What is the reasoning behind this?

  • 6
    The reasoning behind this is actuly quite simpel, 5 minets is enoph tiem too fix all the errrors in you're coment. Commented Dec 19, 2020 at 22:00
  • 2
    Another possible danger: your partner edits his comments to alter the context making your following comments disadvantegous for you. This is a particularly disgusting behavior onthe facebook (where you can indefinitely alter your old posts,. but you can not really report this type of misuse). Somewhere I read a guy (maybe mod) who does not react or consider comments younger than 5 min.
    – peterh
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 1:01

4 Answers 4


If you're allowed to edit a comment for much longer than 5 minutes, it becomes possible to perform an edit on the comment that makes it out of context (no longer makes sense) with the rest of the comments.

  • 7
    Shouldn't people know better than doing that?
    – user153130
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:38
  • 23
    You have a lot of faith in people. :) Seriously, almost everything is rate-limited in StackOverflow to prevent various abuses of the system.
    – user102937
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 18:43
  • 21
    If you don't allow editing of comments, then it becomes possible for the comment to become out of context (because the question/answer it belongs to was edited or another comment was removed). Worse yet, if you made a mistake in your comment, and realize it after 5 minutes, you usually can't fix it. Sure, if it's the last comment, I'll just copy it, delete it, and make a new one with the correction. But, that seems like an unnecessary hurdle to put in place.
    – Nate
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 22:27
  • 9
    But what should be more important is the value a properly edited comment could add, potentially helping many people. Sometimes five minutes is not enough, even after three cups of coffee. Revise, revise, revise. Can't we all just chill out, take a deep breath and consider what's really important? ;-)
    – Jay Brunet
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 9:53
  • 4
    Why couldn't we allow the comment to be edited for a longer time period, but only if it's still the last comment on the post? Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 12:58
  • 5
    The time limit makes it worse, not better. If you accidentally submit a comment with an error, you'll might get a barrage of snarky counter comments descending into a comedy of errors. It is also incredibly insensitive to individuals with special needs who need extra time. Maybe that's why Steven Hawking isn't answering any questions of physics stack exchange. Moreover, I'm sure a crafty lawyer can extract some money out of it.
    – user148298
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 17:30
  • 1
    OK, let's not have a lot of faith in people, but don't you think as the experience of one grows here (measured by reputation), he/she should be allowed to judge for him/herself about this kind of issues? Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:14
  • 2
    If this logic was sound, then you wouldn't be able to edit any comments on any platform. I disagree completely with this logic, it doesn't make sense to me.
    – ESR
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 4:36
  • 1
    It's utterly ridiculous that this is not allowed. Cold is with the monkey's ears and toes. Travel trips taken away go home, friends are baskets and hats. Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 20:42
  • 1
    I think the ability to strikethrough a comment and add to it would be useful, since I can see the possible misuses of editing comments.
    – GammaGames
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 4:34
  • 3
    @ESR This time limit also prevents us from repairing broken links in comments, which are very common. Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 15:08
  • 1
    It's just an annoying feechur and so easy to defeat that I wonder why it is still in place. OK, I understand the difference between editing a comment to change its meaning (particularly after it has been replied to) and correcting typos or adding additional thoughts or data, but as far as I am concerned it's a pointless inconvenience and should be up for revision. Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 13:13

The real problem is that, second class citizens that they are, comments do not have a public revision history. Only moderators can view it.

SE lets you edit pretty much everything else at any time because there's edit accountability: At any given moment, you know who changed what, when, and why. This isn't the case with comments — this is why comments can no longer be edited after the standard grace period.

  • 4
    I don't believe that allowing a comment to be deleted and simply added again with edits months later solves the problem you speak about. Nor am I convinced that it's even a problem.
    – NotMe
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 20:46
  • 15
    That said, 5 minutes is really not enough time to flesh out certain concepts. After all, we're talking about explaining code which is not easy to do, even for fluent English speakers who can type 70 WPM! Also as any professional writer knows, it's really important to reread what you wrote, make sure it makes sense, clarify anything vague, etc. You can't always do this well in 5 minutes.
    – Jay Brunet
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 9:44
  • 2
    In addition to the comments from @notme and P J Brunet, If your comments go past the character limit, and you need to revise and clarify the blurb, 5 minutes is sometimes not enough.
    – GWR
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 11:54
  • 2
    Comments now have an history. See this for a moderator's view. That surfaced in a related question. Note: This is a redo of a previous comment that started with "Comments do have an history", after the comment above.
    – fgrieu
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 6:59
  • 1
    ... and so now this answer should be removed, and people should be directed to this one instead.
    – NH.
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 22:36
  • 2
    @NH. No, because before your comment was posted, this answer was edited to clarify that there's still no publicly visible history.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 1:56

This isn't an answer so much as a nag -- I have a little issue with this 5 minute rules. I accidentally hit save on my comment right after I started one. No big deal, edit. Typing, typing, typing, no warning from the site. Save, and wham, edit not allowed. Aw, come on!

If you're really going to enforce this, either

  1. give a warning while editing the comment (like a doomsday counter) so that the user is informed, or
  2. just give a grace period - like you can't start an edit after 5 minutes have passed, but you can save the edit for 15 minutes from the original post.
  • 9
    You could just delete and repost.
    – Joe Z.
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 18:14
  • 1
    @Joe damn, too late now :-(
    – Jay Brunet
    Commented Sep 3, 2013 at 9:39
  • Thanks Joe Z., that's a good point. I have done that now and it's a good solution.
    – Abacus
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 20:28
  • 2
    It's a solution which invalidates the justifications for the problem.
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 14:07
  • 1
    One problem is that some comments are automatically generated by the system (assigning the first reviewer's name to it) and benefit from adding additional information to the end or specifying which answer (in the case of duplicate closure comments) out of the many answers the question; hoping to reduce the subsequent ensuing pings of protest. Either seven minutes, or three minutes of inactivity, would slow the "quickest repliers in the West" contest - thus, Abacus' point has merit where deleting and reposting breaks the Review Queue link mechanism.
    – Rob
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 4:06

As others have noted, comments are ephemeral second class citizens with no revision history. That's a really complicated way to say that they are meant to be temporary aids to posts rather than primary content. If the content of a comment is so important that it needs editing for improvement over a long period of time, perhaps it needs to be written up to be a full post. If the context has changed and a comment needs to be tweaked to reflect the new situation, remove the old comment and write a new one. (You can even copy/paste the old one before deleting if you want to start with that.)

  • 17
    If comments are only meant to be temporary, then they should just disappear entirely. They don't. They stay around. As such, not being able to edit them increases the chance of them being, or becoming, misinformation. Combined with the other bad feature that comments can be voted up, but not down, further increases the chances of getting bad information from comments. Your justification boils down to "comments are second class citizens because comments are second class citizens". In the end, people don't process information that way. They read it all (posts and comments).
    – Nate
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 22:32
  • 1
    Comments now have an history. See this for a moderator's view. That surfaced in a related question.
    – fgrieu
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 6:55
  • Comments are meant to last FAR longer than the five minutes of the timeout, so this is a very poor rationale indeed. Commented Feb 14, 2023 at 20:11

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