Possible Duplicate:
Should HTML comments be stripped when validating answer length?

See my answer here: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/123638/155556
(now only 10K+ viewable (since the OP was deleted))

I was able to make my answer "" (yes that was on purpose)

In the end you can read the edits to the answer and get the point, but why should I be able to do that?

I assume

  • 8
    Ssshhhhhhh...don't tell them...they'll steal it from us! Feb 27, 2012 at 16:03
  • @Bobby :-P haha I left you a message here
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:05
  • On a more serious note, I can remember that discussion mostly about comments...the result was that people came up with many creative ways to circumvent whatever was in place. Feb 27, 2012 at 16:05
  • @Bobby I promise. ^_^
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:26
  • 3
    Did the great circle of meta just begin again? I seem to remember discussing this sometime in 2009. (Although back in my day, we had much more elegant solutions than mere HTML hacks. Bah!)
    – mmyers
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:57
  • @mmyers hehe I was't hear waaaay back in 2009. But as the old saying goes: "History repeats itself". ^_^
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:58
  • Yeah, I've heard that one before.
    – mmyers
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:58
  • 3
    Seriously @random ... :-(
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:20
  • 4
    I came close to re-opening this. On the one hand, we can't have people with diamonds next to their name deliberately circumventing quality filters. On the other hand, the guy does own the place. It's his party, his booze and then there's the stuff that he provides that we actually want. This would break out into unicorns stabbing themselves with their own horns. That's rather hard to deny. I'm not locking this, I'm just asking anyone that votes to re-open to strongly consider if this will actually result in something constructive or meme bait. That's all, nothing less, nothing more.
    – user50049
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:36
  • @TimPost ahhh, but what is constructive here on meta? meta.stackexchange.com/q/107073/155556
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:37
  • @amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA My decision was basically this: Let's have fun spanking Joel while making light of what sparked this over a single answer, or raise the question in a less antagonistic way. That's what I mean by constructive.
    – user50049
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:45
  • @TimPost haha I am not trying to be antagonistic :-P I am just wondering why I should be allowed to do it. Edit away as much as you want to make it sound better ^_^
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:47
  • @Tim - I hope my answer wasn't misconstrued; it was meant as a meta joke :) I find nothing wrong with using html comment to circumvent the filter, so long as you have a legitimate, good reason. I'd say Joel's post is the best example of a legitimate reason. Feb 27, 2012 at 17:51
  • 1
    This is one of those times where I feel moderation should be basically hands off. As I said, I'm not locking it, if it turns into green orange and yellow slime mixed with egg, well, you should have edited more :) I Agree with @random's choice to close it in the original form, or it would be open by now. This is your question, it's up to you to edit it, not me :)
    – user50049
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:56
  • 1
    Examples of where this is actually being used to circumvent low-quality filters? And preferably examples drawn from somewhere other than Meta... Feb 27, 2012 at 18:02

3 Answers 3


I wholeheartedly support fixing this problem. I'm sick and tired of people using this trick to get around the quality filters!

  • 2
    HA! +1 from me :-P
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:12
  • @amanaPlan - HA! Nice edit :) Feb 27, 2012 at 16:32
  • I thought so :-)
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:34
  • 2
    -1 for jealousy that your answer is more amusing than mine, and is also voted higher. SUPPORT VOTE ENVY!
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:30
  • There's an odd dynamic going on here. The question gets 10 downvotes, but this answer gets 12 upvotes? :o Apparently it's OK for the OP to do this, but not the CEO of Stack Exchange.
    – user102937
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:49
  • @Robert - hehe - the idea struck me...looks like othes were amused too. I'm just glad Adam Davis's answer is back on top - that's the real answer. The filter bypass is not really a problem, and, honestly, only ever seems to be used judiciously and intelligently. Feb 27, 2012 at 17:52
  • @RobertHarvey haha Thanks for the support :-) That's where SE's world domination plan comes into effect ^_^
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:54
  • This is a very valid point. I don't disagree with you.
    – user50049
    Feb 27, 2012 at 18:00

It seems like minor enough of an issue that it can be dealt with by hand using the flagging tools. If it were an epidemic, then "fixing" it might be worthwhile - and could consist solely of converting the sanitized markdown to HTML, then making sure the HTML output meets the size requirements.

But I don't think that's necessary. Let people have their little toys, and you may avert larger problems.

  • Sounds good ^_^
    – Naftali
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:07
  • 'If it were an epidemic...' And when those spammers can post constructive white-/other-invisible-space... Feb 27, 2012 at 16:47
  • @Mr.Disappointment I don't believe invisible text is rendered to the final webpage, so it doesn't affect search engines or visitors. Haven't checked recently, though. Look at the page source and see.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:57
  • @AdamDavis I don't think so, I was just playin'. Feb 27, 2012 at 16:58
  • 5
    @Mr.Disappointment NO FUN HAVING ALLOWED. >:(
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 27, 2012 at 17:00
  • I need a second upvote so I can get this answer on top (always) .... Feb 27, 2012 at 17:31
  • 1
    Probably the most sensible answer by far.
    – user50049
    Feb 27, 2012 at 19:08

I think that this question (and especially the answer by Jeff) really covers the SE stance on things like this:

Zero-width non-joiner allows unclickable titles

Especially this line:

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

NOTE: This is just in addition to Adam Davis' answer, which I think fully covers this specific case.

  • 10
    -1: Needs more invisible material.
    – jscs
    Feb 27, 2012 at 16:50
  • 2
    "if you keep doing that, there will be consequences." Yeah, like being limited to only being able to change your name once every 30 days.
    – John
    Feb 27, 2012 at 18:39

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