Allow Post Preview/Edit or Not?!

I just added the ability for Users to post Comments to Articles that are on my website.

What is the perceived or actual benefit of allowing Users to “preview” and “edit” their Posts?

Some people I have been talking with say that adding a “Preview” feature is unnecessary fluff.

Personally, I have become rather spoiled with how nicely SitePoint allows me to Create Posts, Review Posts, Edit Posts, and so on?!

What do you think?


Personally, I enjoy the preview option simple to allow me to see if my code has worked (bbcode-wise).

In terms of posting simple comments, I don’t think that preview is necessary. Is this a blog-like article base? If so, I don’t think previews are necessary.

I think that every site has edits. It cuts down on spam and unnecessary corrections. Like:

Hey gusys. My name is Jim.

I mean hey guys*

See what I mean?


If you allow any kind of formatting (eg HTML, BBCode or Textile) then a preview option is really valuable, so that people wanting to put formatting in their message can check that they haven’t stuffed up by putting eg <b>stuff in bold text<b> or using tags that you have forbidden. It’s amazing the number of sites that have restricted formatting but don’t appear to document which tags it allows and which it ignores.

If you only allow plain text, I see no point in allowing a preview.

Allowing people to edit posts is also a good idea if you want to encourage a high level of debate. You may want to copy Sitepoint’s idea of giving people a limited period of time to edit posts, so that you are less susceptible to spam and to people editing their posts half-way through an argument to make it look like others are misrepresenting them. As TehYoyo says, allowing people to edit their posts reduces the number of stupid comments that they or others will make, and also allows people a moment’s grace after they have stuffed up the formatting.

I think it is important to include a preview. If you have any bb code it is necessary for your visitors to check the functionality. It is also helpful sometimes to see how what you have written will be presented. Some might choose a different word or present what they are writing in a different way after viewing it.

Thanks for the response.

On allowing Formatting…

1.) So how important - to my Users - do you think formatting would be?

Again, the context is that I have a series of Articles on a topic (e.g. Small-Business) and at the bottom of each Article, Users can add comments.

Users will NOT be needing mark-up/code, but sometimes being able to bold or italicize or color text can still add to the effect/message someone is trying to convey.

2.) How much does allowing formatting add to security risks on my website?

Will I need to add an extra 1,000 of code to make sure I don’t have a security issue?

On allowing Editing…

1.) How much extra work is allowing editing?

2.) Before this conversation, my original workflow was…

  • User adds a Comment
  • Admin has to approve Comment
  • User’s Comment appears below Article

How would I incorporate Editing into that workflow?

At this point I am willing to do the extra leg-work of having to review every Comment before it goes up on my site, because I think that will reduce Spammers and Trolls and Rude People/Posts.

But we all make grammatical or style errors now and then, and it would be nice to allow people to fix things.

Sorta two conflicting concepts…


I’m not sure about the work required, but it won’t be an extra 1,000 lines of code. There’s probably multiple plug-ins to accomplish that. Sorry. That’s not my forte (PHP, I think?) in the coding field.

If it’s just for a blog comment/article comment, you don’t need formatting. It might prevent ALL CAPS POSTS THAT ARE REALLY SUPER ANNOYING but my guess is people will just do it anyways. Not to mention that usually the demographic that views blogs and articles is more mature than that.