It is not possible to edit a comment after 5 minutes. But I can simply delete and reinsert the comment instead. Isn't that a bug?

If someone adds a post in between then the order of the comments would change but before that its essentially the same to edit or replace.

In fact, the 5min limit can be breached unlimited times through the replacement, so the design of this limit is flawed.

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    $\begingroup$ It's not a bug, it's by design. If you don't like that design and want to make a feature-request to change it, can you specify the desired behaviour? [And then the bug and discussion tags are superfluous.] $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 9:16
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    $\begingroup$ The people who got a notification will get a new notification, and the timestamps will be different. So it's not the same to edit and to delete+replace. And someone commenting before you post your new comment happens -- I've seen discussions that made no sense because A posted a comment, B replied, but in the meantime A deleted and replaced his comment so the order was messed up. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 9:17
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    $\begingroup$ Some related posts on meta.SO: Why is the time limit for editing comments only 5 minutes? and Please ditch the five-minute window on comment editing, maybe also Should we be allowed to edit comments?. (You will probably find a few more if you look around related questions or tags used in those questions a bit.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 9:58
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    $\begingroup$ @emcor Since you write that it is obvious that it is by design, then this question should not be tagged (bug), I suppose. I have removed the tag and tried to add some tags related to the topic of the post. (Of course, if you disagree, feel free to retag the question.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 11:35
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Sorry but you cannot claim that anything by design cannot be a bug? And even if you think the design is not obvious, the information was already given in the question so there is no value from repeating this. As a fact, the 5min limit can be breached unlimited times through the replacement, so the design of this limit is flawed. $\endgroup$
    – emcor
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ The tag-wikis describe the way those tag should be used. bug: "Indicates you've found an erroneous or unexpected behaviour in the system that needs to be fixed." status-bydesign: "Indicates that a submitted issue is actually due to the existing design of the system and is not considered erroneous behaviour." In any case, the choice of tags is not the most important issue here. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:17
  • $\begingroup$ Related older post on this meta: Increase time limit of comment editing? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:19
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    $\begingroup$ "I am pretty sure it was not expected that the comment limit can be undermined through delete and replace." Historically, delete+replace was the only way to "edit" a comment, and was in good use. I am convinced those that implemented the edit-functionality later on were aware of the option to delete+replace. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


The point to the time-limit for edits is not to prevent somebody from changing what they commented after five minutes as an end in itself.

Rather, the point of the time limit is to guarantee some integrity of a conversation in comments without having revision-histories for comments.

As long as there is no conversation this is a non-issue. Of course, deletions can still mess up the flow a conversation. But, this is a different type of concern than a comment that received a reply changing to something else entirely without anybody being able to reconstruct this happened.

Finally, there are some proposals to base the time-limit for editing on the existence of replies, and abstractly this makes some sense. But they are seen as too little of an improvement to bother.

To understand what I mean imagine this:

  • Comment by User A: You have no idea what you are talking about. This answer is a complete mess. Better read a book on the subject before you answer here.

  • Comment by User B: Please do not leave such rude and non-constructive comments. I believe the answer is correct.

In this conversation, User A looks bad, and User B reasonable.

Now imagine User A changes the comment to:

  • There seems to be an error in the basic definition in the second paragraph, and the formatting makes this answer hard to read. You might want to consult "Introduction to This Cool Subject" for the correct definition.

There is nothing wrong with User A making this change, actually it is very desirable this change happens. Only if it is made by an edit then suddenly the reply of User B looks bad, and this should be prevented by the time-limit. This is less of a problem with deletions, as the mixed-up conversation is a red-flag and if needed as deleted comments remain visible to moderators things can be sorted out.

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    $\begingroup$ Aside from malice, making corrections to comments can cause similar issues where subsequent comments make no sense after an edit. (This, of course, happens with the time limit too, but it's not as big a deal in the first 5 minutes, since both parties can usually sort themselves out) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 1:03
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    $\begingroup$ I agree. In fact I tried to make my example so that it is not entirely malicious; though it is a bit exaggerated. The second version could be a reaction to being called out and reflecting on what one said. In some very general sense the first and second say the same thing. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 10:19

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