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I am suggesting dramatically lowering the custom text characters allowed in any bounty from 3000 to the length of a comment (600).

The reasons for this is as follows:

  1. There are no no paragraph breaks in bounty texts
  2. There is only limited markdown available
  3. That many characters in a single paragraph is completely TL;DR
  4. Allowing 3000 characters is a strong suggestion you can use more complicated formatting which makes even short (with respect to the character limit) bounty texts look awful

    bounty text of a question on Wrokplace.SE

  5. Probably 100x (or more) easier to implement this than adding full markdown to bounty text

Note that this entire post is barely 1/3 the allowed character limit.

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7  
Ehm, isn't the problem simply that it's not clear that markdown doesn't work? Why not clarify that rather than change the permitted length? –  Bart Apr 22 '13 at 14:38
    
Bounty texts did have full markdown, someone abused images in bounty text and they were restricted again. –  Mad Scientist Apr 22 '13 at 14:38
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@Bart when is a single, 3000 character paragraph EVER useful? Even 600 character comments sometimes are too long to really be effective. –  enderland Apr 22 '13 at 14:42
2  
Hmmm, I'm conflicted here. I agree with @Bart but I also agree with Enderland's comment on 3000 char paragraphs not being useful. Then there is Mad Scientist's comment about abuse... To many conflicting good points, brain-overflow (meltdown imminent)... –  ryan Apr 22 '13 at 14:46
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@enderland Well, there are users who need 1239 characters in their bounty message. (You ;) ). But then do both. Reduce it a bit (3000 seems a bit much) and clarify that markdown isn't available (or at most significantly reduced). Don't just rely on the length to indicate the unavailability of markdown. –  Bart Apr 22 '13 at 14:48
    
@Bart yes, but I would have used a fraction of that had I known it would look, well... less than pretty. –  enderland Apr 22 '13 at 14:53
2  
Why not allow the 3000 limit and just limit the default viewing potential so that the user has to click a "More" tab to see the rest of the text? –  staticx Apr 24 '13 at 15:23
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@0A0D when is a 3000 character paragraph going to be useful? I mean, for heaven's sake, look at this bounty text (about 3000 characters). –  enderland Apr 24 '13 at 18:06
    
Isn't this a duplicate of Bounty custom message text box allows too many characters? –  Jason Sturges Apr 30 '13 at 7:05
3  
I will probably put next bounty on this question, using slightly cut text of Molly Bloom's soliloquy: …yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down Jo me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. –  gnat Apr 30 '13 at 9:01
    
A lorem ipsum would have been better. Or maybe the What did you say to me... chain thing on 4chan. –  Cole Johnson Apr 30 '13 at 16:45
    
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed non neque urna, ac faucibus eros. Aliquam in orci luctus nibh tempor sodales ut vel arcu. Mauris ut dui mi, nec viverra nisl. Nunc elementum auctor porta. Aliquam erat volutpat. Maecenas metus eros, dignissim sit amet egestas quis, volutpat vel justo. Vestibulum et tortor sit amet diam consequat hendrerit. Fusce tellus dolor, accumsan id rutrum sit amet, imperdiet eget nibh. Phasellus in blandit orci. Vestibulum nec magna sem nullam. –  Cole Johnson Apr 30 '13 at 16:46
1  
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec ullamcorper velit nec enim convallis ultricies. Ut nec nulla ligula, quis vestibulum diam. In semper nunc eget dui porta fringilla. Proin blandit mollis porttitor. Suspendisse nec risus odio, sed interdum tellus. Nullam mauris risus, tempor vitae viverra eleifend, lobortis vitae risus. Donec cursus placerat porttitor. Quisque non enim felis. Nam risus lectus, aliquam non convallis in, malesuada et justo. Phasellus in lectus nullam. –  Cole Johnson Apr 30 '13 at 16:47
3  
@ColeJohnson I found the second one to be pretty helpful, good suggestion! ;) –  enderland Apr 30 '13 at 17:41
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3 Answers

Referencing links in mini-markdown can add up quick.

This is a 597-character comment:

This needs more attention based upon similar questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

With any user able to set bounties on any question, there may be additional context inappropriate to edit within the original post.

Whether 3000-character bounty texts or 600-character comments, what percentage approach anywhere near the cap?

No argument it seems lengthy without full markdown; however, bounties are also expensive in terms of reputation people give up for them. With that loss, perhaps they have a right to exceed the comment length boundary.

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1  
URL shorteners (like goo.gl or bit.ly) can help with character count when including multiple links. –  Double AA Apr 30 '13 at 15:07
8  
They can also be malicious - nothing I hate more than clicking those in the review queue. Likewise on Twitter. –  Jason Sturges Apr 30 '13 at 15:13
    
That's true. But if you are an account in good standing with a legitimate looking bounty, then I wouldn't find them as scary. –  Double AA Apr 30 '13 at 15:17
3  
Tiny URLs also effect SO's linked / related list, and muck with SEO. –  Jason Sturges Apr 30 '13 at 20:55
    
Hmmm do links in the bounty text affect the linked list on the side? They're only temporary. Not sure. –  Double AA Apr 30 '13 at 20:56
    
The policy on Stack Overflow is to unshorten links. And link rot is already enough of a problem without ephemeral shorteners. –  minitech Apr 30 '13 at 21:00
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Can't we just make it only count visible characters? i.e. length("[abc](xyz)") is actually length("abc")? –  Cole Johnson Apr 30 '13 at 22:00
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Note that a link to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/136948/… is the same as a link to meta.stackexchange.com/questions/136948 - but the later is much shorter. –  MichaelT May 1 '13 at 0:00
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@ColeJohnson Or perhaps maybe just ignore S[OFUE] links when counting characters? –  Nightfirecat May 1 '13 at 6:12
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same comment, having 321 char count instead of 597 due to stripping useless stuff from URLs -- This needs more attention based upon similar questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 –  gnat May 1 '13 at 9:40
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@MichaelT even shorter is meta.stackexchange.com/q/136948 –  Double AA May 1 '13 at 16:21
1  
Only a couple of those show title on hover; however, at a higher level the point is markdown character count is relevant to limitations even with mini markdown. Add additional questions, add offsite links, add comment links, etc... –  Jason Sturges May 1 '13 at 17:15
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I support this (or a similar character limit, possibly excluding invisible characters such as markup URLs). Until reading this question, I didn't even realize that bounties had associated text, and I can't figure out why anyone would need that much space to explain why they want more people to answer a particular question. Shouldn't the question itself be something of an indication of the potential merit of its answers?

I realize that others can set a bounty, but if they have any useful context to add to the question, they should edit it; and if they merely want to explain why they would like a solution, they should be able to do so in fewer than 600 characters. I don't know what other reason there would be for wanting to be able to write a long bounty text.

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6  
Is this an answer? –  Jason Sturges Apr 30 '13 at 3:57
6  
@Jason, my understanding is that "I agree, here's why" type answers are considered valid answers to discussion questions (such as this one) on Meta. This, at least, is what I've observed, and it makes sense to me. –  Kyle Strand Apr 30 '13 at 4:03
    
Your why could use definition - besides stating you're unfamiliar with the feature, your rhetorical question shows limited insight to the bounty mechanism such as @Arjan's point that others besides the question asker can offer bounties, adding context to the question. –  Jason Sturges Apr 30 '13 at 8:05
    
I realize that others can set a bounty, but if they have any useful context to add to the question, they should edit it; and if they merely want to explain why they would like a solution, they should be able to do so in fewer than 600 characters. What other reasons are there for wanting a long bounty explanation? –  Kyle Strand Apr 30 '13 at 8:42
    
@Jason (Actually, that last comment is probably substantive enough to add it to the answer itself, so I've edited accordingly.) –  Kyle Strand Apr 30 '13 at 20:49
    
To me your answer reads as commentary: I didn't even realize... I can't figure out... Shouldn't the question... I don't know what other reason.... I'd be more interested in what you had to say regarding concrete justification of the cap over unforeseen factors. I don't disagree with you in general, but why 600? We could produce an arbitrary number, but it's moot without statistical analysis. Personally having spent bounty yielding no result, I might be more verbose second time around with my temporary bounty message. –  Jason Sturges Apr 30 '13 at 21:25
    
600 seems like a good number because, as OP pointed out, it matches the comment limit, but I'm not assuming that's the optimal number. I like Cole Johnson's suggestion in his comment on your answer, though--perhaps we could limit it to 600 (or something slightly above that) visible characters and 3000 (or something slightly below that) total. –  Kyle Strand Apr 30 '13 at 22:56
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Yes, it should be, as no one going to read that long text story because they have not to answer the bounty text (help me story) but the problem asked in post which already have much space to explain the problem. If bounty need to explain something it should be part of post not the bounty description.

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1  
Others (not the question asker) can offer bounties too, and might want to explain what they tried? –  Arjan Apr 30 '13 at 7:15
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they can edit the question too. if edit is not out of context –  Zaheer Ahmed Apr 30 '13 at 7:18
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