Way back when, when I frequented many online forums, the most requested feature was the ability to edit threads. In and of itself, it can be a very useful tool. We all make mistakes, hit enter too soon or remember details we want to add after we post. In forums, you couldn’t see the history of edits, and it would often lead to huge holes in conversations because people would back-pedal, rather than committing the cardinal sin of deleting their comments and threads.
One thing Facebook got right with their edit feature was the ability to edit while keeping the history of edits available for anyone to view.
Here’s a little trick using an example conversation that I use to make that feature even better, and keep my posts honest and transparent.
I make my post, and then, if I realize I want to make an edit, I hit edit. If it’s a lengthy edit, I draft it first. Then, I add: “Edited to add:” and hit enter.
I then hit edit again, delete “Edited to add:” and add what I want to add.
Your edit history will then look like this:
Of course you don’t have to do the last step, but I don’t like leaving “Edited to add:” in the middle of a paragraph, so I do.
When it’s a quick edit, like I left off a period or transposed letters, I don’t do this. But if I don’t want to clutter up a thread with additional clarifications, but have more information to add to a thread or comment, I do this. To me, it just leaves no room for people wanting to point out that I contradicted myself. While I don’t do much political debating on Facebook these days, I see enough of it to know that people love covertly editing their threads hoping nobody will notice, and then get mad when they are called out on it. This is a simple fix that takes a few seconds and keeps discussions honest.