The benefit to retaining the "edit comment" button after 5 minutes is that you have the opportunity to copy formatting. You can thus manually append to your old comment, which is a good thing. But this normally means deleting the existing comment and creating a new one.

This isn't necessarily a problem, but is unnecessary work. Appending to more-than-5-minutes-old comments should be allowed if there are no more-recent comments by others. If there are more-recent comments, the comments probably follow a conversation, and you should just create a new comment.

"tl;dr": If your intention is to reuse or amend content, there shouldn't be a need to edit, copy, and delete a previous comment, then paste and append to a new one.

  • 1
    Didn't know that comment editing had timeouts as well. – hjpotter92 Jul 26 '13 at 20:43
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    Closing the edit box when the time is expired could result in a loss of data that the commenter would rather copy and paste as another comment. – George Cummins Jul 26 '13 at 21:02
  • Good point, @GeorgeCummins. I didn't consider that. But one of my questions is still open – Trojan Jul 26 '13 at 21:25
  • -1 to the first suggestion in the title. I use the copy paste delete tactic quite a lot to preserve formatting and hyperlinks. – Martin Smith Jul 28 '13 at 16:20
  • Any reason for the horrid JPEG compression? PNG somehow not an option? – Cole Johnson Dec 28 '13 at 5:33
  • @ColeJohnson Do you mind telling me why/how you noticed that after this long? No reason specifically. Screenshots default to JPG – Trojan Dec 28 '13 at 6:04
  • @trojansdestroy This is the first time I noticed. The only other times I viewed it were on my phone which scales down the images (hiding most of the artifacts). I even answered from my phone. – Cole Johnson Dec 28 '13 at 6:51
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/a/164900/13295 – Lance Roberts Dec 28 '13 at 6:56
  • I think the important point you're making (that should be in your tl;dr) is that you'd allow editing of comments after five minutes if there were no more recent comments. – Lance Roberts Dec 28 '13 at 7:14
  • @LanceRoberts Thanks for the suggestion. See my updated post; I'm talking myself out of this suggestion now. There are a lot of associated problems, with minimal (IMO) gain. – Trojan Dec 28 '13 at 7:18
  • Well you probably don't have to worry. By editing this old request, instead of making a new one, you really killed its chances to fly. Especially, since both old answers are basically saying no. – Lance Roberts Dec 28 '13 at 7:19


If I get timed out, I'll copy my edited text, delete my comment, then post my edited text as a new comment.

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  • Valid counter to one of my suggestions. That's a good point. But as for allowing edits after 5 minutes? – Trojan Jul 26 '13 at 21:23

I agree there should be some more slack in appending to/editing comments, but maybe we need to tie rep level/privileges into it somewhere. So at a certain level you could append, and at a certain level (Trusted User?) you could modify. We'd also need to add a new kind of comment flag to handle misused cases.

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  • Thanks for your answer. I do agree, but I've somewhat lost myself on this post now; edit the original with your suggestions at will. Or perhaps post this as a new question entirely, and let this one die? – Trojan Dec 28 '13 at 7:25
  • Personally, if you care about the feature-request, I'd roll this one back to where it was and create a new post entirely. If you want even more play wait until monday morning to get more eyeballs on it. I think my answer would work for the rollback so I'll just leave it. – Lance Roberts Dec 28 '13 at 7:30

Comments are 2nd class citizens. There is no revision history that is tracked and comment edits (or commenting in general) do not bump a post. Permitting appending to comments after 5 minutes could allow someone to potentially do a lot of damage by appending to their old comments before someone catches them.

Generally speaking if you feel like you need to add something to a comment, the best solution is to just add the new content as a new comment, either on its own or by copying the old comment and deleting the original.

What this comes down to is commenting is designed to be very limited. Until recently, moderators didn't even have the ability to undelete comments. I just think you need to come up with a strong reason to need to be able to append to comments that can't be solved by adding a new comment, and I don't see much more than "I think this would be a good idea"

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  • That's the best way, because it's the only way. I think it could be better. By appending to, I mean that you wouldn't be able to change the original content; it would be greyed out (or something), while you could edit below it, but as part of the same comment. – Trojan Jul 26 '13 at 21:53
  • @trojansdestroy whether you can't change the old content or not, why do you feel like you need to append that badly that can't be added as a standalone comment? – psubsee2003 Jul 26 '13 at 21:58
  • @trojansdestroy the point that I am trying to make is that comments are intentionally designed to have limited functionality. I think you need to come up with a really compelling reason to necessitate a significant overall to the commenting system. – psubsee2003 Jul 26 '13 at 22:02
  • I think it's a waste to have two comments where there could have been one. For example, this is currently the most recent comment on this answer. – Trojan Jul 26 '13 at 22:05
  • Pretend 5 minutes have passed, and I want to add, "Why shouldn't I be able to add another line/sentence/etc., especially if it's directed at the same person?" And I'm essentially continuing the same comment for reasons other than the character limit. – Trojan Jul 26 '13 at 22:05
  • Adding new comments doesn't bump a post either. Why would appending be likely to cause any more damage? – Martin Smith Jul 28 '13 at 16:18

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