Is there any way for moderators to view edits to threads?


Ambassador to the humans
This is mainly directed to quark

Is there any way to view edits made to theads? If a user makes an edit to a post currently there doesn't seem to be anything anybody (including moderators) can do to view the old version of their post. This isn't always a good thing. For example in a thread like this: where the OP removes all of the content from their posts - it would be nice to be able to revert the posts back to the original content.

It doesn't appear we have that power currently but is there anything that could be done to allow something like that? The best I can do right now is look for a cached version on google but there isn't always a cached version and in the thread I linked to I just get a 404 error for the cached version.
There doesn't seem to be a function to view edit history, or revert the posts. I think the OPs has the final say on their posts. If they modify the posts, they probably have good reasons to do so, and we'll leave them as is. In some cases the posts have significant content from textbook or research articles, and I actually prefer that they be removed. Every once in a while I receive email from copyright holders threatening to sue if some posts were not removed quickly. I assume that the OPs are doing the forum a favor in modifying posts. :)


Super Moderator
I know that there used to be - I've used it. For example, if an OP deletes the text of their post after receiving help I'll put the deleted part back in the post.


Ambassador to the humans
If they literally delete a post we can revert it. If they just remove it by editing I'm not sure we've had the power to undo that ever.
There is freedom of speech. That is a very important principle.

We can all say stupid things. (That includes me. It also includes what I am saying now!) Sometimes people regret what they have said and wish to take it back. Then it is reasonable that people can “edit” and change what they have written.

It can be because they regret the formulation, because of copyright, unpublished data or any kind of internal organisational pressure. I guess that we need to respect that.

In the freedom of speech I guess that there should be a freedom to take back. In that way there will not forever remain a stupid formulation that the writer regret.

In this case, that guy had the chance to be personally guided by someone who doesn’t know very much but still knows more than him, completely free of charge, but he decided to throw it away, and also with an insult to the statistical community.

Of course it is very unrewarding! I will not advice that person in the future. I will also restrict my future posts to other writers. It might also be that other regular visitors here to this forum, also restrict their posts since there is a risk that their comments might be essentially thrown away.


Ambassador to the humans
And I'm all for letting people say whatever they want. I just get annoyed when they then later erase it from the record and others put valuable time into responding. If there is a legal reason for removing the content then I'm fine with letting them erase it (or erasing it myself). But having somebody throw a hissy fit (Yeah MManuel - I went there) isn't a good enough reason in my eye for people to erase all of their content.
Greta your comment was awesome, not at all stupid.

Sometimes you want your words reach a smaller audience while still don't want it to be visible for the whole internet because you might worry that they can identify you or they can take advantage of something you should not disclose to the public. A solution is to avoid talking abut it, but the problem is that you still do want some people see it. So a way might be to talk about it with them, and while you think they all have seen it and your message is delivered, edit the critical parts and be safe. I know that deleting many parts of that thread of mine was not something at all good, because the portions I deleted were almost all my talks, but think deleting some information might be good or even necessary. Another solution is something like the contributors lounge which is not visible but by a small circle of highly trusted people. Another way is private messaging with several people at once, however this one cannot be done, when your audience is about 50 or more people.

So I as well think that this is a necessity and also think it is good that posters have the only privilege to edit their posts. Like you and quark, I really think it is good and essential. I know Dason and Dragan might have been frustrated by some people like me who ruin a thread at once (a work that can't be moderated), but sometimes this privileges the price we pay for avoiding a much bigger damage.

edit: I saw the comments of Dason and Dragan after posting, and am happy that Dason is in total agreement with us.