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Can the Twitter link on non-trilogy sites stop the title before 140 characters are used?

(Title = 100 characters, t.co link + spaces = 21 characters, free space after all that = 19 characters)

So for instance, an example question is http://dba.stackexchange.com/questions/3864/this-question-only-exists-to-serve-a-point-because-im-demonstrating-something-fo

And this is the generated Twitter dialog that comes up:

This question only exists to serve a point because I'm demonstrating something for a meta. With the addition of this sentence, chars are 140 http://t.co/4nDzhMW

... which is 20 points too long.

Now, granted, there's something to be said for a useful title, so 140 characters in the title may be too much (I think it starts to grouse after 150), but it's bound to happen.

I suggest that the title on a question be foreshortened to 100 characters for insertion in the Twitter dialog, allowing for 20 more characters for the t.co URL that follows, and allowing an additional 19 characters (there should be a trailing space) for additional hashtags (as spurred by this daughter-meta request: Can the share on twitter linke automatically include #sqlhelp? wherein the request for #sqlhelp is not up for discussion on this question. That was thoroughly dismissed by the #sqlhelp community.)


Tagged because of the -20 count on the Twitter dialog, because it is.

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2  
See also “Tweet this answer” yields tweets over 140 characters. That ignores the feature request part of this question, but is otherwise a duplicate. –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 30 '11 at 23:52
    
Kevin if that one is otherwise a duplicate does it need to be closed as a dupe of this one, this one being both bug and FR? –  jcolebrand Dec 31 '11 at 1:29
    
They're both about the problem of auto-generated Twitter messages, but they address it in different ways. Plus, they've got attention from you, me, Tim Stone, and Anna Lear (all mods somewhere) and no close votes yet, so it seems the consensus is that they can coexist peacefully. –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 31 '11 at 2:14
    
TBH: unless something happened in the past week that I'm not aware of, Tim Stone isn't a mod ... ;-) ~ I didn't VtC the other because I wasn't quite sure if it was a dupe. I assume you did the same from your statements. Tim felt the same way. –  jcolebrand Dec 31 '11 at 5:58
    
Whoops, I was thinking of Tim Post. Yes, I felt the same. –  Kevin Vermeer Dec 31 '11 at 17:04
    
Adding hashtags seems like a pretty rare use case (especially for the already rare situation of a long title), I don't particularly agree that the title should be truncated an extra 20 characters for such an uncommon and advanced feature. Since adding hashtags is manual it seems reasonable to expect the user in that case to truncate the title if necessary. Users that know what a hashtag is will likely be familiar with crafting a meaningful, 140 char message. People using twitter as a "hey, lookit this!" site will not. –  Ben Brocka Dec 31 '11 at 20:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The whole share (message + url) will now be exactly 140 characters.

That is - the textual part will be truncated with ... appended instead to a length that compensates for the length of the URL.

With you in the next build.

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1  
Three years and two days. Never too late! ;) –  Shadow Wizard Jul 16 at 11:59
    
Seeeee!! The devs DO listen to me sometimes! :D –  jcolebrand Jul 17 at 4:05

This seems like a bad idea to me. Twitter gives a useful error message to a situation which can easily be handled by the user. You wouldn't want to just truncate the title by an arbitrary number of characters; you'd end up with gibberish, misinformation, or obscenities (depending on your luck).

Summarize the answer, tell me why it's tweet-worthy, provide something of interest to suggest that this is a special post rather than one you arbitrarily clicked a "Tweet" button on. Your tweet should be a title, summary, or comment on your answer, rather than an inane repetition of the question title.

Human-generated tweets seem far more interesting (again, I don't use Twitter much, so I wouldn't know) than bot-generated ones, and doubly so when compared with bot-truncated titles.

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1  
Your solution pretty much ignores why the share button even exists. Share buttons are popular because it's very easy to share and you can add more information if you want. If the user has to do everything themself then the button is nearly useless, and providing an automatic title is actually a hiderance. I'm sure any research on how our users use the Tweet buttons would reveal a large majority do NOT edit their tweet when using the button. –  Ben Brocka Dec 31 '11 at 19:54

Kevin is wrong. A simple algorithm might be:

  • Assume link will take 20 characters (or t.co url and count)
  • Add on "My answer to Stack Exchange Science Fiction and Fantasy" (which is already Sooooo long..)
  • add on full length title
  • If over 140 characters, USE REDUCED intro sentence, which is "My A to SE Scifi" and use full title
  • If still over 140 characters, cut title until tweet is 140 characters.
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Not sure how he's wrong, just that you have a different answer. –  jcolebrand Jan 4 '12 at 6:05
    
Oh man! Now you've jumped in the wrong boat too. –  bobobobo Jan 4 '12 at 6:36

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