MATLAB Answers

MATLAB Answers Wish-list #2 (and bug reports)

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
Commented: Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
NOTE: this discussion is continued at MATLAB Answers Wish-list #4 (and bug reports)
This topic is for features you would like to see for the MATLAB Answers facility itself, and also for bug reports about the MATLAB Answers facility.
This topic is the follow on to the earlier Wish-list for MATLAB Answer sections. That topic grew large enough to become unwieldy; and Mathworks has made enough changes to make a number of the past points no longer of relevance. There was also a more limited purpose <http://uk.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/216662-new-design-of-the-forum-grey-on-white-wish-list-3-bug-reports
I suggest one wish (or bug report) per answer, so that people can vote their wishes.
  14 Comments
Adam Danz
Adam Danz on 25 Feb 2020
For easy navigation and for the historians,
Anyone with edit privileges should feel free to update this whenever needed.

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Answers (73)

Jan
Jan on 30 Jun 2012
Pictures should be hosted on a TMW server, because other services will delete the pictures after some time and then the corresponding thread becomes meaningless.
  6 Comments

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Matt J
Matt J on 28 Apr 2013
Edited: Matt J on 28 Apr 2013
Apologies if this has been suggested. The list has grown long and difficult to search....
I think there should be a privilege (earned at 1000 reputation points or so) that allows contributors to transform an Answer into a Comment (and vice versa?)
All too often, newcomers to the site don't understand how things work and instead of responding to Answers with Comments, they respond with Answers of their own. It would be good for trusted contributors to have the power to fix this.
  6 Comments
Matt J
Matt J on 29 Apr 2013
On my display this is currently directly over my duplicate suggestion.
I knew I couldn't have been the first... Oh well, I +1'ed it. :-)

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Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 1 Jul 2012
The tag system needs an upgrade. Ideally, when you enter a tag it should provide a brief overview of what the tag means. Low rep users should only be able to apply existing tags. Moderate rep users should be able to create new tags (with a corresponding definition).

Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 8 Aug 2012
A proper set of moderator tools that allows for merging duplicate questions and moving answers to comments when appropriate.

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 26 Oct 2012
I would like it if a person ended up on your profile (by clicking the link that is your name) that, in addition to the profile privileges, questions, answers, comments, and email, it also had a link to my File Exchange. If I didn't have anything in the File Exchange then the link wouldn't be there but it would be there if I did have something in the File Exchange. It makes sense that if someone is interested enough to look up a person's profile and all their answers, etc. that they might also have an interest in visiting the person's File Exchange to see what useful programs the person has uploaded. I'd also like to see my own. It would be convenient for me, if I want to recommend one of my File Exchange submissions to someone, that a link to my File Exchange were right there on the left side below My Questions, My Answers, My Comments. It would save me from having to bring up my bookmark toolbar, locate the bookmark to my File Exchange and click on it.

Azzi Abdelmalek
Azzi Abdelmalek on 14 Sep 2012
I want an Editor for Matlab Answers like the one on Facebook. On the top of your page you will have notifications related only to the questions you have answered
  1. number of news comments
  2. number of new answered questions
  3. number of new accepted aswers
and when you click on the notification you will be redirected to the question.
  1 Comment
per isakson
per isakson on 15 Sep 2012
Why not to both
  1. your own Questions and
  2. Questions you have answered or have made comments on
A comment often is a kind of promise to return to the Question when OP has added more info

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Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 18 Jan 2013
I am trying to find unanswered questions with 0 votes, but I want them listed newest to oldest. If I search for unanswered and sort by votes, I get all the questions with 0 votes sorted by date, but oldest to newest, followed by all the questions wit 1 vote, again sorted oldest to newest.
I am trying to close unclear and inappropriate questions which are unanswered. Basically I am trying to work through the unanswered questions. If the question is reasonable, I vote for it. If the question is inappropriate or unclear I add a comment saying what is inappropriate or unclear and close it. This leads me to needing the odd sort order/search capability.
I guess the first question is, is this filtering useful?
  4 Comments
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 18 Jan 2013
@Daniel, thanks for doing this!
Let Randy know if you notice any trends or anything else noteworthy or that could be useful to you.

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Cedric Wannaz
Cedric Wannaz on 31 Jan 2013
Edited: Cedric Wannaz on 31 Jan 2013
As mentioned here, I think that having the possibility for the OP and high rep. members to add a top entry in the thread (like an answer but with a different design, e.g. greenish background or some frame) called "Synthesis" or "Conclusion", that would contain a synthesis/conclusion of the thread, would be interesting. This should be optional and worth no reward, so we have only valuable information, but highly prioritized by the search engine. The name of contributors should also be recorded in the sense that, at least to me, they are often a search criterion as important as keywords.
You can find an example of what I have in mind here, where I edited the question with a top part that synthesizes the thread: http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/59491-is-it-possible-to-set-watchdogs-memory-exec-time-in-matlab
The idea is really to allow people who care for that to bring added value to their threads. This could be especially useful for complicated threads, where finally a person is able to draw a conclusion out of dozens of answers/comments. The conclusion is really important information, yet it doesn't appear in the thread ultimately.
As a side note, I think that having the option not to prop. the thread at the top of the list when we edit the synthesis could be useful.. in my case, for example, I am pretty sure that people will start being tired about my "watchdog" thread if it comes back at the top of the list each time I add a coma to the text.. ;)

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
The time-stamps for the activities log and the flagged content log appear to be in GMT. This is inconsistent with the other time-stamps that the user sees and so can lead to some confusion.
Not a major problem ;-)

Jan
Jan on 2 Jul 2012
As explained in the wish-list #1 already, the space on top of a section is larger than the one on the bottom:
This block belongs to the sentence on top. It could be code also.
Now a new section starts, but the indent block seem to belong to this new section, because it is nearer. Because larger horizontal skipping is possible with HTML tricks only, it is hard to structure the text optically.
Solution: While I assume, that the spacing should be smaller on the top than on the bottom in most cases, making them equal might be the best compromise.
Another example:
This is line 1:
a = rand(1, 1);
This is line 2:
b = rand(2, 2);
While this is the 3rd line:
c = rand(3, 3);
  1 Comment
Randy Souza
Randy Souza on 2 Jul 2012
Thanks Jan, I'll make sure this gets fixed.

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Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 24 Aug 2012
That someone for TMW would chime in about the Wish list format (with or without the standard disclaimers about personal opinions ... ). Should we be sending bugs to files@mathworks.com, to TMW customer support, or posting them here. What about our suggestions for "product enhancements"? Is one long list better than multiple short lists? Is a list for bugs and a lists for wishes better? I think as a community we are pretty ambivalent about the format of our wish list, so if anyone at TMW who deals with this stuff has even a weak opinion it would be useful.

Amro
Amro on 24 Aug 2012
Syntax Highlighting
In the meantime, I created a userscript that applies MATLAB syntax highlighting using google-code-prettify (it was originally intended for Stack Overflow). Project is hosted on GitHub.
Install userscript directly from the following link: prettify-mathworks-answers.user.js

Matt Fig
Matt Fig on 10 Sep 2012
I wish the answers software would automatically delete the tag: MATLAB.
  2 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 10 Sep 2012
Also "matlab code". And "help". And "1" and "123"...

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Azzi Abdelmalek
Azzi Abdelmalek on 20 Sep 2012
Edited: Azzi Abdelmalek on 20 Sep 2012
The text editor can be improved. Beginners have some difficulties to deal with it. I don't like the preview in another window. It's more flexible if the window were we write the code is the same as the preview. I suggest when we click on the code button, a window or highlighted zone appears, then we are sur that our code is well formated
  1 Comment
Kevin Claytor
Kevin Claytor on 24 Sep 2012
I would love code highlighting similar (okay, identical to) the MATLAB editor. I think it would encourage people to make use of the code tags more.
Also, if the code tags could be actual tags; [code][/code], I think it would be much more intuitive.

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Daniel Shub
Daniel Shub on 24 Sep 2012
Edited: Daniel Shub on 24 Sep 2012
The close/reopen system needs a rework. I don't know how to see the reason that a question got closed. I also don't know if the OP can see the reason or if they get an alert. More importantly, if a question get closed simply editing the question should not be enough to reopen it. For example, in this question the edit was "P.S. Why is it (The thread) closed?". Edits to the question should raise a flag and confirmation from someone with enough rep to reopen the question.
The only way to deal with persistent reopening is to either give up or delete the question. Deleting a persistently reopened question will likely result in persistent reposting. While the ability to close a question is useful for cutting down spam, the current system is ineffectual.
  5 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 25 Oct 2012
It is already asked... but it isn't displayed.

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Ryan
Ryan on 28 Sep 2012
Perhaps there is a method of which I am not aware, but I would like to be able to track questions that I commented on and not actually answered.
  4 Comments
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 13 Feb 2013
This functionality has been added.

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Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 3 Jan 2013
New issue, I just noticed today. If I use the Link button to copy a link of a comment that is not one of the last 3 posted, then have that link be a link in another comment (referring reader to the first comment), OR even just paste that link into the address field (of two different browsers, IE and Firefox), it goes to the top of the posting, it does not scroll directly to the comment. An example of this is the link which is http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/42413#comment_102678. Some investigation leads me to think that the problem occurs when the comment referred to is not one of the last 3 comments posted, in other words, it's one of those that are normally hidden and you have to reveal by clicking "Show n older comments." Can this be fixed? Otherwise we can't link to "hidden" comments.
  4 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 9 Feb 2013
The #togglecomments apparent URL is javascript. The contents are already on your system, and are expanded or collapsed by your browser. But something changed and now those sections are treated more like internal HTML than like something that can be acted on.
By analogy: you cannot search HTML &lt- comment -> style comments using your browser find function, even though the HTML is there.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
This original wish-list is now so slow to load that Firefox and Safari now time-out the javascript 3 to 6 times for me.
Randy Souza indicates "We're aware of this issue and are investigating it."
  5 Comments
Randy Souza
Randy Souza on 16 Aug 2012
We deployed a fix this evening (Aug 15 2012) that should eliminate the JavaScript warnings. Please post here or email me directly (<firstname>.<lastname>@mathworks.com) if you still see them.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
Edited: Walter Roberson on 1 Jul 2012
The Link button is very convenient! But it is easy to end up clicking the link while it is being presented, which has the natural side effect of asking the browser to load that page... a bit of a nuisance as one is already there, and a Problem if the reason one was trying to copy the URL was that one was in the middle of composing a reply (bye-bye reply!)
I do not know if there is a solution to this that does not sacrifice functionality.

Dr. Seis
Dr. Seis on 29 Jun 2012
Has someone already addressed the change from having our most recent answers listed first to (now) where our oldest answers are listed first when we click on our profile? I usually check this out to see if people had made comments to a question I answered, but (having answered ~180 questions, which is not a lot compared to the top contributors) I do not want to have to page through all my older answers to see if anything recent had updated.
I wish we had the ability to sort through my own old answers, too. Sometimes I want to view older answers before answering newer questions... so this could be helpful.
  3 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 2 Jul 2012
When I posted the above, I had forgotten about the commented_by: and answered_by: prefixes that now exist for searches.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 4 Jul 2012
The working area given to construct a comment (the built-in editor) is not very big. It is okay for short comments, but I find that in practice it ends up being common to post code in comments, code demonstrating how to apply the concepts of the answer or the comment stream, and in that situation the small size gets to be uncomfortable. I start looking for a drag handle to increase the size of the area...
  2 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 30 Jul 2012
I am seeing the drag handle in the systems I using now. I cannot, however, increase more than another 5 or perhaps 6 lines.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 7 Jul 2012
Editing of (your own?) Answer is not recognized as Activity for the purposes of listing the latest activity against each Question, nor for the purposes of determining the age sorting order for each Question.
Editing of an Answer is recorded in the Recent Activity list, though.
  2 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 11 Jul 2012
There are certainly some self-edits that are grammar or typo fixes. When, though, an Editor edits someone else's Answer, it is likely to be a reformat that might seriously affect people's ability to read the material.
The edits I do in the new Tags question are a mix: sometimes I'm just fixing up the text spacing, and sometimes I am adding new material. Likewise, edits in the How To Ask A Question topic are likely to be worth bringing to people's attention.
"Per", for one, adds a response and later comes back and edits significant new material into place. A few of the other posters have taking to using edits as a strategy.
Perhaps to some extent this matter is less serious now that Comments have full markup. Well, except for the "resource" topics where using Comments is not quite appropriate.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 8 Jul 2012
The deleted Question http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/answers/43031 is not giving the Page Not Found error. Instead it is giving the left frame and only the "contact us" line to the right.
At the moment, 43031 is the newest Question, and it was deleted (by the poster) before a newer Question was posted, and (at the moment) no newer Questions have been posted.
The Page Not Found is given for other appropriate cases.
The situation exists on both .com and .co.uk

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 8 Jul 2012
There is a logical bug with accepting someone else's answer. The determination of whether that option appears does not depend upon when the answer was posted, only upon when the question was posted.
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 9 Jul 2012
I see that the documentation says that it happens after 7 days of inactivity from the poster, which is consistent with the behavior we see, but my feeling is that after 7 days of inactivity would be better.

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Ryan
Ryan on 9 Jul 2012
How about a link on the left hand navigation for FAQ and posts like Walter's on tags?
  2 Comments
Ryan
Ryan on 11 Jul 2012
I'll say it for you, "Where to upload your images"

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Jan
Jan on 12 Jul 2012
Edited: Jan on 19 Aug 2012
When I ask a question, I see a very funny red splosh before "Question" and "Body". Is this a skeletonized dot, a fractal or a red fountain? If there is only one of them, I'd had checked my monitor for pixel errors of flyspeck.
I'm not convinced that the title line should be called "question". In fact, "question" is misleading here. And while I do not understand the reason, why this title needs at least 4 words, titles with the allowed 250 characters are a secure indicator of a bad question.
  3 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 19 Aug 2012
Jan, does the browser scaling you were doing explain this issue as well?

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Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 24 Aug 2012
Edited: Image Analyst on 24 Aug 2012
Has anyone noticed that the counts for the "Contributors" have stalled? No numbers have been updated for several days now. I've been stuck at 607 accepted answers even though I see answers being accepted. Likewise, everyone else's numbers have not budged in several days.
And I say again that the bugs and the wishes should be in two separate lists instead of one long massive combined list.
  3 Comments
Randy Souza
Randy Souza on 20 Sep 2012
This should be fixed as of Sep 19, 2012. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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Albert Yam
Albert Yam on 10 Sep 2012
[From Lucas' answer]
About accepting a 'comment' that is in an answer box. It has more to do with the interface, in my opinion. Anyone coming from any other place, (intuitively) you see a chat box, you write there (like most forums), but to actually comment, you have to hit "Comment on this Answer".
Possibly change the 'Answer' text box, to "Answer this question" button, then open the text box or something like that. Which might alleviate the answering a comment thing.
[Image Analyst's suggestion]
Maybe you'd want it to recognize that the person submitting an answer is actually the original questionner and to ask them if they really want to answer and accept their own question or comment on another person's answer? That might not be a bad idea.

Matt J
Matt J on 2 Oct 2012
Eliminate the "Answer Accepted" feature. Let reputation points be dictated entirely by votes.
The first problem with the "Answer Accepted" is that it puts the power to reward Answerers in the hands of the Questioners, where it doesn't belong. This incentivizes contributors to accomadate people looking for homework answers or to spoonfeed over-detailed solutions to people looking to do minimal work.
The second problem is, as others have mentioned, that a better Answer can always come along.
  12 Comments
Jan
Jan on 29 Apr 2013
@Matt J: I do not see the contradiction. Although I'd prefer no direct correlation between points and privileges, I participate on the current system TMW has decided for. Obviously it works sufficiently at the moment.
I do not vote to provide a further step to gain privileges, but to mark useful answers and questions. An active and useful voting system need not be directly related to the highest privilege levels. But for the low privilege levels, a manual decision would be too time-costly with a comparable arbitrariness.

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Randy Souza
Randy Souza on 13 Dec 2012
(This was suggested by Greg Heath in a separate question)
It should be possible to change and save the default sort order.

G A
G A on 3 Jan 2013
Edited: G A on 4 Jan 2013
I wish that questioner could have possibility to change his mind about his(her) acceptance decision. At least for a certain period.

Cedric Wannaz
Cedric Wannaz on 31 Jan 2013
Edited: Cedric Wannaz on 31 Jan 2013
I think that if people were reminded (e.g. weekly) on a verified email that they have to come back to "close" their threads (or to actively indicate that they could still use help), more people would at least come back and see what was answered/commented. I am saying that, because I really suspect that many people actually find some way to do what they want after posting the question, and never come back to check their threads. All of you folks who have been active here for a long time, have roughly a 1/3 ratio of accepted answers, but when I look at the threads it seems that a significant amount of the answers that were not accepted are just a consequence of people not coming back..
Associated with this mechanism, there could be a special type of threads for open questions, in some sense a "discussion thread", like this one or any of those that should not have a particular answer chosen to be The answer.
Cheers,
Cedric

Cedric Wannaz
Cedric Wannaz on 2 Oct 2013
I think that it would be better to have the forum adding automatically a target attribute
target="_blank"
to links present in threads, because we often want to keep the question/comment under our eyes when we click on such links.
  5 Comments
Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 2 Oct 2013
I like it the way it is now.
Too_many_windows = clutter;

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Chad Greene
Chad Greene on 6 Jul 2015
I sure wish Answers pages would load faster. Navigating the Answers section and sorting forum posts is remarkably slow, especially considering it's only text. And with the recent redesign of the site, there isn't even very much text at that.

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
Before the June 28, 2012 Answers changes, if one was editing and one highlighted text and clicked on the Code button, then after the operation was done, the selection was removed.
As of those changes, the selection goes away for a small number of seconds while the reformat is done, but then the selection color comes back, highlighting a wider but shorter area, not covering all of the height of the original selection but covering wider (possibly even some areas that have no input.)
  5 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 20 Jul 2012
Selection bug might possibly have been fixed after I wrote the above.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
For consistency, Questions themselves should have the Link button. Yes, you can go up to your browser bar and copy the URL, but now that you have the buttons, people are going to start relying on it and will think less about copying from the browser bar.

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
The Answers section has developed the ad-hoc standard of labelling some Questions as "tutorials", when those Questions are intended as step-by-step information about solving a particular task. There is also the off-site FAQ that gets used a fair bit (especially about numeric precision, file name loops, and variable name loops.)
I am finding that there is a category of often-repeated information that does not really fall into either of the above, and I am not certain how to deal with that category. An example of the category is my series of comments indicating why one should always uses specific handles for graphics operations, and showing how to do so. I refer someone back to it every week or two -- often enough that it should probably be extracted into something independent. But it isn't really a FAQ and it isn't really a tutorial. "Frequently Referenced Advice" ?
Some of Image Analyst's material probably falls into the same category, such as his color segmentation demo.
Suggestions on how to handle this?
  1 Comment
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 29 Jun 2012
I've been considering adding a "chapter" to the FAQ on image processing questions. For example I'd refer them to the Vision bibliography web site when they ask something like "How do I detect/recognize characters/license plates/cars/fruit/faces/fingerprints/edges/movement?" Or "How do I mask an image?" Or "How do I extract and save all frames from a video?"

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
I think we should probably create a posting that discusses what Tags are and how and why to use them, and lists a number of the more common ones. I would include "doit4me" and similar content meta-tags, but I would also suggest that enough tags be included to allow people to see (for example) whether it is best to use "nn" or "ann" or "neural networks"

Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
Edited: Walter Roberson on 29 Jun 2012
If one inserts a sufficiently long set of Tags in the tag editor (total number of characters being important rather than the number of tags), then eventually one of the tags will wrap down and move to the second line. One can tell that the tag will wrap because the current tag one is entering will stop being given in full, and will start scrolling in the area from the end of the previous tag.
Once one has a tag at the beginning of the second line, the number of characters that one can enter in the tag after that before this same kind of mini-scrolling occurs, is not determined by the available space to the end of the second line: instead the limit is at most the number of characters that were in the tag that wrapped down (and appears at the beginning of the line). For example if that tag happened to be 9 characters long, then the mini-scrolling would start after the 9th character of the tag one typed in afterwards.
In most of my tests, the limit was at most 1 character less than the previous tag, and occasionally even fewer were permitted; I only observed the maximum length once.
The field-scrolling at the end of the first line turns out to be a problem in itself. If the previously entered tags happen to take up most of the first line, then one can end up with just one or two characters available to enter the new tag in, with the entered tag being impossible to read during entry due to the scrolling in the narrow field.
  2 Comments
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 18 Dec 2013
I think this has gotten worse, not better. If there are lots of tags and you try to add a new one, you can only see a fraction of one letter as you type. You can't fully see what you typed until you type a comma or type the enter key. Has Randy noticed this bug? It seems like it just got worse about a couple of months ago.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 30 Jun 2012
Interesting...
Start a Comment (does not apply to starting an Answer), and enter some text, and then Cancel the Comment. Then (before navigating off the page) click the same control to start a Comment in the same place. The partly-entered text will re-appear.
I did not expect this behavior, but I think my vote would be to retain it.
(I think I understand what is causing the behavior, as I had earlier looked at the HTML source of some Answers pages.)
  2 Comments
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 4 Jul 2012
I had a case today where I was editing a Question to format it, realized that I had accidently deleted parts of the material, Canceled the edit, clicked to edit again... and it brought back the munged version rather than the original.
Fortunately the part I had inadvertently deleted in my (unsaved) editing turned out to only be a single character. If necessary, I would have gone up to my browser toolbar and requested the page be refreshed, but I don't know that people would tend to think of that.
So the behavior is of mixed blessings.

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 30 Jun 2012
Sometimes what I want is a way to "import" a file (upload) into an edit field. Copying and pasting has different size limits for different operating systems (and different browsers), so I have ended up having to copy and paste in sections (sometimes a fair number of such cycles, for larger texts.)
Personally I feel that really this should be a browser feature. But unfortunately browsers don't seem to have it... :(

Jan
Jan on 2 Jul 2012
Edited: Jan on 2 Jul 2012
One-line questions, answers or comments waste too much space, while the unused borders are lost.

Sean de Wolski
Sean de Wolski on 2 Jul 2012
Edited: Sean de Wolski on 2 Jul 2012
There should be a grace period of a few minutes before something shows up as edited. For example, if you answer a question and then immediately fix a typo, it shouldn't show up as 'edited'.
And a pictographic example:
  2 Comments
Jan
Jan on 2 Jul 2012