I recently uploaded an incomplete answer (with working code) and I've been suggested to not do it since it could get deleted for being a code dump without an explanation.

I argued that I was working over my phone and there are lots of reason that might cause lost of content like System Updates (windows), miss click (close tab/window/navigating/back button), changing tabs in smartphones (forms content might be wiped), battery, etc.

After some talk in the comments (Js window.requestAnimFrame not functioning?) we agreed that if SO implemented a way to auto-save the incomplete answers in the browser storage, there would be no need for those uploads.

I found one question that seems related but it is really old (2011) and not exactly the same issue No auto-save feature in mobile design?

Seems like there's some kind of draft auto-save but I couldn't find a way to recover data with it. If this is already implemented, can someone please explain how it works? And if it's not implemented this seems like a good recommendation.

  • 4
    "If this is already implemented, can someone please explain how it works?" it's implemented but...I'm not sure it works consistently. I've definitely had answers I wrote half-way saved. Some even still show up when I visit some question, even after I just quit writing them for one reason or another. But when I tried to use this feature consciously, I've had mixed success. I've tried starting an answer on one machine with the intent on finishing it on another but then the draft didn't show up. No idea how it actually works. You could post and delete your answer, then edit it and un-delete
    – VLAZ
    Oct 16, 2019 at 15:09
  • 1
    So, a "Save draft" button that would "post + delete" with the option to later "publish/un-delete" would be what we need? It could also show in the question that there are recent drafts saved. This would make easier to target questions without attention. Oct 16, 2019 at 16:32
  • 2
    Probably. It could be slightly better in some regards, like not causing a notification from the publish (so it starts off "deleted") and it would probably be good to timestamp it as the first "publish" time (normally, an answer keeps the time it was posted before deletion) but overall this would probably be what "save a draft" can do.
    – VLAZ
    Oct 16, 2019 at 16:35
  • "Draft saved" is what one should be looking for.. but a save it button is also good, unless it's misused as a note keeping service.
    – anki
    Oct 16, 2019 at 20:12
  • Drafts could have a really short life (1-3 days) to avoid misuse, it's only suppose to be like a quick-save. But it's a good advice to look for the "draft saved" message, not sure about the support on mobile though. Oct 16, 2019 at 23:04
  • @ankii the problem is how do you retrieve them. What should happen is you go to the same question and you get what you've written in the answer text box but...as I said, that doesn't always work. It didn't work for me when I wanted to use the feature. No idea why, since I don't exactly know how the system works. Perhaps it doesn't restore if the tab is still open in the first PC (can't remember if this was the case or not), perhaps I didn't open the question correctly (going via different URL?). Perhaps it was just a random bug.
    – VLAZ
    Oct 17, 2019 at 4:58
  • @VLAZ the best way is to post them and immediately delete them. Sure it bumps the questions up, 20k people will see your deleted answers and can frown upon, but the text is always there, (2 months for sure) and later edit it, and undelete those answers. No idea how auto-draft works or its retrieval.
    – anki
    Oct 17, 2019 at 5:57


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