Editing comments

Steve Rubel asks why it is that not many blogging and other social media platforms allow commenters to edit or delete the comments they make on community based sites.

Everyone sticks their foot in it from time to time. If you do this
on your own blog, you can edit the post and take it back. You could
delete the post too, but it’s not looked on very positively. Still, if
you leave a comment on some other site, you very often need to live
with it. So you better think twice before lambasting your friend for
slamming Jethro Tull on his blog.

There’s really no reason why community sites shouldn’t offer this
option. It’s good for everyone involved. Three sites, at least that I
know of, allow you to edit or even delete your comments. They’re the
social saints.

These ‘social saints’ are Flickr, Blogger and Facebook.

WordPress, the engine I use for my blog, doesn’t feature the ability for commenters to edit what they write. There might be a plugin out there that does something like that, I don’t know. But for me, it should be up to the blogger – the site owner – whether a comment is changed or deleted. A commenter can always send an email to the site owner, or add another comment clarifying things.

To my mind, the person that makes the decision on the site is the person that is responsible for it. There have been countless examples of bloggers getting grief for deleting comments from their sites – allowing others to do so just clouds matters and complicates things, especially when the deleted or edited comment has already become a part of a conversation.

4 thoughts on “Editing comments

  1. I like how some forum software handles the issue. You can edit or delete your comment for a limited time or until someone posts a reply to your post. This way it helps prevent foot-in-mouth disease as well as help absent-minded typoists, but it also prevents people from changing their comments in the middle of a conversation.

  2. I agree that those who comment should not be allowed to delete their comments. If you can’t mind your tongue, than you’ll just have to live with it or clarify what you wrote in another post.

    It would be nice if most sites would have a comment preview before submission. Often, that is where I tend to catch errors (after I click post but before they are actually submitted). For example, the nice little “Preview Comment” button on this site. I always preview.

  3. I would have to say I’m in the ‘Leave a comment, live the comment’ camp, from both a commenter and a bloggers perspective. We’ve probably all don’t it before – leave a comment that was either interpreted incorrectly or just plain embarrassing – but that is a lesson we all need to learn/re-learn from time to time. Read, re-read, check the preview if available… all should be done before hitting submit, particularly if you do not know the site and its users very well.

    If I may be bold and drop a (non-personal) link here, Tyme White wrote an interesting post about site owners editing comments, in which Tyme briefly raises points on the legalities, perception and tone of editing comments.

  4. It’s possible with Drupal Dave, but im not sure if it can be done unless you post as a registered member..

    Personally I dont think it’s that big a deal, but it would be nice for sure..

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