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There is a 5 minute limit on editing comments. Perhaps the idea is to keep the flow of the thread faithful (to avoid distortions--or even manipulations--of a discussion).

However I happen to be quite prone to small errors like typos etc. An error can be small, occasionally just one letter, but the effect can be frustrating. Thus I would post a "new" comment which would be a corrected copy of the eralier one, and then I would remove that wrong one. This however gets tiring.

Thus, if possible, I would suggest that a comment can be edited as long as there was no new activity by others in the given thread. Once there is any new post or edit of the question or an answer or any new comment then editing of the given comment would be off. What do you think?

By the way, the removing operation would still may endanger the integrity of a discussion--I hope, no such things will ever happen. I am talking about the general principles in a theoretical way. The rules should be optimal.

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    $\begingroup$ The removing operation would easily be traceable for moderators (they can see deleted comments). $\endgroup$ – user9072 Apr 14 '14 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ That's good! Wikipedia-like history feature would be about optimal. $\endgroup$ – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Apr 14 '14 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ As long as there are no other comments posted you can simply delete your comment yourself and post a corrected version. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Apr 15 '14 at 5:33
  • $\begingroup$ M.Sci., as I've written above in my Question: Thus I would post a "new" comment which would be a corrected copy of the erlier one, and then I would remove that wrong one. This however gets tiring. $\endgroup$ – Włodzimierz Holsztyński Apr 15 '14 at 5:58
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What this doesn't account for is people actively typing replies to something you said which might or might not be posted prior to your attempt to edit, so you'd still have the possibility that a conversation could turn completely surreal as a consequence to doing this.

We do have some methods of keeping track of what connected clients are doing, but it's not really intended for this particular purpose, and there's no real possibility of mutual exclusion (e.g. block pending replies if you make an edit before they post).

In theory, it would be really nice to have, but it's also quite a bit of work to get this sort of thing right - and there's not a whole lot of benefit to gain. I've also hit this in the past, I know it can be frustrating - you just have to make use of the five minutes you get to re-read what you posted and try to fix anything in that time.

Your idea isn't bad, it's just not something that could justify a whole lot of time getting synchronization correct in order to support it.

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  • $\begingroup$ There presently is a mechanism for hiding an edit from everyone but the creator until approved/stale/whatever. Having a comment be visible to the creator only for about 5 minutes, and then giving him 5 more minutes of edit time seems like a worthwhile compromise that should involve filtering more than synchronization. I would appreciate 5 more minutes at the cost of the initial entry not being viewable for 5 minutes. It could be a user chosen behaviour even. $\endgroup$ – The Masked Avenger Apr 29 '14 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ @TheMaskedAvenger what would be the pupose of this? Also suggested edit, which is what I assume you refer to, somewhat lock the post, which seems like a nonoption for the comment thread. What you propose seems a lot more problematic than the original suggestion regarding the creation of surreal conversations. If anything, why not just a preview for comments? $\endgroup$ – user9072 Apr 29 '14 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ @quid, I don't mind a properly implemented preview for comments. Right now I am using a virtual keyboard on this device which has delete key next to return (for comments, this means "submit") key. Despite my best efforts, I often have less than five minutes to finish my comment because of an accidental submit. As far as I know, the feature I suggest does not involve locking, only filtering. Also, many who submit comments do so before previewing anyway. My suggestion is a poor and hopefully quick compromise to the problem suggested in the question. $\endgroup$ – The Masked Avenger Apr 30 '14 at 3:31
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    $\begingroup$ @TheMaskedAvenger if the problem you actually want to solve is that you accidentally submit a comment you should focus on this. AFAIK there are userscripts to modify the submit on return behavior. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Apr 30 '14 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ I dont see why it should be difficult to make comments editable without time restriction: just remove the restriction of this feature to moderators and make it possible to any user on MathOverflow. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton May 2 '14 at 18:22

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