View Full Version : Rationale behind post editing time limit?

April 2, 2011, 05:52 PM

I am hoping someone can enlighten me as to why members are not allowed to edit their posts after a few days have passed.

Having searched this support forum, I came upon many threads on this topic, but little or no response as to the reason for the limitation. Most times a moderator would simply state, "Yes, there is 4 day limit - after that, just add a new post to the thread."

The closest I came to uncovering the reason was one post where a mod mentioned "continuity" of the thread. However, in some cases it seems that the limitation would have exactly the opposite effect. For example, I am currently in the process of posting some of my serial number research for various pistols in the Harley Nolden forum. In posts of this kind, it is important to be able to edit the original list as new information is uncovered so that the data is presented in an orderly, continuous fashion. My research is done over long periods of time, with the information very gradually and painstakingly compiled. To add a new post every time new serial numbers or data are uncovered will result in a stew of jumbled information that will be horribly difficult to make sense of.

So why the limit on editing? What is there to be afraid of? Most people wouldn't bother to edit their posts anyway, and the few exceptions likely would have good reason for doing so. If new information is added, why would the moderators care if it's in the original post or not? And if information is deleted - well, it was the OP's to post in the first place, so why not let her delete some or all of it if she wants?

I have belonged to forums that have unlimited post editing and have not observed any editing epidemics or major problems with thread discontinuity. On the contrary, the capability allows information to be presented in such a way that it will best serve those seeking it. If someone is interested in reading about Clement pistol serial numbers, and their search turns up an initial list, who's to say that they will look 25 posts down to see additional posts - perhaps months or even years later - containing information that belongs in the main database? And even if they do, the disorder of the information they pick out of the rest of the thread will hamper their ability to perceive the "big picture", which is why the trouble is taken to compile the serial number data in the first place.

Sorry to be long winded, but I am puzzled and frustrated by what seems a perfectly senseless restriction.

Mal H
April 2, 2011, 06:59 PM
We don't see it as a senseless restriction at all. The four day time limit is usually more than sufficient time to get a post worded right. We limit the editing capability after that so that a member can't come back weeks, months, or even years later and completely change the meaning and flow of a thread. You may not see that as a problem, but we do since we expect TFL to be used as a searchable database of useful information. If the information is allowed to be changed or deleted down the road, it becomes less useful.

I don't know a single moderator here who wouldn't help any member when an edit is needed and requested for an older post as long as the request is reasonable. If you are creating a data post, and it sounds like you are, then please PM any mod with the changes required to your post.

April 3, 2011, 05:40 PM
Mal, thanks for the explanation. I guess I can see your point, though somehow I still can't picture enough people wanting to edit their posts to have it be a problem. But who knows, maybe it would turn into a free-for-all.

Probably what I'll do is wait until I've accumulated quite a number of new data entries, then copy the original post and make the desired changes to the serial number list. Then I'll ask a moderator to replace the entire initial post with the updated one. I just don't want to be a pain in the neck by pestering the mods every couple of weeks or months as I uncover new information.

April 3, 2011, 06:12 PM
Some members may post things they want to remove later for various reasons. It has happened to me before! :)

Shane Tuttle
April 3, 2011, 07:46 PM
I guess I can see your point, though somehow I still can't picture enough people wanting to edit their posts to have it be a problem.

You'd be surprised if you saw our Matrix...

Just give us a hollar and we can make the judgment on just adding another post or editing your old one. We have no problem AT ALL being contacted by members for requests such as yours. We may or may not grant them, but we're never bothered to help. It's far easier to deal with a request than trying to keep up on members' constant editing of their posts to make sure they're not disrupting the flow as Mal stated.

April 3, 2011, 07:55 PM
You should consider using a Google Docs spreadsheet and linking to that. You'd be able to update the spreadsheet at will, and could even allow others to add and edit entries based on the permissions that you'd set for them. Google Docs also offers versioning, which enables you to recover past versions. The link would always bring up the most current version.

Here's an example of one that's been done for Android tablet devices - https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0An9YIUsyN3OXdEVIS3l6N2Q2RnFxaGdydWpmSHRDaUE&hl=en

Mal H
April 3, 2011, 08:30 PM
That sounds like a very good idea for threads and posts of a database type.

Brian Pfleuger
April 4, 2011, 09:13 AM
Unlimited editing would be a field day for folks like LuckyInKentucky.

Mal H
April 4, 2011, 09:24 AM
... and literally thousands of others who don't take what we do quite as seriously as they might. Although, most of those thousands are no longer with us, but while they were here, they could have had more "fun" than they did if they could edit a lot later in the game.

April 4, 2011, 07:37 PM
Thanks to all for your input, and Casimer, thank you particularly for the suggestion about Google Docs. I was not aware of that program and I am going to investigate its possibilities.

April 5, 2011, 10:46 AM
I recall on a hobby forum - one person got SO irritated with the site - he literally went back into 100s of his posts and edited his comments to read something akin to "my comments are now my own to do with as I want".

It made for a lot of useless posts cluttering up the forum for quite awhile...

Ya gotta just wonder sometimes...

Mike Irwin
April 5, 2011, 11:02 AM
Yep, I've seen instances of that in other forums with which I've been associated.

One really bad one was where a staff member went in and deleted hundreds of his own messages, then started actively trying to destroy the board by deleting things, like users he had squabbled with. Locked out other mods to try to hijack the board.

The admin had to rebuild the board using a several day old backup.