comments on bugs/answers/merge proposals/etc cannot be edited

Bug #80895 reported by Matthew Paul Thomas on 2007-01-21
804
This bug affects 179 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Launchpad itself
Low
Unassigned

Bug Description

Occasionally in bug reports, people stuff up and make comments that are bad. They're factually wrong, or they're horribly misworded, or they insult someone badly, or a combination of those. To some extent the damage can be repaired in a later comment, but that's even more noise. So it would be really nifty if people could edit or delete their comments.

This wouldn't be effective if we were sending out immediate e-mail notifications of each comment, but we're not. We're already waiting for five minutes after the comment, in case something else happens so that we can send a batched notification. So we can give someone that five minutes to edit/delete their comment. If it was edited, the mail notification would contain only the final version; if it was deleted, there would be no notification at all.

While this would lead to more harmonious discussions, it would also need thorough specification of the corner cases. For example:
- If someone tries to submit an edit/deletion after the five minutes, they should get an error, with their edited text (if any) pre-filled as the basis of a new comment.
- If a comment changes or is deleted between the time someone else opens the bug report and the time they submit their own comment, Launchpad should warn them and give them a chance to adjust their own comment in response.

For editing or deleting someone else's comment, see bug 668267.

Shirish Agarwal (shirishag75) wrote :

actually it should not just be 5 minutes it should be more than tht, it should be something like an hr. or so or even indefinitely. If a person does make a change, the e-mail could be re-sent with the original & the change. I have seen these kinds of mails & do like tht. There have been bugs which I have put up to realize l8ter they should have been worded differently or i was plain wrong, X happened due to Y but I did not know about Y at the time I reported the bug. Later I understood or came to know about Y but now I cannot edit my first post to reflect it. For an e.g. I reproduce the bug which I reported at https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/pkgsel/+bug/99303

Shirish Agarwal (shirishag75) wrote :

See what I mean, I meant an original & the edit posted in the new e-mail like

 + new edit
 +
 +
 +

  - original
  -
  -
  -

   I do not know where I saw tht but its a good idea as any.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

More than a few minutes probably wouldn't work well for those bugs that have high traffic. People would often be trying to reply to things that didn't exist any more.

description: updated
Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) wrote :

This should extend to the answer tracker too. It's really annoying to note a big mistake after submitting and not be able to do anything about it.

Nanley Chery (nanoman) on 2007-10-13
Changed in malone:
status: New → Confirmed
Tony Espy (awe) wrote :

I'd like to see this feature too. I think the original user should be given carte blanche to edit their comments indefinitely. If a "reply" feature was also added ( see LP #102441 ), there'd be no need to allow edits by anyone other the original commenter.

Lesmana Zimmer (lesmana) wrote :

i think bug #33796 and bug #124163 are not duplicates of this bug. those two bugs are about a missing preview function while this bug is about an edit function after the comment has been posted.

if no one objects i will remove bug #33796 and bug #124163 from the duplicate list and mark bug #124163 (and bug #292237 and bug #329655) as duplicate of bug #33796.

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) on 2009-05-15
Changed in launchpad-answers:
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Triaged
tags: added: feature
SoloTurn (soloturn) wrote :

two additional features might be very useful in this context:

1. as long there is no reply the comment can be edited
2. if somebody replies while the comment is edited, optimistic locking applies, i.e. the one saving first wins.

menthurae (menthurae) wrote :

I agree with this, as I accidentally attached a file to another bug report I was reading, not the one I meant to attach it to. There's no way for me to delete that attachment or my comment afterwards apologising for the stuffup!

I totally agree. Just accidentally sent off a half-finished comment.

I like Shirish’s version control approach. Another idea would be to allow editing as long as no one has changed anything on the bug after the comment.

Tom (tom6) wrote :

Yup +1 from me :)

Hebert (hebert-bernardo) wrote :

Yes, we should have the ability to edit comments.

I've just accidentally upload a wrong image.

Count me in.

alphaomega (alpha-omega) wrote :

Yes, please allow editing of all of one's own posts, not only one's first post in a thread.
How shall someone remove e.g. personal information, accidentally posted?
Is it currently possible to ask the admins to remove it?
Anyway, editing (like in so many other forums) would be the best way.
Thanks a lot, I appreciate all your work for Launchpad.

Best regards, Alphaomega

Deryck Hodge (deryck) wrote :

Hi, all.

So a few things spring to mind here:

1) You can already delete attachments. Look for the "(edit)" link next to the attachment name in the "Bug attachments" and "Patches" sections on the right-side of a bug page. Once you click through, deletion is possible.

2) I'm not sure I agree that we should fix this bug. I'm not convinced by the arguments in favor of this feature.

If you leak private data on a public web site, there is literally no way to ensure some other site or search engine hasn't picked up this data. It's unfortunate, but you need to be careful and paranoid when sharing data on the web. We already allow you to file a question against Launchpad to get comments removed if this happens, too, not that I consider that ideal either. I fear removing or editing comments will undoubtedly lead to weird or broken conversations at some point, no matter how careful we are with the implementation. This solution assumes we keep the 5 minute window for notifying users, which could change obviously. I don't know of a site or tracker that does comment editing well, too. Certainly, I'm open to recommendations for sites/trackers to consider that do this well.

3) If you just want to "+1" or "me too" this feature request, you can click the "Does this bug affect you?" green link above the "Affects" table on the bug. This is enough to record your desire for the feature, and we do track these numbers. These numbers also affect the heat of a bug, which can bring attention to it. This is better than adding a comment only to bump or call attention to the bug.

Thanks for your interest in this feature and for taking time to respond to the bug!

Cheers,
deryck

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) wrote :

I think there is another misconception in this discussion. Everyone assumes that comments are text added to a bug or question. They are messages that are sent to users, lists, picked up in RSS feeds, and even converted to XMPP. The bug/question is a subscriber to these messages--it got the mesage at the same time users did. I cannot rewrite a message in someone's inbox or on on a public list.

@Deryck Hodge: A solution could be to do it like Gmail and just hold the comment back for a minute – or any other specified amount of time that is short enough to not annoy but long enough to allow editing. During this quarantine, only the poster can see the comment, he can edit it, delete it, attach files … as soon as the time is up, it is posted to the public.

@Curtis Hovey: This would also cater to the fact that bug comments »[…] are messages that are sent to users, lists, picked up in RSS feeds, and even converted to XMPP.«

Lesmana Zimmer (lesmana) wrote :

since editing a comment is hard, if not impossible, to do, how about a preview feature (see bug #33796). that would solve many oops situations. a preview feature covers every aspect of the "5 minute to edit" and takes just one click more from the user.

Tom (tom6) wrote :

Hi :)

I think the main concern is that these threads are static and may remain easily available for many years after comments have been posted. Most of the dispersal methods are fairly temporary. I know some people do carefully horde treasured email but generally there is an expectation of such things being only temporary.

There seem to be very few forums where editing comments can't be done. There are netiquette guidelines about when is not really acceptable to edit and generally people seem to behave fairly sensibly. Hmm, looks like i am beginning to argue the OpenSource philosophy.

Almost every other forum i have seen lately allows people to edit, so Launchpad is beginning to look a bit dated. A preview feature is really not what we are looking for here.

With ZdNet i get mailed a comment and then when i look at the page i may find it has been completely edited and i think people are already quite used to this sort of thing. It feels a bit like people are trying to re-invent the wheel here & Launchpad is still trying to play around with square wheels

Regard from
Tom :)

Quite annoying that Launchpad lacks this feature.

Sometimes I notice I've spelt something wrong or something doesn't sound quite right and I enjoy being able to edit my comment.

Even if editing isn't possible, it would be a good idea to have a preview feature and then hide the comment for a minute allowing the poster to delete or go back to editing their comment.

Deryck Hodge (deryck) wrote :

After all the discussion, I'm still not convinced we should do this. However, code speaks the loudest, and I don't want to stand in the way of anyone scratching their own itch. Launchpad is open source and anyone can propose a branch that implements this feature. If someone goes and does the work, and we have an elegant solution that addresses some of my concerns, then we'll certainly consider the proposal. The bugs team itself will not be working on this feature, though.

Also, please keep in mind, Launchpad is not a forum, despite how some users might use this site. :-) The part I work is a bug tracking application. Curtis works on the project and account registry. The answers application is another tool. Then there is translations, code hosting, and so on. While it's certainly nice to consider how techniques work on other sites and how such techniques can be applied to Launchpad, it is also useful to be mindful of how Launchpad differs from those other sites.

Changed in malone:
status: Confirmed → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Low
Tom (tom6) wrote :

I am now having trouble finding another site that DOESN'T have this feature. It is just Launchpad and is even true of the Answers forum

Leon Blakey (thelq) wrote :

One way that would prevent broken discussions from people removing entire sections is either a ton of text diff processing or only allow people to amend comments. The latter one sounds more realistic.

If you allow people to just amend comments, they can be sent as either regular updates or the system could change from immediate notification to a grace period of 5 minutes for ALL forms of subscription.

Ditto. I made a mistake that I corrected a few minutes later.

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/rhythmbox/+bug/512098/comments/6

Oh well. I agree, deleting/editing a comment is a useful feature of any tracking tool.

Despite the argument that "if your just careful/smart enough then you won't have this problem" is valid to some, it fails along the same logic it abides by, it does not consider the scope of this issue. I do not think 5 minutes is appropriate but I am flexible for experimentation ;) I would rather see something like you have 10 secs to 1 minute before it mass E-mails out to subscribers to cancel, some sort of temp caching with the opportunity to have "poster's remorse" like you accidently mis-typed or clicked and your like @&*#! Great example is myself on comment 5 & 6 of https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/vlc/+bug/484392 Thank you for considering this request and my nomination of this to 2.1 :D

Robert Collins, thank you for declining the 2.1 nomination. This is another example of "poster's remorse". When I was reading the column of boxes 10.1 was in the middle vertically and 2.1 was below it. I thought 2.1 was the "updated" one for some strange reason?! If a nomination for 10.2 is available I would have voted for that.

Tom (tom6) wrote :

It is ok when a 2nd post can correct the mistakes of the first but we quite often have people posting personal information thinking that launchpad is some tech.support line to a private person and don't realise that it is a public forum. Even 5mins might not be enough for some people but noobs who have used forums before may recognise the forum style around the post of their bank-account details or what-ever. Obviously total noobs just deserve what they get but 5mins would help some people

era (era) wrote :

> Obviously total noobs just deserve what they get

I'm not entirely sure this attitude is endorsed by the Ubuntu Code of Conduct or supported by the Launchpad community. Giving total noobs a tolerable, if not pleasurable, experience when reporting bugs ought to be a strategic goal if we want Ubuntu to succeed on the desktop.

Pardon the soapbox comment, but I do believe this has some relevance for this particular feature request. The essence of Tom's comment I think is in line with the common goal; I concur that 5 minutes might not be enough, and question whether there should be a time limit for editing. (There is obviously no way to recall an already-sent email message, but you can at least limit the damage somewhat if you can remove your personal data from a public web site.)

Tom Haddon (mthaddon) wrote :
tags: added: canonical-losa-lp
rew (r-e-wolff) wrote :

This item has:
  Changed in launchpad-answers:
   importance: Undecided → Low
   status: New → Triaged

in one go. I don't know how to do that. If I triage a bug, it ends up getting separate entries.

I was heading over to this bugtracker because I wanted to submit:

If I change a status (or importance) but then within a few seconds change my mind, it ends up as two separate actions. The previous action should be merged.

Say : do new -> triaged and then triaged-> confirmed (within a few minutes) it should be merged into one status change: new->confirmed with the timestamp of the last change.

Similarly a "edit comment" would be useful, because you see your mistake the moment you hit "post comment" (as no doubt will happen when I do so 4 seconds from now).

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

rew, please report that as a separate bug. It's not related to this one.

Sergio Spinatelli (spinatelli) wrote :

Actually,that would be a great idea..=)

IKT (ikt) wrote :

Is there any progress on this feature request?

Curtis Hovey (sinzui) wrote :

Any contributor is welcome to work on this.

Both bug mail and question email is *now* queued to send. It could be possible to delete comment that is still in the queue and cancel the job to send the email. I image that Lp could check if any of your recent comments has a job/message in the unsent status and provide a link to remove the comment.

Tom (tom6) wrote :

Hi :)

How about in Answers? Is this only capacity only in bug-reports or does it extend to the Answers section too? Shopuld we post another bug-report about this for Answers team?
Regards from
Tom :)

Robert Collins (lifeless) wrote :

@Tom there is no Answers team - its all one product.

@Curtis I think its tolerable to send a mail notification and still have the comment deleted - mail notifications are only one part of the interface, and if we didn't show new comments till the mail notifications went out users would find that very weird.

I think as mpt says this needs very careful analysis about the interactions and experience that will happen. As such, sadly, I don't think this is within reach of a new contributor - it needs more exposition (perhaps here or in a LEP).

summary: - Give people five minutes to edit/delete their comment
+ comments on bugs/answers/merge proposals/etc cannot be edited
Tom (tom6) wrote :

Hi :)

Posts in the Answers Section
https://answers.launchpad.net/launchpad
seem to be handled very differently compared to posts in the bugs area. Have you tried posting both questions and answers in the Answers area? Perhaps there is no difference in theory but you might notice differences if you try it out.
Regards from
Tom :)

description: updated
John Lea (johnlea) wrote :

+1

With sometimes 20+ bug tabs open, I curse every time I occasionally enter a comment into a wrong bug. Looking forward to celebrating this bug's 5th anniversary next year ;-)

sokai (sokai) wrote :

@johnlea
LOL - I wanna celebrate it, too! ;)

@Bug/Wish
+1 (please handle it like http://askubuntu.com )

Thanks!

Joschi Poschi (joschiposchi) wrote :

Please implement an edit function. Would make launchpad a lot better.

kapetr (kapetr) wrote :

YES !!!

I miss it all the time too!

Jinx Dojo (jinxdojo) wrote :

I also support this option, especially because there exists no preview comment option! I made a simple mistake of thinking BBCode was supported, so now my post is difficult to read. I find it really odd that I can't even correct the mistake within a few minutes of posting.

Another option would be a small statement on comments indicating "Comments must be plain-text only", but this addresses only my mistake, and doesn't account for the many reasons for editing provided in the original post.

description: updated

+1

avius (avi142) wrote :

I support this as well. Just typo'd in my last bug comment and it annoys me that I can't fix it.

Markus Klyver (markusklyver) wrote :

+1
I support this suggestion as well.

avius (avi142) wrote :

Any status update on whether this will be implemented?

Laura Czajkowski (czajkowski) wrote :

@avius, no there is no plan to work on this feature at present, if someone wanted to work on it and submit a patch we would work with them to see it implemented and guide them

John Peterson (john-peterson) wrote :

I'll offer argumentation in favor of allowing editing.

Argumentation

I argue that not allowing editing has these disadvantages

(i) forcing the author to leave markup (if the post allow markup), spelling and logic errors, and therefore a post that's not as clear as it could be, as permanent which is unsatisfactory

(ii) forcing unnecessary time to be spent on considering the content of a post before posting it, to avoid the dissatisfaction described.

(iii) making argumentation less easily accessible by forcing it to be divided among multiple post, for example a main argumentation and addition(s) to the argumentation, when it's realized that such additions are appropriate.

Supporting the soundness in the conclusion that allowing editing has a net benefit is that GitHub, a similar service to Launchpad and a popular service because of good judgment about many details, reach that conclusion. (And also goes further in allowing error correction by sometimes allowing editing of posts not authored by the user (compare with Stack Exchange and Wikipedia).)

The reason I raise an argument about this, rather than silently use the GitHub mirror instead (or create one if it doesn't exist), is that the introduction of bzr branches has made the net benefit of GitHub over Launchpad smaller so that this change in the web interface might make me use Launchpad instead of GitHub and save me the trouble of creating a GitHub mirror and post notifications of new GitHub discussions on Launchpad if the developer doesn't watch the GitHub mirror.

Current edit permissions

field editable deletable
bug description ✓
bug post ✓
merge post

I suggest that these fields should be editable.

John Peterson (john-peterson) wrote :

A part of the post that used single letter indentation is poted again with multi-letter indentation.

field editable deletable
bug description ✓
bug post ✓
merge post

Teo (teo1978) wrote :

Oh my gosh 6 f****ng years!
Argumentation? LOL Does it even need any argumentation? It's just nobody has taken yet the time to implement it. It's OBVIOUS this is needed.

HousieMousie2 (housiemousie2) wrote :

For the sake of typos/clarity, and in the case of accidents, like someone mentioned they sent a half-finished post by mistake, or leaving off pertinent information, I would very much like to see some editing option implimented.
I know it has been 6 years... but that is part of the nature of a wish, isn't it? *grin*

I would have the original post remain where and how it was, then below it, in the same box as the original, have the word "Edited:", in bold, with the time and date of the edit. I do NOT think that more than an hour should be allowed to post an edit.

Although, perhaps it would be useful to allow users to 'link' their additions to their original comment, and have that link appear with the original comment, to their new 'edit', but still have the edit in line with other users comments in the order that they were posted.

As for the e-mail notifications, I wouldn't change them, except to include the edits (having them notated as such in the e-mail), but otherwise behave as normal, treating edits and/or linked comments as new posts.

HousieMousie2 (housiemousie2) wrote :

Um... lol... Like I would have edited my post to clear up a part of my description. But since I have the oportunity to illustrate what I mean now, I think I will. *Grin*

Original post:
_________________________________________________
HousieMousie2 (housiemousie2) wrote a moment ago:

For the sake of typos/clarity, and in the case of accidents, like someone mentioned they sent a half-finished post by mistake, or leaving off pertinent information, I would very much like to see some editing option implimented.
I know it has been 6 years... but that is part of the nature of a wish, isn't it? *grin*

I would have the original post remain where and how it was, then below it, in the same box as the original, have the word "Edited:", in bold, with the time and date of the edit. I do NOT think that more than an hour should be allowed to post an edit.

Although, perhaps it would be useful to allow users to 'link' their additions to their original comment, and have that link appear with the original comment, to their new 'edit', but still have the edit in line with other users comments in the order that they were posted.

As for the e-mail notifications, I wouldn't change them, except to include the edits (having them notated as such in the e-mail), but otherwise behave as normal, treating edits and/or linked comments as new posts.

[bold] EDITED:[/bold]
HousieMousie2 (housiemousie2) wrote a few moments later:

Sorry, left something out of this...

I would have the original post remain where and how it was, then below it, in the same box as the original, have the word "Edited:", in bold, with the time and date of the edit ---- followed by the additional text. ---- I do NOT think that more than an hour should be allowed to post an edit.
____________________________________________
^End of edited post.

In the case of the link-to-edit, the bold "Edited:" could be replaced with "Additional Comment: Added dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm"

Teo (teo1978) wrote :

test

Teo (teo1978) wrote :

It's unbelievable there's even been people arguing this shouldn't be done. The only reason why I thought this feature could not exist was laziness.

Not being able to edit ANYTHING that one posts ANYWHERE is simply ridiculous.
Typos are in themselves a more than sufficient reason.

On other sites you can at least delete and rewrite a comment (which is already annoying, and a bad solution with a number of drawbacks), but here you can't EVEN do that. (to test which, by the way, I had to write a comment that now I can't delete).

Have the original post remain as is, and below it the edited version?!?!?!?!?!?!? OMG That would be awkward, dirty, nosiy and nasty. For god's sake, NO. Just simply plainly allow to edit a comment the same way you can edit the original report (and any post in any forum).
Simply put a notice at the end of it that it has been edited; and maybe let people with enough privileges (and the author of the comment) see the edit history, that would be all. I don't think there's anything to invent here.

And please forgive the typos this comment will certainly have.

P.S. I think importance should be increased, it's a pretty embarassing lack of a feature.

Anthony Kamau (ak-launchpad) wrote :

Seven (7) years later and the debate rages on - no action whatsoever!!! Terrible, just terrible!

Anthony Kamau (ak-launchpad) wrote :

This is a bloody fantastic feature - what a shame that after 7 years there are some who still believe it ought not be implemented!

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Anthony, you are confused. There has been no "debate raging on" about this in the past four years. There has been "no action whatsoever" simply because you haven't considered it important enough to implement, and neither has anyone else.

If you can't implement it yourself, and you can't afford to pay someone else to do it, you might find someone who thinks it's important enough to do it for free. But saying "what a shame" in this bug report is the *worst possible* way of finding that person, because everyone subscribed to the bug report already knows about the problem.

Tom (tom6) wrote :

Hi :)
There seems to be an almost annual flurry of 3-4 posts/year but that is not exactly "raging"

Still it would be a nice feature and the lack of it was one of the reasons i stopped using Launchpad.
Regards from
Tom :)

Julianloui (julianloui) wrote :

I am really fed up with Launchpad.net's refusal to to address its failure to give its users the capability to revise their own posts, old and new! It's an act of STUPIDITY. Don't tell us to wait another 10 years. Common sense tells us that the present situation is unbearably EGREGIOUS and must be corrected immediately.

I've yet to find a technical website that does not allow its users to revise or update their posts. So wake up, Launchpad.net and where are your managers?

Julianloui

William Grant (wgrant) wrote :

You're refusing to address it too. Launchpad's completely open source, and anyone who gets fed up with anything is more than welcome to scratch their own itch. Core Launchpad developers are always happy to mentor users into fixing something in an acceptable way.

Adding comment editing isn't presently high on the roadmap for the core Launchpad team at Canonical; other improvements are more important for the community today. But a number of users on this bug seem to care deeply, so why not band together and help implement it yourselves? That's a great way to not get fed up in any open source project.

I wish I could do something about it myself but I don't know enough.
The purpose of my complaining is to draw attention to the matter from
not just Launchpad but all those users who deem it urgent. Now that you
have responded to me, I think I've achieved my goal beyond
expectations. As you know well, the only way to awaken people is to
employ loud language. Murmuring is not going to cut it.

As I said before, I am impressed with Launchpad's achievements but such
a basic feature being missing from a great website such as Launchpad is
totally beyond my understanding. I promise not to mention this subject
again as I feel I've done my duty as a Launchpad user.

Julianloui

On 05/17/2014 07:16 PM, William Grant wrote:
> You're refusing to address it too. Launchpad's completely open source,
> and anyone who gets fed up with anything is more than welcome to scratch
> their own itch. Core Launchpad developers are always happy to mentor
> users into fixing something in an acceptable way.
>
> Adding comment editing isn't presently high on the roadmap for the core
> Launchpad team at Canonical; other improvements are more important for
> the community today. But a number of users on this bug seem to care
> deeply, so why not band together and help implement it yourselves?
> That's a great way to not get fed up in any open source project.
>

Dani (damufo) wrote :

I think it is a good feature. This can improve / correct a comment by the author.

Amit Bhardwaj (bhardwajamit23) wrote :

Guys,

Is there any update regarding this? Anything positive step forward yet?

Enigma (enigma0) wrote :

What the...? Why is this triaged and not high priority?!

This should have been done from the onset of this sites comment system creation. It's a common sense feature that ought to shock and flabergast anyone by not being built in.

The only reason I can fathom there not being considerably more clamoring for this is that this is probably the only site out there outdated enough to not have comment editing built in. Makes it pretty easy to remember just one website is so outdated that you need to proof your post before hitting submit.

PJSingh5000 (pjsingh5000) wrote :

This is an issue in 2018, eleven years after this bug report was filed!

...and still in 2019. Unbelievable, but apparently user's opinions don't count for much.

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