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So there I am, typing a new question (or an answer). As it appears $\LaTeX$'ed in the preview frame, I keep improving it... and then I realize that there is some detail I need to think more about before posting it. When I close Firefox, it gives me a warning "This page is asking you to confirm that you want to leave - data you have entered may not be saved." So I (hopefully) copy my text and save it somewhere on my computer.
The next time I open my browser and hit "ask a question", there it appears already. Nice feature, I think - and keep working on it, until I realize that the last changes of yesterday had not been saved. Grrr... Nobody knows at what moment it has been saved the last time. it is claimed here that it happens every minute or so. But that is not my experience!

Couldn't there be a "safe draft" button? Or some "autosave every 5 min." feature?

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According to waffles's answer on Meta Stack Exchange, drafts (of questions and answers; not edits) should be automatically saved about once every 45 seconds, so part of this feature request is already implemented. (I cannot recall experiencing any problems with this feature that could not be explained by my own impatience.)

Whenever you are typing a question or an answer be aware that if the current version has been saved, there is an indicator between the editor and preview:

draft saved

If this does not appear, then the current version of the draft has not been saved.


A feature request from 2010 to allow manual saving of drafts has been marked , with Jeff Atwood saying:

Auto-save of drafts ... occur every 45 seconds. So just make sure you've paused at least that long after typing and you should be fine.

So it would appear unlikely that the ability to manually save a draft will be implemented any time soon.

But all is not lost! One of the answers to this feature request points to the user script Manual Draft Save on Stack Apps. (Fair warning: I have not used it.) While I am by no means an expert on user scripts, looking at the source I imagine that you might have to add the line

// @include       http://mathoverflow.net/*

to the header to ensure that it also works on MathOverflow.

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