Provide drafts on half-edited posts

by Manishearth   Last Updated October 09, 2019 22:24 PM - source

The other day, I was making a substantial edit on one of my MSO posts. I had to leave for a while, so I closed Chrome, fully expecting the saved draft to be there when I came back (). It wasn't--so I had to rewrite all of it.

Couldn't we have this feature? Yes, I know, it makes viewing the source of the original post tedious(you have to go through the revision history), but it makes the site consistent.

It works for questions and answers. Why not edits?

Answers 2

I think the main difference between questions/answers and edits is, if you write an answer or a question, its yours. No one else but you can edit it at that point, so its no problem if you want to continue your writing after some hours.

If you have an edit, you work on an existing post (even if its yours), means other people than you can also edit. Especially when the post is worth editing, and you want to take a break for some hours, I think chances are good that the post has changed since you started your edit and in my opinion it would be not appropriate then just to finish your edit and post it, overwriting the previous edit.

So, what should happen if your edit is saved, but the post has been edited in the meantime? Maybe the post has been clarified and your "old edit" would have a different meaning now (maybe not if its your own post). Then there should be some kind of diff where you can compare the current status and your edit.

My idea would be bit different:

Give us an advanced editor!

I would like to have an editor (similar like now but opening on its own side/tab), with

  • a bigger edit field

  • a bigger preview, maybe on the side of the edit field (better overview on widescreen monitors)

  • The possibility to save drafts in my account (more than one!) ==> this would be the answer to your question.

  • With a button in the inline editor window to copy the current content to the advanced editor.

This would be big improvement for writing good, structured posts, that take a bit more time to think, because they are not FGITW answers.

April 26, 2012 08:05 AM

This feature currently does exist when you're editing someone else's answer: it takes you to a special "edit" page like This enables to browser-based crash recovery, since returning to the URL opens the edit-box. This isn't server-side saved drafts, but it's much better than nothing.

(Correction and/or update: you get the separate-page editor on sites where you have low rep, including for your own posts. At high rep you get the inline editor on all posts.)

When Edit doesn't take you to a new URL (which is the normal case for editing your own posts), coming back after a browser restart loses all your work.

This is totally backwards. Your own posts are most likely the ones where you'll come back and make big changes, like to re-order the way you present information if it was clumsy before. Or if you learned something new that means a guess in an old answer was wrong.

I don't think I want to always go to a separate page when editing my own posts, so maybe the lowest-effort thing here would be for that to be an option. I'm having a hard time coming up with the text that should be on this link. Just saying "go to editor page" wouldn't explain why, and calling it "go to draft-saving page" sounds weird.

You can use the separate-page editor any time you want

Middle-click the edit link under a post to edit in a new window, with the /edit URL. This bypasses the JavaScript that would use the in-line editor.

Perhaps a good idea to do this for big edits, but it's a big pain. I'd like some kind of server-side recovery. SO answers can be up to 30k characters and sometimes take significant time to edit.

Sometimes browser recovery doesn't work, e.g. on an upgrade of Chromium I've occasionally had it lose all my half-written answers / edits in textboxes.

Maybe I should just copy stuff to an emacs buffer if I don't post in one sitting and edit offline.

Peter Cordes
Peter Cordes
February 09, 2016 14:26 PM

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