Facebook's Recent Comment Editing Feature

April 7th, 2011
facebook, tech
Facebook has recently added a feature where if you try to delete a comment you just made it instead tries to get you to edit it. Quick testing suggests that they give you ten seconds to change your mind. This is nice, especially when combined with their new "press enter to post" setting. They even say "press shift+enter to insert a new line" when you recall a comment for editing.

The feature, though, isn't quite properly implemented. Facebook gives you the impression that because you acted quickly to edit your comment that it hasn't gone out and been published yet. In fact, as soon as you click to comment it sends out notifications. These notifications are not retracted when you bring it back to editing mode. This can be confusing, as several times a day I'll see notifications that appear to point nowhere because someone has decided to edit their comment. [1] I think facebook is internally thinking of this as a delete and then a new comment. A better way would be if they would make the ten second grace period be before the comment is official. When you made the comment, it would send it to the server, but the server wouldn't do anything for at least ten seconds. If you cancelled it to delete or edit within those ten seconds, the server would discard it.

This would have the downside that their live commenting that they worked really hard on would have an added ten second delay. But I think it would be worth it to stop giving me notifications for things that people didn't intend to be finalized yet.

[1] Facebook is set to send me emails on notifications, and while they are redundant and I normally don't read them, they are helpful if I'm curious about what someone said and then thought better of.

Comment via: facebook

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