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My epic subnetting answer appears to be truncated. The current edit of the answer just stops mid-sentence. I'm beyond "fairly certain" that I didn't edit it to be this way and, indeed, looking at the source to the prior edit shows that the answer did continue on where the current answer just stops. I can't imagine that I actually would've truncated my current edit in such a way.

(In fact, I'll admit some vanity and say that I've re-read the answer in the last couple months, front to back, and I don't remember it being truncated until I happened to look at it tonight.)

Any ideas on what might've happened?

I don't have any of the creative commons data dumps (though I keep meaning to grab one and rip out all my answers for "backup"). Does anybody have one handy from a prior month and can tell me if the full text of my current edit is available there?

In Google Chrome, at least, showing the revisions of the answer results in a very wild looking display with nested "pre" blocks that aren't actually in the answer. It's like the markdown parser has gone bonkers.


It looks like something like this happened before, but that was months before the answer I'm talking about.

I don't think that doing a "no-op edit" is going to help, because the source to the current edit is truncated. If one of the community data dumps doesn't have the old source in it I'll have to re-post that section based on the prior edit (which isn't the end of the world by any means, but is sort of annoying as I did a lot of revision, in general, in that last edit).

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I'd have a look at it, but the answer is not CW. I have enough mojo to edit the question (which is CW), but not the answer. – Robert Harvey Mar 12 '10 at 3:34
I'd really rather not have the answer made CW, either. Perhaps I'm just rep-whoring, but it was a lot of work to write that answer and I rather like the rep... – Evan Anderson Mar 12 '10 at 3:37
The source text you provided has nearly 30K characters in it, so presumably you're either hitting a predefined character limit (SOFU has limits on everything), you're hitting the maximum field size on the database, or you're hitting a limit imposed by the markup editor itself. – Robert Harvey Mar 12 '10 at 3:41
The prior revision was longer and displayed fine. It displayed fine a couple of months ago. I'm guessing that some query to "clean up" data was run on the database and truncated my post. I'm pulling down the December 2009 Creative Commons data dump right now to see how it looks in there. If it's there I'll just restore it via an edit, but I'm concerned that whatever truncated the data will end up coming back and truncating it again later. – Evan Anderson Mar 12 '10 at 3:43
Looks like you'll need to edit down your character down significantly. – random Mar 12 '10 at 4:03
I guess I'll just post the original edit on my blog and link to it in an edit on that answer. I hate to do that as I'd rather keep all the content on Server Fault, but if that's what has to be done... – Evan Anderson Mar 12 '10 at 4:10
It's a thing of beauty - looking forward to reading it more closely tomorrow. – Lawrence Dol Mar 12 '10 at 8:24
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You may want to view source on the revisions (in order from earliest to latest):

Looks like revision #5 pushed it over the edge; there is a 30k char limit.

<add key="Questions.MaxBodySize" value="30000" />

Bear in mind that the markdown-to-HTML conversion (we call this "cooked" vs the "raw" of Markdown) also takes additional characters, as does CRLF and so forth.

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
When did the 30K limit get imposed? I'm certain I would've noticed back in December when I dropped the edit on. I'm hoping the December 9 Creative Commons data dump has the edit in it, since I don't have any "backup" copy anywhere else. The last edit looks pretty "whacked out" when displayed in "Show previous revisions", too. Irrespective of the truncation, that behaviour looks like a bug. – Evan Anderson Mar 12 '10 at 4:03
the limit hasn't changed as far as I know, and it only applies to new edits and new posts anyway -- old data isn't touched. – Jeff Atwood Mar 12 '10 at 4:16
Silent truncation seems like a pretty poor failure mode, regardless of what the limit is. Arguments about whether posting a 30,000 character posting to an Internet forum being appropriate aside, I am certain that I re-read my answer sometime between December 5 and today and found it to be complete. In fact, I'm certain I would've noticed on December 5 that my answer was being truncated by the edit. (I'm a little bit obsessive about proofing my answers and re-reading them later.) I'd just love to get my text back since I put a bit of work into it. I'll post it somewhere else and link to it... – Evan Anderson Mar 12 '10 at 4:18

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