Post Editing Time Limits?

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
I originally sent this question to a moderator who suggested I start a thread asking the PB community. So here goes:

What is the time limit for editing a post? Do you think that time limits are a good feature? On at least one occasion I saw a typo I made, but it was too late to fix it. On another occasion on the old system, I deleted a post after a period of time, that upon reflection I considered inappropriate. If I had a vote, it would be to disable time limits altogether. The same is true for these "conversations." What do you think?

The moderator opined that if there were no time limits, someone could change a post to the extent that it would alter the flavor of the entire thread.

What say ye?
I think we should have some limitation for the reason given. If a serious change needs to be made after time has expired contact a moderator.
I don't like the time limits. It's much more convenient to handle any changes that need to be made upon review on your own. It's true that occasionally an edited or deleted post will make a thread harder to follow, but it usually isn't substantively helpful posts that this happens to.
Members currently have thirty minutes to edit posts. More than enough time to go back and make changes if one has not made use of the post preview function before posting in the first place.

In an ideal world everyone would think before posting, review posts before submitting, and their yay's would be yay, and no's, no. In such a world no editing limits would be required, for all would say exactly what they mean to say and rest comfortably afterwards. In the actual world, some limits are needed to preserve integrity of threads where things could be altered hours or days later, mangling contexts of subsequent responses, and making downstream quotes of said text incorrect.

Then there is the issue of bad behavior, forcing lots of cleanup of subsequently quoted material that mysteriously no longer appears, having been deleted, in its original context.

Note: Especially with fast moving threads, do think about the ramifications of altering your posts substantially versus just making minor edits. If you have to make substantial edits, please ask a mod to deal with the issues so the mod can take care of the downstream impacts. Or, if you have to make substantial edits without notifying a mod, at least make a note in that same post indicating what you have done such that the reader can parse the differences that will appear downstream in quotes or unquoted responses to your original post.
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None of the pro-time limits arguments are very convincing to me.

First, interruptions and mistakes both happen. And under this new system an interruption eliminates one's ability to quietly correct a mistake. For many people, interruptions of 45 minutes or more are not at all uncommon.

Second, it would be more reassuring if no one is interested in the flow of a discussion for its own sake, but because of the helpful information it contains. Anyone who reads threads from three years ago will realize that a lot of the context is already lost. Hopefully out of the whirl of ephemera in any conversation, posts that contain substantial answers to important questions will be the most consulted. People who make such posts often have many demands on their time, and are therefore the more likely to overlook cosmetic mistakes. I've earned money proofreading, and I can tell you that everyone mistypes and on review also misses the mistake.

As to bad behavior, we aren't prosecuting attorneys looking to build a case against someone. Certainly, it can be a little confusing to read a thread that has posts missing or all the content has been reduced to the letter "e". But being aware that the conversation may not have been perfectly transcribed should alleviate confusion.

Thanks for starting a thread on this (I was the moderator who suggested this).

I don't want indefinite editing/deleting as some wreak havoc on old threads. That being rare I don't want to make everyone suffer.

I like Ruben's suggestion that a post ought to be editable as long as the thread is open but I also want to put in precautions for new users.

Consequently, new users with less than 25 posts will now have a 3-day edit/delete time limit after posting.

Those with 25 or more posts will have a 30-day edit/delete limit (or 43200 minutes if you prefer).

I don't have a way to close editing with the closing of the thread so I think this will accomplish the end of permitting people to re-think/edit what they've posted while the thread is ongoing. It's extremely rare that a thread lasts longer than a week.

After the time has elapsed you can always request a Mod to edit/delete a post/thread.
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Thanks Rich!

As someone who often goes back to a thread and, re-reading my own posts (more than 30 minutes being past), finds grammatical errors or places where I lacked clarity, I've already bumped up against the editing limitation multiple times. 30 days, however, should be more than enough time.
Thank you very much Rich, I think that's a very helpful balance for addressing various concerns.
Oh, and if you're a PuritanBoard Postgrad you get a 64,800-minute edit/delete time limit (45 days) while PuritanBoard Doctors get a whopping 86,400-minute edit/delete time limit (60 days). With great participation comes great privilege!

Thanks for starting a thread on this (I was the moderator who suggested this).

I see I can now edit my first post. Hmmm, What if I just delete it? Would that cause a problem for this thread??? :)
Thanks for granting us the power. The Lord watch over us to not abuse it.

Thanks again,
Thank you. Thank you.

Thanks Rich!

Thank you very much Rich

Thanks again,

OK, here's the real reason this came up. I've put in a bunch of arbitrary inconveniences in the re-launch of the PuritanBoard. My dialectic approach is to create "tension" that leads to a new synthesis where I end up seeming the hero and receive a bunch of "Likes" that boosts my overall profile rating. I've figured out that writing wholesome and theologically edifying content is laborious and this method of board popularity is much simpler.

{diabolical laughter....}
I appreciate that there are benefits and costs to shorter limits/longer limits/no limits to edits. I won't second guess the decisions made one way or the other on that by the folks who run the board.

I've earned money proofreading, and I can tell you that everyone mistypes and on review also misses the mistake.

It's always easier for me to spot a typo or error in something someone else has posted than it is in something I've written. The spell checkers in most modern browsers are a big help; the 'autocorrect' features on most tablets and phones are pernicious.
I think my only experience with this was with earlier iterations of the board. I don't think I ran into the problem often, but that's because I end up posting something and then editing it several times soon afterwards. I think I was prevented from editing a post once, but I probably thought the post was so old that the rule was reasonable. I don't remember getting worked up over it. I've probably also been a postgrad or doctor for at least 7-8 years so that may have also made a difference.

I'm pretty sure I've edited a post in a closed thread. I'm pretty sure I wasn't a mod at the time. Maybe that was a thread that had been closed for "disciplinary" reasons as opposed to being closed due to being 90 days without a post, which If I recall correctly is the setting for old threads. That might have been in the more primitive vBulletin days back in 2009 or something. In the early days of the board, threads were left open indefinitely. In that case, you can get people bumping 5 or 10 year old threads. In most cases it probably is best to close them after some reasonable period of activity, whether it is 90 days or 180 or whatever.

Deleting old posts can be problematic. If no one has responded or if it was some kind of cheap shot or whatever that doesn't derail the thread, it is fine. There are cases in heated discussions in which two parties agree to remove offensive statements they've made about each other. (I think that's a good idea no matter how long it has been.) But I've seen cases in forums in which persons were allowed to delete a great many posts trying to cover their tracks online or whatever, making lengthy threads indecipherable. (You see that in FB groups all the time and there isn't anything anyone can do about it other than banning the offender. And unless something has changed, if the first post in a thread is deleted, so is every response. So that's another advantage of a forum like this.)
Thank you, Rich. Having more than 30 minutes helps. I appreciate it.

I hope most of us are responsible enough that we won't go back and alter material that's been quoted and discussed further down in the thread. The reminder that this is an unhelpful (and often selfish) practice is a good word.
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