Post Editing Pony? August 20, 2021 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Hi all. I realize this may very well be just me, but the inconsistency between the ability to edit comments after posting, while unable to do the same to main FPPs or questions, is starting to bother me. I occasionally make mistakes in my posts and have to contact the moderators for things like broken HTML or typos, which I could totally fix on my own if the site allowed me to do so.

Is there a historical reason for the discrepancy? IF not, can this be fixed? I certainly don't plan to abuse the edit window, I just want to fix small issues so I don't have to bother an already busy mod team if possible.
posted by Alensin to MetaFilter-Related at 8:42 PM (2 comments total)

First note: do not worry about bothering the mod team with an edit request. It's part of our job, it's one of the pretty easy and pleasant parts of it, and we're absolutely happy to help with this sort of thing!

Is there a historical reason for the discrepancy?

In a sense, yes; for most of the site's history, editing wasn't possible for comments or posts, and hadn't been accounted for as a design assumption at all. It's been possible for the last several years to edit comments within a brief window, but that was only after putting in some work on the site's comment posting and displaying infrastructure to support that well.

We haven't put the same effort yet into a similar function for posts for a couple reasons:

1. The posting process is more complex than comments, and handling editing of posts would likewise be more complex. A comment is a single text field; posts involve several text fields, some of which have specific extra requirements (as e.g. the requirement of a link above the fold on posts to the MeFi front page). Allowing editing means accounting for all of that, in a slightly different way for each subsite, in a way that is exposed to the user in a reasonably elegant and usable way. Much more work than for comments. The admin tool we use for this stuff is much uglier and rougher and doesn't do the kind of extra sanity-checks and restrictions a user-facing tool would need. Works well for a handful of trained people, but isn't a user-ready tool.

2. There's a lot fewer posts than comments. Allowing folks to edit their own comments took a lot of little bits of editing work off our hands. Posts need edits comparatively less frequently, so the mod time savings that'd come from implementing this are a lot smaller.

So that's why it is how it is. It's not an ideological thing, fwiw; the comment editing window has worked out well, I think allowing it for posting would probably be similarly fine (and issues similarly manageable through mod followup), and it may be at some point we find we're able to implement a post-centric editing window that works well. But budgeting our development resources and mod attention to pulling that off for the comparatively small bang-for-buck in terms of mod time savings hasn't made sense so far, and I don't know when it will.

For now it's definitely gonna take us less time and effort to fix a thousand little post problems via contact form notes than it is to design and build and test and maintain a post-editing feature, is the short of it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:55 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


I have to say that FPPs with typos bother me too. I actually assumed the distinction was an ideological thing, something about the purity of the front page or whatever.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:02 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


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