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A few times recently I've noticed a question coming up to the top of the list in the forum, marked as having had activity by a user, but when going into the question not being able to see anything.

A recent example (screen shots at 12:06 UTC):

alt text

but in the question:

alt text

I wonder if the mechanism is picking up abandoned edits or posts?

asked 30 Mar '12, 08:10

Justin%20Willey's gravatar image

Justin Willey
accept rate: 20%

I agree that this is a source that makes me sometimes puzzled as well - though not in this case, for obvious reasons:)

But it's behaviour by design IMHO: This will happen when a user just converts a comment into an answer or vice versa, which is not visible in the topic afterwards - however, that user's recent acticity view will give more clues:

alt text

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answered 30 Mar '12, 08:24

Volker%20Barth's gravatar image

Volker Barth
accept rate: 34%

edited 30 Mar '12, 08:27

That explains it - I should have thought of looking at your Recent Activity though!

(30 Mar '12, 08:28) Justin Willey

This is correct. It will also happen if an answer or comment is deleted, in which case there may not be any way for a non-admin to find out what caused it.

(30 Mar '12, 08:34) Graeme Perrow
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Comment Text Removed

FWIW, even deleted comments/answers are listed under Recent Activities, cf. mine - I had added and deleted a comment here currently:)

(30 Mar '12, 08:36) Volker Barth

It might happen less often if comments remained editable, without having to use the workaround of converting to an answer, editing, and converting back to a comment.

(30 Mar '12, 09:27) Graham Hurst

IMHO, the 60 minutes "edit grace period" is sufficient in most cases - and in nested comments, I would think that "late edits" in higher levels might make responses less meaningful... So I think the possibility to

  1. edit "fresh" comments and
  2. add further comments as responses to one's own comments

works well enough for me.

FWIW: For "later" edits, I would think that they would then need an "edit history" button, just like questions and answers have...

Sure enough, I had to edit this comment several times to get it right:)

(30 Mar '12, 10:59) Volker Barth

Perhaps the grace period for updating a comment should extend past 60 minutes if there is no reply to the comment. That would prevent "late edits" in higher levels.

Given that comments can still be edited by converting to answer and back, without changing the comment timestamp, I think it would be better to allow direct editing. I'm not sure if direct editing updates the comment timestamp. (In updating this comment a few times it sometimes did and sometimes didn't.)

(30 Mar '12, 11:24) Graham Hurst

Yes, that seems reasonable. And I wasn't aware of the "not changed comment timestamp"...

(And sorry - now you got a response, you won't be allowed to edit your above comment in 58 minutes...:))

(30 Mar '12, 11:29) Volker Barth

Except perhaps by converting to answer and back, though I think that would promote the level of the comment, and maybe mess up replies...

(30 Mar '12, 11:40) Graham Hurst

AFAIK, when promoting a comment, all nested comments will follow as expected.

However, when converting (back) into a comment, it will be placed (with its child comments) directly below the question/answer - it's not possible to put it beneath its former parent comment...

(30 Mar '12, 11:59) Volker Barth
showing 2 of 9 show all flat view

I've seen this as well. There are a number of operations that do not get recorded with the user's name, notably changing a comment to an answer or changing an answer to a comment. The other reason that I know of is if a user adds a comment or answer and then deletes it - in this case the page has no remaining signs of the operation yet the summary page will continue to show that there was activity on the page.

I do not know exactly what was the cause of your example. Perhaps Graeme could dig into the transaction log to see what happened? (The site's admin log does not show any activity on the question around 12UTC-45 minutes?)

Duh: now I see the entry in the log! As Volker mentioned, he changed an answer to a comment.

And another reason for this to happen is if a user edits a comment since the page does not show information about edits on a comment.

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answered 30 Mar '12, 08:28

Mark%20Culp's gravatar image

Mark Culp
accept rate: 41%

edited 30 Mar '12, 08:58


AFAIK, all these "hidden page" actions (including editing/deleting comments) are listed in the according user's "recent activity" list... so they're "not fully invisible".

Don't know whether to treat that as a warning:)

(30 Mar '12, 11:06) Volker Barth
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question asked: 30 Mar '12, 08:10

question was seen: 2,041 times

last updated: 30 Mar '12, 11:59