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Using only a zero-width non-joiner, and maybe other characters, allows unclickable titles.

Now that Joel had to be the grown-up and spoil the fun, here's what the home page looked like:


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I love the elegance of this bug report. So... self-referential. – fbrereto Mar 25 '10 at 17:15
I think it's hilarious that there isn't even anything to click on to get to this question from the Questions page. – gnostradamus Mar 25 '10 at 17:15
Actually, it doesn't explain how to reproduce the bug. If I edit, the title is literally blank. – user27414 Mar 25 '10 at 17:16
@gnovice the expert: That's why I edited the number in. – balpha Mar 25 '10 at 17:17
@Jon B: Actually, no, it's not. – balpha Mar 25 '10 at 17:17
If you normally browse the homepage instead of the Questions page, there's a usable link on there to get to the question. – Jon Seigel Mar 25 '10 at 17:18
@balpha - I'm looking at it in the edit page, and it's blank (using Chrome). – user27414 Mar 25 '10 at 17:18
@Jon use 'View Source' and see the data inside of the value. – Tyler Carter Mar 25 '10 at 17:18
It is basically ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| @balpha could you explain why this works? – Tyler Carter Mar 25 '10 at 17:20
See also:… – XMLbog Mar 25 '10 at 17:23
@NlfE: I guess Jeff forgot about titles. And probably tags, too. – Jon Seigel Mar 25 '10 at 17:25
@Jon Seigel: No, it doesn't work with tags. The character white list for tags is very restrictive. – balpha Mar 25 '10 at 17:27
@Joel - aw, spoilsport! ;-P – Adam Davis Mar 25 '10 at 17:34
@Joel: BOOOOOO! – user27414 Mar 25 '10 at 17:34
@Downvoter: That must be display issue on your side then; your comment is just blank to me. – balpha Mar 25 '10 at 17:50
up vote 16 down vote accepted

How is this any different than posting a bunch of unicode spaces in the post body? Or other general abuse of the system?

The short answer is "don't do that", and the longer answer is "if you keep doing that, there will be consequences."

edit: I added the zero-width non-joiner to our length check routine. You'll have to move on to other more obscure unicodez.

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That's an utterly boring answer. But since I tend to give the check mark to the official response, there you go. – balpha Mar 26 '10 at 5:57
@balpha you know what else is boring? Unicode spaces. I'm just sayin – Jeff Atwood Mar 26 '10 at 6:09
Yeah yeah yeah. Why don't you two get a room, you and ASCII. – balpha Mar 26 '10 at 6:36
Unixode is not an abuse of the system. It merely shows that the system is underspecked. – tchrist Jun 3 '11 at 22:57
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ – WendiKidd Sep 6 '13 at 22:30
^ Methinks this is still broken, though how important that is, I don't know. – WendiKidd Sep 6 '13 at 22:31
@wendi technically this is about Post TITLES, per the question. – Jeff Atwood Sep 6 '13 at 23:09


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How about user names? – Pëkka Mar 25 '10 at 17:28
I tried that once. – XMLbog Mar 25 '10 at 17:31
I have an account I use with a blank username that posts blank questions, blank answers, and blank comments. My posts are everywhere - and nowhere. – user27414 Mar 25 '10 at 17:36
@Jon B: I feel like you're playing a game of Mad Libs with us. I pick the adjectives "smelly", "green", "wooden", and "effervescent". – gnostradamus Mar 25 '10 at 17:42
@gnov - I do try to post effervescent comments... – user27414 Mar 25 '10 at 17:43


In order to reproduce this, just use ‌ enough times to beat the minimum length filter. I even have it above this text.

You can also type Alt+200B in a text field.

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But that shows it in the source – juanformoso Mar 25 '10 at 17:47
Yes. The character map method does as well. – George Stocker Mar 25 '10 at 17:48
let me try on my Linux workstation: fail. Oh, no worries, I've got a Mac too, let me try again... fail. Alt+200B. Sure thing. – OldEnthusiast Mar 25 '10 at 21:12

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