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I have seen so many times users make mistakes in comments.

For instance:

  • They just write code as simple statements.
  • Drop direct reference link.
  • Don't use backticks for code highlights

Even though formatting options are available for comments, some users might not be aware of that.

In that, case why can't other users edit such comments?

In case you're wondering how it will be useful or beneficial to edit comments

  • It looks like a proper formatted comment.
  • Users can easily understand highlighted points and code also.
  • Easy to read concept behind the comment.

Simple Comment:

Hey User this comment is simple. In this comment you can't find bold, italic, code format, and link (Why can't we edit other user's comments?) in proper format.

Well-formatted comment:

Hey User this comment is well-formatted. In this comment you can find bold, italic , code format, and link in proper format.

Comment is also as important as answer.

  • 5
    I think it is because , Comment is not consider as "Post" – Lucifer May 30 '13 at 9:20
  • 3
    Because comments are second-rate citizens. We don't really care about them all that much. – Martijn Pieters May 30 '13 at 9:38
  • What Martijn said, essentially. As much as I sometimes wish I could fix typos and other minor mistakes in other people's comments, they're simply not considered important enough for that to be necessary. – Anthony Grist May 30 '13 at 9:54
  • It would add a lot of complexity (extra buttons for editing and for viewing the edit history of a comment, for starters) for the sake of a functionality that, as others have noted, isn't necessary – David Robinson May 30 '13 at 9:54
  • please don't post this type of comment like it would be add more complexity.they have to add button and more. my suggestion is comments are also imporetent as answer @DavidRobinson – Chintan Khetiya May 30 '13 at 9:58
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    @chintankhetiya Perhaps you mean to say important and not impotent? If so, comments are definitely not as important as answers. In fact, comments are not important at all. – yannis May 30 '13 at 9:59
  • What's wrong with you? why you people are down voting my question ? is it not valid ?as there any mistake ? free to share your thoughts before giving down votes.i have the people when see down vote without any reason. – Chintan Khetiya May 30 '13 at 9:59
  • 1
    @chintankhetiya meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#vote-differences – yannis May 30 '13 at 10:00
  • 1
    Votes are different on Meta: they are often used to express disagreement with a suggestion. – David Robinson May 30 '13 at 10:01
  • @Yannis explain me, what's the mistake in my above question ? – Chintan Khetiya May 30 '13 at 10:01
  • 3
    @chintankhetiya What mistake? Read the FAQ. People disagree with the feature you suggested, and they use their downvotes to express their disagreement. – yannis May 30 '13 at 10:02
  • 1
    @chintankhetiya if a comment is as important as an answer it should've been posted as an answer, not as a comment. – Niels Keurentjes May 30 '13 at 10:03
  • @Yannis Support, feature requests, or bug reports for the core Stack Exchange engine that powers all Stack Exchange websites that is in list – Chintan Khetiya May 30 '13 at 10:03
  • 8
    Yes, your question is on topic. Now read the part of the FAQ that explains how voting works on Meta. You know, the part I linked to in my comment. – yannis May 30 '13 at 10:05
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    @chintankhetiya "please don't post this type of comment like it would be add more complexity" - You don't get to ask a question then tell people how they can respond to it. You've posted a feature request, but you haven't explained what it solves or why it's necessary - yes, people make mistakes in comments, but we don't care about comments. If you want a complete shift in how comments are treated then you're going to have to elaborate a lot on that and explain why it benefits the sites, then be prepared to receive a lot of downvotes expressing disagreement. – Anthony Grist May 30 '13 at 10:18
9

We normal users can't edit other people's comments for two main reasons:

  1. Mechanics: Comments do not have an edit history, so allowing others to edit would open up a potential goldmine of mischief, which couldn't be rolled back.

  2. Philosophy: Comments are "third class citizens"; they were really only added as a way to catch cruft that doesn't belong in questions or answers. Originally SO didn't have comments.

    The idea is that anything really important, should be edited into the post proper. Comments are mainly to be used for temporary clarification, and to catch the social glue that people naturally want to exchange.

    If comments were given more permanence, and more features, and an edit history, etc., then Stack Exchange would become much closer to just another threaded-forum site. Stack Exchange was founded explicitly to try and overcome the drawbacks of that kind of site.


From the Comment everywhere documentation:

Comments are temporary "Post-It" notes left on a question or answer.

No need to spend much time revising a post it note. Just remove and/or replace it if needed. ;)

A comment is not "as important as answer", by design.


But, moderators can edit any comment at any time.
So, if you really want that power, get a ♦ after your name! ;-)

  • 2
    Yes, mods can edit comments, but really all that mods do with comments is either a) leave them alone or b) delete them. There are far more important things to be doing that correcting spelling in throwaway comments. – JonW May 30 '13 at 10:04
  • 1
    "Also, moderators can edit any comment at any time." You'll know I'm rage quitting Programmers when you notice the highest voted comments on the site being Bob Dylan lyrics. – yannis May 30 '13 at 10:14
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    @Yannis How many posts must a man vote down, before you can call him a mod? – Daniel Fischer May 30 '13 at 13:34
3

Firstly if a comment contains a helpful addition to an answer (which does not fundamentally change the answer) then it is good to edit that into the answer. If a comment contains a nearly helpful addition to an answer, but requires a tweak then tweak it and add the result to the answer (leaving the original comment as is).

Secondly (and this is my real answer to the suggestion):

People are going to disagree, that's why both questions and answers receive both up and down votes. That's why we have a voting system that allows people to disagree and do so in a fair way. There is a need for people to express why they disagree or in some cases, clarify why they agree or bounce suggestions off the community before making an informed answer or edit. Comments allow people to do this in a way that does not allow others to confuse or destroy the thing they've said.

I believe that if comments were editable then people would try to edit them in order to stamp out the comment's content just because they disagreed with it.

To put my view in very simple terms:

  • Questions / Answers represent the community voice as a collective.
  • Comments express one individuals voice (free from community interference)

If you allow people edit others' posts then there would be no way for an individual to have their own voice.

It is my view, that allowing an individual to express their own opinion as being separate from the community is a good thing which allows people to make more informed decisions when reading the content. It's necessary to understand why some people disagree with an answer that has been accepted by the majority to determine if that disagreement is something which applies to your situation.

Edit: (And finally) Voting

I find it interesting that in any voting system, people argue about the meaning of a vote. In politics (democracy) some argue that a vote is nothing more or less a statement of who they'd like to rule the country. But that view ignores the tactical voters who vote "to stop the other guy getting in". Tactical voters vote for someone who they don't want to rule the country.

In stack exchange this is even more complex. A down vote can mean so many different things. Of course there is an official definition but it is incorrect to assume that everyone follows that. The community effectively decides for itself (each individual for them self) if something deserves an up or a down vote based on each individuals interpretation of what that vote means.

As an example, I saw a very well worded and simple question heavily down voted because a cultural misunderstanding (most likely) led people to believe the question was in poor taste. The question was "How do you find someone's bloodtype through the FaceBook API". The cultural misunderstanding was that in some cultures blood type is viewed like "star sign".

This odd voting can't be corrected, harmonized or moderated in anyway because that would descend into the moderator's opinion ruling.

Comments - unadulterated and free from interference - add color to an otherwise monochromatic voting system.... And thus I also disagree that comments should only be temporary. Some comments deserve to stay as comments.

  • +1 to you.:)i don't know why user are not understand my concept behind my question. – Chintan Khetiya May 30 '13 at 10:58
  • 3
    @chintankhetiya, I believe most of us do understand your concept, and on one level it might be nice to be able to correct obvious typos in comments. ... What you don't seem to get is that that adds a great deal of new complexity to the SE design for very minor gain, AND it reverts SE back towards a failed model that SE was specifically designed to replace. How SE gives questions and answers "pride of place" is fundamental to SE's usefulness. Comments are meant to be temporary ways to improve posts. Nothing more. – Awesome Poodles May 30 '13 at 11:34
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    "I saw a very well worded and simple question heavily down voted because a cultural misunderstanding (most likely) led people to believe the question was in poor taste." That seems like pure speculation to me, personally; if the question is still around could you link to it? – Anthony Grist May 31 '13 at 9:31
  • Do comments on deleted questions show up on your activity? I can't find mention of it in my activity log, but I know I left a comment on the question. Yes it's speculative; I can't be certain what each down vote was for. I can only discuss it as I saw the situation at the time. – Philip Couling Jun 6 '13 at 12:28

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