Is it time for comment edit histories?

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Jan 7, 2019, 4:30:18 PM1/7/19
to iNaturalist
Sort of spinning off of the "harassment tools" thread, perhaps it's time to log and display comment edit history?

I have on several occasions (and again just now) seen users edit their offensive and/or harassing comments only after the comment has been flagged as inappropriate, and they feel they may now be "under fire". On the one hand, it's great that they've realized they've done something wrong... but after editing there is now no history of their poor behavior, which is, unfortunately, often a serial issue that needs to be addressed.

There are other reasons to include edit histories on comments/ID comments, mainly that editing a comment after others have subsequently commented can make the discussion thread really confusing.

Most other platforms either don't allow you to edit your comments after posting (I'm not endorsing that), don't allow editing after a certain time period, or they allow edits indefinitely and display the changes between edits. There are several places throughout the site where access to more extensive edit histories would be helpful (common names, conservation status, geoprivacy, default photos), mostly to facilitate curation, though this one is needed from both a curation and community standpoint.


Mark Tutty

Jan 7, 2019, 6:28:57 PM1/7/19

I’ve even had my comments deleted without warning or explanation, which was very unsettling to say the least. There have been times when I have regretted a comment made, and I have gone back and changed it. But I agree, it can get confusing. Especially when there are taxon abbreviations and the initial genus reference gets removed.


I would have to say I am prone to saying stupid things. I have let anger creep into comments from time to time, or even simply frustrations. I have kind of coined a personal term for them.... “ID Rage”. I decided a while back that it is better to leave comments in place, and add “addenda” comments so that context is not lost, and at the very least it warns others that a topic is contentious. I also find that if my “stupidity” is indelible, I try harder to get smarter! It encourages me to think before hitting enter, and to take time to let my emotional response subside and a more reasoned reaction is the result. I think I am making improvements in that regard.


So I am all for comment edit history, even to the point of removing ability to edit entirely. Maybe be able to append an edit or addenda to a comment, without changing it directly, so that such corrections don’t get lost further down a conversation, sort of like an ability to tack on a note with an explanation or correction for the comment.



Mark Tutty

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Jan 7, 2019, 7:14:56 PM1/7/19
I’ve been known to have a attitude but never outside of one of my observations 
And I know when I’m wrong and in the end I apologize and apologize because of the fact I’m wrong. “My issue not there’s”
I’ve had a few issues with people msg me with some off wall requests. One that had 
Me ready to call the police because of what they were asking for thankfully all those accounts now show up as user deleted 
So I haven’t had any issues with any of
The propositions or request from 
Lost souls that troll INat yet 

Paul Kelly 

Sent from my iPhone

Charlie Hohn

Jan 8, 2019, 12:08:42 AM1/8/19
I don’t think curators should be deleting comments except in spam or serious harassment cases. 
Sent from Gmail Mobile

Ian Toal

Jan 8, 2019, 12:14:34 PM1/8/19
to iNaturalist
Wow, the lengths some people will go to so they don't look like a .... (fill it in with whatever). I like the edit function because often when I press post, I'll see a mistake, and can change it right away. Perhaps once a flag has been raised, or a complaint lodged, then the editing function should not work, but I have no idea if this is even possible? As well, I really can't see any reason why a comment a month or two ago needs to be edited - I did it once, when I realized that I had put in wrong measurements, but I could have easily solved it by adding another comment. 

And I'm with Charlie on curators deleting posts. Not cool. 


cassi saari

Jan 8, 2019, 12:23:03 PM1/8/19
to iNaturalist
"I’ve even had my comments deleted without warning or explanation, which was very unsettling to say the least."
"I don’t think curators should be deleting comments except in spam or serious harassment cases."
"And I'm with Charlie on curators deleting posts. Not cool."

Yes, that's a separate topic: feel free to weigh in at "Remove ability for curators to delete other users' comments"...

Message has been deleted

Chris Vynbos

Jan 8, 2019, 1:28:47 PM1/8/19
to iNaturalist

I've a serial comment editor. I can read a comment a dozen times before posting it, but only when I read the posted comments do I see the bad spelling, grammar or a lack of clarity. I don’t know why this is! I love that I can (a): edit my comments and (b): the fact that I've edited them doesn't then send a new notification to everyone involved. I'd be fine (though a bit embarrassed at times) if my edit history is kept.

But also consider the flip side to having a comment edit history: currently if a person makes a comment and then realises after posting that the tone was unintentionally harsh or that the comment could be misinterpreted they can, most times, change the comment before anyone reads it. So to force a comment history could add bad feelings where there need not be any. 


Jan 8, 2019, 2:18:11 PM1/8/19
Another option: some sites don't retain edit history, but do put a little visual or text maker that a comment has been edited.

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