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I understand that there is an upper limit. But why do you have to type at least 15 characters to post a comment?
It is easy to work around it anyway (like adding dots or other useless things).

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12 Answers 12

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I'd say no, it discourages comments like "lol" which don't really add anything of value.

Like you say, it's possible to work around the limit, but you have to go out your way to do so (I think it encourages good commenting in the way the badges encourages good questioning/answering)

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Your badges argument convinced me. I think I will eat Ólafur's cake ;-) (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/700/…) –  Ladybug Killer Jun 30 '09 at 6:37
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lol . –  Wim ten Brink Aug 25 '09 at 10:49
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It doesn't encourage good commenting, it encourages verbose commenting. Quantity != quality. –  Graeme Perrow Oct 28 '09 at 13:24
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There's not many "high quality" comments that can be made in < 15 characters.. There might be a few exceptions, but I imagine most comments that length would be, as Workshop Alex demonstrates, "lol" –  dbr Oct 28 '09 at 13:47
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lololololololol –  Svante Dec 1 '09 at 8:05
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After much careful consideration, the undersigned has come to the conclusion that this elaborate answer requires a comment, namely, a heartfelt "LOL". –  Svante Dec 1 '09 at 8:08
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In other words, there are always weapons. If a comment has no value, at least let it be short. –  Svante Dec 1 '09 at 8:10
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@Graeme said it all. This lower limit is silly and annoying when I write concise comments. The lower limit doesn't discourage "lol" comments just like declaring knives illegal wouldn't discourage murders. But hey, keep working against me, I'll keep working against you, and we're all happy -- aren't we? –  wilhelmtell Apr 10 '10 at 1:54
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Stupid, stupid, STUPID stackoverflow logic! This comment is over 15 chars long. And now surely you see how encouraged I am to write detailed and complete comments. YAY higher quality for stackoverflow!!1 STUPIDD!!!11 –  wilhelmtell Apr 10 '10 at 1:57
    
If comments don't add any value, then click the "flag as noise" link. Limiting the number of characters does very little to help solve this problem. –  endolith Mar 7 '11 at 16:28
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lol –  Cruncher Nov 12 '13 at 19:56

I find it .... errr ... well ... amusing, ridiculous, surprising, interesting and all kinds of other things, that a large percentage of the honorable meta crowd really thinks that a minimum character limit encourages "thoughtful comments". Since when are people that talk more more thoughtful? Since when are long texts more thoughtful? Since when haven't you been talking to your marketing department? Since when is more code better code?

And, best of all, IMHO: Since when is saying "Thank you!" considered a thoughtless venture into AOL land?

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+1 for the "Thank you!" reason. –  acidzombie24 Sep 13 '10 at 19:29
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"Since when are people that talk more more thoughtful?" Thumbs up! –  George Bailey Oct 26 '10 at 17:04
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+​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​1 –  jdm Jan 10 '13 at 11:57

You can put spaces between the last characters.

Yes                    .

This will work and looks like this

Yes .

Due to how HTML truncates regular spaces. (see my comment on the question)

But I like that there is a minimum. Kinda forces us to talk more about the item in question.

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You like the minimum, but circumvent it. Big deal ;-) –  Ladybug Killer Jun 29 '09 at 16:37
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That's what I call having my cake and eating it too. –  Ólafur Waage Jun 29 '09 at 16:41
    
You can put spaces at the end, after the last character - since the format of the comments is like "(comment)(space)-(space)(commenter name)", the spaces at the end will be truncated into the first space between the comment and the dash. Example: –  deleted Sep 13 '09 at 15:10
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This apparently just got "fixed". >:( –  Jason S Oct 12 '09 at 18:56

I'm for lowering this limit too. It's silly to put in "Comment ." just to get it posted. Didn't it used to be 10? Can't we get 10 at least?

Preventing mistakes is a non-argument. It only stops accidental posting if you post 14 characters or less and if you've done that well it's easy enough to copy and paste into a new comment and delete the old one.

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Besides we can now edit comments anyway. –  romkyns Apr 19 '12 at 18:24

The types of questions asked on SO tend not to be yes/no types of questions and generally require a bit of explanation. Answers are, on average, a few sentences at least, and responders seem to enjoy posting thorough and detailed answers.

That said, I suppose there's no reason to impose a minimum on trusted users with high enough rep.

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Agreed. I don't see why people with more than 2000 reputation should have such a limit - they are trusted enough by SO to edit other people's questions and answers, so they should be trusted enough not to leave pointless comments even if they are short. –  Graeme Perrow Oct 28 '09 at 13:26

Sometimes the best answers can be nothing more than a word or two - by referring the reader to a concept they were unaware of which will completely solve their problem.

I am slightly annoyed at the hackiness of adding whitespace to the response to get around the limitation.

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I kind of like it. It reminds us not to clutter up the page with a bunch of those "okay", "thanks", "no problem"... messages.

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But what's the problem with courtesy? I like to write 'thanks' once in a while, and it only clutters comment-space, not answers. Also, comments are also ordered by ranking. –  ripper234 Jul 10 '09 at 11:34
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It's something I learned from my radio days about one-on-one exchanges in a public forum; that these little missives are just a small part of a much larger picture; that you are, in reality, just talking over someone's shoulder to a much larger community. The occasional courtesy is fine but the min-character limit is a reminder-- perhaps unintentionally-- that excessive conversational "noise" is not encouraged. –  Robert Cartaino Jul 10 '09 at 17:45
    
It doesn't prevent people from adding clutter. I'm not sure it even discourages it. Better to let people vote down clutter with the flag button so it no longer appears. –  endolith Mar 7 '11 at 16:30
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@endolith - not only it does not prevent it, but rather encourages bloated clutter. Sometimes I comment like: "Thanks. (filler due to stupid min comment limit)" –  ysap Oct 25 '11 at 2:32

One of the most nonsense things that come with the limit is when you reply to someone.

If someone points out a problem in my answer, if they have a long name a comment like:

@IHaveAReallyLongName fixed Is a legitimate comment, but on the other end: @short fixed is not legitimate. It makes no sense that who i'm replying to should require shorter or longer comments.

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Maybe you could allow the original question owner to circumvent the minimum length.

Mostly I just want to say "Thank you"

"Thank you ............" just isn't quite the same.

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You could maybe say the person's name, too. "Thank you, Gareth." –  mmyers Jun 1 '10 at 22:03
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if all you need to say is "thanks!" then clicking upvote or accept should suffice –  Jeff Atwood Jun 2 '10 at 2:59
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That's astonishingly impersonal :) –  Gareth Simpson Jul 22 '10 at 20:37
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@Jeff I feel much better if somebody say "Thanks", than if somebody upvotes my question. You can't even know who voted that way.. –  Emil Sep 27 '10 at 18:07
    
"Thank you" is just noise. We readers don't care that you are thankful for the answer. We only want to read the answer. Stack Exchange exists to distill out the questions and answers from the cruft, so we aren't wading through pages of noise to find the signal, like in the days of discussion forums. That said, this policy is stupid because there are lots of legitimate comments under 15 characters. –  endolith Apr 6 '11 at 19:18
    
You know what I do? I write this: Thanks! — The markup counts towards the minimum :) –  Timwi Jul 30 '12 at 12:26

While 15 chars is easy to work around, it also prevents bonehead mistakes like clicking Add before you actually wrote anything, etc.

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Mistakingly clicking Add can be avoided with a threshold of 1 easily, too. –  Ladybug Killer Jun 29 '09 at 16:39
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That's easily solved by simply deleting the offending comment. –  cletus Jul 10 '09 at 11:54
    
@LadybugKiller - sure, but what if you mistakenly clicked Add after exactly one character? 8-) –  ysap Oct 25 '11 at 2:36
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No longer applicable since we can edit comments, too. –  romkyns Apr 19 '12 at 18:26

The limit encourages thoughtful comments, and I like it that way. The last thing we need is a bunch of "Me too!" comments! So I think we should keep the limit.

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Me too ! –  grenade Aug 27 '09 at 11:13
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I have this problem too! Plz do you have a solution? Isn't this much better than "me too!" because now I'm being more verbose and therefore you get to spend more time reading my comment! Clearly longer comments are more legit than short ones. –  chaiguy Apr 11 '11 at 15:31

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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sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet ;) –  bobobobo Oct 1 '09 at 18:43
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Short things that are valid comments: "Link please?" "Spam" "see my answerer" "OK" (as part of an exchange). There is a (finite?) set of things where padding it to 15 makes the comment LESS meaningful. Could we get a white list for some of the more common ones? -- meta.stackexchange.com/questions/30934/… –  BCS Nov 25 '09 at 20:51
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Use links –  Emil Sep 27 '10 at 18:06

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