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Can we get rid of the threshold of 15 chars for comments?

There's a 15 character limit for all comments. A lot of times people have a short comment, and follow it with something like: " (this is to satisfy minimum char limit)". But the limit doesn't really do anything, as you can also fill in the void with spaces, which are then not visible when the comments are rendered (ie: 'foo bar ' will be rendered as 'foo bar').

Why have a minimum limit if it acts as a thorn-in-the-side more often than not, and can be easily bypassed?

edit:

Duplicate of Meta/question/700. Didn't see it earlier.

Since this very topic has received quite a bit of discussion already, feel free to close this. It would appear that this was doomed to fail before it started.

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2 Answers 2

I got sick of the umpteen bajillion "bugs" opened on this, so we "fixed the bug".

This is now less easy to bypass; perhaps one should consider populating their comment with something meaningful of 15 characters or more? Perhaps if one has less to say than that, one should keep one's thoughts to him or herself?

A modest proposal.

Enjoy.

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5  
If someone asks a question but doesn't show the code in question, it should be sufficient to comment "Show code!". It is a COMMENT, for heaven's sake, why is it not allowed to be short? –  Svante Dec 1 '09 at 8:00
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long-windedness is not to be desired. conciseness is. –  antony.trupe Feb 10 '10 at 22:01
    
@antony 15 characters isn't long-winded, it's the minimum bar for actual communication (eg that isn't "+1 awesome") –  Jeff Atwood Feb 11 '10 at 1:02
    
I'm not sure that is really the best way to approach this - for instance, I almost ALWAYS get this when I am trying to say "you're welcome" to someone thanking me. So are you saying that a simple "you're welcome" should be kept to oneself or needs to be much longer? Just sayin :) –  javamonkey79 Dec 5 '10 at 6:06
    
@java you can thank them by voting them up and accepting them. saying just "you're welcome" is redundant and just adds noise to the page. Unless you have something more substantive to add than "thank you" or "you're welcome", use vote buttons. That is what they are for. –  Jeff Atwood Dec 5 '10 at 6:07
    
The "fix" that you mention is what Donald Norman calls a "force". In a well-designed product "forces" should be completely unnecessary, and even in a poorly-designed product they should be avoided when possible. What type of product is StackExchange? –  dotancohen Mar 20 '12 at 11:25
    
@Svante "Show code!" is not a correct comment? Whose code should OP show? Yours? Jeffs? It should be "Show your code!" which happens to be exactly 15 characters long :) –  РСТȢѸФХѾЦЧШЩЪЫЬѢѤЮѦѪѨѬѠѺѮѰѲѴ Apr 3 at 10:05

Why remove the restrictions at all if it can be easily bypassed? One option requires developer time, and the other doesn't. Those who really want to leave comments less than 15 characters can.

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12  
Why have a restriction that can be easily bypassed? –  nilamo Aug 25 '09 at 4:08
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Because it helps prevent unwanted behavior. It never claimed to stop it. The bypass isn't really a bypass. You're still putting 15 characters, there's just no point in checking whether they are alphanumeric or whitespace. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 4:11
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@Ian: Exactly! @nilamo: It's just like your front door having a lock. It dosen't actually stop anyone from breaking into your home. It just sort of slows them down. Locks only keep honest people honest. –  Dexter Aug 25 '09 at 4:35
    
But, still, it's only a comment we're discussing here. A door is the gateway to your dwelling, where your stuff sits. Breaking into that lets you steal stuff. Submitting a 4 char comment doesn't cause any harm to anyone. –  nilamo Aug 25 '09 at 5:12
    
...unless that comment is 'rofl'. Those would be physically painful en-mass. –  nilamo Aug 25 '09 at 5:13
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Just because you can't force users to provide useful comments doesn't mean you should make it easier to post nonsense. There will always be a way to abuse minimum lengths, but that doesn't mean you should do away with validation all together. –  Ian Elliott Aug 25 '09 at 5:22

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