On SO, I made a comment and realized I'd written 'and' where I meant 'any'. The timer said '4 minutes', but the edit option was still present, so I tried to edit it; it wouldn't let me save it - even though it still said '4 minutes' when I had cancelled it.

Why was the edit option present when it was no longer valid?

And, more particularly, can 'you' (the SO team) do something so that people do not waste spend time editing a comment when the edit will not be accepted.

  • Are those air-quotes around you? Aug 26, 2010 at 21:44

3 Answers 3


The edit window is 5 minutes, but the text that says how long ago the comment was made is generated by the webserver and not updated live by javascript.

If you see that a comment was posted 2 minutes ago and come back 1 hour later the edit button will still be present and it will still say posted 2 minutes ago.

  • OK - but it would be kinder to the user to include in the information available to the client-side JS the actual time that the comment was made, so people aren't allowed into the editor if the result will not be savable. I can see that requires some changes - but changes is what I'm asking for. Don't let people spend time editing when their effort will not be accepted. That's nasty - or, if that's too strong, it is not as pleasant a user experience as could be provided if the JS knew when the edit window would close. Aug 26, 2010 at 21:32
  • @jon Once you bang your head against it few times, you get into the habit of refreshing before editing a comment that is not recent. Refreshing before posting is certainly a good habit. Not that I disagree with you, it could be a smoother user experience. However, I think the dev team has bigger fish to fry. Aug 26, 2010 at 22:49
  • 4
    If you update some data in real time, it might start to get confusing as to whether a particular piece of data is or isn't.
    – Gelatin
    Aug 27, 2010 at 0:29
  • @Simon: exactly; if it's not done with EVERYTHING it's just confusing. And it's confusing even if it's done with everything as not many websites do it. I don't think it's a very good idea. Aug 27, 2010 at 2:24
  • @George: I don't like repetitive head banging - I was never a heavy metal fan. Aug 27, 2010 at 10:57

I am reposting this answer to the question Why doesn't the 'edit comment' button disappear after 5 minutes? here:

I use the edit function post-five-minutes frequently and certainly hope this feature/behavior is never revoked.

As much as I find the "gotcha" feeling of finding out too late that I've passed the five minute mark even though I'd swear I had a few more seconds, I find the availability of edit without save is still very useful.

Unless I'm mistaken, there is no other way to grab all of the links, formatting, and MathJax at once, to either repost, revise or improve the comment when it is helpful, or to use it as the kernel of an answer when I realize that it was one, since I try to avoid leaving answers as comments as much as possible.


It checks on POST whether or not the edit is valid. So when you loaded the page, you were 4 minutes after and editing was still a valid option.

* * * Time passed. * * *

Then the edit is no longer valid (the edit window has passed), but the page has not been reloaded and so it still shows the state that it was at on your initial load.

  • 2
    So now we know the technical reason for the misfeature. Now let's do something to fix it!
    – Jens
    May 29, 2012 at 22:47

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