Currently there is a 5 minute window in which one can edit a comment they just posted. After that, the comment is there for future generations to ponder. In that context, I submitted the following request:
[Countdown timer for editing a comment](https://topanswers.xyz/meta?q=1120)
At that point I figured, why not make the same request on StackExchange given that the same problem exists over there as well? It turns out that I didn't need to as it has been requested a few times before over the years (though the feedback has been far less positive than it has been here). In reading through some of those requests, however, I came across a related request to remove the time-limit altogether. The main request of that on Meta.SE is:
[Please ditch the five-minute window on comment editing](https://meta.stackexchange.com/q/33997/306732)
The question itself, as well as the top scoring answer, talk about understanding the issues of potential abuse, and that allowing edits without a time-limit might require revision history which adds technical complexity (more code, more data stored) for messages that are intended on being short-term / light-weight, etc. There is some discussion of the possibility of abuse being more potential than reality, and perhaps simply adding a CAPTCHA would suffice.
If that represented the entirety of the issue I still think I would be inclined to side with: "sure, it _might_ be abused, but in reality, will that ever really happen? And if so, would it really be anything more than playful as opposed to something meaningful / impacting? Hence, allowing edits without time-limit has more actual benefit as the main counter-point is needlessly cautious."
However, one answer in particular brings up an interesting point regarding accessibility / usability / inclusiveness that I think should be considered:
So my question here is this:
Is there a real and clear motivation / reasoning for setting a time-limit, and having said time-limit be 5 minutes? Or is this more of a "common convention" sorta deal? There was some minor discussion on the main question there between myself and the person who posted the answer I just linked to. Seeing the official push-back to the idea of getting rid of the 5-minute limit, I had proposed a middle-ground of increasing the time-limit to several hours or even maybe a couple of days. This wouldn't fix all noted concerns, but it would at least remove several issues, and thus make a more user-friendly experience. I have never really appreciated the 5-minute limit, but can't think of too many reasons to make an edit months or years down the road, outside of updating links the next time Microsoft moves their bug/enhancement reporting system without forwarding the URLs that have been pasted everywhere for years. :pouting_cat:
We've informally agreed to increase the limit at least to 10 minutes, but your write-up has prompted us to think more about this issue.
I was not aware that SE do not keep comment revision history — we already do (and it [is accessible](/meta?q=14#a47)), and if the lack of history is the main fear of undetectable abuse then we don't need to worry so much. I assumed, without doing much research, there were other reasons that SE had for strictly limiting edits.
So lets make the limit generous. We could remove it altogether, but no-one has asked for that, and it seems likely that virtually all the frustrations would go away if we allow edits for 7 days, which would still limit the possibility of the kind of abuse that sometimes happens when people rage-quit.
***We've set the new limit to 7 days as of now.***
Apart from that, we are going to look at two things:
1. Making it more obvious when a chat message has changed
1. A new way of seeing the message history without navigating away from the page
We'll update this post when we make progress with those.