's comments? I hear that works well for wikipedia.
posted by jfuller at 1:16 PM on August 8, 2012


> And really, I just keep thinking that if every single comment in an entire thread has "edited" next to it, that thread is going to be hell to have to slog through.

Why? We could take people on good faith that it was a minor edit and simply read what's on the screen without bothering to click on every edit history.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:17 PM on August 8, 2012


That might be okay for most threads, but take any thread about politics or gender issues over 500 comments and tell me that you can easily either assume everyone is participating in good faith, or be able to quickly tell who is and who isn't.
posted by griphus at 1:20 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


if every single comment in an entire thread has "edited" next to it, that thread is going to be hell to have to slog through.

Solvable with greasemonkey, just like the deleted thread script.
posted by bonehead at 1:20 PM on August 8, 2012


Doh, sorry. I think I got mixed up while reading the feature requests I get. Metafilter doesn't need to export to excel, JSON would be better in this case.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:21 PM on August 8, 2012


My post asking, as nicely as I possibly could, about extremely limited editing rights got Godwin'd in 13 or so comments*. Heck one user even created a Godwin based sockpuppet/new account.

Sure, people mentioned other situations that are, at least in theory, more plausible but still... really?

People really think someone would really go around changing 'onus' to 'anus' or from "rap" to "rape" just for lolz? Furthermore, by suggesting this as a viable reason to veto the edit option, you are saying that mods would just stand for it instead of saying "Hi UserWhoAbusesEdit, you can no longer edit. Feel free to ask for this power back in a month or so if you behave yourself"?

The mods answered my post quite succinctly but I honestly don't think other users are going to warm up to the idea. I'm all for it of course but good luck pushing the idea to those around here who are against the idea because, man, it's a big deal to some people.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:31 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I TOTALLY SHOULD BE THO AMIRITE

how soon they forget
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:34 PM on August 8, 2012


My post asking, as nicely as I possibly could, about extremely limited editing rights got Godwin'd in 13 or so comments*. Heck one user even created a Godwin based sockpuppet/new account.

Someday I hope to be rich enough that I'd spend five dollars to make a single snark on MetaFilter.
posted by Egg Shen at 1:36 PM on August 8, 2012


I've never understood the objections to an edit window, but like it or not, that is the way things roll around here. I don't think the addition of editing histories will change anyone's mind on this issue.

But that might not be so bad. Metafilter's conservatism when it comes to changing the look or feel of the site has served it well in many ways over the years, so intransigence on this one particular issue is probably a small price to pay for the overall benefits.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:40 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps the next staff member of MetaFilter Industries, LLC could be a professional copyeditor, who is responsible for editing posts and comments for grammar and meaning. We could just add a few flags to the dropdown so users could alert the EditMod to fix things:

- Typo
- Verb tense problems
- Just a general mess
- Not sure what I'm trying to say here
- Please fact check

Really though, I'd like to express my support for this feature, with the visible "edited" flag to allow for anyone to check the original text, if possible.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:40 PM on August 8, 2012


me: “And really, I just keep thinking that if every single comment in an entire thread has "edited" next to it, that thread is going to be hell to have to slog through.”

Burhanistan: “Why? We could take people on good faith that it was a minor edit and simply read what's on the screen without bothering to click on every edit history.”

What does "good faith" even mean in this context? It's not in bad faith to edit for content, is it? If you forgot to put in that last sentence, or if you totally didn't mean to sound that harsh the first time, is editing forbidden? And other people in the thread might have been responding to stuff that was there before it was edited, so you really can't just assume.
posted by koeselitz at 1:40 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We've needed this forever. A few weeks ago, I noticed a mod corrected a typo that completely changed the meaning of my comment and I could have hugged him/her. Since I can't have a mod in my pocket at all times, I think this is something we should just do. Every time there's a new (often wonderful) features upgrade, I can't help but think, "Why haven't we gotten an edit window yet?!"

I think this deserves at least a test of a few weeks with the current userbase (because the last time this was tested was four years ago!). If it all blows up, I promise to eat my hat. And it isn't even a particularly delicious hat.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:41 PM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


We should get to collectively pick the hat.
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


SPOILER ALERT: fedora
posted by elizardbits at 1:43 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love you, elizardbits.

Even if you're wrong about the edit window.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:46 PM on August 8, 2012


I can't have a mod in my pocket at all times

Technology is progressively miniaturizing them, so you will in a couple of years.
posted by Egg Shen at 1:47 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm in favor of an edit window that only lets you change "it's" to "its" and back.

I think every time you post a comment, the code should look for "its" and "it's" and randomly replace it with one or the other. Same with "there", "their" and "they're". Then sometimes people will get it right, but when it's wrong it's metafilter's fault.
posted by inigo2 at 1:50 PM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


> I can't have a mod in my pocket at all times

That's a relief. I thought you just weren't glad to see me.
posted by jfuller at 1:51 PM on August 8, 2012


Technology is progressively miniaturizing them, so you will in a couple of years.

Nonsense - there's a fun-sized cortex in the vending machine at my office right now.
posted by mintcake! at 1:51 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


We will never get this feature because many people would hate it so much that they would just leave and never come back if it were ever implemented. However I really wish that we had this feature for all those times when I totally previewed my HTML and somehow it must have gotten messed up by the server or something but it totally wasn't my fault and now the mods have to respond to a "HTML/display error" flag for my comment for the fourth time this week and they must be shaking their heads and saying, "that Scientist, why can't he just learn to preview his HTML?"

Or, you know, when I make a celebratory hey-the-subject-of-this-MeFi-post-has-shown-up-in-thread MeTa post in which I overlook the fact that the "new"user has actually been here for eight years and also manage to somehow get the tag and title fields mixed up while simultaneously accidentally fooling half the userbase into thinking that a TALKING CAT has appeared on the Blue and then brutally disappointing them. A 3-minute edit window would save a lot of embrrassment right there, yes it would.

I have wished for an edit window many, many times and never because I wanted to retract some contentious thing that I said or wanted to play a bait-and-switch trick on my fellow members. I would fully support having a history view for edited comments and I think that in the case of malicious editing or editing for content rather than clarity it would be totally OK to have the mods be pretty quick to just go in and clean up a comment (for instance locking it in its original form) if an edit was causing a problem.

I get that we will never be able to have this feature because some people would hate hate hate it on the basis that it would let people get away with being a tiny bit more lazy about composing their comments, but I like to think that overall the level of discourse would go *up* because any increase in careless commenting would be more than offset by peoples' ability to fix comments that they belatedly realized were misworded or otherwise rendered incomprehensible or which had been accidentally written to say something that was not intended by the commenter. It would be a big change but I think a good one.
posted by Scientist at 1:51 PM on August 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


For me, the exciting thing about the idea of editing comments is you can use it to simulate the marquee tag for anyone who is reloading the page a lot.
posted by aubilenon at 1:51 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is a vital feature, though I'd like it in order to correct the odd typo and such. If it came down to a userbase vote, I'd vote in favour.
posted by modernnomad at 1:54 PM on August 8, 2012


Were edit window?


There edit window
*ducks*

posted by arcticseal at 1:57 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We will never get this feature because many people would hate it so much that they would just leave and never come back if it were ever implemented.

I do not believe that even one single person would do this.
posted by Egg Shen at 1:59 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


That would be one bitter typo troll.
posted by Artw at 2:01 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And if they try, we can always rely on Rover.
posted by griphus at 2:02 PM on August 8, 2012


It surprises me that anyone can seriously suggest adding this feature to Metafilter.

One of the defining characteristics of Metafilter is its ability to reflect high quality human conversation. People banter back and forth. They respond to each other. They often respond to each other quickly, and sometimes brilliantly.

All of this would be thrown away if people could rewrite their past comments.

Think of all the metatalks that come up when comments are deleted. Despite the best efforts of the mods, people can often tell that something's been removed. The remaining thread doesn't make sense anymore.

Now imagine would would happen if people could edit their comments after seeing how other people responded. Maybe someone says something stupid and other people point it out. Well, guess what, the stupid comment would disappear, or it would suddenly somehow become less stupid, and the responses would then look like non-sequiturs.

No, no, no. This just wouldn't work.

Sure, you could try to impose all sorts of voluntary restrictions (only fix typos) or some sort of mechanical restriction (only change a certain number of letters/words/punctuation marks). But the feature would still fundamentally be giving users a memory hole into which they could throw the past.

Metafilter would no longer be Metafilter. It would end up not making sense.

Believe me, I know from typos. I've penned some of the most brilliant comments ever keyboarded by anyone, only to come back later and see that I left out the word "not". I know, it sucks. But if something like that happens, if it really bothers you, you can contact the mods.

But re-writing your part in a conversation post-fact? No way. Go hang out on facebook if you want that.
posted by alms at 2:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


I do not believe that even one single person would do this.

Only one way to find out!

I'm also in the camp that finds the site's immovable resistance to editing one of the weirder aspects of the place, and that purported negative impacts are oversold to a rather goofy degree. But it's that section of that camp that also doesn't care all that much, occasional mangled formatting and eyesore-to-self typos aside.
posted by Drastic at 2:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


May I offer an absolutely serious suggestion?

You can only edit your post to switch a defined set of homophones:

it's/its
there/they're/their
loose/lose (I know)

So if you have type "its cool" you can change this to "it's cool". But THAT'S IT.

That's all. I think, completely pragmatically, that would reduce the angst at not having an edit window, but would be impossible (!) to game.

Because these errors are easy to make, but socially very unacceptable amongst the peer group here. So they cause much upset.

Let people fix these - let people spellcheck, in effect - and 99% of the "we want an edit window!" goes away forever.
posted by alasdair at 2:06 PM on August 8, 2012


However I really wish that we had this feature for all those times when I totally previewed my HTML and somehow it must have gotten messed up by the server or something but it totally wasn't my fault and now the mods have to respond to a "HTML/display error" flag for my comment for the fourth time this week and they must be shaking their heads and saying, "that Scientist, why can't he just learn to preview his HTML?"

Yeah, word.

As anyone who has ever written or edited professionally knows, typos almost always sneak in, often despite due diligence. So "preview harder" is not really a solution. The closest thing we have to a solution now (flagging for HTML error) just creates more work for the mods and a user-end solution could be created pretty easily.

One of the defining characteristics of Metafilter is its ability to reflect high quality human conversation. People banter back and forth. They respond to each other. They often respond to each other quickly, and sometimes brilliantly.

It seems to me that you're romanticizing something that really isn't all that romantic at all.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Scientist: “I get that we will never be able to have this feature because some people would hate hate hate it on the basis that it would let people get away with being a tiny bit more lazy about composing their comments...”

I don't know if I hate hate hate it, but I don't think it would make people lazy. Kind of the opposite. I'm too lazy to do that much clicking; ignoring typos is easier.

Like I said, I don't think this would actually solve any real problems. I think the mods are nice enough about correcting HTML errors (I will bet you that I have more than you do) and anyway thankfully they're paid for it and are relatively non-judgmental. And typos just aren't that glaring or distracting, generally. It may feel like they are, but that's only because I'm the one that made them, you know?

Drastic: “I'm also in the camp that finds the site's immovable resistance to editing one of the weirder aspects of the place, and that purported negative impacts are oversold to a rather goofy degree.”

Well, look. Have you ever had a long, serious conversation on Facebook? One where there were edits or outright deletions of comments? I have. And it gets seriously confusing. And I've had a bunch of those conversations actually turn into "why did you delete your comment?" or "why did you edit that?" rather than the subject at hand. Really, this would just clutter up the place. The problem of having made a mistake is a tiny problem, and this solution makes it worse.
posted by koeselitz at 2:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like to clarify that my non-vote is for a 3-to-5-minute edit window with transparently viewable history, and no user deletion. I would still support a limited editing window where only specific corrections could be made, even though I think that that would be stupid and would be exactly the kind of technical-solution-for-a-social-problem that the no-edit-window contingent despises.
posted by Scientist at 2:13 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does anyone have a specific example of adding comment editing making a site worse?
posted by empath at 2:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I love typos so damn much and I will defend them until the bitter end. They're lovely little foibles. Funny little peeks inside the writing brains of my fellow MeFites. It's unguarded style. They give everything we say character (when not done intentionally, knock it off smart alecks!) and they remind me that this place is more like an ongoing conversation with friends than an edited collaboration of our perfectly enunciated ideas.

I'm way less worried about abuse of the system than I am about everybody editing their comments and sucking the soul out of this place. Those delightful devils are in the details. I say let em lay there, bear and awl.

Also, I'd no more want my social environment to be edited towards formal than I'd want to step outside and have all the faces I see be magically photoshopped and removed of all imperfections. We all need to have room to make mistakes, scrunch up our faces and laugh about it. I want to be myself here and I don't want that to change once everybody around me starts writing so formally and perfectly and I feel pressure to do the same.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:17 PM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think it's not so much "this made things worse" as much as "this would be Not Right for Metafilter". I think most of us agree that there are plenty of other great places to hang out on the Internet, but that Metafilter is a bit different and we like those differences and that's why we hang out here instead of/in addition to those other equally-great places.
posted by Scientist at 2:18 PM on August 8, 2012



Well, look. Have you ever had a long, serious conversation on Facebook? One where there were edits or outright deletions of comments? I have. And it gets seriously confusing

I don't use Facebook, but I have had long, serious conversations on forums that had edit functionality, yes, and my experiences were not confusing. So, yeah--oversold. It's a good part of the camp; the ground takes stakes well and it's higher ground so it handles rain well.
posted by Drastic at 2:20 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, and here's what I said last time this rolled around, it still applies:

I'm on record as hating this feature from the last few discussions we've had about it, and I continue to hate it, just in case anyone's taking the temperature of the overly devoted Metatalk crowd.
posted by Kwine at 2:21 PM on August 8, 2012


I used to think I wanted an edit window, but after some thought I've changed my mind. Preview really does work quite nicely, and has the added benefit of often making me reconsider my whole comment, which I believe is integral to the vision of MetaFilter.

I of course have no idea if mathowie et al would agree with this, but I like to think of MetaFilter as part of the "slow web" movement. This is not a place where "First Post!" rules, or even where the quickest rebuttals are the best rebuttals. The lack of an edit window is a sort of curmudgeony way to encourage greater care when approaching that Post Comment button.

Does it get us in hot water sometimes? Sure. Is it annoying when you have a glaring typo in the middle of your otherwise perfectly worded, amazing righteous refutation of something? Aww yeah, that's that worst. But in the end it's something you learn to anticipate, and for those who manage to adapt to this feature/bug, I think it makes them better writers, better contributors, to a place that is striving not to be the the "breaking news of the web" but rather simply the "best of the web".

Sometimes constraints are a good thing.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:24 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


empath: “Does anyone have a specific example of adding comment editing making a site worse?”

It's a confusing, complicated change that solves a problem that is not a problem. Shouldn't we instead be asking what good it would do? That's what I'm asking, and I can't think of an answer.

me: “Well, look. Have you ever had a long, serious conversation on Facebook? One where there were edits or outright deletions of comments? I have. And it gets seriously confusing”

Drastic: “I don't use Facebook, but I have had long, serious conversations on forums that had edit functionality, yes, and my experiences were not confusing. So, yeah--oversold. It's a good part of the camp; the ground takes stakes well and it's higher ground so it handles rain well.”

Er – are you saying that I'm lying? Maybe you just mean that my complicated and confusing Facebook friends are less likely than your direct and no-nonsense other-forum friends to be members of Metafilter. That might be true, I guess.
posted by koeselitz at 2:25 PM on August 8, 2012


People seem to want an edit window because they get done with their comment and they said its when they totally meant it's, and that little error stands out at them on the screen like it was ten foot high letters written in blood. But no matter how distracting people might think that mistake was, it's nowhere near as distracting as having a little [edited] link at the beginning or ending of their comment. It's really not a solution to the problem at all.

You don't find it distracting when people nitpick them in the middle of a thread? Because I find that a helluva lot more distracting than a tiny link would be. Frankly, I don't think the aesthetics of a tiny extra link on the page by each comment trump the annoyance that comes from people complaining at or making fun of each other.
posted by zarq at 2:25 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am against the edit feature because if we start giving MetaFilter functionality that most forums have had since 1999 or so, who knows where it will end? A quote button? Hell, we might end up with an image tag again, and any oldtimer can tell you how traumatic that can be.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:26 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Comment edited: added huge globs of sarcasm.]
posted by koeselitz at 2:27 PM on August 8, 2012


Is it annoying when you have a glaring typo in the middle of your otherwise perfectly worded, amazing righteous refutation of something? Aww yeah, that's that worst.

Wow, that's snarky and not very generous.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:27 PM on August 8, 2012


Will the holdouts accept an editing feature if all editing is done in VI ?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:27 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have an idea that I think might be ugly but answers some concerns about shenanigans and excessive clickiness to make sense of a thread:

The server can run a diff on the old comment vs. the new comment. Show the original text with crossed-out text strikethroughs in red where text was deleted and some kind of conspicuous text styling where text was added.

Combine this with a limited window (e.g. less than the time between posting your comment and being prompted to load new comments) and the capacity for shenanigans is reduced.
posted by Jpfed at 2:28 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I preview everything I write here, but the typos are invisible for some reason until after I hit post. It's long past time for an edit window.

This is also the only forum on the internet that doesn't have massive drama over abuse of the edit feature.

I'm sure it happens, but I can't remember ever seeing significant drama over edit windows on any forum I have ever used.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:29 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


With a bit of initial mod support, I think mefi would adapt rapidly and further develop conventions for dealing with edits ethically.

We are supportive. We like this idea. We'd like to do it. However it's clear that if we do this there will be some users who hate it and who may make their hatred of it into an ongoing problem, so we have to think about change management in that way in addition to how to do this right. And some people are going to be disappointed. We'd like it if everyone could just deal with that disappointment and move on, but that's also unlikely. So implementing an edit window is something we'd like to do, but we're all sort of not looking forward to the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments that are likely to go along with that, so if people could be mindful of that situation we'd appreciate it. There's a cultural shift that will be something to contend with.

it totally wasn't my fault and now the mods have to respond to a "HTML/display error" flag for my comment for the fourth time this week and they must be shaking their heads and saying, "that Scientist, why can't he just learn to preview his HTML?"

I didn't even see that error until much later and by then people had commented on it. A quick email to the contact form can alert us to changing something like that real quick.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:31 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a confusing, complicated change that solves a problem that is not a problem.

It's a problem for me. I use the html flag alone frequently enough that this would probably save the mods some annual man hours. ;)

Shouldn't we instead be asking what good it would do? That's what I'm asking, and I can't think of an answer.

1) It would cut down on thread clutter
2) It would cut down on needless comments. (See #1.)
3) It would prevent us from having to make public declarations in thread about our fuckups and what we "meant to say."
4) It would stop the mods from having to make typo and html corrections. We could do those things ourselves, quietly and without drawing attention to them (See #3.)
posted by zarq at 2:32 PM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh, and by the way... whichever mod corrected the spelling of Teresa's name in my most recent fpp, THANK YOU. I just noticed that it was changed.
posted by zarq at 2:33 PM on August 8, 2012


I'm in favor of the edit window. I know it's fun to be all old-fashiony and like "I actually READ and PROOFREAD my comments before editing" but especially now that so many people read and comment from their phones it would be very helpful to make a small concession.

I know we're all upset about changes which could unravel the very fabric of our community, but I don't see how this could be one of them. Most of us have access to this kind of pony on other sites, it's old hat by now.
posted by hermitosis at 2:34 PM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


I guess I just don't see any of those things as problems, zarq. I like those things about metafilter. (Except number 4, I guess.)
posted by koeselitz at 2:34 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


A short, polite message to the moderation staff will get HTML errors and typos changed. It has been done for me before, graciously, and I am thankful for it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:36 PM on August 8, 2012


Er – are you saying that I'm lying?

WHO TOLD YOU I WAS PARANOID? WAS IT THE GOVERNMENT?!

No. That's daft.
posted by Drastic at 2:38 PM on August 8, 2012


It's a confusing, complicated change that solves a problem that is not a problem.

This has come up a bunch of times. It is not a problem for you, perhaps, but for many people typos are a problem, and a problem with a solution. If we get an edit window the various boogeymen that get imagined when we talk about the edit window may spring to life and may not, but there is a typo problem in many people's minds. It's not a huge problem, but it is real.
posted by dirtdirt at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2012


I continue to be firmly against the implementation of the edit window. To repeat myself:

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.

Even if it's three minutes, I wouldn't notice most of my typos until much later.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, from a previous thread, regarding a short editing window:
"the concern [my concern] is that people would make the same number of typos and beg us to fix them, except that it would be because they'd missed the edit window, not because they didn't have one. In other words, I think the problem is people who are excessively concerned about minor typos and I don't think having an edit window for them will make enough of a difference to lessen our typo-fixing workload. I'd be happy to be wrong."
posted by skrozidile at 2:39 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


A short, polite message to the moderation staff will get HTML errors and typos changed. It has been done for me before, graciously, and I am thankful for it.

Also yeah, I once e-mailed cortex and was like, "So here's a comment I made like three years ago that I really love, but I accidentally omitted one word, and it's driving me a little batty. Could you change that?" and he was very nice and he did and now the comment is UTTER PERFECTION.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:41 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would give cortex one hundred million dollars if he went back and edited in a typo

ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS
posted by elizardbits at 2:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


THANK YOU.

No problem -- someone emailed us about it and I had already fixed it before noticing the person who emailed us wasn't you. Usually we wouldn't do that without asking you but the person emailing correctly surmised that you wouldn't mind.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


now the comment is UTTER PERFECTION

link or it never happened

What about a trial run on just one of the subsites? You could start with Ask, as it is a part of the site where the comments are not really supposed to refer to each other (of course, they do in reality, but much less so than on the other subsites).
posted by Rock Steady at 2:44 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


it's clear that if we do this there will be some users who hate it and who may make their hatred of it into an ongoing problem

This seemed incredible to me, but then I remembered favorites, so yeah.
posted by Egg Shen at 2:56 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I said: Oh, and by the way... whichever mod corrected the spelling of Teresa's name in my most recent fpp, THANK YOU. I just noticed that it was changed.

By the way, this is actually a great example of what I'm talking about. I misspelled teditrix's first name in an FPP this afternoon.

In a case like that, we have two options:

1) post a comment in the thread saying, "Sorry I spelled your name wrong, Teresa" and click the html flag.
or
2) Contact Form.

Clicked on the contact form to ask for a correction and thought... "Yeah, it's not worth it. It's a minor typo. Don't bug the mods." So I let it go.

So I went to a meeting. Came back to my desk, and had decided it would be pretty rude to leave her name deliberately misspelled. So I wrote a contact form note, and went to the thread to paste in the URL. But it had already been fixed!

jessamyn: No problem -- someone emailed us about it and I had already fixed it before noticing the person who emailed us wasn't you. Usually we wouldn't do that without asking you but the person emailing correctly surmised that you wouldn't mind.

Awesome. I'm really happy you fixed it. :)

If one of you could just follow my activity around the site and make me sound more intelligent, that would be peachy. ;)
posted by zarq at 2:56 PM on August 8, 2012


Perhaps the next staff member of MetaFilter Industries, LLC could be a professional copyeditor, who is responsible for editing posts and comments for grammar and meaning.

I used to have a good friend who ran his own forum who edited everyone's contributions in that way. It was a little quirky of him considering that our conversations were about things like how creepy the tooth fairy was or arguing over the best deli meat, but everyone has to bear their own little freak cross in this world and that was his.

An edit window would be a problem in a contentious thread, but it would be nice not to have to ask people to change spanking to swanking when the iPhone autocorrect betrays me. I am torn.
posted by winna at 2:56 PM on August 8, 2012


When Nora Ephron died, I was so surprised to see that there was no MeFi obit post that I rushed into making one. I wrote hastily, almost entirely from memory, and didn't realize until several hours later that Ephron made her directorial debut with Sleepless in Seattle. I had it down as You've Got Mail. By this time I had already flagged a separate typo (broken link) and noted it in a comment (which I also flagged), and some kind mod had very quickly and helpfully fixed it up. But there was no way to go back and correct the bigger error without bothering a mod again, and I wasn't even sure if it was a change that could be made, considering the nature of it.

I could have gone back and corrected that in-thread. I should have. I meant to. I don't know why I didn't.

Anyway, sometimes when we get facts wrong and realize our mistakes, it would be awesome to actually be able to correct those, too. Not just broken links and grammar mistakes, but content.

I know it's completely contrary to how MeFi works. Which is why I think an "edit history" would be super, because though it might take a little bit of work to look through the edits, you'd be able to see them. And no one would post threads here in the grey saying, "Weren't there more comments in the Pants Thread? I swear there were like fifteen comments in the Pants Thread, and now they're gone." Because those deletions could also be shown as edit history -- not necessarily the deleted comments themselves, but just an automatic notation that comments have been deleted.

I was for this idea and then against it. Now I'm for it, but pretty soon I'll probably be against it again, so whatever. Do what makes sense for the site. Just, for the love of God, do not bring back the .img tag. Except maybe for special occasions.

PS. I think everyone who opposes edit functionality is just afraid that even with self-editing, their comments will be grammatically incorrect. Not really. That's probably just me.
posted by brina at 2:57 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know the prior objections to editing have been concern of someone, say, taking a position for shooting declawed cats across the Middle East, and then editing it a few minutes later to saying they like Pancakes, but this history window would very easily best that.

Metafilter incorporating anything like Wikipedia's edit history feature would only detract from its status as a prime place for conversation on the web. The edit wars over people's own comments in heated discussions would be no less ugly than our current "first draft is final draft" posting system.

Additionally, quoting other Mefites' posts in one's replies would only garble a conversation with live revisions going on - there's no way pb could create the kind of dynamic built-in quoting system necessary to keep up.

It's/its typos are a minor price to pay for (obliquely) encouraging people to review what they've written before hitting the post button.


Now, who's got a nice family recipe for declawed Middle Eastern cat pancakes? Mmmm ... cat pancakes...
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:58 PM on August 8, 2012


An edit window would be a problem in a contentious thread, but it would be nice not to have to ask people to change spanking to swanking when the iPhone autocorrect betrays me.

Boy, was I ever wrong about what that comment was intended to say.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:59 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Which is why I think an "edit history" would be super, because though it might take a little bit of work to look through the edits, you'd be able to see them.

A simpler solution might be to offer a required drop-down edit reason. "Edited for factual error," "edited for clarity," "edited for grammatical error," and so on. This might cut down on the joke edits, too (which I have never seen happen on any of the forums that I'm on that allow editing, including the extremely drama-prone goodreads, but it seems to be something people are very afraid of).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:01 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


A simpler solution might be to offer a required drop-down edit reason. "Edited for factual error," "edited for clarity," "edited for grammatical error," and so on.

We could also add "edited for lulz" and if they select that? Instaban.
posted by Rock Steady at 3:04 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


me: “It's a confusing, complicated change that solves a problem that is not a problem.”

dirtdirt: “This has come up a bunch of times. It is not a problem for you, perhaps, but for many people typos are a problem, and a problem with a solution. If we get an edit window the various boogeymen that get imagined when we talk about the edit window may spring to life and may not, but there is a typo problem in many people's minds. It's not a huge problem, but it is real.”

Okay, I accept that it is a problem in some people's minds. I guess I just dispute that it's a real one. Part of my feeling probably comes from the thought I always have about this – 'if the tiny errors these people make annoy the crap out of them, how do they feel about the huge typos I always make?'

But, yeah. Typos annoy people. I guess this is a solution to whatever problem that annoyance presents. I really don't think we're required to be annoyed by these kinds of things, but I know some people will always be bothered by it, so I admit that that does in some sense constitute a problem. My feeling is still that those who believe that it's a problem when they make a typo are judging themselves too harshly.
posted by koeselitz at 3:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the "no take backs" of mefi comments.
It makes me much more thoughtful in posting.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the "no take backs" of mefi comments.
It makes me much more thoughtful in posting.


I used to feel that way and then I got edit powers and I was shocked at how often I abuse it to fix all of my "But I PREVIEWED!" typos. (Which is, to be clear, all I use it for - if I have to make a substantive clarification I just comment again like everyone else.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:10 PM on August 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Should you really be doing that?
posted by Artw at 3:12 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We all do it. It's actually the strongest argument in favor of the edit window. We have it, use it, and like it. it seems churlish to assume it wouldn't be a boon for many users as well.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:15 PM on August 8, 2012 [23 favorites]


: (
posted by Kwine at 3:15 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Do you mean editing her comments or clarifying her errors? If you mean editing her comments, here is what would happen otherwise:

restless_nomad sends a message through the contact form asking a mod to fix her typos.

restless_nomad tells the other mods "I got this!"

restless_nomad fixes typos.

restless_nomad clears that contact e-mail or whatever happens.

restless_nomad tells the other mods the problem has been solved.

...so I think it's okay to skip some of those steps.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


...that said, I think it would be really funny if the mods actually did this with their own typos.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have it, use it, and like it.

MIND=BLOWN
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on August 8, 2012


And, yeah, I'm pretty sure there will be an edit window here at some point. That won't be the worst thing in the world. I think it will complicate the site greatly, but there have been plenty of things that have complicated the site in the past. I just hope people don't expect me to go back and correct all of my errors, because I'm pretty damned sure that the instant there's a three-minute edit window I will suddenly develop a condition whereby I only see my errors three minutes and one second after making comments or posts. So my comments and posts will still have lots of mistakes, and hopefully everyone will just learn to deal with that and accept it instead of letting it bother them.
posted by koeselitz at 3:22 PM on August 8, 2012


I'm all for the edit window as long as the comment's font is then changed to comic sans.

How important is that edit to you?
posted by Nabubrush at 3:23 PM on August 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Seriously, all the reactionary sentiment in here is cute and all, but why not just test the feature to see if it really wil be so horrible and damaging to site culture or whatever?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:23 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Mrs. Pterodactyl pretty much lays out the logic there. We pretty much never tell anyone no when they ask us to fix their typos. (The only time that might happen is if it's in an FPP and there's been a substantial discussion/clarification going on - then sometimes we prefer to leave the error and the clarification up.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:23 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doleful Creature: Sometimes constraints are a good thing.

That article you linked to is by Jonah Lehrer, and the odor of the rich loamy irony is almost overpowering.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:33 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can we have a test like we did with favorites but can we also get verbal commitments that people who don't like it won't be vicious and mean about their dislike? I guess I'm dreaming, but a timed edit window is a simple and innocuous thing, and the bigger problem is the people who make a big deal out of minor things and create hassle.
posted by Danila at 3:33 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


There was a single thread test. Everybody played around with it like crazy, because that is what you do when you are trying something out.

Probably needs a live trial on a thread or threads that are about something else.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on August 8, 2012


I've contacted the mods a couple of times to request typo correction. They've always been helpful and never once mocked me for it.

(Even when mockery was kind of warranted; in one comment I had meant to tell a MeFite that since they had MeMail turned off, "I'll just have to send you public hugs."

Public. With an L, you know? Not… *sigh*)
posted by Lexica at 3:36 PM on August 8, 2012


Heh. Just got typo trolled in another thread.
posted by Artw at 3:37 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Danila: “Can we have a test like we did with favorites but can we also get verbal commitments that people who don't like it won't be vicious and mean about their dislike? I guess I'm dreaming, but a timed edit window is a simple and innocuous thing, and the bigger problem is the people who make a big deal out of minor things and create hassle.”

I'm going to set aside the minor insult I feel when people imply that I'm some kind of vandal and say this: yes, I verbally promise that I won't be an asshole when this edit window thing inevitably gets implemented. It seems weird that people assume you're in bad faith just because you have opinions, but whatever. I won't abuse this when it happens.
posted by koeselitz at 3:38 PM on August 8, 2012


I won't abuse it, either. And I'll stop typo trolling Artw.
posted by The World Famous at 3:43 PM on August 8, 2012


It's a beautiful typo, and it reminded me of something I wanted to make a post on, but it turns out it would be a double.

typos: the brownian motion of the written word
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:45 PM on August 8, 2012


I commit not to be a dick about it if it happens. I've felt for a while that the site and I are going in different directions and adding this feature would be just about the clearest possible indicator that this is in fact the case.

I'd probably brand-new-day it and hang out in AskMe now and again. That's fine by me, there's always been a lot of turnover here. I would try harder to hold the line if I weren't already drifting away, but as I look back at my well-published record on this topic, I note that a lot of the people involved in those discussions aren't around any more. Easy come, easy go-I've said that when people left before, I'm sure.

Also, what koeselitz said. There's never been less room for holding a different opinion than the majority opinion on Metafilter than there is now.
posted by Kwine at 3:46 PM on August 8, 2012


We all do it. It's actually the strongest argument in favor of the edit window. We have it, use it, and like it. it seems churlish to assume it wouldn't be a boon for many users as well.

Yeah, this, basically. As much as we've gamed out potential nasty problems with misuse in the past, in practice mefites are generally not idiots or assholes so it's not likely that the feature would be a source of real problems in terms of day-to-day use. Again with the very specific mandate that it's a short-term typo-fixer-upper, and nothing else.

The goal would be to have it have as little impact on both comments and general discursive flow here; we'd be looking at treating it as something where an edit would be something that pretty much nobody but the user (because they made the innocuous edit) and the mods (because we can see the logs) know happened. We'd be very, very clear that doing anything else with the feature would be a problem of the "cut it out pronto if you want to still have an account" variety.

Basically if you're using it for any purpose other than saving you and us a "please fix my misspelling / oops I forgot a 'not' in that sentence" sort of email, you're using it wrong and we will be telling you so. If you're discussing edits in the middle of threads, you're doing it wrong. To some extent, under the current regime, if you're talking about other people's typos and spelling errors in thread you're almost certainly doing it wrong already, and we'd want to see less, not more, of that sort of thing with such a feature in place.

What concerns we really have at this point Jessamyn touched on already; even with the general belief that the feature would work as expected without serious abuse problems, it's still a change that comes with a probable dose of conflict and a definite need for user education and change management stuff, so it's not a minor thing to do and it's hard not to be a little nervous about potentially weird system effects. But I mostly believe that's all manageable with a certain amount of bopping people on the heads with rolled up newspapers, so, eh.

I love typos so damn much and I will defend them until the bitter end.

I feel you, though I seem to feel you less when it's my comment and I've got my admin edit button, so what do you do. If it's any consolation, the original typos would still be in the database's edit history. And in terms of linguistics and datawankery, we'd suddenly have an additional channel of self-correction information for potential analysis, so, hey.

ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS

Payment in advance.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:53 PM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't like the idea. If there were an edit window, I'd probably come back and explain it in a bit. As it is, I'm too full of granola.
posted by angrycat at 3:56 PM on August 8, 2012


Oops. Shoulda previewed. No irony intended.
posted by angrycat at 3:58 PM on August 8, 2012


cortex: “The goal would be to have it have as little impact on both comments and general discursive flow here; we'd be looking at treating it as something where an edit would be something that pretty much nobody but the user (because they made the innocuous edit) and the mods (because we can see the logs) know happened. We'd be very, very clear that doing anything else with the feature would be a problem of the "cut it out pronto if you want to still have an account" variety.”

So basically – this whole Facebook-inspired "view comment edits" system is totally not what the mods want? It's more likely to be that edits are completely invisible? I can see how that would cause less problems and be less cluttered, yeah.
posted by koeselitz at 4:03 PM on August 8, 2012


That article you linked to is by Jonah Lehrer, and the odor of the rich loamy irony is almost overpowering.


Oh man my kingdom for an edit window right now!
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's an edge case where there's going to be a temptation to blank comments entirely: the accidental post to the wrong thread.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on August 8, 2012


My perfectionism really likes the idea of an edit window. I like to present a polished version of my prose to the world, because getting ideas right is important to me. However, I try to balance this with the idea that what we put out there, when it's not infinitely malleable, makes the conversation a bit more honest and humble.

If I compare it to a relationship, not having an edit window is like playing with the possibility that one day, while being all suave-like, I might trip and fall while getting out the shower and bonk my head on the towel rack. There's no edit button for that, my friends, no pretending that you don't have a somewhat embarrassing blemish on your social presentation. And somehow, those lessons in humility make me us all a bit more honest, and makes it more like family.

At least, in theory.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:06 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


...can we also get verbal commitments that people who don't like it won't be vicious and mean about their dislike...

I am firmly in the "against" camp, but considering almost every single comment I make over three sentences long has at least one syntactical calamity that at best makes me sound like I learned English by way of Google Translate and at worst makes my point wholly incomprehensible, I'll gladly and quietly be taking advantage of the feature.
posted by griphus at 4:10 PM on August 8, 2012


On the other hand, I'd be constantly tempted to correct everything I write, including that previous sentence which has enough clauses to keep the Salvation Army in furs and diamonds.
posted by griphus at 4:12 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Facebook also lets you delete your whole comment. Let's do that too.
posted by zennie at 4:18 PM on August 8, 2012


There's an edge case where there's going to be a temptation to blank comments entirely: the accidental post to the wrong thread.

Which I think we'd generally just want people to go ahead and contact us about so it can be properly deleted rather than having a conspicuous blank comment, yeah. Maybe something that'd get revisited in more detail down the road but for now very much not what the feature would be for, and we'd make that clear in the guidelines for its use.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:18 PM on August 8, 2012


REDACTED
posted by The World Famous at 4:20 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, Facebook is letting me edit comments I made hours ago, and I don't think that's something MetaFilter would enjoy.

I would enjoy it.
posted by John Cohen at 4:20 PM on August 8, 2012


Did anyone actually read what the OP wrote? He isn't saying we should do everything Facebook does. He's saying Facebook has implemented this particular feature well, and it would be a good model for another site (Metafilter) implementing a similar feature.
posted by John Cohen at 4:22 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was a victim of irreconcilable differences. We had a working prototype, the test went fairly well technically, but many people felt like it would hurt the site. It might be worth looking at some of the past discussions here, here, here, here, and potentially many more here.
posted by pb


Don't you think MetaTalk threads are a bit skewed in the direction of ... oh, I don't know, shooting down every idea that gets proposed?
posted by John Cohen at 4:24 PM on August 8, 2012


I'd like an opportunity to clarify my read of the mods' view on this; as far as the potential cultural shift/gnashing of teeth/head bopping thing -- are these terms being used to say that editing is still on the table? Or are these terms being used to say we'd rather not do the edit thing?

Change is hard, I'm not going to white wash that, and before I get into my consulty speak, I get that there is a potential impact on the site to implement this.

I just want to understand if we have crossed a threshold into actually giving this a whirl, or if it's still in this nebulous "under consideration" territory -- territory that, from the older links, appears to be a few years under consideration ;).
posted by cavalier at 4:26 PM on August 8, 2012


I'd be more receptive to the idea if I found that I could recall even one occasion where I misunderstood someone's post/comment because of a typo. But I honestly can't. I see typos and recognize them as typos.

Meanwhile, I do use preview (cortex recently wrote that less than 1% of users use the preview feature) and catch most of my typos then — but I still nevertheless miss a few and, like others, this really annoys me. Because it's a vanity thing, not because I think anyone will misunderstand me.

So I have trouble with altering how the site functions for no better reason than assuaging people's wounded vanity and which, as quoted jessamyn mentioned, wouldn't eliminate all typos (only those noticed by the writer, and assuming it's time-limited) and therefore wouldn't satisfy people anyway — and given that, as mentioned, one can already eliminate most of these typos by proofreading before you post and, failing that, ask a mod to make the change to the rest.

If it doesn't matter to you then you don't need the edit window. If it does matter to you, then you should be making the effort to avoid the typos in the first place and, for those few you'll still miss, utilizing already-available means to correct them.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:27 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


If it doesn't matter to you then you don't need the edit window. If it does matter to you, then you should be making the effort to avoid the typos in the first place and, for those few you'll still miss, utilizing already-available means to correct them.

Isn't it possible that those of us who care are already doing everything in our power to avoid and correct typos but would simply like the process streamlined and made more user-friendly?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:28 PM on August 8, 2012


I wood live to half an edit creature, so ass to mike chungs to my mispellings in typeing.
posted by ericb at 4:33 PM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Isn't it possible that those of us who care are already doing everything in our power to avoid and correct typos but would simply like the process streamlined and made more user-friendly?"

If you're having to contact the mods more than, say, once a month to fix a typo, then you're doing it wrong. If it matters that much to you, and you're making many more typos than that, then work harder at avoiding those mistakes. Unless you have some sort of cognitive or motor disability, you're not going to get me to understand how you can simultaneously care a great deal about avoiding these mistakes without also putting in the effort necessary to avoid making these mistakes. If you make them all the time, then there's a mismatch between your concern and your effort. Either care less or work harder.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:34 PM on August 8, 2012


I like errors and mistakes in our posts. It makes the conversation more authentic, like a face-to-face conversation.
posted by davejay at 4:35 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it does matter to you, then you should be making the effort to avoid the typos in the first place and, for those few you'll still miss, utilizing already-available means to correct them.

To be clear, the already-available means are kind of cumbersome and manpower-intensive for the relatively trivial results. Since I was not a mod for most of the previous edit window discussions, I can be slightly more blithe about believing that it really isn't a tremendously big deal and after the transition period will prove to be a very minor net positive for the site and a slightly less minor net positive for the mods.

If you make them all the time, then there's a mismatch between your concern and your effort. Either care less or work harder.

Are you really intending to sound that contemptuous, Ivan? Because... you kind of are.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:35 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't usually have much to say here, but i feel strongly about editing words in a post.

If you could set it so a person could edit 1 or 2 letters only, that would take care of the typo horripilations and remove temptation to edit the actual content of a post. In that case it could possibly be a good thing.
posted by reflecked at 4:36 PM on August 8, 2012


restless_nomad: "To be clear, the already-available means are kind of cumbersome and manpower-intensive for the relatively trivial results."

It's a trivial thing all around, though. I am not a bad person because I've made typos. My comments are not more or less sensible or thoughtful based on the number of times I make graphical errors. I'm kind of confused that so many people think otherwise, but I've gotten used to being in the minority on these issues.
posted by koeselitz at 4:41 PM on August 8, 2012


I hate this idea more than any of you could possibly imagine, but here's my idea for a compromise: you get one edit in which you can add or delete no more than, say, five characters. Just enough to change "its" to "it's" or stick back in an "and" that you accidentally edited out or whatever.

On preview, reflecked beat me to the punch.

I preview the hell out of my comments. Preview is great.

On reflection, I hate the idea of an edit feature so much that I disavow reflecked's and my compromise idea. Forget it. I like having to make my posts count here. It makes it all feel so much less trivial than the rest of the internet.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:41 PM on August 8, 2012


If you had told me the passion for having no edit window was so powerful and varied.. I am appreciating the dialogue here, on both sides, everybody. Eye opening stuff.

(I still want a pony <3 )
posted by cavalier at 4:45 PM on August 8, 2012


If you could set it so a person could edit 1 or 2 letters only

ymeah?
posted by juv3nal at 4:45 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't you think MetaTalk threads are a bit skewed in the direction of ... oh, I don't know, shooting down every idea that gets proposed?

Imagine what kind of carnival of terror this place would be if it was skewed toward greenlighting every idea that gets proposed. But for all that, some ideas do get greenlit after all, and this one is not doing terrible as chances go at this point, so, hey.

I'd like an opportunity to clarify my read of the mods' view on this; as far as the potential cultural shift/gnashing of teeth/head bopping thing -- are these terms being used to say that editing is still on the table? Or are these terms being used to say we'd rather not do the edit thing?

The former. They're reasons why this isn't a casual "hey, pb whipped up a prototype, let's just roll it out for a couple days because gee whiz" sort of try-and-see sort of thing, mostly. We anticipate rolling out an edit feature to be enough of a Thing even if all goes well (and we'd hope it did) that it's very much a thing where we'd need to have our ducks in a row and have some free time to babysit the launch before it could happen.

If you make them all the time, then there's a mismatch between your concern and your effort. Either care less or work harder.

This may as well be targeted at me, if that puts this in context for you. Different people are different, and I don't know if it's just because you're not really accounting for it in this case but you are coming off as kind of a jerk here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:49 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Don't you think MetaTalk threads are a bit skewed in the direction of ... oh, I don't know, shooting down every idea that gets proposed?

For some of us, having had people come up with brilliant ideas for changes to existing processes that caused great havoc, the words 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' are graven on our hearts.
posted by winna at 4:50 PM on August 8, 2012


It would be okay if you could only ADD to a comment and not subtract, but I don't really see the point of that since you can just post another comment to clarify.
posted by elizardbits at 4:51 PM on August 8, 2012


I'd prefer to think that the community here would, could be trusted not to misuse a powerful tool, that it would be mainly used to improve conversations. I'd be in favour of no restrictions, number of characters, length or quantity of time should be imposed on edits. There will always be edge cases where an arbitrary limitation would not be desirable.

I do think that many would have sharp eyes for bad-faith edits, and that logs, public or private would make that easy to track in any case. In fact, I would not be surprised if repeated bfedits became one of the few bright-line bannable offences.

I'd be inclined to trust the userbase here to manage most of the misuse by call-outs and other social pressure. We get the site we fight for.

On the other hand, no edit windw, no more comments about grammar or spelling ever, ok?
posted by bonehead at 4:51 PM on August 8, 2012


I hate making typos, but I do agree with the mods (and many others) in thinking that an edit window would change the dynamic of the site, and not for the better (although a 30-second edit window would probably be OK, maybe).

I think the 'comment in haste, regret at leisure' way that things have always been is one of the many factors that improves the quality of conversation here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:52 PM on August 8, 2012


It's a trivial thing all around, though.

Oh, totally agreed. But the thing is, we're hitting that line between the ideal and the actual - in the actual world, enough people are driven nuts by their own typos that it is A Thing that we have to deal with one way or another. Thus far, we've dealt with it by fixing typos on command which is trivial and takes very little time for us (even when I feel like it's kind of silly - like cortex, I somehow find it much less silly when they're my own typos) but it does take time and effort on both ends. We could go the other way and declare that typos are Not Our Problem, but that would also be a culture change and would cause some static, and while I often take the role of the hardass behind the scenes, even I flinch away from moving in an unequivocally less-user-friendly direction, especially over such a minor thing.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:52 PM on August 8, 2012


If you could set it so a person could edit 1 or 2 letters only, that would take care of the typo horripilations and remove temptation to edit the actual content of a post. In that case it could possibly be a good thing.

This is more an issue of stressing that as the spirit of the feature than trying to enforce it programmatically at edit time. Without a human doing the accounting, it would be basically impossible to either prevent small-character-count goofery or recognize and allow legitimate larger-character-count corrections. So I get the idea but it's a non-starter. Trust-and-verify with mods monitoring the logs on the back end is a lot more doable, even if it adds a little bit of work for us.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:53 PM on August 8, 2012


"Are you really intending to sound that contemptuous, Ivan? Because... you kind of are."

Nah, I didn't intend to sound that harsh. I apologize to PhB and all.

But, I am pretty annoyed at this combination of "I hate making many mistakes" and "I can't stop myself from making many mistakes", most especially in the context of mistakes which everyone knows are harmless errors that are entirely normal. It's all about vanity — they shouldn't be that important to us in the first place. But to the degree to which they are, should be the degree to which we work to avoid them. There's something that rubs me the wrong way about caring so much about how others perceive us via our words after we've already written them and not before.

And I do very much believe that the vast majority of all typos that are caught by the writer are caught immediately after they post their comments — which is functionally equivalent to using preview. And almost no one uses preview. So I feel certain that we basically already have an edit window of sorts, if people would use it. That they don't, but would use an actual edit window, speaks to the mismatch between making the effort to proofread via the preview window and the effort spurred on by posting the comment, being embarrassed, and then correcting it. That is to say, people are being motivated by the embarrassment after the fact and not before, not even enough such that they'll read their comment once in the preview window rather than just pressing "post comment" and only then reading it and noticing errors.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:58 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know how conservatives are always like "If we legalize gay marriage, METEORS will FALL FROM THE SKY to crush our country's PRECIOUS BODILY FLUIDS" ?

That's how I feel about the eschatological predictions about the site in general being set ablaze in an inferno of edit-wankery if people are allowed to gasp fix typos. Evidence suggests people here aren't assholes, most of the time.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:58 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: "If it does matter to you, then you should be making the effort to avoid the typos in the first place and, for those few you'll still miss, utilizing already-available means to correct them."

Contrary to your assumption, many of us do already.

It's not for lack of effort. It's not for lack of concern, either. I spend a hell lot of time constructing many of my posts for the Blue, and yet typos still show up that I don't notice until after they go live. I am relatively conscientious about grammar, spelling and typos in my comments, and yet there again errors appear that I don't notice until after clicking "post."
posted by zarq at 4:58 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the clarification. I know I personally am either a) vain, b) stupid, c) short sighted, d) without editorial oversight, e) all of the above enough to have pinged the mods at least four or five times begging them to fix some obvious mistake I posted when I could not see it on preview. I have a vested interest in this functionality in that it would allow me to not bug them and fix my shit when it breaks. Just to clarify my position.

Recognizing it's seen as a significant implementation challenge, is there anything those of us with a vested interest could do to help smooth its implementation? Still envisioning a proof of concept stage at this point, and man I'm totally in work language mode sorry, but I (we)'d like to help if we could in seeing some traction on this.
posted by cavalier at 4:59 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


UGH. Just do it already. Haters gonna hate.
posted by danny the boy at 5:01 PM on August 8, 2012


Ivan Fyodorovich: " It's all about vanity — they shouldn't be that important to us in the first place."

No, it's not "ALL" about vanity. Some of it is, as I stated above, not wanting to bother the mods when something fundamental needs correcting, like html coding errors that either didn't show up in preview or went unnoticed. Some of it is not wanting to clutter a thread with inanities. Some of it is wanting to make sure that a point is being conveyed correctly so that no misconceptions occur. And yes, they have occurred in the past, even though you personally haven't noticed them.

Finally, some of it (at least on my part) is also wanting to make sure that an FPP's thread doesn't get derailed due to a silly typo, because mefites love to nitpick. See the comment I linked to earlier. Someone actually pointed out how many quotation errors I made in an FPP.
posted by zarq at 5:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ivan Fyodorovich: "And almost no one uses preview."

Cite?

I suspect a lot more people do than you think.
posted by zarq at 5:04 PM on August 8, 2012


Another voteagainst it.
posted by odinsdream at 5:06 PM on August 8, 2012


Don't you think MetaTalk threads are a bit skewed in the direction of ... oh, I don't know, shooting down every idea that gets proposed?

Every time people talk about how "progressive" Metafilter is, you just need to examine this statement to see how conservative we really are. Arguing against change because of imagined abuses and "it's always been done this way" is the very definition of conservative.

And, hey, if you don't want to get pregnant, don't have sex--er, sorry--if you don't want typos, don't write comments.
posted by maxwelton at 5:12 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kwine: There's never been less room for holding a different opinion than the majority opinion on Metafilter than there is now.

You know, whilst I totally appreciate the dynamics of in and out-groups on mefi and the way in which norms are enforced, I really feel that the most cursory trawl through the archives will highlight that this is really truly not the case, and I'm nonplussed at the number of people that continue to make the unfounded assertion. From my perspective, the metafilter community now a) encompasses greater diversity than ever, b) covers a larger range of issues with a greater range of sensitivity, c) aside from a few usual suspects is less abusive, dismissive, hetero(and other)normative and d) except in a few especially hot button issues generally courteous and respectful. I know I've only been a member since 2009 but I have lurked for significantly longer than that. Given the burgeoning membership, I'm genuinely impressed and oddly touched at how... safe? good? mefi as a place is. Does this mean the more aggressive (and sexist etc) cut-and-thrust of broader internet-culture is less welcome? For sure. For me, that's an unalloyed good.

Scientist: simultaneously accidentally fooling half the userbase into thinking that a TALKING CAT has appeared on the Blue and then brutally disappointing them.

I have forgiven you. Just.

Ivan Fyorodorovich: It's all about vanity — they shouldn't be that important to us in the first place.

I disagree, and don't really feel you have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of some many other people. There are many reasons for wanting this.

I don't think this is a huge deal either way - though I am in favour - but I find the predictions of forum-doom somewhat hyperbolic. There are gazzillions of forums on the web that allow comment editing, and many of them are highly successful and supportive. There is a phalanx of real-world case studies demonstrating that this is not a deciding factor when it comes to community health.
posted by smoke at 5:12 PM on August 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Recognizing it's seen as a significant implementation challenge, is there anything those of us with a vested interest could do to help smooth its implementation?

Not really, at the moment. It's more a thing that just needs to get looked at again now and then, and the "looking at it" process on the mod side is in full swing again now that it's come up. We'll have to work out actual code-wise implementation details and stuff for one thing (some of the code from the test back in the day got lost in the Great SQL Hack and so will need a scratch rewrite, lucky pb), and hash out the user-education side of things. So it's sort of a hurry up and wait situation, where we need to work on the whole schmear in modland and see if we feel like we're satisfied with what we've got and feel comfortable rolling it out.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:15 PM on August 8, 2012


This is more an issue of stressing that as the spirit of the feature than trying to enforce it programmatically at edit time.

I agree, but I think an algorithmic approach could still help a lot. Users who try to make particularly substantial edits (as measured by Levenshtein distance or a fancier metric if you feel like it) would get a warning popup before submitting their change. You could still go ahead and submit, but there would be a chance for a quick "hey you sure you know about the guidelines?" check if the change might be on the fishier side. From the mod perspective, major edits could be surfaced for later review without the mods having to wade through a pile of "teh"->"the" changes.

Sure, some people will have fun with the feature and goof around when it first happens. Instead of freaking out, we can quietly ignore said drama, let the mods have a quiet word with anybody who's really pushing it, and the overall desire to abuse the edit button should wear off pretty quickly.
posted by zachlipton at 5:17 PM on August 8, 2012


I agree, but I think an algorithmic approach could still help a lot. Users who try to make particularly substantial edits (as measured by Levenshtein distance or a fancier metric if you feel like it) would get a warning popup before submitting their change.

As a sort of soft warning procedure, it might be worth doing if we see from initial use that people are missing that point more often than we'd expect. I figure we'll have to see how things play out. But initially we may treat this more as a back-end monitoring thing to surface for our eyes. (We were in fact just discussing that idea re: Levenshtein over email.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:22 PM on August 8, 2012


"No, it's not 'ALL' about vanity. Some of it is, as I stated above, not wanting to bother the mods when something fundamental needs correcting, like html coding errors that either didn't show up in preview or went unnoticed. Some of it is not wanting to clutter a thread with inanities. Some of it is wanting to make sure that a point is being conveyed correctly so that no misconceptions occur. And yes, they have occurred in the past, even though you personally haven't noticed them."

I don't understand how you'd not notice HTML errors in preview (assuming you don't mean things like failing to bold when you intended, which are just not that important). The only errors I ever make in formatting (where it changes the meaning, such as in the case of setting apart quotes) or in actual meaning (where people will truly be misled), I always catch when I proofread, usually at the preview stage. The only times I don't catch them have been the rare occasion when I don't preview. The only other errors I don't catch before I post are all typos that everyone will either recognize immediately or will understand in context. Again, I can't recall the last time that I actually misunderstood something someone wrote here because of a typo. I'm sure it must have happened — but it's rare.

It's not misunderstandings that concern us. If it's not vanity, then it's fearing the implication that we're careless. That's a reasonable concern — but given that everyone makes typos, and "careless" is socially normed, it's still the case that you'd have to be making an excessively large number of typos for people to jump to that conclusion.

You keep saying that you make typos but you know what? I have absolutely no sense that you're prone to typos. Your supposed tendency to make such errors has not shaped my impression of your writing at all. I don't find your comments difficult to understand, or mysteriously contradictory, or carelessly full of typos. Quite the opposite, in fact. The vast majority of people who care a lot about this are people for whom it's not actually a problem. That is, it's not actually a problem with regard to the quality of their writing. It's only a problem with regard to their own perfectionism, or otherwise with regard to their unfounded fears about their social persona.

"Finally, some of it (at least on my part) is also wanting to make sure that an FPP's thread doesn't get derailed due to a silly typo, because mefites love to nitpick. See the comment I linked to earlier. Someone actually pointed out how many quotation errors I made in an FPP."

I think that's an entirely reasonable concern but one that has largely been addressed via moderation. In the past, people commented on such mistakes. Now, they don't.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:25 PM on August 8, 2012


I just want to go on record as saying, in all seriousness, that I will be completely cool with whatever direction the mods decide to go with this issue. It's awesome that this and other questions that go to the identity and functionality of the site are brought before the community for commentary and that the community's opinions are a big part of the process. But ultimately, the decisions you guys make for this site are almost always wise and well-executed, and your willingness to discuss this stuff openly with the community is a big part of why so many of us trust you.
posted by The World Famous at 5:26 PM on August 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


is there anything those of us with a vested interest could do to help smooth its implementation?

Actually I think the "Will you folks who don't necessarily agree with this idea promise not to grief about it?" pact has been really helpful. We'd like to implement this. One of the things that has gotten in our way is feeling like the culture here can sometimes be resistant to change in ways that are problematic, people who just can't or won't get over various things and bring those things up in MetaTalk for years and, rarely, for a decade.

So we'd like people to be understanding about this and if you have strong feelings about the edit feature, try to explain what your issues are so that we can take your ideas into consideration. At the same time realize that the site can't be all things to all people and having an edit feature has, over time, seemed like a better and better idea. As I said above, we use it, it seems unfair to not let everyone use it just because we're worried about a handful of griefers and that's really where we're coming from.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:30 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


zachlipton: "Sure, some people will have fun with the feature and goof around when it first happens. Instead of freaking out, we can quietly ignore said drama, let the mods have a quiet word with anybody who's really pushing it, and the overall desire to abuse the edit button should wear off pretty quickly."

How would we even know there was 'drama' in the first place? In the system as the mods seem to be envisioning it, edits will be invisible.
posted by koeselitz at 5:32 PM on August 8, 2012


smoke, I think there's space for me to agree with nearly all of what you said in response to me without conceding any ground. Memail me if you want to discuss it further.
posted by Kwine at 5:39 PM on August 8, 2012


"...and if you have strong feelings about the edit feature, try to explain what your issues are so that we can take your ideas into consideration. "

Speaking only for myself, everywhere I frequent that allows editing I end up not trusting what I read. What should be a reliable progression in a conversation becomes something...else. That I don't know what that "else" is, is what I find problematic. And that's just where the existence of edits are made visible. Where they're invisible, I don't trust what I read at all. The whole conversation could be synthetic and unreal.

Now, to be sure, I totally trust the mods and the community ethos here to keep abuses to a minimum. I'm not opposed to edit windows if their use is infrequent and trivial. I'm inclined to believe that this would be the case.

My deeper concern is unquantifiable, instinctive. An edit window seems to me to be counter to the "measure twice, cut once" ethos and will encourage haste and carelessness. MeFi is a unique and fragile thing in its emphasis on careful and substantial writing in a discursive web context. In this, maybe it's especially resistant to degradation. Or, alternatively, it wouldn't take much to destabilize it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:41 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


While I'm unsure of the places you visit, Ivan, wouldn't a functionality in which you could see the before/after state of the edit help relieve your fear as per the original intent of the author?

It's not like we see a lot of double or triple comments from people suddenly flip flopping or changing their entire stance. Normally it's a word that got autocorrected into bizarro land. Or an extra constant or two.

Replying to earlier mod responses with the summary of "We're looking at it again", allow me to twirl my imaginary moustache in pleasurable anticipation. Twirl. Twirl twirl.
posted by cavalier at 5:53 PM on August 8, 2012


I don't like editable history. I think reintroducing the edit window would add less than it takes away. We'd perhaps have less typos but more people asking others to fix their typos, etc. We'd have less admin work fixing typos, but more admin work monitoring the edit log. Looming over all this is the fact that the thread history wouldn't be immutable without a mod note: things above my read line can change and things below my read line could read differently than those who have already read/replied.

Silly exaggerated example: a commenter mis-punctuates "eats shoots and leaves", sends the thread in one direction, notices and fixes it, and now the following comments (and jokes) just don't quite make the sense they should.

You don't get an edit button in conversation. You don't get an edit button in email. You don't get an edit button in text messages. In written letters. Etc. Etc. We do very well communicating in forms with solid, immutable history. I really value the fact that Metafilter policy treats our words with such importance.
posted by introp at 6:07 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


So we'd like people to be understanding about this and if you have strong feelings about the edit feature, try to explain what your issues are so that we can take your ideas into consideration.

Okay, assuming some day in the future y'all decide to roll this out. Would you declare the featureset first, get feedback, and then release it into the wild? Or would it be like a surprise where one day we have an edit window and (I assume) a related MeTa explaining how it works, expected good form and so on? How mutable will it be if it does drop? How much say will the users have?

I know this isn't a democracy (and I probably wouldn't be here if it was) but I'm just wondering how much of this is already set.
posted by griphus at 6:08 PM on August 8, 2012


Would you declare the featureset first, get feedback, and then release it into the wild?

We haven't really hashed this out, but in my experience with rolling out feature changes (which is actually pretty extensive given my background) this tends to engender far more panic than just releasing and then getting feedback on how the feature actually works, so I'd be inclined to just roll it out with a MetaTalk thread, heavy monitoring for the first month or so, and an openness to tweaks.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 6:24 PM on August 8, 2012


That's gonna be one happy pony.

Does anyone have a specific example of adding comment editing making a site worse?

SOON
posted by fleacircus at 6:24 PM on August 8, 2012


Can we get clarification on what kind of scope the mods envision for the appropriate use of the edit window? (I realize that it's probably something that needs discussion and hasn't been fully decided, but maybe a ballpark?) For instance, would there be an edit window for posts as well as for comments? And would people be permitted to edit for tone (you know, to remove unintentional harshness from the wording of a comment) or to add things like "After posting I realized that this comment sounds much harsher than I meant it to. My apologies; I truly did not mean to sound like I was speaking directly to you Paphnuty, I know you weren't actually espousing mandatory declawing of uncircumcised Israeli cats," or would that be verboten? Would it be uncool to add a link to a comment that we had meant to put in but which we had forgotten to insert until it was too late?

In any case this is a feature that I would really like to have. I bungle a lot of things even though I'm trying to make an effort to be more mindful -- sometimes embarrassingly enough that I don't even want to approach the really-very-understanding mods about it out of, like, some kind of misplaced social anxiety or something. If I had it in my own hands to fix my mistakes people would have to deal with far fewer relative-link errors and unintentionally-italicized comments from me, as I have a much easier time cleaning up my own mess than I do asking somebody else to clean it up for me. I'm just wired that way, for better or worse.

I realize that there are already multiple systems in place to deal with this -- live preview, regular preview, the contact form -- and I do genuinely care about having my comments look right, but experience has shown that I'm still going to make mistakes from time to time and I know that I would be able to fix many of them if I had an edit window. Three minutes would be entirely sufficient most of the time. There's something different that happens in my head when I'm reading a comment that I've just posted; when I look at something in preview my mind is kind of going "yes, yes, I wrote that, OK, yup, I remember writing that, OK GOOD POST IT NOW!" but then when I actually step back and (rather vainly) look at my shiny new comment all bright and bold and floating in a sea of blue (or green, or gray) I frequently do a double-take and I'm like "What the hell, how did I manage to forget to close that link, and did I really forget to put the 'not' in 'I do not think Hitler is a good model for young children to look up to?' Who wrote that?" And then sometimes rather than contact a mod I just kind of hide under the bed because I'm sort of pathetic like that sometimes.

So an edit window would be a glorious thing in my opinion! Would it absolutely definitely be limited to just making tiny edits to correct typographical errors and maybe like minor sentence structure mistakes, or would it also be OK to use it to sort of disown comments or clarify something that on preview had looked totally clear but which on posting seemed to be awfully ambiguous? And is the idea of a viewable edit history off the table, or is that something that's still up in the air? Note that I don't feel strongly one way or the other about the scope of the thing; typo editing would really be all that I would need for my own purposes, 99% of the time. I'm just curious. Also, can we take it as read that we are likely to see some kind of test or limited roll-out of a comment editing feature at some point in the near future, once the mods have had a chance to chew it over for a while and decide on the smoothest way to implement it? Because I for one would be really very excited to hear that.
posted by Scientist at 6:47 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


All the talk about immutable history is misguided - we don't have that now. If you make a mistake you can contact the mods and they'll fix it for you. All this would (WILL?) be is a way where you can acheive the same end state without bugging the mods.

I admit that there will be brief confusion and, possibly, a backlash but on balance, when the bandaid is off, it'll be no big deal.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:50 PM on August 8, 2012


OK, now see, if I had clicked the "2 new comments" thing before posting my comment just there (which I diligently previewed, correcting several errors and rewording more than a few sentences) I would've noticed that restless_nomad had spoken somewhat to the likelihood of seeing this feature in the near future and I would've taken that into account in writing my now-partially-irrelevant comment. But I didn't, and now I see it, and if I had an edit window I might add in a few words or slightly alter a sentence to make the comment more relevant given what was posted while I was writing it. Would that be OK, hypothetically, or would that be too much editing for comment?
posted by Scientist at 6:51 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Editing for *content*. Dammit, see what I mean? I need this feature yesterday.
posted by Scientist at 6:52 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whoa, as much as I like the whole comment thing I'm all about limiting it's scope to typo fixes via some sort of CS algorithm that someone way smarter than myself has come up with.

+1 to editing for typos being in the lineup (maybe)
-1 to editing for content or additions being anywhere on the table
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:52 PM on August 8, 2012


if I had an edit window I might add in a few words or slightly alter a sentence to make the comment more relevant given what was posted while I was writing it. Would that be OK, hypothetically, or would that be too much editing for comment?

To me, that would be causing more harm than value. Don't think of it as an endless edit option, just a typo fixer. I think your subsequent comments in the vein of "whoops, didn't preview" are more than enough of a fix, as they have been in the [pre-edit] past.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:54 PM on August 8, 2012


Also, if anyone is particularly reticent about contacting the mods for edits: I ask to have an FPP typo corrected at least two or three times a month, and they haven't been anything but quick and cordial.
posted by griphus at 7:00 PM on August 8, 2012


Cortex: The goal would be to have it have as little impact on both comments and general discursive flow here; we'd be looking at treating it as something where an edit would be something that pretty much nobody but the user (because they made the innocuous edit) and the mods (because we can see the logs) know happened. We'd be very, very clear that doing anything else with the feature would be a problem of the "cut it out pronto if you want to still have an account" variety.

If the scope is really this limited and the mods think they can enforce it, then it actually sounds fine to me and something I could actually make good use of. I just don't want people changing their minds and going back for a rewrite after the conversation has moved on.
posted by alms at 7:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The edit window we're talking about has an expiration, and a relatively quick one, doesn't it? I think a lot of this "people are going to edit for content AND THEN THE WORLD WILL END" is kind of BS, isn't it?

Maybe when Mitt announces his VP candidate (Ted Nugent) or the Europa probe is just about to land ("is that a hatch opening on the surface?") comments will be flying at 100 per minute, but on most parts of the site a 5 minute edit window would mean one or two responses, maybe, below the comment before the editing window expired.
posted by maxwelton at 7:08 PM on August 8, 2012


I just don't want people changing their minds and going back for a rewrite after the conversation has moved on. Yeah, we really don't want that either. We'd like people to be able to fix their own typos and maybe add in a missing word but not that "On preview: I have this to say..." stuff.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:09 PM on August 8, 2012


Minor question: What is it about previewing a comment vs seeing the actual comment that causes people to catch typos on the latter, not the former?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Besides, the insurance against that is to simply quote the relevant part of the comment you're replying to.
posted by maxwelton at 7:09 PM on August 8, 2012


What is it about previewing a comment vs seeing the actual comment that causes people to catch typos on the latter, not the former?

Good question.

I can only guess that achieving the status of an actual posted comment shines a brighter psychological light on it in some way.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:17 PM on August 8, 2012


One of the really annoying things about reddit is that someone can blank their own comment - not delete it entirely, but remove the text. So you have a gap, a reply to what was originally in the gap, and then a reply to the reply asking what the gap originally said.

Sometimes this gets into absurd territory: Someone nixes their own comment, the person replying goes 'fuck it' and nixes their own comment, and so on down the line. You wind up with chains of timestamped placeholders. It really sucks.

I don't think these people are griefing, and therefore I think that behavior could also arise over here if you could edit your own comments - someone posts and then thinks 'fuck it, I don't want to be in this conversation after all' so they wipe their own text. Meanwhile people have replied, and when they see the comment go, they reassess their own involvement and blank out their replies. Then other people arrive in the thread and are all like 'what is everyone saaaayyyyyyingggg'.

And you could have a policy that says 'yeah, don't do that' but when push comes to shove you might find many people think they should have the right to delete their own words for any reason, or no reason.
posted by Ritchie at 7:27 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Will there be a limit to the number of times you can edit a particular comment? In case I missed it being mentioned earlier in this thread, may I suggest a limit of 'once'?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:42 PM on August 8, 2012


I assume the mods would retain the original comment and be able to revert an edited comment to its original state if an inappropriate edit was made such as blanking or wholesale rewriting?
posted by Scientist at 7:48 PM on August 8, 2012


We'd be more likely to delete the whole thing, give the user a week off, and change the user icon to something like this.

Honestly we're not sure. We feel that we'd prefer users email us if they need to delete comments and not blank them themselves, but that's a tricky thing to figure out. I don't think we'd revert comments, that seems like something that would be more trouble than useful.

And right now we're definitely talking about this as something for comments and then seeing how it works and then seeing if it's robust enough for posts.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:58 PM on August 8, 2012


I'm in the camp that thinks this is really problematic and different-from-MeFi. It may not mean the end of the site, but I agree with some of the things koeselitz and Ivan F have said about impact on discourse. And some of that does come from trying to have lengthier, substantive conversations on FaceBook in which people keep changing their comments. One of the reasons people do this is that they've asserted some "fact" - let's say about gay marriage or a candidate's history - that's then debunked by someone else, and for vanity's sake, or to strengthen their argument, or whatever, they edit their comment so it appears they never included that fact. There are some discussions on MeFi where I think the temptation to do this would be extremely strong for some users.

And I've always appreciated the MeFi culture of flat accountability. You wrote it, you said it, it's there, and it's part of your history and it's attached to your username. Part of the reason we have a high-level dialogue here is this understanding of accountability, which makes people only willing to write what they decide in any given moment they are OK with having in their visible history. With editing, that accountability disappears. Words could become weapons for sixty seconds, then disappear forever - but probably not before another conversant could see them. OR they could be remain in that edit history - which, make no mistake, would continue to be fair game for people in heated discussions. We'd definitely be having discussions not just about the content of comments, but about what got edited and why, to the point where the edited content might just as well be in the original comment.

I've made a couple mistakes in FPPs about content, and asked to have them edited after the fact, and been told that no, once the discussion has been laid down all you can do is correct it in the comments - that we don't adjust discussions retroactively when we find out something was incorrect. Those weren't advantageous moments to me, but I sucked it up because I respected the higher goal: users are accountable for what they write, and the site's real, lived history - not a scrubbed, neatened-up version of the site's history - is available to all, as long as the site lasts. I prefer it that way.

Though I'm not a mod, I also feel like I have a bit of a window into the appeal of the edit window since I was a MetaChat admin and could - and did - edit my own comments there. Sometimes I did it innocuously - typos, better phrasing, etc - but sometimes, I will be honest, I regretted my tone or wanted to dial back an assertion. In other words, I really changed the nature of my comment. And because I had the power to do that, I found that I really acted differently on the site. I knew there was a trap door I could use to escape if I had regrets. That wasn't the best understanding for me to have going into a comment. It didn't result in me keeping my best wits about me when commenting - things became too easy. It might not seem like a lot of users would act differently, but I am one person who observed that tendency in myself.

I can't even decide, if this were implemented, if I would prefer visible edit history or invisible edit history. With visible edit history, we'd have a couple problems: darting back and forth between the actual page and the edit page, and also the dragging of comments edited out back into the discussion. With invisible history, we'd end up with that weird, shifting-sands feeling that you just can't trust what you've read - did you imagine that X was said, or was it said and edited? Why was it edited? No explanation - black hole. A fuzzy element introduced into discourse.

So basically I hope it's not implemented. I'm with those who have tried it elsewhere and find little to gain, much to lose. Keep it simple, and keep us accountable for pitching it right the first time, or living with the consequences.
posted by Miko at 8:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


This is a bad idea and I hate it.

There's gonna be stuff in threads that responds to stuff that has since been changed. That will break MetaFilter.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:03 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I still think this would be an unnecessary complication. I pretty much hate it. There is no reason for it. You don't need edit windows when you already have preview-- it solves the non-problem of a few typos and misaligned hyperlinks.

I am a certified, professionally diagnosed perfectionist, and even I can see the charm in typos on a site where the people are already so well-spoken and intelligent as to be intimidating to converse with.
posted by zennie at 8:10 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We feel that we'd prefer users email us if they need to delete comments and not blank them themselves, but that's a tricky thing to figure out.

Fair enough. In shaping the policy I think you'd definitely have to address the viewpoint of people who say 'I CREATED THIS COMMENT ON METAFILTER AND THEREFORE I CAN DELETE IT IF I WANT GODDAMN IT!' so that it's clear that that is actually not okay.

The only other objection I can think of is that the ability to fuck with the conversation with comment-edits may attract new people to MetaFilter who specifically want to fuck with the conversation through comment-edits, but I'd guess the joining fee would continue to dissuade all but the most die-hard.
posted by Ritchie at 8:10 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


How would you establish a line between "blanking" a comment and removing large - say, paragraphs - chunks from it?
posted by Miko at 8:12 PM on August 8, 2012


I'd guess the joining fee would continue to dissuade all but the most die-hard.

And the quick and forceful bannings should dissuade the rest. This is something we will specifically have no tolerance for.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:13 PM on August 8, 2012


And then there's criteria. What's an "innocuous edit?" Typos and grammar? Most of us would be OK with that. Fact-checking and changing? Mostly OK probably. Changing the thrust or intensity of an argument? Murkier. Opinion-modifying after the fact? Mmmm, iffy. And given that just a word or two can definitely change the tone or approach, it would make for some seriously alert mod review - a bump up in workload, for sure, at least during the weeks surrounding implementation.

And lots of resulting unhappiness by people who think something should have stayed or gone or someone edits too heavily and gets away with it, etc., would end up here in MeTa.
posted by Miko at 8:17 PM on August 8, 2012


I'm against an edit function because it would be too open to abuse. Preview works when I remember to click it, any errors are those of the author.
posted by arcticseal at 8:25 PM on August 8, 2012


How would you establish a line between "blanking" a comment and removing large - say, paragraphs - chunks from it?

Basically saying "this is for typos and small minor edits" and expecting people to be okay with that is what we're starting with and seeing if it's a problem. There are technical ways to track just how much is getting edited if we need to implement a technical solution to this.

The larger point is that there are a lot of people who agonize over typos. And people still make typos. I wish they didn't but we have to sort of deal with what's really happening and not how we wish people would be.

We'd like them to be able to fix this sort of thing. We don't want them to fuck around, the same way we don't want them to say "go fuck yourself" or making ironic racist statements, and that's enforceable, possibly bumpily at first. We've always got the presumption of good faith as a starting point so being clear about how we expect this to work should work for most people and we can deal with the rest of the stuff as it comes up. That's the hope anyhow.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:27 PM on August 8, 2012


So the idea is, you will allow people to correct typos, and that's it?
posted by Miko at 8:32 PM on August 8, 2012


And you could have a policy that says 'yeah, don't do that' but when push comes to shove you might find many people think they should have the right to delete their own words for any reason, or no reason.

When push comes to shove we can revert a comment and give someone a timeout if they can't abide by the editing guidelines or are acting out with the feature. Insisting on the right to do something on mefi that is not actually okay to do on mefi is not a winning strategy in general.

And right now we're definitely talking about this as something for comments and then seeing how it works and then seeing if it's robust enough for posts.

Yeah, posts are a lot more complicated in more than one way. It's not impossible that a successful run with a comment editing feature would point toward a similar post editing feature being viable, but the complexity and the continuity implications are both a lot bigger there and I really wonder if it'd ever be worth it.

There's gonna be stuff in threads that responds to stuff that has since been changed. That will break MetaFilter.

It's something I worried about for a long time too, but much of the notional design and enforcement stuff we have in mind is specifically geared toward serioulsy minimizing that as an issue. I am at this point doubtful that it'd even be as conspicuous an issue as what comes with the occasional need we have to remove a comment from a thread when it's been responded to by other users.

In shaping the policy I think you'd definitely have to address the viewpoint of people who say 'I CREATED THIS COMMENT ON METAFILTER AND THEREFORE I CAN DELETE IT IF I WANT GODDAMN IT!' so that it's clear that that is actually not okay.

I'm sure we will. I mean, this is already pretty much site policy; we'll certainly be responsive if you want a comment removed for some reason, but aggro YOU MUST DELETE CONTENT X FROM THE SITE is more of a "please have your lawyer contact us" situation.

How would you establish a line between "blanking" a comment and removing large - say, paragraphs - chunks from it?

We wouldn't; they're both "do not do this" things. The line is between minor, minor edits and everything else.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:33 PM on August 8, 2012


Let's perhaps think a bit further features we anticipate might require quick and forceful bannings as a side effect of implementation?

The larger point is that there are a lot of people who agonize over typos.

O hai.
The healthy solution for this is to accept the typos.

And, you know, there will still be typos if there are edit windows because hello we already have an edit window called preview and THAT doesn't prevent the typos.

So next, what? We fight about the length of the edit window?

And these people who are typophobic, they are going to have their typos preserved forever anyway in the history? Because if there is no history that will be a huge headache.

SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THIS SOLVES.
posted by zennie at 8:36 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


So have you considered an approach where instead of granting users the ability to get into their own comment and make changes, which the mods would monitor and police, you instead had a function where people could do the typo correcting, if they wanted, and send it to the contact form with a click or so - essentially submitting requested changes to the mods on duty instead?
posted by Miko at 8:36 PM on August 8, 2012


PS. O hai = oh hi, that's me.

I'm going to bed now before I start to remember details of when edit windows were my own modding headache and not hypothetical yours.
posted by zennie at 8:42 PM on August 8, 2012


there will still be typos if there are edit windows

Amen to that. One of my professional skills is copyediting and proofreading, and I'm a capable enough writer with a good grasp of spelling and usage, and I make typos like crazy. I don't always see them in the edit window. I don't always see them in the comment. Sometimes I don't see them for days. This isn't a personal failing (completely) - it's a cognitive bias, and it's exactly why when you write something for publication, you need other people to proof it, not just you. It's because we read efficiently, for meaning, and we don't (normally) read letter by letter, for accuracy - so when we're rereading our own words, we often see what it was we meant to write, not what we did write.

So the edit window - particularly if it's short, as it seems to need to be - won't make typos go away. It will catch some egregious ones, but there will be abundant typos that survive. There will also be the things we call "typos" (really errors) that survive just because the people who comment don't know they are errors.

A couple of years ago I stopped snarking at typos/errors and also stopped apologizing for mine, mostly. They do happen and I think it's something we can promote more cultural acceptance of, instead of imagining we can vanquish the issue forever, and have a site that reads like the New Yorker. That'll never happen.
posted by Miko at 8:42 PM on August 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Let's perhaps think a bit further features we anticipate might require quick and forceful bannings as a side effect of implementation?

It's not the feature, it's the griefing. Griefing in general, most especially from people who sign up just to do it (as in the hypothetical I was responding to) will get a swift mod reaction.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:44 PM on August 8, 2012


you instead had a function where people could do the typo correcting, if they wanted, and send it to the contact form with a click or so - essentially submitting requested changes to the mods on duty instead?

This is basically what the comment form is at this point, at least it's one of the things people use it for. It's basically a decision point for us about whether we need this to be a situation where we pre-approove edits [the current situation where it can only be done by us] or whether we post-approve them [by seeing the edits that are made and making sure that they are okay and figuring out if we have to adjust expectations, education or something else.

The healthy solution for this is to accept the typos.

With respect, this is not a realistic goal. I'm okay hassling myself about being accepting about my own typos, but I'm not going to hassle someone else about their own anxiety about their typos.

SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THIS SOLVES.

It's something that was not technologically possible when the site started. It gives users slightly more control over something that they have indicated they'd like control over. It frees up more mod time (not just making individual edits but the expectation that we'll be available for "please fix this right now!" typos) which lets us do other things and lets users manage their own small errors. It makes the site operate more like other sites people are used to.

If you have experiences with a site that has used this and would like to share them, we'd love to hear about them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:45 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's perhaps think a bit further features we anticipate might require quick and forceful bannings as a side effect of implementation?

Two big features that fall into that bucket are posting and commenting. Both of which have gotten plenty of folks banned over the years, though for the vast majority of the userbase they don't represent any such problem.

"Do not abuse the site guidelines" is a pretty key thing around here, and something that folks overwhelmingly stick to, and every now and then someone aggressively declines to and gets the boot. Extending that to an editing feature is not a seismic change, it's just adding another little piece to how the site works. Not abusing it will be part of the deal with being a member here, just like not e.g. self-linking on the front page or posting shock sites in random threads is.

there will still be typos if there are edit windows

Something we have acknowledged, many times, when discussing the pros and cons on this. pb linked a bunch of previous discussions about the idea of an edit feature up near the top of this thread; I feel like we are discussing specific aspects that have come up and been answered several times in the past, and while we will go ahead and discuss them again here as needed, it may be worth reading through those old threads to see what we've said if you feel like you have serious open questions that you're not seeing addressed already in here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:46 PM on August 8, 2012


I think part of the problem with Jessamyn's comment about the mods' use of the edit feature being its strongest argument is that it doesn't acknowledge the differences in how mods think vs. the rest of the userbase. Correct me if I'm wrong, mods, but my guess is that when you comment, in any of the subsites, you are cognizant of the fact that you are the most recognizable faces of this site as a whole. If you make a mean comment, or present anything other than a calm, collected, and friendly (but firm!) face to the outside, then that reflects negatively on the site. That awareness means that your comments are well-thought-out before you post them. And it makes sense that you all use the edit feature because, again, your words are the voice of the Official Site. I'm not saying that I fall to my knees in abject worship in the face of good grammar, but a well-written, reasoned response that lacks typos definitely commands more respect than "UR being an ass so stop."

Regular users, though, don't have that influence on our comments. When we speak, we speak for ourselves. If we make an ass of ourselves, it's only our reputation that suffers. The lack of an edit window really does provide a minimal barrier to commenting that's not so dissimilar to the $5 buy-in for getting an account. $5 isn't outside most people's means, but it still has a (positive) filtering effect on the people who join. I understand that you're talking about a typo editing window rather than a content editing function, but it still seems like it would lower that barrier to commenting. Ultimately I do think that would have a negative effect on the character of the site, just like it would if the the $5 buy-in were removed.
posted by Osrinith at 8:54 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Artw: "generally their written to"

You did that on purpose didn't you. I hate you.

*sulks in corner, gets over it, forgives Artw, hugs all around*
posted by IndigoRain at 8:57 PM on August 8, 2012


a well-written, reasoned response that lacks typos definitely commands more respect than "UR being an ass so stop."

We were actually just talking about our usage earlier and I strongly, strongly suspect that I edit my (non-mod) AskMe responses or commentary about Scarlett Johannson's eyebrows just as often as I clean up Official Mod Comments (which I am definitely more careful about in the first, place, granted, but I type like a drunken monkey pretty regularly anyway.) So yes, definitely we are aware of the impact of official statements, but I don't think that actually changes how we use it as regular users. (Although we are all probably unlikely to edit in goatse links or whatever.)
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:05 PM on August 8, 2012


Cortex, I promise not to do anything to make you permaban me at least until I have experienced this Metafilter w/ Edit Window promised land nirvana.


I don't know if this is going to slow down or speed up the implementation process.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:05 PM on August 8, 2012


A couple of questions have come to mind.

One, let's say that somebody decides that they want a comment of theirs deleted and so they go in and make a radical change to it like, say, appending "ALL CHRISTIANS ARE RETARDED AND SHOULD SUCK MY BALLS" (sorry) because they know that that makes it a deleteworthy comment. Presumably they get a timeout or at least a stern talking to, but would the mods in that case delete the comment (thus giving the user what they want) or revert it to its original state?

Two, if someone makes a substantive edit to a comment that's well-outside the scope of acceptable editing but which does not make the comment in question unacceptable in and of itself, and no other members notice this and flag it or contact the mods, would the mods have a way of knowing? Would they get a message every time a comment was edited, and would they be expected to check up on every edit to make sure it obeyed the guidelines? If they did find a guideline-breaking edit that didn't create an actual guideline-breaking comment, and no other users were complaining about it, what would the response be? Would the user still be timed out and the comment reverted or deleted?
posted by Scientist at 9:16 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


restless_nomad: "We were actually just talking about our usage earlier and I strongly, strongly suspect that I edit my (non-mod) AskMe responses or commentary about Scarlett Johannson's eyebrows just as often as I clean up Official Mod Comments (which I am definitely more careful about in the first, place, granted, but I type like a drunken monkey pretty regularly anyway.) So yes, definitely we are aware of the impact of official statements, but I don't think that actually changes how we use it as regular users. (Although we are all probably unlikely to edit in goatse links or whatever.)"

That's interesting, restless_nomad. Out of curiosity, do you feel like your commenting style (in non-official capacity) is the same as before you became a mod? I feel like the mods are consistently even-keeled in their responses, whatever the setting. That may just reflect the kind of person asked to become a mod, though, and not a consequence of becoming one.

Regardless, the $5 account fee appears to be (almost) universally recognized as being good for the site, in terms of ensuring that only people who WANT to be here are actually here. I guess I feel like the lack of editing capabilities does the same thing for commenting. And while I do believe that typos are a fact of life, I'm very, very happy to be a part of an online community that cares enough about them to have a 250-comment thread discussing their elimination.
posted by Osrinith at 9:17 PM on August 8, 2012


It's something that was not technologically possible when the site started.

Death Rays are new, and therefore good!

It gives users slightly more control over something that they have indicated they'd like control over.

People want Death Rays, so Death Rays they shall have!

It frees up more mod time (not just making individual edits but the expectation that we'll be available for "please fix this right now!" typos) which lets us do other things and lets users manage their own small errors.

Since everyone has Death Rays, the police will have all kinds of free time!

It makes the site operate more like other sites people are used to.

Who leaves a country packed with Death Rays to come to a non-Death Ray country?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


would the mods in that case delete the comment (thus giving the user what they want) or revert it to its original state?

We're in the weeds here with hypotheticals. We really don't know. Your example was weird and problematic and I wish you hadn't made it. We would plan to have some sort of an edit log so we could see changes that were made. Some of this stuff will have to wait for real world examples to come up. I think people are foreseeing much more fuckery than will actually happen.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:28 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Death Rays are new, and therefore good!

Quick, Edna, fetch the smelling salts - someone's got the vapours!

Seriously, though, when you're reduced to comparing an edit function on a website to death rays, I fear you may have succumbed to exaggeration.
posted by smoke at 9:30 PM on August 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Out of curiosity, do you feel like your commenting style (in non-official capacity) is the same as before you became a mod?

Pretty much, with two exceptions: I probably pull out the full-on sarcastic "tough love" thing less on AskMe (although that's as much about me zeroing in on what I hope is a genuinely helpful answering style as anything) and I comment way, way more on the blue, just because I now have time to read it because I don't have a day job other than, you know, reading the blue.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:31 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


My apologies. It was a hypothetical, not a recommendation. I agree that it would be a shitty thing for somebody to do. I'm totally OK with the response of "We don't know, we'd have to figure that out if/when it came up". I don't understand what was weird and problematic about the example though -- again, I was just spitballing about ways that things could go wrong, not trying to encourage people to be assholes. Can you explain why I should not have made that example, so that I can refrain from doing things like that in the future?
posted by Scientist at 9:38 PM on August 8, 2012


Death rays can be quite helpful.
posted by Drastic at 9:40 PM on August 8, 2012


Death rays can be quite helpful.

But might they also have military applications?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:42 PM on August 8, 2012


Can you explain why I should not have made that example, so that I can refrain from doing things like that in the future?

Hypotheticals are almost always severely annoying for us, because there's too much context that influences almost every decision (including some, none or all of the following: user, the mod, the thread, the time of day, the topic, the conversational participants, the current and historical sociopolitical climate, etc) that we just can't give useful answers to spitballed hypotheticals. It gets worse when it's a system the details of which we haven't even totally hashed out, and the use of which we have zero historical data for.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:43 PM on August 8, 2012


Sys Rq: "People want Death Rays, so Death Rays they shall have!"

People can't be trusted to know what's best for them! Only I know what is best for other people!
posted by Chrysostom at 9:46 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you explain why I should not have made that example, so that I can refrain from doing things like that in the future?

Yeah, calling Christians retarded, even as an "example of something not to do" is still sort of uncool and there are many other ways you can make a point without selecting a few hot button frequently-MetaTalked issues to combine in some perfect MeFi-Godwinball.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:48 PM on August 8, 2012


Death Rays can cure cancer, figure out your shoe size and cook your dinner. There's pretty much nothing a good Death Ray can't help you with.
posted by bonehead at 9:49 PM on August 8, 2012


In short, I'm very pro-Death Ray.
posted by bonehead at 9:49 PM on August 8, 2012


Ah, sorry. Seemed fairly harmless at the time. I'll not do that again, and I'll let you guys do your own spitballing I guess. I guess I have an unhealthy interest in how moderation is done around here, mostly because it's generally done so well. I'm not trying to cause problems.
posted by Scientist at 9:59 PM on August 8, 2012


On the one hand, I'm Pro Edit Window.

On the other, I'm Anti Death Ray.

So torn.

But seriously, I'm pro Edit Window.
posted by Admira at 10:05 PM on August 8, 2012


I actually don't forsee a lot of malicious messing-with-the-site on this feature, to be honest. I am still interested in seeing how things play out, though.

One thing I was thinking about - on a few of the other forums I'm on where there's an edit window (principally Hacker News) it has become customary to add a note like this at the end of a comment:

[Edited: changed typo "it's" to "its."]

I'm wondering if maybe people would start to do that, just because they're used to doing it on other sites. I guess i'm not absolutely sure how widespread that custom is. I also wonder whether that should be encouraged or not.

I do like better the idea of invisible edits, for the reasons I outlined above: edit logs are distracting and should be unnecessary. I would prefer not to have something like what was suggested in this post - a way for all users to track changes. Now, that has problems in itself, because it would be unfortunate to lose some insight into the trackback, but those problems are outweighed, I think, by the fact that edits are generally not supposed to be substantial enough to need publicity, and if they are then there's a problem anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 10:06 PM on August 8, 2012


Why not do like gmail's "undo send" feature and queue a comment to be posted when you hit the "post comment" button. You can edit for 3 minutes. After that, it's really posted and others can see it. This would be an opt-in feature, of course.
posted by jewzilla at 11:24 PM on August 8, 2012


Probably the only time the edit window will be abused is when someone cannot make their mind up about serial commas.
posted by Ritchie at 11:35 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So what this comes down to is that this is really only about typos, which writers hate to make even though they're not important and readers expect to see them, but because some writers hate to make typos so much they'd like a way to eliminate them entirely, except that an edit window won't actually eliminate them entirely any more than using the preview window (that they're not using) would eliminate them entirely, because writers will never catch all their own mistakes, and so this won't solve a problem that's an actual problem for readers, but only for the writer, when they're aware of it, and usually they aren't aware of it — but will, on the other hand, create many opportunities for new problems that will require strong administrative and community enforcement to avoid, will encourage people to be just that little bit less careful when they write than they already are, and add just that much more uncertainty about the reliability of the words that one reads here.

And the conclusion is that this would add true value to the site?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:40 PM on August 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why not do like gmail's "undo send" feature and queue a comment to be posted when you hit the "post comment" button. You can edit for 3 minutes. After that, it's really posted and others can see it. This would be an opt-in feature, of course.

We could just make the Preview button mandatory. Users will have as long an edit window as they want. Add a mandatory time delay after Preview if necessary. Post Comment button will become active only after the comment has been previewed for a minimum of X minutes.

But honestly, I don't see why typos are such a big deal. I'm irritated when I make them, but usually not enough to bat-signal the mods. Is it really an issue over which the site's DNA needs to be altered?
posted by vidur at 11:46 PM on August 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dislike reading typos as much as I dislike writing them, be it online or in a newspaper or in a book. They are distracting and confusing and lower the quality of the printed word which is why newspapers and books try to avoid them so much in the first place.

Note, professional writers even with their own proofreading and a professional editor still make mistakes. You can't expect amateurs to match that but that is no reason not to give us the best tools to try.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:14 AM on August 9, 2012


I'd prefer a bilt in spelcheker grammar and grammarcheker,
posted by MuffinMan at 12:23 AM on August 9, 2012


I dislike reading typos as much as I dislike writing them, be it online or in a newspaper or in a book. They are distracting and confusing and lower the quality of the printed word which is why newspapers and books try to avoid them so much in the first place.

Note, professional writers even with their own proofreading and a professional editor still make mistakes. You can't expect amateurs to match that but that is no reason not to give us the best tools to try.


I agree completely.

I just draw the line for "best tools" at browser-based spellcheck and MeFi's Preview functionality.
posted by vidur at 12:37 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, you do randomly and without much logical basis draw the line there.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:44 AM on August 9, 2012


You realise, Ivan, that readers and writers in this community are oft-times the very same people?

I feel your objections have been articulated and noted, continuing to characterise anyone that disagrees with your self-evident argument as lazy, stupid, egotistical and their opinions as invalid, trivial, and self-serving (as opposed to yours) etc is not a great way to progress the discussion, imho.
posted by smoke at 12:46 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't realize that the logical definition of "best" in the context of anti-typo tools had been set as "edit window".
posted by vidur at 12:52 AM on August 9, 2012


Better, for sure.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:57 AM on August 9, 2012


I would like an edit function and I promise not to abuse it.
posted by h00py at 2:25 AM on August 9, 2012


I would like an edit function and I promise not to abuse it.

That brings up the question of what constitutes abuse.

Recently I had fun on someone's Facebook wall by responding to their comment, waiting for them to respond to my comment and then deleting my comment, so it looked like they were talking to themselves. It was all in good fun and the other person found it amusing also, so no harm.

I could easily see that situation happening in a MeTa thread, at least among a few regulars. Is that abuse? I'm not asking the mods for an answer to an hypothetical, just sharing a line of thought.

Otherwise, as person who regularly bugs the mods the mods to fix egregious typos, I don't see much of an upside to adding the feature. The site would survive, but some dynamics would probably change and what would be the upside? Would it really be worth it? My instincts say no.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:06 AM on August 9, 2012


> The healthy solution for this is to accept the typos.

>> With respect, this is not a realistic goal. I'm okay hassling myself about being accepting about my own typos, but I'm not going to hassle someone else about their own anxiety about their typos.


I understand that people have anxiety about typos and other errors, and that it would be nice to do something to help them. I cringe almost every time I post something. In all seriousness, my heart races and I hold my breath and usually have to walk away from the computer. I took up therapy time just to deal with my anxiety about posting something and having it just be stuck out there in the world. The reason I almost never follow up a comment with a 'typo correction' comment is not because I'm fra-la-la about typos... it's because I mostly can't deal with pointing out my typo.

For everyone else, maybe it will be a nice truly helpful thing. For the anxious? I am wary. It wouldn't have helped me. I think it would have made me feel worse in some ways. To me the unrealistic thing is to expect to be able to fix the "problem" of human error.

I'm not trying to be all doom and gloom about this and I apologize if I came across that way in this thread. I don't think it would be 'the downfall of metafitler' or whatever someone said above. Maybe it would help some people and maybe it will help the modding. I don't know, I just fear. :)
posted by zennie at 4:30 AM on August 9, 2012


I hate this idea.

Also, I know that all a 3-minute edit window would do would be to push the time I realise I made a mistake back by 3 minutes.

A Thousand Baited Hooks fucked around with this message at 9:36 pm on 9 August
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:39 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


the mods' use of the edit feature being its strongest argument is that it doesn't acknowledge the differences in how mods think vs. the rest of the userbase.

Despite restless_nomad's protestations, I do think there is a big distinction. The mods may not feel as though they ride themselves harder than they would if they weren't mods. And they probably don't. But they are mods for a reason - they are people capable of more detached judgment and more fair play and a less argumentative nature than some of the rest of us. They don't need to ride themselves harder, because they're less gripped by some of the emotional hooks or hobbyhorses or animosities that develop in others. Perhaps because they personally can't imagine giving in to some of the baser temptations of even subtle editing, or because those temptations don't even occur to them, they don't think others will want to. But not all of us are cut from mod cloth, and that's why our commenting patterns differ.

I hope we're all as good as the mods think, since this train seems to be leaving the station, but I'm not quite so optimistic about behavior. Perhaps people will step up to the new responsibility and edit only in minor and neutral ways. Perhaps it's really only a small, easily disciplined subset of people who are going to want to interpret "minor edits" as changes in shading or removal of inconvenient assertions. I guess we'll see.
posted by Miko at 4:54 AM on August 9, 2012


not all of us are cut from mod cloth

I see what you did there (and it looks fabulous on you).
posted by Rock Steady at 4:59 AM on August 9, 2012


Every time people talk about how "progressive" Metafilter is, you just need to examine this statement to see how conservative we really are. Arguing against change because of imagined abuses and "it's always been done this way" is the very definition of conservative.

And, hey, if you don't want to get pregnant, don't have sex--er, sorry--if you don't want typos, don't write comments.


You're right that this is a conservative impulse, with a small 'c', you are wrong that this has anything to do with political or social mores. Conservatism in this case is people being concerned that for a small upside we would be making a big change to the site. It would be similarly conservative to resist calls to allow users to disparage each other in racist ways.

I dislike this idea, although of course I will work with it if it occurs. I do think that there are likely to be real challenges to the community as this is implemented, not through griefing, but because not everyone reads these conversations. Look at the persistence of @username. There will be a fair number of folks who innocently use this the wrong way.
posted by OmieWise at 5:05 AM on August 9, 2012


I don't think this will "break" Metafilter. nor will it affect the rather lengthy comment, back and forth discussions that Metafilter is known for.

That brings up the question of what constitutes abuse.

That is actually a very easy question to answer. Abuse is disingenuously changing your comment to a completely different context. Someone may forget a "not" every once and a while but it is pretty easy to see when someone honestly makes that mistake and when someone is being an asshole about it. I think a history (even a short one, even for laughs) of changing content would be a multiple-day long time-out offense at first and a ban after.

I hadn't planed on commenting here, but seeing as it has turned into an informal vote, I wish to state I favor a limited edit window function, and I think Metafilter will be just fine with such a function.
posted by edgeways at 6:33 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think, more than half seriously, that there is a branding issue here. An "edit window" indicates that you can edit your comment, and editing is a much more inclusive set of behaviors than this "edit window" will be meant for. This is less an "edit window" and more a "typo fixer". If you have a mangled case, an its/it's, a misspelling, a leftover clause, or similar issue than this feature can help you. If you are having second thoughts, wish to clarify something, or want to add or subtract a substantive point, than you will continue to be out of luck. As it should be!

If this framed correctly, and enforced by the mods and the mob, and perhaps there is a rough built in "it looks like you are changing a lot - you know this is not for that, yes?" then the edit window typo fixer will not be much trouble to the community at large. And it will make me, for one, happy.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:42 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is less an "edit window" and more a "typo fixer".

This is a great idea. I'd suggest the button for this feature being something like [fix typo] or [correct error] instead of [edit comment]. Sends a much clearer message, especially for new users or people who never come to MetaTalk.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:29 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Another vote against this feature; on boards where it exists I find it far more distracting than any typo to click to see the previous version or read "edited to fix [minor thing]".
posted by lalex at 7:34 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see whether someone has suggested this above, but could the edits appear as some form of always-visible redlined version, such that there's no clicking around necessary to see whether something's been edited or how it's been edited?
posted by The World Famous at 7:49 AM on August 9, 2012


This is less an "edit window" and more a "typo fixer".

"Lightning round"

I don't see whether someone has suggested this above, but could the edits appear as some form of always-visible redlined version, such that there's no clicking around necessary to see whether something's been edited or how it's been edited?

No, that kind of jarring visibility is pretty much the exact opposite of what we want to achieve. Edits should be (a) so innocuous that they basically don't matter to the flow of a thread and (b) basically invisible so that they don't become a new point of discussion in the thread.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:57 AM on August 9, 2012


Ah. OK, then. I promise to honor that policy for how edits should work (in fact, I probably won't use it much even when I do make typos). And, as I stated above, I will happily to submit to the proven wisdom of the Mods. I predict some initial drama due to people testing the limits of the moderation of that policy, but I also think that drama will die down once the community gets a sense of where the limits really are.
posted by The World Famous at 8:05 AM on August 9, 2012


If you have a mangled case, an its/it's, a misspelling, a leftover clause, or similar issue than this feature can help you. If you ... wish to clarify something, or want to add or subtract a substantive point, than you will continue to be out of luck.

Possessing the ability to fix the latter but lacking permission to do so would be incredibly frustrating. [Note: I edited out "having second thoughts" as that is not at all what I am talking about]

Typing is the translation of thoughts into words. The errors I am going to make and catch and care about are not typographical or usage, they are structural. And while to others any changes I am allowed to make may read as major (that is why I want to change them!) to me they are minor, they are the same inner thoughts, better expressed.

I understand that this is on me, that I need to translate better, quicker, etc but being teased with the idea of something and finding out the likely reality of its implementation to not allow what I would care about and be for things "so innocuous that they basically don't matter to the flow of a thread" feels really awful.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:17 AM on August 9, 2012


being teased with the idea of something and finding out the likely reality of its implementation to not allow what I would care about and be for things "so innocuous that they basically don't matter to the flow of a thread" feels really awful.

I'm sorry that this feels like teasing to you. We're actively trying to listen to feedback and construct something that we feel will work to solve the large scale problems that people have while being the least intrusive for people who dislike this idea and it's challenging. We feel that people who have substantive additions/subtractions that they need to make, can make a clarifying comment.

Otherwise we're potentially stuck in a situation where the thread has moved on and the comment has already been referred to and/or quoted and the original commenter makes a substantive change and this situation is one that many people find problematic.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:24 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge: “I dislike reading typos as much as I dislike writing them, be it online or in a newspaper or in a book. They are distracting and confusing and lower the quality of the printed word which is why newspapers and books try to avoid them so much in the first place.”

There is no way to get rid of typos entirely. I predict this won't have any noticeable effect on the general number of typos on the site at all. That's okay. The intention seems to be to give people a sort of way to edit out the typos that they make, since generally the ones that annoy us most are the ones we make ourselves.

zarq: “You don't find it distracting when people nitpick them in the middle of a thread? Because I find that a helluva lot more distracting than a tiny link would be. Frankly, I don't think the aesthetics of a tiny extra link on the page by each comment trump the annoyance that comes from people complaining at or making fun of each other... Finally, some of it (at least on my part) is also wanting to make sure that an FPP's thread doesn't get derailed due to a silly typo, because mefites love to nitpick. See the comment I linked to earlier. Someone actually pointed out how many quotation errors I made in an FPP.”

I actually think this will make these things worse. Right now, it's tempting to say "argh, I just made an error there." It will be vastly more tempting to say "argh, I just made an error there, and the edit window is already passed." And I don't doubt that that will be a common occurrence.

Moreover, there are cases in which this would probably become worse. You say that mefites love to nitpick; that hasn't always been my experience, but we'll go with that. Right now, if I accidentally say "it's" rather than "its" and can't do a darned thing to fix it, people might be tempted to say something about it. But how much more tempted would people be if it was actually helpful to point that out? I have a feeling we'll see a lot of comments to the effect of "um, if you still have your edit window, you misspelled that word, maybe correct it?" Which would be distracting. I have a feeling that would be strongly discouraged, but it is likely to be a thing that happens.

In general, it just seems like, if we're going to do this, we probably should go into it with the correct expectations. This is absolutely not a way to eliminate typos in general on the site. It is absolutely not a way to streamline conversation. At best, it will have little to no effect on those things. The goal here is to give people a way to correct the little errors that they make which annoy them, and which they would otherwise have to ask the mods to fix for them. That is pretty much all it will do. That's okay, I think – just better to be clear on what it will and will not do. As cortex said above, I have a feeling that, if this has a noticeable effect on conversation, it's probably being used wrong.
posted by koeselitz at 8:28 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ivan Fyodorovich: " I don't understand how you'd not notice HTML errors in preview (assuming you don't mean things like failing to bold when you intended, which are just not that important).

I exchanged emails with cortex and pb a few weeks ago about a weird problem I was having while using the mefi quote greasemonkey script. The script uses the <i> code for italics. The button at the bottom of each comment window uses the <em> code for italics. I would routinely quote someone selectively using the script, and then cut and paste chunks of text around. Then italicize them using the button. And invariably, forget to close a tag. Or close an <em&gt tag by hand using </i>.

The preview window doesn't distinguish perfectly between the two types of italics codes.

In a comment, when you start a sentence with an open EM tag (<em>), and then close it with an I tag, the preview window stops rendering text as italics! But when you click post, the html renderer realizes that you still have an open EM tag and leaves all text that follows italics.

This drove me completely insane until I figured out what was happening. The preview window showed no italics... and yet they showed up anyway.

Now granted, this probably affects very few people -- and even then only rarely. But yeah, "hidden" html error. So it can happen.

The only errors I ever make in formatting (where it changes the meaning, such as in the case of setting apart quotes) or in actual meaning (where people will truly be misled), I always catch when I proofread, usually at the preview stage.

I feel like I follow up on my comments a lot. I also see other folks do so pretty often. Perhaps that's confirmation bias, I don't know.

The only other errors I don't catch before I post are all typos that everyone will either recognize immediately or will understand in context. Again, I can't recall the last time that I actually misunderstood something someone wrote here because of a typo.

Perhaps that's also because they clarified in a subsequent comment?

I'm sure it must have happened — but it's rare.

I honestly don't think it's all that rare. I see follow-up comments from people all the time about html issues, typos and clarifications.

You keep saying that you make typos but you know what? I have absolutely no sense that you're prone to typos. Your supposed tendency to make such errors has not shaped my impression of your writing at all. I don't find your comments difficult to understand, or mysteriously contradictory, or carelessly full of typos. Quite the opposite, in fact.

That's kind of you to say, thanks.

But still, it's an issue for me.

The vast majority of people who care a lot about this are people for whom it's not actually a problem. That is, it's not actually a problem with regard to the quality of their writing. It's only a problem with regard to their own perfectionism, or otherwise with regard to their unfounded fears about their social persona.

Perhaps. While I think that may be part of it for some folks, I don't believe it's the whole picture for everyone.

I think that's an entirely reasonable concern but one that has largely been addressed via moderation. In the past, people commented on such mistakes. Now, they don't."

Heh. That happened pretty recently! :)
posted by zarq at 8:41 AM on August 9, 2012


How about a 3-minute delete comment window?
posted by roboton666 at 8:47 AM on August 9, 2012


Suggestions:

1) Make comment editing a one-shot deal. You get one chance to edit each of your comments and that's it.

2) Limit the edit time window to either 3, 5 or 10 minutes.

3) Have a hard limit on the number of characters that can be changed in a comment. Perhaps 50 characters? This way, people could correct their typos, correct or add a URL, and/or change a word or three, but not make major changes or wipe lengthier comments completely.
posted by zarq at 8:49 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I like what zarq says. I'd like to riff on that a little...

A "repost" option that lives for 1-3 minutes after your post. You get to click "repost" exactly once.
  1. After you click repost your post is spit out as plaintext with the HTML intact.
  2. You get get 30-45 seconds to edit your post.
  3. If you do not finish editing in 45 seconds, your original comment stands.
That way, you can delete your dumb comment, and replace it with "I'm sorry, I was an ass", or fix the little typo, etc. The comment would stay in line.

Thoughts?
posted by roboton666 at 9:14 AM on August 9, 2012


Thoughts?

Threads move more quickly than that and it's likely to result in the exact situation we'd like to avoid.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:17 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of my typos are from over-thinking my posts. I spend 10 minutes re-arranging things and adding new stuff, and just after I hit post I realize that the partial sentence I added to an existing one doesn't match the tense or whatever

Yes! This happens to me a lot. They are like little Frankensteins, comments made from two or more fragments of sentences joined together. I feel a bit bad about it when it happens, but I figure anyone bothered by it is in worse shape than me, so I've pretty much learned to live with it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 AM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


That way, you can delete your dumb comment, and replace it with "I'm sorry, I was an ass"

I think that would be a horrible idea. An edit window that allows you to change your comment wholesale would not be good.
posted by OmieWise at 9:39 AM on August 9, 2012


koeselitz: "I actually think this will make these things worse. Right now, it's tempting to say "argh, I just made an error there." It will be vastly more tempting to say "argh, I just made an error there, and the edit window is already passed." And I don't doubt that that will be a common occurrence.

Heh. True, true.

Moreover, there are cases in which this would probably become worse. You say that mefites love to nitpick; that hasn't always been my experience, but we'll go with that.

I think it's more noticeable to me when it happens on posts I make to be honest. Once you've gotten into the 'several hundred posts' range people have had a lot of opportunities to complain.

Right now, if I accidentally say "it's" rather than "its" and can't do a darned thing to fix it, people might be tempted to say something about it. But how much more tempted would people be if it was actually helpful to point that out? I have a feeling we'll see a lot of comments to the effect of "um, if you still have your edit window, you misspelled that word, maybe correct it?" Which would be distracting. I have a feeling that would be strongly discouraged, but it is likely to be a thing that happens.

Quite possibly. I tend to think people would say that stuff over memail, though.

In general, it just seems like, if we're going to do this, we probably should go into it with the correct expectations. This is absolutely not a way to eliminate typos in general on the site. It is absolutely not a way to streamline conversation. At best, it will have little to no effect on those things. The goal here is to give people a way to correct the little errors that they make which annoy them, and which they would otherwise have to ask the mods to fix for them. That is pretty much all it will do. That's okay, I think – just better to be clear on what it will and will not do. As cortex said above, I have a feeling that, if this has a noticeable effect on conversation, it's probably being used wrong."

That's fair. I agree.
posted by zarq at 9:50 AM on August 9, 2012


What worries me if this is implemented is that future generations of Mefites, having never known a time before edit windows, will take their use for granted and find any limitations placed on them overly restrictive, and will demand greater edit window functionality. If future mods (who might well turn out to be permissive libertines, or at least forged from weaker steel than the current batch) then acquiesce to the majority of the userbase, you end up with debased standards of discourse where our collective comment history is an ever-shifting fluid mass much like the pupal goo discussed in this thread, liable to metamorphose into god knows what at any given moment, and we might see such horrors as people editing their comments to insert humblebraggy expressions of surprise and gratitude for how many favorites they received, upvote-related equivalents of which can be found all over Reddit, and the very thought of that makes me want to vomit blood all over the place.

Friends, the edit window will be a slow-acting poison to the standards of refined postcraft that set Metafilter apart from every other seedy den of lulz on the internet.

That said, I promise not to piss and moan about it after the fact if it does happen.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:51 AM on August 9, 2012


FUD! I have news for you: this isn't the nicest place on the net by a long shot.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:54 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Omie: Why?
posted by roboton666 at 10:02 AM on August 9, 2012


Jessamyn: What's the situation you are trying to avoid?
posted by roboton666 at 10:03 AM on August 9, 2012


perhaps there is a rough built in "it looks like you are changing a lot - you know this is not for that, yes?"

Yes, this, and/or a maximum number of characters you can change before you get a dialogue saying "if you need to make a substantial modification to your comment, please do so in a follow-up comment".

There are lots of ways people can abuse MetaFilter, but they're constrained by user vigilance and mod action. If someone tried to troll a thread with the edit feature they'd be flagged to hell, taken to MeTa, and banned on repeated offenses. Just like what happens when people are assholes otherwise.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 10:05 AM on August 9, 2012


You know, it just occurred to me that we could eliminate a lot of typos and such by simply making preview into a part of the Post Comment flow; hit Post Comment, see your comment, and have the ability to either Confirm (with auto-confirm after five seconds) or Cancel.

or not, but it is a thought
posted by davejay at 11:03 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Omie: Why?

Because allowing people to make substantive changes to their comments resulting from changes of heart (as opposed to those resulting from typos, like leaving out a 'not'), would be a substantial change from the way persistent identities have worked here. It would allow people to avoid the consequences of their actions by modifying history, and therefore likely result in people taking less time to consider their statements before the fact. It would result in broken threads in which people respond to comments that are, after the fact, removed from the thread. In short, it would radically change the way conversation takes place here, and conversation works here really well. Why would we want to introduce such changes when the risk (probability?) is that we would break the thing we are seeking to improve?

(Thankfully, as I read the mod comments here, such radical changes are not under consideration.)
posted by OmieWise at 11:19 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I’m agin it. The cost/benefit calculation doesn’t make any sense to me. Changing the way the site works and possible degrading the quality of conversation so someone doesn’t have to stay awake all night fretting over their apostrophe mistake?

I also don’t think this would work for the mods the way it’s being predicted. I predict that if there were an edit window ⅓ to ½ of all posts would be edited. So all those edits would have to be checked and judged whether they were legit or not. Even if this is an easy task for one post, I would think that would become extremely tiresome to do all day, especially as they become judgement calls. You’d also have users flagging corrections all day that they thought were suspicious.

New users (and old) would not understand, or simply ignore, the fine lines presented here. That would cause a lot of work and chaos. And it wouldn’t get better, there are always new users. Explaining the edit policy dozens of times a day would also be a part of the site, for mods and users, as well as arguments about proper editing criteria. Punishing people for editing posts when you’re providing them an edit window is also confuse a lot of well intentioned people. "But that’s what I meant to say originally!"

This sounds like the classic case of a well meaning idea with bad unintended consequences.
posted by bongo_x at 11:38 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, I think if it is framed properly, with specific consequences for abuse people can be smart enough to actually figure it out. Frame it as a typo fix window, limited character delete/input and limited time frame (personally I'd be ok with a 5-10 min window with a character limiter).

I get that there will be some chaff, and there will be some doinks who just don't get it, but goodness the lack of faith in the majority of people being able to use it responsibly is astounding.

*I* would be that the overwhelming majority of post edits will be inconsequential to content, and that the majority of posts will see no edit whatsoever.

I mean wouldn't you like to go back and change that second word bongo?
posted by edgeways at 11:56 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


edgeways: I mean wouldn't you like to go back and change that second word bongo?

I just thought he was saying he was getting older.
posted by gman at 12:00 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I don't understand how that's any different than asking a mod to delete a comment I have made, it's just the UI giving me a way to do it myself in a very short timeframe, with what I consider the added benefit of the reader knowing that commenter realized the err of their ways, which I would believe, would go along way to helping inspire compassion in heated threads.

You also need to re-read what I typed:

"A "repost" option that lives for 1-3 minutes after your post."

No chance of editing your history, just a short time buffer to reconsider.

The other thing is that an edit could also serve as a flag, and if a comment receives several flags and and edit flag the mods could go in and see that the poster had moderated themselves, and I think it would be fairly obvious to everyone that they could safely ignore any sub-replies. Again, I don't see how this is any different than when a comment gets deleted and all the sub-replies still reference said odious comment. At least there's a chance this way for the original commenter to show an attempt at trying to make up for any bad behavior, which again, would help inspire compassion in heated threads.

I am also saying that a commenter should only be allowed to edit their own comment.

I don't think my suggestion in any way portends the end of Metafilter as we know it.
posted by roboton666 at 12:02 PM on August 9, 2012


If the mods think this is worth a shot, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They think about the ins and outs of this stuff about a million times more than I do, as far as I can tell they have the best of intentions, and they can always dial it in later if things don't work the way they intended.
posted by Nabubrush at 12:26 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn: What's the situation you are trying to avoid?

Someone posts a comment, five people respond to it, person decides that they wanted to say something else that is materially different than what they said, they delete or blank or majorly modify their comment, (at least) five people get really annoyed because their comments make no sense.

When you ask us to delete a comment, we can say no. And we sometimes do. Not often, but sometimes. When we delete a comment that we think is going to fuck up the flow of a thread, we'll often leave a note and we still occasionally get email from people who have some sort of problem with the way their comment reads with the other comment deleted. I occasionally write to people whose comment I've deleted just to let them know that I axed it because it was replying directly to another non-axed comment, not because there was anything wrong with it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:31 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The goal here is to give people a way to correct the little errors that they make which annoy them, and which they would otherwise have to ask the mods to fix for them. That is pretty much all it will do. That's okay, I think

Basically a steam valve.

If we're going forward, I like zarq's suggestions.
posted by Miko at 12:56 PM on August 9, 2012


"The preview window doesn't distinguish perfectly between the two types of italics codes."

Are you confusing preview with live preview? Because they're very different and you shouldn't be relying upon live preview to catch those sorts of mistakes. Live preview has to dynamically parse your comment, which by its nature will be imperfect, and it does so using code that runs in your browser. The actual preview sends your comment to the server and it hands it back to your browser, which displays it as it will your actual comment when it's posted. If there's going to be an HTML error that will cause your actual comment to display improperly, then it will display improperly when you use the "Preview" button to preview it. (MeFi parses your submission and strips disallowed HTML and closes tags and whatnot, but the preview functionality should give your comment to the very same code that does all this.)

I proof both with live preview and then with an actual preview. Often I'll do an actual preview several times before I finally post my comment.

If someone notices errors when they post their comment and re-read it then, they'll notice the error when they do an actual preview. The true preview window is effectively an edit window — not only will it allow you to correct typos, it will do so before anyone else has a chance to see them. And people will fail to notice typos in the true preview, but for the exact same reasons they'll fail to notice typos in their posted comments. If you don't notice them in your actual comment (and you are certainly aware that the typos you do notice are only a portion of all the typos you've made in your comments) then you won't know to correct them in the edit window.

The only thing an edit window can do for you that the true preview can't is to give other people a chance to proofread your comment, find typos, notify you, and you edit them away. But the mods have made clear that mentioning typos in threads is already verboten and would be even more verboten with an edit window, so the only time this would actually happen would be if someone notices a typo, memails you, and you edit it all within the limited window of time.

Well, there's one other case that's not similar to the preview window — where you notice your error not immediately when you post and re-read your comment, but after a second or third read, or otherwise a short period of time after you've posted it and possibly some other comments are made. After you've had a chance to have a "fresh look". There's good psychological reasons for this, it really happens. But the limited time window for edits works at cross-purposes with this. And, really, one can even here use the preview option in this manner by simply waiting a few minutes before you proof your comment one final time, making it more fresh to your eyes.

I remain convinced that typos are mostly a problem for people to the degree to which they aren't using the true preview; and, likewise, to the degree to which people would habitually use the true preview, they'd address this problem. Whatever magic that happens when someone doesn't catch a typo when they write their comment but notice when they post, will happen when they preview it. If the magic is that it takes more than one proof, then more than one proof with the preview window will do the same thing. There's almost no difference between the true preview window and an edit window — 95% of a presumed reduction in typos via an edit window can be achieved using true preview.

Someone asked for a cite on my claim that cortex mentioned that something like less than 10% of the userbase uses the preview button — I have no idea which MeTa thread he wrote that in, but it was in the last year since I've been back. People aren't using the true preview and if they care about correcting typos, they should be.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:16 PM on August 9, 2012


Thoughts?

Arbitrary conditions are arbitrary. Either you trust the userbase to use this wisely and the mods to encourage that behaviour or you don't.

My proposed rules:

1. Edits for minor purposes only, with no hard-coded restrictions on what that means.

2. Anything to add or clarify or change position should be done in a new comment.

Bad behaviour enforced by peer pressure and mod correction.

We would very quickly reach equilibrium, I suspect, not far from what we have now.
posted by bonehead at 1:21 PM on August 9, 2012


(2a. deletions verbotten too).
posted by bonehead at 1:23 PM on August 9, 2012


Someone asked for a cite on my claim that cortex mentioned that something like less than 10% of the userbase uses the preview button — I have no idea which MeTa thread he wrote that in, but it was in the last year since I've been back

I don't know what comment you're thinking of either, but I seriously doubt it was mine. I wouldn't have easy access to that number in the first place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:37 PM on August 9, 2012


edgeways: "I mean wouldn't you like to go back and change that second word bongo?"

I think he was just being humorous what with the grizzled prospector dialect. "I ain't fer it, I'm agin it!"
posted by Chrysostom at 1:46 PM on August 9, 2012


Ivan Fyodorovich: I remain convinced that typos are mostly a problem for people to the degree to which they aren't using the true preview; and, likewise, to the degree to which people would habitually use the true preview, they'd address this problem. Whatever magic that happens when someone doesn't catch a typo when they write their comment but notice when they post, will happen when they preview it. If the magic is that it takes more than one proof, then more than one proof with the preview window will do the same thing. There's almost no difference between the true preview window and an edit window — 95% of a presumed reduction in typos via an edit window can be achieved using true preview.

To me you seem pretty invested in not having this happen, and that's cool, but it also feels to me like you might be treading over some ground you've already covered. I true preview every comment and make plenty of mistakes, due to the phenomena mentioned above where authors have blind spots about their own writing. The magic you mention often does not happen during the preview stage (for me), for whatever reason. I say this only to provide another data point.
posted by Nabubrush at 1:49 PM on August 9, 2012


"I don't know what comment you're thinking of either, but I seriously doubt it was mine. I wouldn't have easy access to that number in the first place."

That's really weird because I remember it clearly (but unfortunately not in context), probably because it really surprised me. I'd assumed that, I dunno, maybe half the time people would use preview before they posted and I was shocked that the quoted figure was very close to no one. Maybe it was pb?

(I've been trying to Google it, but I'm having to look through lots of threads.)

"I true preview every comment and make plenty of mistakes, due to the phenomena mentioned above where authors have blind spots about their own writing. The magic you mention often does not happen during the preview stage (for me), for whatever reason. I say this only to provide another data point."

Okay, but when do you actually notice those typos? Are you saying that you don't notice them when you true preview, but then immediately do notice them when your comment is posted?

An edit window is only useful when people aren't blind to their own typos, and so I'm trying to understand how that blindness operates with a true preview but not with the posted comment. For me, the two are alike in this regard and unlike the text window or the live preview because the latter two are ever-present as I write my comment and so I'm more likely to see what I think I've written — especially the text window because it's really hard to catch typos in the actual text that you're typing. But even the live preview, I think, because it's only a partial change of context/presentation and probably many of us scan it partially while we're writing. I do catch some typos there that I don't in the text-box, however.

But where I really catch the typos is in the true preview because, well, it's just like actually posting. I cannot see how there's a difference between reading one's comment in a true preview and reading a comment that one's just posted, assuming that the time-frame is the same in both cases. I can see how a time lapse in the case of posting versus the true preview might make a difference. But, as I mentioned, that can be solved by simply waiting a few minutes before proofing via the true preview. And when too much time passes from an actual posted comment, the edit window won't work since it will be time-limited.

Another possibility is that when one actually posts a comment, one scans the preceding comments that one possibly missed (or scans them to refresh one's memory) and then one reads one's own comment. That really will create a different context and make it more likely to notice typos. But, again, you can do that with the true preview. Hit "Preview" and then read the comments that have been posted, then your preview.

So, assuming that I'm wrong and that people really do see typos in posted comments that they've looked for and missed using true preview, then what we're left with is the simple difference that one comment is live and viewable by many other people, and the other is not. That is indeed a change of psychological context. Frankly, I think that most of the different subjective experience is that this difference (live versus not-live) results in a difference in motivation for people to actually proofread (that is to say, the possibility of typos before the comment is posted is not worrying enough to motivate actually previewing and proofing, but once it's out there it's hard not to read it again with an eye toward the mistakes one might have made). You may use true preview all the time, but I don't think most people do and I don't think even most people who care a lot about typos do. But, you say you do and I'm sure some others do. The most obvious explanation, then, is that when you preview and post, the posted comment is the second time it's proofed. Who proofs via true preview twice? Well, I often do, but I bet that's even more rare than doing it once. So of course sometimes you'd catch some on the second pass that you didn't catch on the first. It couldn't be otherwise.

If that's not the case, then perhaps what's happening is that your awareness that what you've written is being read right at that moment by other people somehow motivates you or otherwise alters your awareness in some way that makes it easier to notice your typos. I can see how that might be the case.

But...I dunno. I feel like this is really stretching to find a mechanism whereby someone doesn't notice their typos in true preview but does when they post. So, yeah, while we can work really hard to come up with why there might be some qualitative difference that makes it magically difficult to catch typos in true preview as compared to an actual posted comment, I think that there are much simpler and more likely explanations, and all those explanations imply that more diligent true preview will accomplish almost all of what people hope to accomplish with an edit window.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:15 PM on August 9, 2012


Ah, it was Matt who said it:

"Yep, and 'live preview' is for the comment threads for when people don't use the preview feature (which is almost always, very few people use preview)."

Interesting how I quantified "almost always, very few" in my recollection as "1%" or "less than 10%".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:24 PM on August 9, 2012


And it sounds like Matt was just making an assumption based on what pb said here.
posted by gman at 3:28 PM on August 9, 2012


Woohoo! Preview feature! That's where I'm a Viking!
posted by The World Famous at 3:30 PM on August 9, 2012


"And it sounds like Matt was just making an assumption based on what pb said here."

which was:

"Oh, and to answer your question, no—we don't have any way to see if someone used Preview vs. Live Preview."

So, no. What pb is saying is that they have no way of knowing if someone used live preview. They do, however, have a way of knowing how and when people use true preview. True preview will show up all over the logs, it's a distinct browser/server interaction. Matt's and pb's statements are independent of each other.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:54 PM on August 9, 2012


Jesus.
posted by gman at 3:58 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


and all those explanations imply that more diligent true preview will accomplish almost all of what people hope to accomplish with an edit window.

It isn't that one needs to be more diligent to catch typos - it's that, for me anyway, preview is still emotionally a part of composing, and during that time my brain is using one set of skills. But when I click post a whole different set of brain skills come out to play and that, for some reason, seems to include better typo control. It'd be swell if I could trick my brain into thinking that preview was post and evaluate accordingly but there's no fooling my brain. It's turtles all the way down.
posted by dirtdirt at 4:15 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's implemented, I very much like zarq's suggestions here.

I admit the reason I'm in favor of the edit window is that I really, really enjoy reading MeTa.
posted by heyho at 5:05 PM on August 9, 2012


"Jesus."

It is odd that pb wrote that, and in the context of the specific question he was answering, it seems that he's saying that they can't tell if someone uses true preview.

What he must have meant, though, is that there's no specific tool they use to easily tell if someone uses true preview. That is to say, this isn't tracked into the database or anything like that.

What he couldn't have meant was that there actually is no way that this can be known. Because it absolutely can be known, it's at the very least in the web server logs because it's a distinct variety of form submission. But the back-end code handles page generation differently on the basis of it, too, so it will show up there as well. It's entirely possible to do an analysis that shows how much even a specific user uses true preview.

But what Matt was talking about was almost certainly the relative aggregate of how often people use "Preview" versus "Post comment", which would be relatively trivial to derive from the logs. It would probably be of particular interest when he's maintained the true preview code in the past. It's something he'd probably just know.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:08 PM on August 9, 2012


Yeah, my "Jesus" had nothing to do with what pb said or meant or whatever, but I bet you knew that.
posted by gman at 5:13 PM on August 9, 2012


"Jesus" isn't actually a very clear comment at all, although I admit it's somewhat amusing reading an exchange between a notoriously wordy commenter and someone who posts one-word comments.
posted by koeselitz at 5:20 PM on August 9, 2012


I have absolutely no science to back this up whatsoever, but I do truly think there are psychological dividers between composing, previewing and posted reading, and that those divides effect one's engagement/attachment to the writing, and therefore their ability to be more objective and notice errors. That said, I think an edit window kicks the ball down the road. But only slightly, which may be enough to let people see their mistakes.

To be clear, I'm still not a fan of the edit window.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:26 PM on August 9, 2012


"Yeah, my 'Jesus' had nothing to do with what pb said or meant or whatever, but I bet you knew that."

Yes, I knew what you meant but chose to respond to your comment as generously as possible, considering that you don't know enough about the subject to be judgmental in the way that you were. Thanks, though, for doubling down on it and making it clear.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:26 PM on August 9, 2012


No, like you really don't get it. I don't give a fuck, nor would I waste a gazillion* words to geek out on something that has absolutely no bearing on anything of any importance in the real world.

*may or may not actually be a real quantity, but I look forward to you setting me straight like only you know how
posted by gman at 5:33 PM on August 9, 2012


Well, this is going to an angry place pretty quickly.
posted by koeselitz at 5:36 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


All I have gleaned from this: holy shit, you can get mods to fix your comment fuckups?

Why didn't I know that? I need someone to hope me about every third time I use a tag for anything.

At least my inherent derp is genuine. And every pharse of mine is percisely as I wnat it.
posted by cmyk at 5:38 PM on August 9, 2012


Quick, someone get some kittens!
posted by alms at 5:41 PM on August 9, 2012


"Well, this is going to an angry place pretty quickly."

Nah. I was pissy yesterday, I can forgive gman being pissy today.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:42 PM on August 9, 2012


Well, Ivan Fyodorovich, if you are right then I guess the mods will determine that the edit function brings nothing to the party and it will go away. So no worries!

I do have a question, though, and maybe you already addressed this and I missed it: what's the drawback here of fixing typos through the use of edit vs. true preview?
posted by Nabubrush at 5:46 PM on August 9, 2012


what's the drawback here of fixing typos through the use of edit vs. true preview?

The fact that the comment has already been posted for the community to see and react to.
posted by lalex at 5:51 PM on August 9, 2012


"It isn't that one needs to be more diligent to catch typos - it's that, for me anyway, preview is still emotionally a part of composing, and during that time my brain is using one set of skills. But when I click post a whole different set of brain skills come out to play and that, for some reason, seems to include better typo control. It'd be swell if I could trick my brain into thinking that preview was post and evaluate accordingly but there's no fooling my brain. It's turtles all the way down."

and

"I have absolutely no science to back this up whatsoever, but I do truly think there are psychological dividers between composing, previewing and posted reading, and that those divides effect one's engagement/attachment to the writing, and therefore their ability to be more objective and notice errors. That said, I think an edit window kicks the ball down the road. But only slightly, which may be enough to let people see their mistakes."

Yeah, I do agree there's some effect where having a comment actually be live and other people (potentially) reading it shifts one's psychological relationship with it such that somehow one notices some errors that one otherwise wouldn't have. I just don't know how big that effect is relative to the other things one can do to make it easier to notice typos. Doing those other things will catch a large portion of typos and after that it's diminishing returns. An edit window won't get all that remain, certainly.

"The fact that the comment has already been posted for the community to see and react to."

Yeah, it's hard to say exactly how this would play out. But people have posted various comments above about how it might play out. I'm disinclined to think that anything apocalyptic is likely. But I find it much more likely that it will create numerous small problems that amount to more problems than are solved, and will also alter the spirit of MeF in some not-unimportant respect.

Personally, I'm much more unnerved by the possibility of entirely invisible edits than those that are indicated somehow. It's not as if this doesn't happen already with the previously mentioned occasional mod intervention. But by necessity that's limited relative to what will happen with an edit window. And more importantly, when mods do it, it's a second set of eyes on it — a set of eyes belonging to someone with a strong vested interest in doing what's right for the site as a whole. When the writer themselves edits? Completely different. But having edit indicators presents more problems without entirely eliminating those I just mentioned — then we're constantly reminded that things have been changed. And this will encourage people to talk about it, argue about it. That's why the mods don't want the edits to be visible, even that an edit was made.

I feel confident in predicting that this will cause more trouble for the mods than it will eliminate. Maybe not a massive increase in trouble. I have faith in the community and the mods in that the egregious abuse of an edit window will be prevented (or eventually prevented after an adjustment period). But lots of little things. And, meanwhile, there will still be typos. As I think someone else wrote above, I strongly suspect that requests to mods to edit comments after the edit window expires will be more numerous than requests for mod edits are now. Because the edit window will normalize the idea that comments can be edited after they're posted.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:07 PM on August 9, 2012


The fact that the comment has already been posted for the community to see and react to.

I thought the mods made it pretty clear that they would frown on it being used for edits other than for typos and the like. What community reactions would that cause an issue with?

Well, sure, we'd lose the pointing and laughing. Hm.
posted by Nabubrush at 6:14 PM on August 9, 2012


I thought the mods made it pretty clear that they would frown on it being used for edits other than for typos and the like.

Well, the mods frown on lots of things that still happen frequently, because their resources are limited and they (rightly, IMO) use timeouts and the banhammer sparingly. Obviously it's up to modland to say if the tradeoff is worth it.

My biggest problem with this is the distraction inherent in visible edits. But I'm not personally as distracted by typos as much as I am by "edited to fix" or "previous comment version" notations, so your mileage may vary.
posted by lalex at 6:23 PM on August 9, 2012


PEOPLE CAN SELF FAVOIRITE WHENEVER THEY LIKE, OH GOD THE HUMANITY!
posted by Artw at 6:28 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it happens that someone makes a fairly innocuous comment that is totally within the guidelines, but because of who they are or a poor choice of words it gets the most uncharitable interpretation and a pile-on ensues, and then MeTa, civil war, end of days, you know the drill.

It seems perfectly reasonable to me that the commentor just edits their remark so as to make it clearer or remove problematic language. That wouldn't be abuse - it's the pile-on that's abusive - would it?
posted by Ritchie at 6:45 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're two totally separate issues, basically. A pile-on is problematic for reasons that have nothing to do with any notional edit feature; the expectation that the edit feature be used only for typo-level tweaks has nothing to do with the question of pile-on dynamics.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:31 PM on August 9, 2012


the expectation that the edit feature be used only for typo-level tweaks

Serious, non-snarky question: I feel like y'all have enough daily work - do you expect that it will be a strain on modland to supervise edit window abuses?
posted by lalex at 10:45 PM on August 9, 2012


We're hopeful that it won't be in practice. The possibility exists that we'll be surprised, there, but we'll worry about that if it actually happens.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:01 PM on August 9, 2012


It seems the hardest part will be communicating the standards to every user, including the non-MeTa majority. And I do think that changing the name to "typo fixer" or "text cleanup" or something would really help communicate the intention, where "edit" implies something different - that wholesale change is acceptable.
posted by Miko at 5:50 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems the hardest part will be communicating the standards to every user, including the non-MeTa majority.

I'm may be missing something, but it seems like a little usage of the notification bar* to link to a FAQ additon saying what the mods say is kosher vs what isn't would serve pretty well to put people on notice that, ya'know, this isn't reddit, don't blank your comments, and abuse may lead to a ban if you're a dick more than a few times.


*I have no idea if this is actually what this thing is called, but it's the thing I recently had to click 'hide' on before it would quit pestering me on every metafilter window I had open (mobile, pc, foreign, and domestic), I think it was mentioning the post of the month contest or something.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:13 AM on August 10, 2012


Yeah, but it should be short to avoid the rampant tl;dr syndrome, which honestly is probably a bigger problem around here than editing abuse will ever be.
posted by Miko at 6:48 AM on August 10, 2012


We'll likely have some clear, basic reminder (e.g. "Note: this tool is for fixing typos and formatting errors only; if you need to add to or revise your thoughts, post another comment instead") on the editing interface itself with a link to an FAQ entry for the gorey details.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:44 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have no idea if this is actually what this thing is called, but it's the thing I recently had to click 'hide' on before it would quit pestering me on every metafilter window

Ah, yeah. We just call that "the top banner", I think.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:44 AM on August 10, 2012


Twirl. Wax, twirl.
posted by cavalier at 9:51 AM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you gloating because a change you want, but that others have substantive objections to, is likely coming? It's unseemly. Be excited, fine, but the gloating thing seems like an asshole move.
posted by OmieWise at 11:48 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Replying to earlier mod responses with the summary of "We're looking at it again", allow me to twirl my imaginary moustache in pleasurable anticipation. Twirl. Twirl twirl.
Not gloating, and I am not against the notion that there may be bad consequences that might entail its removal. It also doesn't feel like an absolute -- not at all. This has been going on for something close to 4, 5 years at this point. To see mod movement on the issue, right now, that's worthy of a waxy twirl, yes. Anticipation!
posted by cavalier at 12:01 PM on August 10, 2012


Yeah, I saw the earlier twirling comment. It looked like gloating then, too. Maybe it's me, but mustache twirling doesn't read happy anticipation, it reads gloating anticipation.
posted by OmieWise at 12:20 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, if more people would embrace the return of the mustache as a mainstream grooming option, we'd all get a lot better at identifying subtle nuance in the implications various twirling styles. Just sayin'.
posted by The World Famous at 12:23 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Very true.
posted by OmieWise at 12:28 PM on August 10, 2012


And how. I was going for the more sublime excitement, eagerness of what may be, not the I win/haha suckers/it's all gravy all the way down.
posted by cavalier at 12:57 PM on August 10, 2012


More Magnum, less Higgins, then. You should have noted that you were also moving your eyebrows up and down.
posted by The World Famous at 1:04 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Quite right!
posted by cavalier at 1:07 PM on August 10, 2012


So, is this change actually coming? When is this feature/bug expected to be implemented?
posted by lalex at 1:10 PM on August 10, 2012


So, is this change actually coming? When is this feature/bug expected to be implemented?

We're a little ways off from it since, as I believe cortex mentioned above, we no longer have a working prototype and that will need to be rebuilt. Not sure at all what the programming time on that would be but Matt was talking about knocking together some layout mockups next week and presumably we'll go from there.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:11 PM on August 10, 2012


we no longer have a working prototype and that will need to be rebuilt.

did pb destroy it in a fit of terrifying pique? Did his eyes glow when it happened? On a scale of 1-10 how Balrog-like was his demeanor as he punched his burly hand directly through the computer tower housing the prototype? How was he assuaged? Did sacrifices have to be made? Animal sacrifices or just the burning of incense? Was there a moment when he crouched over the charred remains of the prototype and allowed a single tear to roll down his cheek and the wind whistled in the skeletal frames of the now-decimated buildings in the background as the sun set.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:18 PM on August 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am just going to sit here and be entertained by that mental picture for a while.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 1:25 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


What? Nah, it's fine. Stuff happens.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:28 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the the idea of a code review ending with a wizard standing on a bridge shouting "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" at the infringing klocs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:30 PM on August 10, 2012


Our gnomes escaped. taz is out scaring up more gnomes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:38 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


A coupla things:

1. Just because computers CAN track who's using the preview button when posting, doesn't mean they SHOULD or DO. That is, it is entirely possibly they simply don't track it, because why bother tracking tens of thousands of extra http requests (for the tracking bug) per day just to find out? This isn't Zynga or Facebook, after all.

2. If we get edit functionality, am I going to get yelled at if I post a second "oops I meant foo of course" comment, by people telling me I should have used edit?
posted by davejay at 2:10 PM on August 10, 2012


such as in this case, where I realize the preview button loads a new page anyway, so there wouldn't be an http request. with the edit functionality you wouldn't realize I had been careless in my commenting there. see? it's good not to edit.
posted by davejay at 2:11 PM on August 10, 2012


an EXTRA http request. I'm inadvertently undermining my own point here. Or am I making it? Depends on your perspective I think.
posted by davejay at 2:12 PM on August 10, 2012


I'm in favour of an edit function, in a time-limited window if necessary. It's not an absurd luxury, it's becoming a standard feature all over the web by now, and the sky has notably failed to fall in on every website that's implemented it (E.g. Reddit, G+ and now Facebook).
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:38 PM on August 10, 2012


The point is that MetaFilter is a lot better for conversation than any of those sites, and the parameters under which we engage in conversation are part of the reason for that, so tinkering with those has the potential - however limited - to impact the quality.
posted by Miko at 6:55 AM on August 11, 2012


jessamyn: "Our gnomes escaped. taz is out scaring up more gnomes."

That's not very kind to the gnomes, now is it? Poor nervous little things…
posted by Lexica at 10:14 AM on August 11, 2012


(Warning: risk of kitchen sinking)

If preview is the answer, please make it friendlier and safer.

- I distrust preview because it requires or appears to require a page refresh. I am very paranoid about losing my content.
- real time preview tab (see stackoverflow and many others) doesn't have this limitation.
- if all comments should be previewed, then it should be required. If we aren't willing to go that far, then advice to "preview when you might have a typo" is user blaming.
- alternatively, educate such that first n comments get a warning.
- as a side effect of this fear, I rarely use HTML in comments. Mostly that seems like a good thing.
- more silly... If any of the usual homonyms appear, warn people to check those :)


(I vote for one time edit per comment, no time limitation, subtle indicator of edit ("fixed" appended), and a strong education campaign and messaging around it. I miss "not" all the time, which completely alters the advice, sometimes dangerously. Preview does not catch these. Staged rollout - grey, green, blue.)
posted by gregglind at 7:35 AM on August 12, 2012


- I distrust preview because it requires or appears to require a page refresh. I am very paranoid about losing my content.

Select all, copy (cmd-a, cmd-c on the Mac). If you lose your stuff just paste it back in. I do this before any post more than a couple of lines, anywhere, preview or not.
posted by bongo_x at 10:39 AM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I learned to do that too, before making any sudden moves. But not only does the preview screen seem to function really well for this, but over the years a lot of browsers seem to have gotten better at holding onto content in open windows.
posted by Miko at 11:23 AM on August 12, 2012


Losing text that way just basically never happens to me anymore — for a long while I did what bongo_x and Miko describe (and I wrote a little Windows utility about ten years ago that I keep in quick launch that puts whatever I have in the copy buffer into a new, uniquely named text file on my desktop, so it's super easy to save text for this and other purposes) until it became so rare that I'd lose something, that I stopped worrying about it.

"real time preview tab (see stackoverflow and many others) doesn't have this limitation."

Any implementation of a real-time preview will never be an accurate preview, anywhere, for two reasons.

One, with HTML, tags have to be closed and such. You have to have the whole comment before you know how it will rendered when it's sent whole to the browser.

Two, comments are parsed and altered by the server — disallowed HTML is stripped, for example. Real-time preview must do that parsing in your browser and, as such, is merely an attempt to duplicate what the server will do. Such attempts at duplication are unlikely to be perfect, proportionately to how complex the parsing is. For example, stripping disallowed characters, if there's more than a few (and there is), will rely upon a regular expression engine, and the implementation of such an engine will be different within the browser's scripting and the server's scripting. But it's even more complicated than that. So in this sense a live preview, like what we have, and any browser-side preview simply can't be a truly accurate preview. In contrast, it's both relatively trivial and good design to implement all this parsing and stripping and massaging in code that's used for both actual posting and previewing. That is, the preview is literally doing exactly what posting does, except that it doesn't end up in the database as a post and sent back to you as a post.

Yes, there are ways to get closer and closer to overcoming both issues. It's easier to just preview.

"- if all comments should be previewed, then it should be required. If we aren't willing to go that far, then advice to "preview when you might have a typo" is user blaming."

You're equivocating "shoulds" and "blaming" (or, rather, the contexts of how these terms have been used). I've only argued that users who wish to avoid typos "should" use preview. Not "all comments should be previewed". Because the vast majority of users don't care so much about the elusive goal of eliminating all (or almost all) of their typos...they don't. And they don't preview, either, nor should they. To the degree to which this matters, preview. This still won't catch all typos, for the reasons we discussed earlier. But it will catch most of those which aren't being caught now by the people who a) do want to eliminate more of their typos but, b) aren't previewing. Which will leave a small number uncaught by that group, and the number which aren't caught by the people who have long been previewing, anyway. And my contention is that this will be a trivial number of typos and it's crazy that people care this much about eliminating them to the degree to which the basic function of the site is altered to accommodate this.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:47 PM on August 12, 2012


"preview when you might have a typo" is user blaming."

"When you might have a typo" is always. So I agree with Ivan F - if you care a lot about typos, take care to preview.

One side effect of this function is definitely going to be that people skip preview and go right to post, because they'll "have a chance to correct it" after posting. So in fact I have a feeling typos will actually rise in the short term after implementation.
posted by Miko at 7:31 PM on August 12, 2012



> This is like the only forum in history that doesn't have an editing feature

It really isn't. I browse/post on two other large fora aside from this one, and neither have this feature. (One I sometimes lurk on does, with the little 'edited on: reason:' underneath.). Coincidentally, neither have img tags, signatures, custom fonts or fucking tickers at the end of every post.

(Seriously, I have never managed to stay on fora where images are enabled - I can't help but get annoyed when people post a macro or a gif in place of actually using their words to give their opinion.)
posted by mippy at 8:21 AM on August 14, 2012


So... I just got one of the mods to edit a comment of mine that was basically pr0n. I urge you all to push for the edit feature so that doesn't happen again.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on August 22, 2012


It was pr0n? I didn't even read it, just edited it like you asked me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:25 PM on August 22, 2012


But reading the pr0n is one of the perks of the job!
posted by The World Famous at 5:39 PM on August 22, 2012


It's art!
posted by Artw at 5:41 PM on August 22, 2012


How can I know it when I see it if I don't get to see it?
posted by The World Famous at 5:51 PM on August 22, 2012


Enjoy!

(basically all my comments in sequence, the lightbulb puzzle one being the one that was edited)
posted by Artw at 5:54 PM on August 22, 2012


Oh Arturo, you saucy and naughty boy. Thanks for the laughs.
posted by cavalier at 2:22 PM on August 28, 2012


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