blogging gobbledygook and such

The suggestion

Allow registered users to edit and delete their comments.

Reasons supporting (paraphrased from quotes taken from the first link below)

1. Common practice in other weblog sites like Blogger and LiveJournal. [options]

2. Content of comment is technically owned by commenter [drmike]; it is their right to own their words, thoughts and ideas [millaq]; “There can’t be responsibility in absence of freedom to do what you decide it’s best to do with what you’ve created.” [millaq]

3. “My views of five years or five minutes ago do not necessarily reflect my views right now. Therefore, I reserve the right to allow my viewpoints to evolve and to change my thoughts, viewpoints and opinions over time without assigning any reason for such changes.” [timethief]

4. “I am not able to understand the logic of something not allowed in a newspaper or in a Church, or in a candy store or in a postal office, or in a hospital, or in a swimming pool, etc. should not be allowed here BECAUSE it’s not allowed there…” [millaq]

Reasons against

1. Trolls can post anything abusive and deny later [wank]; infinite drama [raincoaster]

2. Durability element of comments will make people think twice about putting their two cents in [raincoaster]

3. Commenters shouldn’t take back their words, but apologise and alter their stand instead [raincoaster]; “We have a basic human responsibility to be truthful and have integrity in what we communicate. Endless revisionism breeds contempt for first drafts and ultimately cheapens speech of all kinds.” [raincoaster]; “Recanting is much better than removal.” [boles]; “If people need edit/delete privileges, they can post on their own sites. That’s what trackbacks are for. And if they regret something they said, that’s what apologies are for.” [wank]; “Imagine you’re talking to someone, then suddenly you ask him to forget whatever you’ve just said because you own your thoughts. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? The real ethical question is that of responsibility — responsibility of the commenter.” [bdsays]

4. Blog owners should own the content, including comments. [wank] An everyday equivalent would be the newspaper.

Other suggestions

1. “If comments on blog posts are closed after 30 days to prevent spam attacks then I presume the timeframe for withdrawing a comment would be within 30 days.” [timethief]

2. Comment preview feature [timethief]


– Blogger does not allow editing of comments. It suggests that the commenter delete their comment and enter a second comment, but deletion is noted with timestamp. [options, sunburntkamel]

Read the forum thread that inspired this post.

A related forum thread

Another related forum thread

raincoaster’s opinion on this issue

boles’s opinion on this issue

sulz’s stand
Allow an editing timeframe of 5 minutes for anal people who want to correct their typos, as implemented in the forums of That said, would sit in the No Editing camp than the Allow Editing camp.

Your stand
(fill in the blank by leaving a comment)

Comments on: "Would you like to be able to edit comments you left around the blogosphere?" (13)

  1. i’m with no edit.

    heck aren’t we bloggers two-timers just whenever we want to be! i mean, here we are raising our voice against internet censorship and then we want to censor stuff on others’ blogs!

    let’s face it, just bcos WE wrote a comment doesn’t mean WE own it.

    like it or not.

    ps: typos issues? who cares? if you can’t digest a slip every now and then, just be careful, for god’s sake! or why don’t you write a comment in ms word and get it spellchecked and whatever and paste it in notepad and then paste it in that post where it will rightfully belong. too much work? well, think of a better solution then!

    sulz: got your message strong and clear. rather too strong, actually, but crystal clear… 🙂

  2. This issue sure generated a lot of discussion on the forum. It’s good you wrote a post about it because the issues will get people to think before they write, and since we cannot edit our own comments, but, as raincoaster points out, are legally responsible for them, the best idea is to read over our comments, and make sure we’re in an emotionally OK place, before hitting that “Post” button. Thanks, sulz, keep up the good work. BTW–like the new look!

    sulz: very true, your statement about being “in an emotionally ok place” before we pen our words.

    thank you for the kind words. 🙂

  3. hey sis!
    i’m sorry if i made it sound like it was directed at you. cos it wasn’t!

    on the other hand i’m glad my message was way too loud and clear! i mean the proposition seemed so imperialistic and like totally pissed me off.

    sulz: well, it had its merits and demerits, just like any other proposition. where you stand about the issue would surely colour the way you feel about it.

  4. I’d throw in with the No Editing camp as well, but I would support some kind of preview feature. Not because I’d use it but at least it’d put an end to the typos excuse. There are a few comment preview plugins, so in theory it shouldn’t be hard to implement on

    I don’t agree with being able to edit comments after they’re posted, though. On most blogs comments form a discussion; if you completely reshape a comment, it distorts the discussion. There’d be no final version and anything could be denied. I think a clarifying comment is the best option there.

    Love your new look, though, sulz. Looks very fresh and green! I have to try a custom design at some stage… I’m just lazy. 😉

    sulz: it may seem like an excuse, but no matter how many times would check for spelling before hitting the post button or printing an essay, there would always be something to edit after the deed is done! at least, that’s the case for self. a preview feature would be the best compromise in this case. ditto on your point about reshaping comments distorts discussion.

    the new look is thanks to our resident css expert. 😉 it’s not just fresh and green, it’s the hobbit! have to make use of this free feature before it expires soon, heh.

  5. sulz:

    i would say permit to edit. i mean, when a blogger write a blog post, is he/she forbidden from editing it the next day, or even taking it down?

    my personal situation – my comments are *always* made as “some body”, i.e., i have a commentor persona. one day, it so happened that i was logged into wordpress and made a comment. now, i am not a “two-timer” [tm owned by sanjida], and i stand by what i wrote. however, i would want to keep that comment as ‘anonymous’ (aka some body) and not my ‘real blog name’ (what an oxymoron!).

    anyway, bottom line, writer should have the ability to edit it. ok, blog author should have the ability to see the original comment too, i.e., trolling should be tracked. in other words, one should not be able to backtrack and say that one never said something just by editing the original (or subsequent) comment.

    i hope i have not confused everybody!

    – s.b.

    sulz: think what you’re suggesting is to implement comment editing something like the way blogger has, ie that any sort of editing will be noted to avoid confusion, and that the blogger would be able to see the original comment?

    perhaps if someone really wants to do that, they could comment in their own blog and send a trackback to the other blog. that way, he’d have the freedom to edit, as opposed to the current situation where we can’t edit comments in other people’s blogs. 🙂

    but interesting point of view, nonetheless…

  6. My stand is: no editing. Not even 5 minutes after. However, a preview comment option would be nice to proofread whatever you typed in. That should do it.

    IMO, wank couldn’t have said it better:

    Another thing: I’d be pretty unhappy if commenters were able to delete or edit their comments on my blog. I’d probably exhume them from my cache and republish them, that’s how annoyed I’d be. Because hell, it’s my blog. Not theirs.

    If people need edit/delete privileges, they can post on their own sites. That’s what trackbacks are for. And if they regret something they said, that’s what apologies are for.

    So there you have it.

    sulz: thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. @somebody,
    the “two-timer” term was used not for somebody who might like to conceal her/his real identity as a commenter, it was used in the context of the war bloggers are raging to stop internet censorship. it was directed at the blogger community in general, now especially because we were so vocal about wp being blocked in turkey just a while ago, and then later on we want to censor stuff on other people’s blogs!

    i’m sorry if i hurt your feelings in any way. like i said before, i was totally pissed and chose strong words to let off steam.

  8. I’m with what you say. A person should be allowed to correct his typos within 5 minutes. Another thing could be that the person should be able to edit the comment till he’s on that page. When he refreshes the page of visits it again, then he shouldn’t be able to edit.

    As far as deleting the comment is concerned, I don’t think that should be allowed because it can change the entire discussion and make any other comment poster look like a fool. There could be a feature wherein a person could have a button on which he can click to submit a request to the blog owner to delete the post. Later, it’s the blog owner’s choice cause they know better.

    sulz: unfortunately, many others have disagreed and suggested the comment preview feature would suffice when it came to the 5-minute edit limit option (though so far, there aren’t any big repercussions in such a method as employed in the forums). as for editing while still on that page, people could be able to use that loophole to edit their posts long after the timestamp of their comment, and that might be bad in keeping the flow of the discussion. as for requesting deletion through the blog owner, well, one wouldn’t exactly be holding their breath for it; usually the kind of comments people want to delete that are the kinds crucial to the discussion! 🙂

    let’s just say thank goodness we’re bloggers ourselves where we are free to edit some of our thoughts at least!

  9. Just for reference, I’m really against commenters being able to delete their comments. I do like the being able to edit your comment for up to 5 or ten minutes though and there are plugins that will aloow this that work on the WordPress MultiUser platform. After that discussion in the forums, we started testing on one of the WPMu installs that one of my clients has. There’s been some issues but nothing major.

    sulz: am sure the majority is against deleting comments but editing comments may have its fair share of supporters. so far the 5-minute edit time has not caused major problems, which is why am supporting it. does your wpmu install allow comment editing at any one time or has a time limit like the forums? what you’ve reported can support that editing comments may not be as harmful as it sounds to the flow of discussion, especially if under a timeframe.

    thanks for visiting! (and it was no problem about what self remembered – that’s malaysia’s independence day. 😉 )

  10. We found a plugin that allows a commenter to go back and edit their post for a time period set by the blog admin. Seems to work fine with wpmu but, since it;s really a big change, we’re testing it on a single wpmu install that I host to gather feedback. I think others are testing it as well on teh mu forums.

    sulz: who’s we? 😉 oh well, it probably wouldn’t be implemented on anyway; it’s a bigger community and new problems could occur.

  11. I vote for the preview button option. I wouldn’t like people being able to edit comments on my blog , though I’ve had people request to have a comment edited (usually a typo or bad link) either by leaving another comment (which I later delete) or by sending me an email. No problem.

    I haven’t had anyone ask me to edit their content yet, but depending on the circumstances, I wouldn’t mind doing that occasionally. I once got the wrong end of the stick on what a particular blog was about and posted some things that were deemed inappropriate. Luckily the blog owner didn’t mind deleting a couple of my comments so I could stop feeling embarrassed.

    But I do think that’s as it should be – that the blog owner should be the only person responsible for editing what is on their blogs. Otherwise it stops being their blog.

    Agree with the others about the new look, sulz – very classy!

    sulz: you were lucky to have had encountered a very understanding blogger who didn’t mind to remove your comment. 🙂 yes, it would definitely not be the blogger’s blog if content can be edited by any other than the blogger!

    thank you; new look is all credit to devblog. 🙂

  12. […] Tagged by Sulz on “what are you reading?“. Sorry! I don’t own any books in English. This one was pretty random, it was on the […]

  13. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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