Small request for verbose Ask users October 16, 2014 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I tend to type too much stuff above the fold for questions in Ask. I understand the reason for the word limit, and I think it's a good idea. However the warning that you're over the limit is low on information. It would be helpful, if the site is already checking for word limit, to let you know how far over you are so that you have a better idea of where to cut. This wouldn't even have to be dynamic, like Twitter's character length checker, just something that's included in the warning. Is this something other people would like, and would it be easy to implement on the technical end?
posted by codacorolla to Feature Requests at 12:40 PM (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

That would be really great, and also something similar for thread titles although iirc the actual character limit is known but I'm too lazy to search for it.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:48 PM on October 16, 2014


The title limit is 72 characters.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:54 PM on October 16, 2014


I had no idea there was word limit and checker for the AskMe questions. Huh. What is the word count limit?

That would be really great, and also something similar for thread titles although iirc the actual character limit is known but I'm too lazy to search for it.

The Title checker just stops accepting key entry after 72 characters, so that's a pretty good indication of where one needs to cut.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:56 PM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


The warning: "Please Note: Your question has over 100 words that will appear on the front page. Please move some details to the 'Extended Explanation' section."
posted by smackfu at 2:11 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I actually once proposed a word limit and it was denied. See here. OP, since you described yourself as a verbose poster: PLEASE keep your over the fold question to a minimum. Anyone who feels like they need to write more than say 2 or 3 sentences can do so in the [more inside] section. I flag longer over the fold texts regularly and it's annoying (I work on a 10' screen and such questions take up all the space).
posted by travelwithcats at 2:12 PM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure we need a specific word count because there isn't really a limit. We just count the number of words and if it's over 100 we put up a warning. We don't block posting at that point like we do with other errors. It's just more of a nudge along the lines of, "you might not be aware there's a 'more inside' section. You might want to look at that."

We aren't aiming for a specific word count. It's just a friendly reminder that we have an 'extended' section if you're adding more than a paragraph or so above the fold.
posted by pb (staff) at 2:22 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Re: the title limit of 72 characters. I like to have my ducks in a row prior to posting, so I use this online web gizmo to check the number of characters first. It's been very handing when I'm trying out different titles. I'm sure there are tons of them online, this is just the one I use.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:52 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


We just count the number of words and if it's over 100 we put up a warning.

Last time I ran into this I didn't realize it was just a warning, it felt like it was actually not letting me proceed until I fixed it, I guess I misunderstood. I figured it was one of the new features Matt mentioned would be coming along to save moderators some time, so they wouldn't have to go manually fix my question after a bunch of people flagged it. It makes sense as a feature but as I remember it just seemed a little "abrupt" and "not timed right" in the experience of it.
posted by bleep at 4:06 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, on one hand, this warning doesn't say "Error" at the beginning like the others. On the other hand, the "please move some details..." part is worded the same as the required changes, so I can see the confusion.
posted by smackfu at 8:20 PM on October 16, 2014


I tend to type too much stuff above the fold for questions in Ask. I understand the reason for the word limit, and I think it's a good idea. However the warning that you're over the limit is low on information. It would be helpful, if the site is already checking for word limit, to let you know how far over you are so that you have a better idea of where to cut. This wouldn't even have to be dynamic, like Twitter's character length checker, just something that's included in the warning. Is this something other people would like, and would it be easy to implement on the technical end?
posted by Mblue at 8:21 PM on October 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


past into word and do word count
posted by Ironmouth at 9:06 PM on October 16, 2014


This sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Just put the text in the extended text box and be done with it.
posted by dfriedman at 5:49 AM on October 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just edit away. It's a free resource.
posted by Namlit at 6:33 AM on October 17, 2014


(I work on a 10' screen and such questions take up all the space).

Dude that's awesome.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:44 AM on October 17, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ah, I see. I was unaware that it was a warning saying "we'd like unless you do this" and not "the post will not work if you do this." Still, if you're already counting words I don't see how much more effort would be involved in putting the total number of words into that warning.
posted by codacorolla at 6:46 AM on October 17, 2014


It's always easy to say it's easy for others to add a this one feature.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:53 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just restrict yourself to 3 sentences. I can't imagine a single question (which is appropriate for AskMe) that can't be boiled down to 3 sentences that give the reader enough info to know whether they should click through to the full text.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was thinking this yesterday...it's frustrating when you've written a perfectly crafted question, you press preview and then it say "oh no, it's too long.... put some of it in the extended part box" even though your box is half full (or half empty). Some posts just don't split easily.

Could we make the box much smaller and make it a character limit instead of a word limit - and no scrolling in the box? When it fills up you should no longer be able to type new stuff. You'd have to go into the extended box. The "totally easy solution" if you have no clue how websites work...
posted by guy72277 at 7:18 AM on October 17, 2014


joseph conrad is fully awesome: Re: the title limit of 72 characters. I like to have my ducks in a row prior to posting, so I use this online web gizmo to check the number of characters first.

Here's a site that lists the characters as you type, allowing you to adjust lengths more quickly. (Why yes, I did look around for this specific tool, how did you know?)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:46 AM on October 17, 2014


FYI: The first character count tool is not dynamic but has a bigger area to type in than the dynamic one just posted.

Does anyone know of a dynamic one that has more space?
posted by Michele in California at 1:18 PM on October 17, 2014


The box in the dynamic one is resizable. Click and drag on the diagonal lines in the bottom right corner.
posted by dorque at 4:20 PM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow. I also tend to be verbose but I don't see what the fuss is all about. I mean even when I forget and "craft the perfect question", it's pretty simple to just copy and paste all of it into the "more inside" box and then simplify the question into the above fold box.

Honestly... it's not that big of a deal.
posted by patheral at 10:12 AM on October 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


To elaborate on my somewhat short (ha) earlier comment, a tendency toward wordiness is not Fate. There's no reason to publicly celebrate one's first-draftiness as one's inevitable style. Internet people (dear reader!), re-write!
posted by Namlit at 12:03 PM on October 18, 2014


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