Recently I faced a problem while commenting.

I wanted to comment elaborately for an answer but it allowed me to use only 600 characters. Okay, that was fine; but because my comment was lengthy, I had to cut it down. While doing that, I omitted a few necessary words. I realized this after posting the comment. I tried editing it but now it says editing is valid only for 5 mins.

Is there any way I can edit the comment after 5 mins also? (obviously I can add one more comment clarifying that but its just a small mistake...why add one more comment for that? Anyone reading it will read it in wrong way and then he will understand that there is a minor edit through the next comment).

The edit time-window is there for you to correct spelling mistakes or suchlike that you only really notice once you've hit 'Add'.

If the edit period were indefinite this would open up the possibility of abuse.

Take this hypothetical example. A comment is left against a post by two people:

Billy: "This is a great post"

Jenny: "Thanks Billy, I agree"

Two months later Billy could come back and edit his comment so that it now shows:

Billy: "Jenny is ugly and smells funny"

Jenny: "Thanks Billy, I agree"

OK, ignoring the fact that these are useless comments and would probably have both been removed anyway - it does highlight the possible issues. Also, comments don't bump questions up the question list, so such edits could go unnoticed for months at a time.

Also, comments don't have an audit history, there is no way of knowing what the comments originally said.

Finally, comments are second-class citizens anyway, you shouldn't expect them to stick around or be particularly useful in the long term. There there for requesting clarification or for expanding the issue, but any points made that are important or relevant should either be edited into the question / answer itself or should be left as new posts in their own right. As you say, you were making a >600 character 'comment'. That's quite substantial for a brief comment.

If there is a big problem with a comment then you can flag it for moderator attention, and moderators have the power to edit or delete comments as appropriate. However it's more likely that the moderators will just delete the comments rather than start faffing about with editing them. As I say, comments aren't really that important in the grand scheme of things. Flag comments that are wrong / abusive etc, otherwise just let them be.

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    This is essentially correct. Comments are a lightweight communication channel (by design)... and adding more features would only make them more versatile — which in turn would make them them more prone to overuse (and abuse), driving them outside their intended (lightweight) purpose. – Robert Cartaino Jun 5 '13 at 19:33
  • @RobertCartaino - While I agree with the answer, and your comment, I couldn't help but think that perhaps 10 mins would be much more reasonable time-frame for expiry since lot of time comments are really lengthy and people do end up leaving some errors in there which they may realize later. – Mohit Jun 7 '13 at 8:36

@JonW's answer is correct for the question you ask in the title (Why can comments be edited for ONLY 5 mins?)

For the related question you ask in your post Is there any way I can edit the comment after 5 mins also? there is a workaround. Unless someone else has already responded to your comment, you should be able to fix it using the following steps:

  1. Copy the comment's content.
  2. Delete the comment.
  3. Click to create a new comment.
  4. Paste the content of the old comment into the text box.
  5. Edit the text.
  6. Save the new (nearly identical) comment.

If someone else has already responded, then editing it like this is a bad idea because it will add your new post after theirs and make the conversation appear out of sequence.

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