Changing Topics, Etc.
Is it possible that in giving users the ability to change the topics of their threads indefinitely (or at all) after posting, the door is opened for some serious problems if left unchecked?
For example, let's say that user Aaa starts a thread with the topic "LA Sushi" containing a query for recommended sushi restaurants in Los Angeles. As the responses come in, the discussion begins to focus on two LA area sushi restaurants in particular (Sushi Yin and Sushi Yang, for the purposes of this discussion) and the relative merits of each. 72 hours passes. The OP (Original Poster), deciding that he would like to see a little more of a discussion of these two restaurants, changes the topic to "Sushi Yin or Sushi Yang?".
Innocent enough? Or not?
Consider that this post was viewed 200 times during the first 72 hours before the OP changed the topic. That's 200 people who may be interested in returning to view this thread later because the topic interested them. But now that topic no longer exists! And that would be bad.
The same thing goes for giving users the ability to edit their posts. I mean, all this is undoubtedly great for the OP, but is it not conceivable that in the long run, it could be doing a disservice to the board?
As an alternative, I suggest doing away with timed edits (or any edits, for that matter) after the post is made. Go back to the old system of giving users a way to view their posts in final form before committing to posting them.
Then, if a user notices a serious problem with his or her post (or topic), then let there be a channel to "submit" a change request to someone on the Chowhound Team. And if the change is deemed beneficial, then it would be executed.
Would this not be better for all concerned?