93

I am a horrendous speller, and my mild dyslexia does not help.

Sometimes I typo in my comments, I look at it a few days later and see something that screams to be fixed. But to fix it I would have to get rid of all my up votes and lose continuity.

Should we be allowed to fix minor typos in comments?

5
  • 16
    This is my stocking stuffer for everyone - Merry Christmas. Now I can go enjoy my holiday (until there are bugs found :-) Dec 27, 2009 at 7:24
  • 3
    Does the pencil look like an italic exclamation point to anyone else? I look at it, and it's saying, "OH NOES THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN EDITED!" On the other hand, I can't count how many times I've deleted and resubmitted a comment to fix an error. It's like the scarlet letter of comments. This is going on my permanent record isn't it?
    – Pollyanna
    Jan 11, 2010 at 20:57
  • Hmm, came here to look for info on how to edit someone elses comments. For example, changing 'grOping colors' to 'grouping colors' here: stackoverflow.com/questions/16592222/matplotlib-group-boxplots Is this included in the 2000 karma privilege of editing someone's question and answer? Jun 21, 2015 at 20:40
  • It's not completed, 5 minutes restriction makes the implementation incomplete. Allow to edit your own comment while it's the last comment displayed makes more sense(suggested by Jon Skeet ) Jul 16, 2016 at 13:35
  • Waffles is no longer in the building, unlikely anyone that matters read your comment
    – waffles
    Jul 16, 2016 at 13:55

9 Answers 9

40

You can now edit your own comments after you post them, within a 5 minute window.

How do you know a comment has been edited? A little pencil icon will appear next to it. The mouseover title tooltip explains what this pencil icon means, and also provides a count of how many times the comment was edited in that 5 minute window.

Moderators can edit any comments at any time. This action is logged and visible in that moderator's user history to other moderators.

4
  • 3
    I just edited your comment and it seems to work OK. Guess it was just a deployment issue. Really like the inline editing - any chance of getting that for posts, too? Dec 27, 2009 at 8:00
  • Thanks for adding this Jeff, Jerrod and Team. I've definitely had to delete and re-add a bunch of comments, so this feature is immediately useful. Dec 28, 2009 at 0:18
  • 18
    Is there any good reason to limit the time to edit to 5 minutes (especially when you can delete it every time)? I have just spotted a horrible typo in comment from 8 minutes ago and I'm unable to edit it :( Oct 31, 2010 at 20:49
  • Thanks, now to write a though-out comment to a answer that needs elaboration/ needs addressing I edit it offline. Apr 14, 2011 at 3:51
38

Definitively.
Delete and repost might work if you realize immediately your mistake. But if you only realize it the next day, and there were already several other comments... reposting your comment is not possible anymore.

can others of sufficient reputation edit?

No

edit history?

No

edit info near comment?

Yes, a simple one just to know it has been edited, and only if it is not the latest comment (see next point)

people use them to change the whole meaning of comments instead of just correcting typos etc

a/ with an edit status, you at least know the comment has been edited/tampered
b/ if you realize the comment you answered to has been significantly changed, making your own comment "not relevant" anymore, this is indeed an abuse: just flag it.

4
  • 4
    plus, the delete/re-post suggestion usually lands me on the "slow down there" page, because i'll see the error and attempt to fix it within 30 seconds (or whatever the timeout is)
    – Kip
    Jun 30, 2009 at 13:23
  • 3
    I support being able to edit comments, not only as a user but as a moderator. It would be great if moderators could remove inappropriate or offensive material from a comment (i.e. personal attacks) without removing the entire thing. Jul 4, 2009 at 17:36
  • 3
    On the other hand, this will create MANY MANY cases of ["U ar teh SUX" -T.Danza : 12:40PM]["@T.Danza: I find that offensive -me : 12:45PM]["I have a useful and pertinent thing to say." -T.Danza : 12:40PM] which leaves "me" looking like an idiot who's offended by nothing
    – devinb
    Jul 14, 2009 at 14:41
  • 1
    Just making 30 seconds or so time span during which you can edit your comment protects from forgery of discussion. 30 seconds is enough to proof read and fix all the stupid mistakes.
    – vava
    Oct 24, 2009 at 12:20
20

I think there's a difference between comments and questions/answers - I view comments as a mostly short-term dialogue: typos don't really matter so long as the meaning is communicated. Questions and answers are more of a long term idea, meant to be as clear and presentable as possible.

Being able to edit comments could lead to some very confusing comment threads if people use them to change the whole meaning of comments instead of just correcting typos etc. Having an edit history per comment seems like overkill :) The whole "revisionist" aspect makes sense for posts, where the final content is absolutely the most important thing - but I think the complexity and room for abuse in the comment system outweighs the benefit.

Perhaps it would make sense to be able to edit your own comment while it's the last comment displayed though. (Mind you, you never know when someone has seen the comment and is replying to it...)

6
  • 5
    When is the last time you had a typo in a comment? :P On one hand some of us, unfourtunatly, are a bit more prone to typos, and the end result can be pretty embarrassing. On the other hand, one should take a deep breath and try to ensure something is coherent before posting a comment. I totally understand that the complexity may prohibit a feature like this.
    – waffles
    Jun 29, 2009 at 6:19
  • 2
    +1 for "while it's the last comment displayed". That should be possible for "too quickly sent comments".
    – please delete me
    Jun 29, 2009 at 10:57
  • 3
    Of course there's already "copy, paste into textbox, fix, delete old, add new" cycle if it's the last comment, but that's a pain :)
    – Jon Skeet
    Jun 29, 2009 at 10:59
  • 2
    Yeah, especially with the new formatted comments. Since it will lose any formatting =) Jul 4, 2009 at 15:36
  • 1
    "while it's the last comment displayed" In that case, there's no harm in posting a corrected comment and deleting the original. I've done that many times. Aug 26, 2009 at 20:07
  • 1
    +1 I agree. I don't think editing comments is required or even advisable.
    – cletus
    Oct 14, 2009 at 14:23
11

I am dyslexic, so often find I post something (including a comment) and decide upon seeing the finished product that I wish to edit it.

A suggestion: if you have started to edit a comment, you should be allowed to finish it (say within 5 mins of starting the editing). I hit the edge case where I started to edit at 5 - a bit mins and finished at 5 + a bit, by which time I was told that the comment was no longer editable.

4
  • 3
    I knew you were telling the truth 3 words into reading this answer. ;)
    – Jon Seigel
    Apr 4, 2010 at 15:31
  • 2
    @justin, you should really create a new thread ("question") for this feature request as it will get more visibility and it will have its own status-* updates! Anwyays, I like it =) Apr 4, 2010 at 16:44
  • @Jon Let's hope my edit is approved - then your comment will be invalid! Muhuhahahahaha! And, yes, I have nothing else better to do at the moment. :) Sep 4, 2011 at 4:11
  • Very funny, basically proves his point. Jun 18, 2014 at 21:00
9

No.

Why? You'll get weird nonsensical threads, for (a slightly contrived) example:

  • [Alice] Your answer is wrong!
  • [Bob] Alice: "Your", not "You're"
  • [Charlie]: Bob: That's what she said

..unless you implement a revision history for comments, which I think is rather excessive.

At most I think you should be able to edit a comment in the first 5 minutes, to fix typos without having to delete and repost it..

I don't think comments are all that important (compared to actual questions/answers), and there are many other things far more deserving of the SO developers time!

2
  • if you get that, you can just flag the comments ...
    – waffles
    Jul 4, 2009 at 23:49
  • @waffles: I think what @dbr means is that Alice really do misspelt "You're", but she edited it to between Bob's reply and Charlie's reply. I guess a potential scenario would be Bob deleting his comment, and we're left with something that somewhat make sense in a somewhat different way: [Alice] Your answer is wrong! [Charlie] Bob: That's what she said. The chance of misunderstanding is very high.
    – Lie Ryan
    Oct 9, 2010 at 21:49
8

I'd really like to see this as a time-based rather than position-based feature. The time should be short to limit the chance of disrupting the comment chain based on edits. Ideally, this would be a jEditable or something similar that is only available for 30sec to 1min after the comment was submitted. After that you'd have to clarify through additional comments.

2
  • Aye! I wind up having to delete/repost comments all to often to fix minor errors or improve clarity; having a minute or two to edit would solve this and wouldn't open the normal can of worms.
    – derobert
    Jul 27, 2009 at 14:29
  • i agree with you, I know that it's my fault because I often do not pay to much attention before pressing the button, but 30sec or 1min to allow editing would be great
    – Drake
    Jul 28, 2009 at 9:20
3

I don't think we need to add this much more complexity to the site. There are better things for the devs to work on.

Comments were never meant to be anything so complex anyway. We have already made them a lot more complex than they need to be. I would rather we keep them the way they are now.

1
  • 1
    What? Why do people keep saying "There are better things for the devs to work on." ? It's like they are esteemed to this holy grail level. Seriously... it's like no one wants to make SO better! Nov 25, 2009 at 16:45
2

I just delete and re-post, which is good enough. Editing comments comes with baggage:

  • can others of sufficient reputation edit?
  • edit history?
  • edit info near comment?

The relative (to questions and answers) simplicity and lack of formality with comments is a good thing.

2
  • I guess threaded commenting would kind of resolve this, without needing an edit comment feature. but I agree that costs/benefits this may not be worth it. still if the comment stream is out of order things can look pretty weird.
    – waffles
    Jun 29, 2009 at 6:13
  • 1
    Deleting comments can make people confused when there are converstations sparked by that specific comment Feb 17, 2015 at 23:53
2

Originally, comments addressed a legitimate need to add short annotations to a post, to note a caveat or mistake, or ask for clarification. My understanding was the comment would eventually lead to improvements in the post. The author of the post (or in some cases an editor) would read the comment, improve the post to address the comment's concern, and then delete the comment.

I don't like the feature creep I've seen since comments were introduced. They got longer, everyone but the commenter lost the ability to delete, they got votes, and now there's even a badge for votes on comments.

I don't see how any of that, and especially editing comments, contributes to the ultimate goal of the sites: better questions and answers.

3
  • 2
    I'd like to admit, that most of those features might not make much sense on the rest of the sites. They do, however, make a lot of sense here. Aug 26, 2009 at 20:47
  • 2
    actually here even threaded comments make sense...
    – waffles
    Aug 26, 2009 at 22:23
  • It really would be nice to edit comments, so one can correct mistakes. Realizing that it may make a comment further down superfluous, but that already happens anyway when the comment is directly about a question/answer, and that question/answer changes. Do you want to forever have a misspelled word, poor grammar, missing quote marks, etc. ? Feb 11, 2015 at 18:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .