More character limit discussion


I agree with the text limit. The time you spend deciding what text to use “to get past the stupid Discourse rule” could easily be used to type out, “There are four quarts in a gallon.” The Like button is there to convey simple ideas like “Thx” or “+1”. It really should not be this much of a problem to speak in whole sentences. And if a topic doesn’t merit at least one sentence, then is it really worth replying at all?

Window.prompt-like modal dialog in Atom?

All of your thoughts make sense.

However. Discuss is being really rude to tell me I don’t know what is appropriate. I expect computers to make life easier, not harder. Why should I be forced to figure out how to stretch something for no reason? This reminds me of something Apple or some other tyrant would do. I don’t expect this out of a good open-source package.

– End of rant –


I think this point is the key. There are many good reasons to make an awful interface. I like discourse for being reasonable almost about everything. But this artificial limit is so easy to work around you end up with crap in a lot of posts just to meet the limit. I don’t agree a like is good replacement for language like ‘thanks’. If short messages are so bad, are artificially elongated messages really any better?

This isn’t stackoverflow where you’re building this knowledge base. This is people interacting with language. A computer butting into that conversation, in a totally non-helpful way, is just super annoying.


What is wrong with just putting up an annoying warning like it does in other situations? The warning would reduce the abuse and still let content-full short messages to be posted.

IMHO: It’s just plain wrong.


There’s simply no need to post this at all – click or tap the heart next to the post to indicate appreciation.

How would it feel to read a topic where 50% of the posts were “Thanks!” And “Good idea!” And “Me too!” – not exactly an interesting discussion… and that’s the purpose of this software, discussion.


The DUH carries information. I’m apologizing for posting a stupid question. There is no button for that.


Sure it would feel bad. But a nasty warning would cut those down a lot. No reason to remove my capabilities because of other’s abuses.

I guess I’ll just keep posting “TextToGetPastStupidDiscourseRule” as a protest for my rights.

Edit: I think it is insulting to assume users wouldn’t use the heart and also would ignore the nasty warning. We are grownups.

Edit2: Give them a heart button in the nasty warning and clearly explain it means thanks and/or +1.


I agree that this rule is quite stupid. Sometimes an actual “Thanks!” is in place rather than an extra “like” (or whatever you call it). Also It feels more like interaction with an actual person


“Thanks” often means “this discussion thread is over”. It’s all in context.


Sorry about proposing something already mentioned, but I haven’t yet read all the posts… How about making a thread “protected” in the stackoverflow way when an annoying number of “thanks, me too!” posts are being submitted? So that one can easily post short messages in quiet threads but be forced to click on the like button on “hot topics”…


Discourse has a topic “Summary View” for long topics that uses heuristics to determine what the “important” posts to read are. This allows you to get the gist of a long conversation without having to read through every last post. You can see it in action on longer topics (50+ replies) like this one:

Moderators and admins can also close any topic, which I think is like what you’re suggesting, @frabert. So if a topic gets out of hand, for whatever reason, it can be locked.


I assume @codinghorror has the final word on this and I and others unfortunately called this “stupid”. Not a way to win an argument.


If you’re talking about Discuss, this board, there is a setting that can be changed to determine the least number of characters acceptable. It’s my understanding that the Atom team has the final word on this, since they’re the ones paying for the board. I don’t have access to the settings (being only a moderator), so I would have to ask someone who does to change it.

If you’re talking about the feature itself in Discourse, the software that the board runs on, then yes, @codinghorror and the others from Discourse have the final say there. You can find more discussion on the feature here:


Awesome. Who do I talk to about begging them to set that at one or zero?


Thank you for the suggestion on summaries @leedohm :smiley:
However, regarding the original question, I’m not exactly speaking of locking a thread; instead, I’m thinking of making something like what StackOverflow does, which is flagging a topic as “spam-attracting” and allowing only users of a certain level participate. I’m not for this particular behavior, though, as I would prefer to make the 20-characters-limit disabled for low-risk topics and activate it on flagged topics.


To my understanding, anyone with the Admin or Discourse Staff title.


Anyone you know have one of these titles?


Perhaps if each post not only had a “heart” button but also a “duh” button and then also a “check” button (which indicates the topic can be closed because it was answered satisfactorily.

(Takes tongue out of cheek.)


I just had a great idea that will make everyone happy. Let’s reduce the limit from 20 chars to 10 chars. It will still block +1 and thanks but not be so annoying for the rest of the short content-based messages.

Anyone disagree?


I think it’s a nice compromise