Limit the time to edit posts? (poll added)

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Should we limit the amount of time posts can be edited?

Poll ended at Fri Jun 13, 2008 2:29 pm

Total votes: 0

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Alex Frakt
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Limit the time to edit posts? (poll added)

Post by Alex Frakt » Wed May 14, 2008 11:47 am

I'd like some feedback on whether to set a limit on the amount of time posters should be allowed to edit their posts. Many forums set a time limit ranging from an hour to a day, but on this forum you can do it forever. I set it up that way since it seemed consistent with Phoenix's original guarantee that "Your words are your property as far as I am concerned." But we've seen some situations where people have used this ability to do everything from deleting their posts entirely months after they have made them to changing the meaning of the post so much that further replies no longer make sense. AFAIK, no one has used this to try to make their predictions of market events look better, but the possibility is certainly there.

I guess it comes down to a question of unlimited control over your words versus the ability of readers to be sure what they are reading is what was originally said.

Please be assured that if the outcome of this discussion is that we do place a time limit on edits, the mods and admins will always be able to edit or remove your past material upon request if there is a legitimate reason for it. I have already done this for several posters for a variety of reasons.

I guess I should state for the record that we explicitly allow quotes of partial or entire posts in replies. These are not affected by changes to the original post. So members posting replies should strongly consider using the quote function if they are concerned about the source disappearing or being altered. But to keep threads from getting overly cluttered, please trim the quote down to just the section you are addressing.

Edit: added the poll.
Last edited by Alex Frakt on Thu May 15, 2008 3:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by retired at 48 » Wed May 14, 2008 12:31 pm

OK by me, especially if case basis edit requests can be made to Site Administrator.. Suggest allow 2-3 day time period. R48

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Post by stratton » Wed May 14, 2008 12:34 pm

Please leave it the way it is now.


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Please leave the way it is

Post by dothemontecarlo » Wed May 14, 2008 12:43 pm

Some of us may get remorse over leaving personally identifiable information (even just a name) in a post, and if spooked by an ID theft experience, we may want to redact it out.

So I would like it to be kept the way it is.

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Re: Please leave the way it is

Post by Ducks » Wed May 14, 2008 12:49 pm

dothemontecarlo wrote:Some of us may get remorse over leaving personally identifiable information (even just a name) in a post, and if spooked by an ID theft experience, we may want to redact it out.

So I would like it to be kept the way it is.
Because of this, if you decide to limit the time to edit, I suggest possibly archiving/deleting the "Portfolio Help" forum after a period of time. If a poster wants to save their thread, they can/should save a copy on their computer.
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Post by LH2004 » Wed May 14, 2008 1:05 pm

I'm not getting what the problem is with late edits. There are clearly times when they are a good thing; I don't see how they can be a very bad thing.

If you're worried about confusion from somebody posting nonsense, being criticized, and then changing the nonsense to something sensible so that the criticizers look strange, then make the notation that a post has been edited more prominent.

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Post by sscritic » Wed May 14, 2008 1:23 pm

I would not limit the time for editing. However, you could add the following to the edit notice:

"Last edited 456 days after first posting"

This would call attention to any very long delays between posting and editing.

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Post by mudfud » Wed May 14, 2008 1:23 pm

I'm in favor of keeping the editing function the way it is with no time limits. It does have a time stamp so everyone knows that the post has been edited.
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Post by zhiwiller » Wed May 14, 2008 1:36 pm

Don't "fix" what isn't broken.

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Post by Christine_NM » Wed May 14, 2008 1:39 pm

One more vote for keeping editing as is.

I like the ideal that "our words are our own" without a time limit. Can we just have one small place in the world where reality lives up to an ideal?

Hey, I don't even know how to find my old posts anyway.. have never revisited a post after the day I wrote it. I often edit within a few minutes of posting when I see how to say something in a better way.

If people want to mess up a thread occasionally by belated overediting, that is a small price to pay for an ideal. Is this really a serious problem? I have never noticed confusion due to editing.

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Post by Boris » Wed May 14, 2008 1:43 pm

stratton wrote:Please leave it the way it is now.

One more vote for that.

I would also like to add that I belong to many forums and I don't know of another that limits the time you have to edit a post. For example on one of the forums I edited a post from over 5-years ago to remove my email address.

If this power is abused then the person should get a warning (i.e. if the intent is malicious, etc) and the ability for that person to edit their posts should be revoked if such punishment is necessary. Most of the time when people care about retaining the original quote they'll quote the author of the quote and it doesn't matter what they change in their post...

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Post by rich » Wed May 14, 2008 1:55 pm

mudfud wrote:I'm in favor of keeping the editing function the way it is with no time limits. It does have a time stamp so everyone knows that the post has been edited.
I agree.

Please leave it the way it is now.
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Abuse of edit

Post by earlyout » Wed May 14, 2008 1:58 pm


Although it may contradict the original policy of ownership by the author, I support the idea of a time limit on edits. I don't see this as significantly different than the forum moderators retaining the ability to either delete or lock a thread. An author can always PM a moderator to have a post deleted in cases of identity theft or disclosure of sensitive information.

At a minimum, titles should be frozen after 1 hour. This would allow correcting a typo but would prevent changing the title to convey a different meaning. Stopping edits on the body of a message after 6 hours should give the author enough time to make necessary corrections or additions.

The current thread which prompted your question is almost to the point of being impossible to understand or follow. It would be a much better discussion if the author of the op had made new posts of the revisions and asked for feedback on the revisions. Making major revisions to the op is also unfair to forum members that have responded to the original post. Putting a time limit on editing would force new posting of revisions like this and block the author from going back and making major changes to the original post.


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Post by greg24 » Wed May 14, 2008 2:08 pm

I like a time limit on posts. Admins can always remove content such as personal identifying information if need be.

Then again, its not a big deal. Most people don't want a time limit, so maybe you should keep the status quo.

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Post by Alex Frakt » Wed May 14, 2008 2:29 pm

I added a poll.

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Post by xerty24 » Wed May 14, 2008 2:30 pm

I vote for a poll!

Failing that, I like leaving things the way they are. I'd rather people be able update/correct old posts with new or corrected information, and I think Diehards are more likely to do this than to go back and change their posts about stock picks or something. And even if they did, how many people around here would care?

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Post by SoonerSunDevil » Wed May 14, 2008 2:31 pm

mudfud wrote:I'm in favor of keeping the editing function the way it is with no time limits. It does have a time stamp so everyone knows that the post has been edited.
rich wrote:I agree.

Please leave it the way it is now.

What's really funny is that Alex had to edit this post to include a poll :)

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Post by TravisMorien » Thu May 15, 2008 1:16 am

I predict that the next post will be made by someone who is new to this board.


Last edited by TravisMorien on Thu May 15, 2008 6:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by klamathfalls » Thu May 15, 2008 6:12 am

This is only my second or third post on this board.

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Post by TimDex » Thu May 15, 2008 7:00 am

A useful change might be to allow silent edits within 48 hours of making the post, but allow the writer after that time to append changes to the end of the post (not changing original text), rather than having to go to the end of the long thread to add a change. Tim
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Post by tdhg566 » Thu May 15, 2008 7:02 am

What problem are we trying to solve here? We ALL must have way too much time on our hands!

I really can't be bothered by this. I have to get back to watching my stock ticker

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Post by PaPaw » Thu May 15, 2008 8:54 am

Many prominent authors have attempted to rewrite history and made millions selling those revisionist history books to school systems. Why shouldn't our posters have the same opportunity? :lol: :lol:

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Post by Judsen » Thu May 15, 2008 12:35 pm

I'm one of the few who said "other"
I think limits should be limited.
Maybe a 90 day limit would suit both or all three camps.
(Edited while I can!)

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Post by Phoenix » Thu May 15, 2008 1:42 pm

As the person who set the original "your posts are your own" policy, I have always leaned hard towards allowing unlimited time for edits.

However, the effect of edits made a week or a month or six months after the original post isn't benign. If you throw in some offhand remark and no one responds, then no big deal if you wipe it out long after. But if you participate in a dialogue (trialogue? decalogue?) and others have responded to what you wrote, then a late edit diminishes the archival value of the forum.

If a reader comes across a thread and can't make sense of it because the meat has been removed or altered, then that reader, all other members and guests, and members and guests we don't even have yet lose. We might just as well invoke the auto-pruning feature of the forum software and start deleting any message over a certain age.

As far as removing identifying information in a post after a time limit has expired, that can always be accomplished by sending a PM to a moderator or an administrator. But if you're chagrined about an off-color remark or Mrs. Grundy has taken you to task in English class after she googled for your handle and discovered some awful grammatical error, then my attitude is BFD. Live with it. You wrote it. Apologize for it if you have to.

I have voted for a time limit. I think 2-5 days is a reasonable limit. If you want to correct a spelling mistake or have second thoughts about what you wrote, you don't need a month or six to figure it out.

JMHO as a regular user of the forum who occasionally has to think about organizational behavior. I won't vote when it's time for the Advisory Council to decide and I will support their decision, whatever it is. (If the poll keeps going the way it's going, it won't be my way. ;))

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Post by matt » Thu May 15, 2008 3:36 pm

I'm surprised by the many "No" votes. I have come across conversations that are unintelligible because author(s) removed/revised their original content well after numerous responses have been written.

I have actually seen an example on Morningstar where someone made an incorrect prediction about how a fund's NAV would come out on a given day. 30 minutes later, he found out he was way off, so he snuck in and re-wrote his entire post. But not until after I had already read it. I called him out. Was it a major issue? No. But it says a lot about the integrity of the poster.

I'm really not sure why you would want to be allowed to make constant revisions. The only things I ever edit are spelling/grammar or a quick clarification and I only do that if I see something is wrong within minutes after my post and before many people could have read it. If I'm too late to see an error and it has significance (usually not), then I can just add another post.

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Don't fix what is not broken

Post by serbeer » Thu May 15, 2008 4:40 pm

Unless there is clear pattern of abuse of this feature, I would vote to leave things the way they are--best not to try to fix what is not broken.

A few points in support of this argument:

There is a note clearly stating number of edits that is auto-appended to a post if there were responses to it. So fact of editing cannot be hidden and caution could be exercised by subsequent readers. And as OP suggested, quoting while responding is very common that makes it harder to abuse the freedom this board grants. People who abuse freedom to edit would probably lose credibility among board members fast.

I think, while it would be ideal to have history of edits available (similar to wiki's), prohibition of editing one's own posts is not an adequate replacement for such feature. I noticed that most of the people append notes to their edits voluntarily, as a remedy.

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Post by donocash » Thu May 15, 2008 4:51 pm

Is there a specific reason why this topic is being brought up now?

Was there a specific edit that seemed abusive?

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Allow edits; possibly allow moderators to freeze

Post by grabiner » Fri May 16, 2008 9:09 pm

I have needed to edit an old post. The thread for the Washington, DC area Diehards is fairly long, so I would like the relevant information to be in the first post. That post was more than a year old when I last edited it to add directions for reaching our meeting location by public transit.

Another common use of an edit is to update information. Posters asking for investment advice frequently revise their posts to include appropriate information as requested, or as they learn the information (for example, when asked to list all the 401(k) options).

If edits are being abused, moderators can correct them, or even locked thread.
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Post by JW-Retired » Fri May 16, 2008 9:18 pm

Please leave as is. No one has noted any problem at all with it. I see no reason at all to change what works fine for everyone now.

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