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Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: rogerd

Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Users Editing Messages.
Why should we not allow for users to edit messages.
EliteWeb




msg:1556964
 9:31 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Its happened to me a few times, users on my forum decide to go back and edit their messages. Sure it sounds fine just like that but I had one user start a competitive forum (heh even stole my layout and changed the graphics) and then edit ALL his posts 500 or so posts all edited with his message replaced with a few charectors.

This is my definition of a trouble makers. The users post had value plus picture a message that was the start suddenly be removed and everyone saying 'whats going on...'

So you can make it so users can edit messages, then the people who normally edit their posts for errors/updates feel the wrath.

One thing I like about this forum software here (BesTBBS) is that it doesnt allow you to do things to topics older than a certain date. that would be cool for my forum but there isnt a mod available to do that.

Whats your take, what route to take?

 

Neo541




msg:1556965
 10:15 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I had a few people that played games by switching around their posts after a few replies, which really confuses people.

I no longer allow users to edit their posts, and I really haven't had many problems with it.

My users aren't exactly computer savvy, so i'm not sure that most know that editing posts is common on other forums.

Yidaki




msg:1556966
 10:19 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I modded my phpbb forum to allow edits only for posts that are xy hours old (actually 2 hours). That's pretty easy to mod and pretty effective to avoid scam 'n trouble.

>there isnt a mod available to do that.

If you run phpbb, sticky me for a mod. ;)

rogerd




msg:1556967
 5:25 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

A brief editing window is a good thing - it allows members to fix errors they spot when they see the finished post.

Unlimited editing can be a real disaster, though. Members will change things hours or days later, particularly if a subsequent poster points out an error they made.

Even worse are the bitter members who delete all of their posts when they move on. This can completely destroy the integrity of valuable threads. A year ago I was researching a fairly obscure technical issue and found a spot-on discussion at another forum. It explained exactly how to do what I was trying to do. Unfortunately, the key technical participant in the discussion had resigned from that forum on bad terms, and deleted the content from all of his messages. The resulting thread was useless.

The system here is an example of one that works well - posts are available for editing for a limited time, and an "Edited by" message appears if there are any subsequent posts.

adamas




msg:1556968
 11:34 am on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another option is to allow editing until a more recent post is made to the same topic.

Mind you on a busy forum that doesn't give you long!

Marketing Guy




msg:1556969
 2:12 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I guess the arguement is funtionality for regular users vs protecting integrity from abusers.

I've seen some custom software that allows various priviledges based on post count (editing being one of them). It's not a fail safe method of protecting use of the feature, but it's a start.

Another issue is does it really look good for the forum if people have to reply to their own post to correct errors?

I've had no problems allowing users to edit their posts to date - did get someone post then remove the entire body of the post a few days later - i just deleted the thread in that case (wasnt much to it).

Scott

rogerd




msg:1556970
 5:24 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've had no problems allowing users to edit their posts to date

99.99% of your members will be great - time-locked editing is one of those things like flood control (minimum time between posts), swear filters, etc., that protect you against the odd nutcase. If your forum is popular enough, you WILL get a problem member sooner or later... ;)

On one popular forum, I get about one request a week that says something like, "I tried to delete my posts. I couldn't. Can you please delete them all?" Some of these members have dozens or hundreds of posts. Our archives in that forum would be full of gaps and non sequiturs if we didn't lock editing after a short time.

Yidaki




msg:1556971
 8:18 pm on May 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

>I tried to delete my posts. I couldn't. Can you please delete them all?

I get those too. Everybody will get those requests on a busy forum.

>Our archives in that forum would be full of gaps

Absolutely. And your example is a real world example. I obeserved the same. There are boards that don't limit editing/deletion time. And that's one of the important things how you can stand out in the crowd.

mykel79




msg:1556972
 4:15 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

On a slightly different note - if a user asks you to delete their posts, do you have to? Can you just refuse, or could that cause some legal trouble for you?

Nova Reticulis




msg:1556973
 4:16 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd roll back the database just to make a point, and then disable the #@$#@'s account so that the posts stick.

rogerd




msg:1556974
 5:05 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

We refuse to delete past posts in most cases, although if a member has a good reason (e.g., inadvertently disclosed personal information) we'll usually delete or edit the post.

Our standard reason is that deleting a members posts would damage the integrity of our archive and reduce the value of this resource to members and visitors. We always claim ownership of posts in the TOS.

Haven't had to fight a legal battle on this yet. (Knock on wood... ;))

ronin




msg:1556975
 5:52 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

On a slightly different note - if a user asks you to delete their posts, do you have to? Can you just refuse, or could that cause some legal trouble for you?

If, as a journalist, you are interviewing someone on the record and they say something, it's both entirely acceptable and entirely legal to publish it and keep it published.

As far whether something is on the record or not with regard to BBSs, you can't realistically get much more on the record than actually typing something yourself.

So, a BBS member can't turn around later and go; "Oh, I know I said that but it was off the record." The fact that they self-published their comment in a public forum means it was never anything but on the record.

rogerd




msg:1556976
 6:52 pm on May 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

One of the more humorous kind of requests we get is, "Thanks, I got some feedback. Can you delete the thread I started?" This is surprisingly common.

jatar_k




msg:1556977
 7:49 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think a short window to edit posts is fine but very much dislike the idea of them being able to edit them for long.

once they are posted, they are posted. If you have more to say, add another post. If you need an edit, message an admin and they can decide.

Just imagine someone going back over their posts and adding aff links, or worse, months after the original post, not a pleasant thing to do.

rogerd




msg:1556978
 11:35 pm on May 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good point, jatar_k, editing old messages can be kind of a moderation bypass. My mods keep track of new messages, but an edited post won't show up on the "new post" list in most software. That's a good reason to have a very short editing window, just enough for a quick fix if you messed up the formatting or want to fix a spelling error.

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