Just wondering - it seems a bit odd that I have to give a reason why I edited the first post. But if I edit my reply - it just takes it. Shouldn't it be like that (just take it) for any editing of posts?
Actually it's more likely a matter of how the forum software evolved as opposed to something that was intentionally designed to be that way.
Originally you could edit the OP or a reply only up until the point that someone made another reply. The thinking is that people were free to make changes until someone responds but once someone responds then any edits could make a reply based on pre-edit comments meaningless or stupid or whatever. This was long before the "View edits" functionality was added.
Then at some point Andrew added the ability to edit the OP no matter how many replies came afterwards and it was at that point entering a reason was added. Not sure how this was intended to work. Assumedly the idea was to require a reason which would be viewable by a moderator who would have to approve the changes before the edit would appear. However the approval aspect of the functionality was never implemented and although a reason is required to make a change all I do is enter a single character like "a".
However still at this point there was no view edit functionality and replies worked as they did previously which was edits were allowed only until someone else replied.
There are a couple of good reasons why the ability to edit the OP was considered more important than the ability to edit a reply and therefore why they may be treated differently. First off there was always a dichotomy between creating the OP of a "thread" versus writing an "article" in a blog and since both functionalities are supported by the same database and since people could always edit their "articles" it was only natural to allow folks to edit their OP.
Another big reason to be able to edit the OP is to be able to record changes in the OP based on cumulative replies. For example you could take a vote or poll in a thread and the OP could be modified to keep a running total of the results so that folks did not have to individually count every vote, they could simply refer to the OP. We've also used this kind of functionality to keep track of some form of "high scores" list were people report their results within the thread and the author of the thread updates the OP accordingly.
However eventually during one of many forum software updates it was decided to add the ability to edit replies even after someone had made a further reply in the thread and to keep track of edits to protect the integrity of those later replies. This was implemented by Bara quite some time after Andrew left.
So the bottom line is that these forums have been worked on at many different times by many different people and initially started out as unique forums on unique sites and gradually over time have been modified to appear to be a seamless whole but like anything that has evolved over time you'll always find unique differences that exist simply because no one has yet gone over it to make it consistent.