Start a new topic

Better edited posts

After being on Twitter for so long, having the ability to edit posts is such a huge relief. However, the way Cohost handles edited posts right now is honestly quite concerning.

Right now (as far as I'm aware), we are allowed to edit posts pretty much whenever we want, no matter how old a given post is. This is great, but there are some issues:

1. Edited posts are not AT ALL clearly marked as such.

This is a huge, glaring issue with editing posts right now. This very easily grants the ability for a user to set up some kind of bait post, wait for someone to respond to it, and then edit the contents to form a completely different context.

2. Edited posts do not show *when* they were edited.

Being able to tell a post was edited at all is important, but I think being able to tell when is also crucial. This further helps protect against the "bait and switch" scenario I described above, since users can tell when a post was edited and compare it to the post timestamp of the given responses.

3. Edited posts do not show exactly what was changed.

Admittedly, this last point might be a huge ask, since this would definitely increase how much data is being stored about a single post. But I think being able to view a post's full edit history would be very helpful for viewing the full context of a given conversation, and leaves almost nothing to assumption or interpretation. Perhaps response posts could even be updated to only show OP posts in the state they were at the time of responding?

I'm personally quite a fan of how GitHub handles this. It clearly shows you if a comment was edited, and you can open a little drop-down menu to view every individual change that was made, plus the exact differences in the content. For privacy's sake, they also allow you to delete edit history (although it'll still show that it was edited at a particular time).



I realize Cohost and GitHub are serving entirely difference audiences.

16 people like this idea

Absolutely agree there should be an indication that a post has been altered. I'm more concerned about the lack of accountability being abused, than feeling silly from all my posts being marked as "edited". At the same time, tucking that notation into something like a timestamp (rather than a conspicuous spot) would help ease the spotlight feeling. 
I edit my tags A LOT, typically because I forgot something. Or I might re-upload an image because I forgot my watermark. 

Personally, I'm fine with an "edited" marker if the whole point is to prevent gaslighting or general harassment.

1 person likes this
Tumblr has no indication of edits, but if you reblog something on tumblr and then the author edits the post, the pre-edit version stays on your blog. And anyone who reblogs it from you will be reblogging the pre-edit version. This prevents abuse for the most part but also renders the tumblr edit pretty useless. The cohost edit is useful for adding updates to posts, correcting mistakes such as typos or factual errors, or removing sensitive information you don't want out there. Ideally all three of these functions would remain intact, so I don't think being able to see old versions is good. I think a little italic *post was edited on (date)* would be fine, it would preserve the ability to remove PII, and I don't think it would discourage editing. That's how it works on forums, and people edit there posts there all the time in my experience. If staff wait until *after* a high-profile abuse of the edit to implement something like this, then it would certainly be a *this post is fishy* badge that discourages editing, but if they implement it proactively then it'll just be there.

1 person likes this

just came across a pretty solid example of the lack of edit indicators being a problem.


post link here:

TL;DR OP posted something about AI, second person responded, and then OP later edited their post. There is no obvious indicator for this, and the second person had to go out of their way to explain what the original context was. needless to say, i was absolutely baffled as to what this was all about until i reached that part of the second post all the way at the bottom.

I'm sorry, but this system is just broken. And it's only going to get worse, especially with cohost growing as fast as it is. This really needs to be addressed.

1 person likes this

I greatly approve of this.

I was on Tumblr in the early years. Used to be, you could edit any part of a post you were reblogging including OP's content, and OP could edit their original post too. This became a MASSIVE ISSUE. Obviously a replier being able to edit OP's content is ridiculous and should never have been allowed.

Tumblr decided to take away the ability to edit previous additions to a post, and made it so even if OP edited their post afterwards, those edits never showed up in the reblogs.

So now Tumblr has the opposite problem: if you reblog a post, and then the OP makes an edit, that edit doesn't show up everywhere the post has been reblogged.

What would've solved both problems was just an "Edited" tagline on the original post.

1 person likes this

"anything that can be abused, will be abused eventually." very well said @hikari-no-yume

simply trusting people to add their own edit markers where they feel it's appropriate simply does not work for a platform like this. as much as we like to think most people are good and honest, it's not at all safe or healthy to assume everyone will be. history has shown time and time again that there are people out there who wish to do harm, in one way or another.

i can sort of understand the anxiety of having an edit marker on a post, but I honestly don't believe that's enough to justify not having any basic protections against malicious usage of posting features. plus, many other platforms with similar features have edit markers. reddit, twitter, discord, github... why is it an issue in this case?

i will admit having complete edit history might be excessive (and possibly confusing for new users, actually). but i am still strongly in favor of having simple edit markers at the very least. to me, it's a bare essential feature, and I'm honestly amazed this wasn't included with the ability to edit posts in the first place.

also @cygaj to be completely honest, i don't think that idea would help much. hiding edit markers like that just means many people would most likely ignore it, either out of laziness, or just not knowing it even exists at all.

These are all good points. What if edit indicators where put in an unobstructive place, like if when you hover on a timastamp, and it brings the exact time of posting, it could also have info about post being edited? Like "exact post date ; last edit on this exact date"?

I want to add that there's much more insidious ways to abuse editing than via simple bait posts. On Twitter (until recently at least), the worst thing you can do to the historical record is to delete it. On cohost, you could go back and edit your hostile interactions with someone so that they're positive instead. Since people don't commit to memory that which they expect computers/websites/etc to remember for them, that might be an effective way to gaslight someone.

Not that I want to imagine people doing that, but anything that can be abused, will be abused eventually. I can't think of a single social media service I've used that doesn't mark edits in some way, or alternatively only allows edits for a short period of time after posting.

1 person likes this
I am also concerned about bait posts; it's only a matter of time until something horrible happens there. Moderation is all well and good but that relies on people noticing it and reporting it, and so it relies on people having good memories.

On that note: having an edit marker and edit history would avoid the uncomfortable situation where I read a post, remember something about it, go back and find it different, and start doubting whether my own memory was correct. I'd really appreciate not having to experience that on cohost! It's of course true that most of the internet is mutable, but if I read someone's blog somewhere I can usually find old versions on the Internet Archive. Obscure posts on cohost aren't gonna be archived though.

Regarding redacting PII: it's a bit drastic, but I think deleting the post would be appropriate in that case. Alternatively, maybe there could be a special way to redact a post that's already been shared, but not make arbitrary edits. i.e. you could replace text with "[redacted]" but not add new text.
I'm mostly neutral on edit markers one way or another; I'm not thrilled if a post I make ends up marked as edited when the thing I changed was a typo or something, but I also think it's reasonable when forums and whatnot have this feature. Having this apply to posts that are edited a considerable amount of time after posting would IMO be the best defense against bad faith edits, since a person doing a bait post would want it to spread quite a bit before changing the initial text. That said, I think that unless this site blows up tremendously and this becomes a thing that is too widespread to moderate, is this a problem that can be addressed by reporting the asshole who did it so they can be banned? I'm very much in favor of proactively preventing malicious behavior and setting up tools to limit the need for mod resources, but a lot of this becoming a problem on sites like Tumblr hinges on the fact that pulling stunts to deliberately harass other users is not a bannable offense. Part of this is probably that mods are stretched thin, but also companies with dedicated mod staff tend to give them limited power to decide to boot out A Customer, so "this person is simply a jerk who wants to upset others" has to be treated as a normal, acceptable personality quirk and not a reason to boot them out the door.

2 people like this

I also feel that edit indicators could turn out to be pointless, for the exact reasons that Jake Eakle brought up. It's not like twitter where it was only considered to let ppl edit tweets for half an hour, where posts themselves are micro sized, where algorithm puts them in front of strangers and it's easy to start a drama etc

The great thing about this platform after coming from twitter is the freedom of mind where I don't need to sweat whether a post is perfect before I send it because I can always tweak it. I would just feel embarrassed that everyone could see that I edited a simple image post like 10 times because I couldn't decide on a tag or punctuation in the caption or whatever and it would feel constraining '////'

2 people like this

I think there are big pros and big cons to edit histories, and am undecided on whether we should have them. But I do think that edit indicators would be slightly worse than useless. Almost every post will have them, and the only real impact they'll have is discouraging people from editing. 

2 people like this

I think edit markers would be a great addition and I don't think people assume it to be a bad thing, but I don't see much use in an edit history, only abuse potential & wasted storage space.

2 people like this

do people really automatically assume the worst when they see an edit marker...? the only time i've given stuff like that a second thought is when there's a reply that sounds like it's responding to something wildly different to the OP post.

2 people like this

as someone who regularly strings posts together and edits in links, I think that all my posts would likely have the edit marker, which would be fine except for the potential suspicion factor it could introduce, which is unideal. I do like @caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat's point of a culture/behaviour thing as well, though, as thinking about potential for something like an ETA field (either in-line or a separate sort of line under the post like the moods/listening to back on LJ) may be complicated 

I agree that edits should be marked, if not they will be misused easily and you won't even know if a post was even edited or not.

Login or Signup to post a comment