Yesterday I had written a comment and, after 4 minutes began editing it.
After having finished my editing, I tried to save the comment and was prompted with the message, that editing is only possible within 5 minutes; the consequence being that I wasn't able to save the edits.

My interpretation of editing is, that it is a process, which starts the moment I make the first change and doing so would put the 5 minute time limit on hold and, that it would restart the moment the edits are saved.

There are of course workarounds and tricks, but the current handling of the time limit was surprising to me and I would like to learn whether my interpretation of editing as a process, that starts with the first change, is plausible and, whether others also think that the handling of the time limit for editing of comments should be changed.

  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of About the option of editing comments - a different algorithm? $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2014 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ @BjørnKjos-Hanssen no, my question is based on a different issue. I don't want to be able to edit after the 5 minute time frame, I rather don't want the clock keep running if I start editing within that time limit. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2014 at 10:16
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    $\begingroup$ A point to make in support of this change is that the current system can be wastefully frustrating: one starts an edit in good faith, but in giving care and attention to make quality changes, one exceeds the time limit and then the carefully composed improvements are lost. A pointless and irritating frustration! $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2014 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ What if the edits never get saved because you change your mind and close the browser tab, or you lose network connection? What if you are interrupted by an hour-long discussion with your colleague while writing the comment? I agree that the current behaviour is sometimes annoying, but there still needs to be a (reasonably short) hard time limit even if you start editing. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2014 at 16:03
  • $\begingroup$ What I could imagine is that if the system detects you started editing and did not yet save the comment, the limit is temporarily raised to, say, 7 minutes, so that you stand a chance of finishing the edit even if you start close to the deadline. Or, if it’s technically feasible, the system could display an alert shortly before the limit expires so that you can at least save what edits you have already done. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2014 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ The simplest solution would probably be to ask SE to increase the limit to 10 minutes, no matter when you started editing. This would likely require no additional developer effort (many such settings are configurable per-site, though I don't know if this one is for sure). $\endgroup$
    – user35354
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ @MadScientist: I don’t quite see what this would achieve. The problem is that a user can start editing a comment before the timeout under the promise he is still allowed to do that, but the system tells him the game is over when he tries to actually save the comment. This is primarily a confusing UI issue. Increasing the overall timeout does not solve this problem, it only changes the relative time when it can manifest. $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2014 at 21:08
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek The linked duplicate has a reply from an SE employee mentioning that the proper solution would be a lot of work. This kind of edge case in comment editing has not a high priority inside SE from what I can tell, which is why I mentioned a solution that likely would require no additional developer effort, even if it is an imperfect one. $\endgroup$
    – user35354
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ Another possibility is to have some visible indication of how much time you have left to submit your edit, while you are editing. $\endgroup$
    – S. Carnahan Mod
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 7:01
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    $\begingroup$ @JoelDavidHamkins why are they 'lost'? They are still there and in fact not discarded on failed submission (this would be annoying). [Compare the answer and my comment on it.] $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 10:19

1 Answer 1


You always have the option of entering a new edited comment and deleting the old one, which has almost the same effect as what you're hoping to do. (That's what I used to do back when it was not possible to edit comments at all.)

  • $\begingroup$ i am aware of that possibility and I have used it for comments for which the time- limit for editing had expired. The reason for my question was, that I felt somewhat "trapped in" becaus there was no indication, that the clock kept on ticking. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ @ManfredWeis but why do you feel "trapped"? The thing fails really gracefully. You get a notification you cannot submit it, but you keep access to the edited source for the comment. Just copy it, and put it in a new window. This is better than copying the rendered text of the comment as you do not loose formatting and more importantly MathJax. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ @user9072 but this sounds like a work-around. In an ideal world, people should not have to abuse the system like this. $\endgroup$
    – user137767
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 19:56

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