What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 127 Stack Exchange communities.

I wrote a long anwser to Python decorators. I've shorten it a little since, but you can see the original problem rolling back to the fourth revision. It's get truncated at the end. It's not just on the HTML side, it's on the plain text side as well.

Since it's long and contain links, it may be related to :

http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/13218/long-questions-on-stack-overflow-are-truncated-closed

share|improve this question
5  
That's one monster of an answer. –  random Oct 21 '09 at 7:48
2  
You know, there has to be a limit - somewhere... –  Ladybug Killer Oct 21 '09 at 8:02
3  
Yeah, but computing is here to set the limit hight enought so it's not humanly a problem. And as you can see, long answer are usually welcome : stackoverflow.com/questions/231767/… –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 8:04
    
Diago: It's not only the OP who might be interested in an answer. Generally I don't consider an elaborate answer to be bad, not even in the light of a short one being the accepted one already. Accepted answers can be changed, Other people come here with a similar problem but less understanding. That being said, when I write a long answer I tend to include a paragraph at the start which give a short and quick answer while putting the longer explanation below that. But how much effort everyone likes to put in h(is|er) answers should be up to them, I think. –  Јοеу Oct 21 '09 at 8:24
    
Actually, the second line of the answser point directly to a short and neat answer for "in-a-hurry" reader. –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 8:29
    
Comment deleted to avoid further digression of comments. –  Diago Oct 21 '09 at 8:40
    
that is a heluvan answer! Why is it so bleeding long?! –  warren Oct 21 '09 at 8:54
1  
Because if you teach somebody learning the concept from scratch, this is exactly what it takes for him to understand it from A to Z, without feeling stupid. –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 9:13
3  
I'm not a python guy, but that's a mighty answer and I say kudos! It obviously took a long time to put together and I'm sure a beginner python programmer would really gain from reading all of it. I think that when programmers understand the "why", they can more easily work out the "how". –  Tracy Probst Oct 21 '09 at 13:32
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Um.... holy crap?

OK, here's my real answer. I think this is far too large of an answer for Stack Overflow. With the (substantial!) amount of effort you put into it, you deserve the benefit more than us. So here's what I would do:

  1. Post it on your blog. (If you don't have a blog, get one.)
  2. Provide a relevant excerpt that answers the question in non-novella form.
  3. Link to the rest of the entry for those that want to drill into the detail.

It's good stuff, but it's not necessarily a good fit for the SO answer model.

This could also be tied into the "warn me when I get to the 40k character limit" request that was recently posted but I mentally lump these together into the "doctor, it hurts when I do this" file. But at least unlike Josh you have a valid real world example :)

edit: we really should be warning users when they enter a novella body text that's too long, rather than just truncating silently. I added a saner check for this through the standard question form validation.

share|improve this answer
    
Tempted to accept this answer.... –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 8:42
4  
When the answer is so long, you must blog. Blog it real good! –  random Oct 21 '09 at 9:03
    
I got a blog, but it's a french one. I'm not going to open a blog just for 3 or 4 posts, as long as they can be. I am a Python trainer, and I learned what are the "hard-to-understand" part of a concept. Decorators can be understood by a experienced programmer from a 15 lines snippets. But a beginner will need all that. All of it. Giving lectures at the Univsersity, I tried quite everything. This is the only way to get it write. Now, if we can't write it on SO, it's ok. Beginers won't get it first, but with time, they will go back one day and understand the 15 lines snippet. No big deal. –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 9:11
1  
@e-satis Consider a special posts section for your blog for these types of situations at least. –  random Oct 21 '09 at 9:13
    
Yeah, I guess this is the best shot. –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 9:28
    
@e-satis: three or four posts in English on your blog will not hurt your audience, will it? Or is it illegal in France to blog in English? I wouldn't be surprised... :] –  Ladybug Killer Oct 21 '09 at 9:38
1  
On that note: How long a post would be appropriate for SO? I haven't written full-fledged novels so far but I think some of my answers already qualify as short stories. So a general guideline how much is acceptable and how much should be externalized into a blog post might be nice to have. –  Јοеу Oct 21 '09 at 11:14
1  
@John Smithers : lol, no you are right, that's I should do that. But I'm pretty sure english will be illegal sooner or later. With mac donald and Mickael Jackson. @Johannes Rösse : well apparently the technical limit is 40 000 chars :-) –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 14:24
    
e-satis: Well, Jeff hinted that the practical limit is much less than that. It's just that writing a blog post is a larger hurdle than answering a question on SO, at least for me. –  Јοеу Oct 21 '09 at 14:42
    
when your answer is 40k chars, I am not sure that rule applies. –  Jeff Atwood Oct 26 '09 at 2:47
    
@Jeff It's good to have whatever guideline you have, but I believe this is a usability hazard you should address. –  Kensai Feb 11 '10 at 18:31
    
@JeffAtwood: any chance this saner check could be implemented on P.SE as well? It doesn't seem to be in place over there, as explained here. –  haylem Jul 9 '12 at 11:47
    
@haylem the engine is identical everywhere –  Jeff Atwood Jul 9 '12 at 15:21
    
@JeffAtwood: Thanks for the answer. That's odd, because I sure didn't get a notification when I worked on my answer to this, and that happened more than once. ThomasOwens in the Meta.P.SE question I linked above suggested to send a meta request here, but if you say it's already implemented... I'm confused. :) –  haylem Jul 9 '12 at 15:58
    
@haylem maybe there was a regression. If you can produce repro steps reopen as a new bug here –  Jeff Atwood Jul 9 '12 at 16:28
show 2 more comments

Think of it as some sort of code-golf... come up with the shortest answer that solves the problem

share|improve this answer
    
Lol. Obviously everybody doesn't share your point of view : stackoverflow.com/questions/231767/… –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 9:27
    
Perfectly valid with my statement: it's an "explain" question, it should be a full-fledged explanation, not just a note. –  luvieere Oct 21 '09 at 10:21
    
Oh, you meant for this particular question. Yeah you are right. –  e-satis Oct 21 '09 at 14:24
add comment

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .