I answered a question (not 10 minutes ago), after about 3 minutes I decided to edit my own post with more details. When I was done editing (took me about 20 seconds to edit), I noticed there were 2 other people's answers there, both had been posted while I was editing... but after editing, mine was at the top and didn't show as being edited.

  • Is there now some kind of grace period where you can edit your own answer without it affecting your spot in the list? (If so, what's the period of time?)

  • 'SHOULD' there be a grace period? (I haven't had coffee yet, so it's possible I'm still sleeping)

  • Just to clarify: "If you edit your answer, this will not be processed as an edit" means that there will be no revisions and no way to view diffs/roll back the edit. Commented May 20, 2010 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


This has always been a feature. If you edit your post within 5 minutes it doesn't count as an edit.

Jeff and Joel have discussed this in an early one of their weekly podcasts.

Jeff wanted this because he would go and edit his own stuff. It was podcast number 20. You can also read the transcription;


I also try to copy a lot of things I've seen online that have been successful, like conventions. Let me give you a specific example: PHP-BB, and I'm sure there are other web discussion boards that do this too but PHP-BB is the one I know, has this editing convention. When you post you can edit your own posts, and I noticed that when people are using PHP-BB that right after you post something you'll always notice some goofy mistake that you made, like immediately. This happens to me 9 times out of ten I'll post and think "oh, I should have talked about this" or "I missed that word," so you immediately go in and edit. At a certain threshold these are not treated as real edits, they're treated as just going back in time to pretend that it is the post you originally made. It doesn't kick off the whole auditing trail of you having edited it 50 times. One of the first things we did in StackOverflow is actually implement that. I remember talking to Geoff Dalgas about that, and he's like "why do we have to have this?" I said, "you don't understand, this feature has to be in there on day 1 otherwise we're going to have so many revisions that are just in the first minute or two after posting and are just silly little things that are being corrected."



You not actually recording the revision? You're not doing the diff thing?


[Not] within the threshold. Right now the threshold is actually 5 minutes. So up to 5 minutes after you post, if you edit your own stuff. Now if I go edit it, it's a real revision.


I agree with the need for this kind of grace period but should it also take into account the % change of the post? I see a lot of 'fastest gun' stuff going on and 5 mins can allow someone to completely change their post or significantly extend it while retaining their position.

The % change could be hard to calculate but even a size check could reveal the 'cut & paste' of someone else's info or the extension of your answer to include elements from someone else's.

Just a thought.


There's always been a five-minute grace period on all edits made by the same user. It's there so that you can make minor tweaks to answers and questions without having a ton of revisions in the history. All revisions made the same five-minute window are rolled up together into the same revision.

It encourages answering questions at a high level quickly, then filling in details after a minute or two.


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