Jeff tagged this bug as , and said:

because we loop through comments on the fly for rendering anyway, we are now force-inserting a soft hyphen boring unicode spaces every so many characters without a space. So this should be truly fixed now.

But it doesn't look that way from here:

enter image description here

(Chrome 18/IE8/FF 9 on Windows 7)

To reproduce this, you need a comment with a large number of apostrophes. If you insist on trying it out, you'll of course use the Sandbox for that.

  • This is a comment containing some actual text. This should wrap correctly and not cause any problems, but I can insert comments that break everything. Just wait. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:25
  • Odd; I've tested before and then only found issues in Firefox. Today, this very question shows that things have changed, in either SE or in Chrome? (My Chrome failed me too with the original troublesome comment that has meanwhile been changed. But I did not validate if the soft-hyphens are actually there.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:30
  • 4
    I deleted that BS. Problem is known, so might as well not break the page, hmm?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:33
  • @Arjan It's because of my comment containing all the apostrophes. That was breaking everything, but balpha deleted it. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:33
  • Overexpands the mobile version. Makes it fat. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:35
  • @minitechη You need 500 apostrophes. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


So, you intentionally try and break the page rendering by inserting useless strings of nonsense text in the comments, and then complain when your attempts succeed?

                 Doctor, it hurts when I do this. Then don't do it.

  • 4
    Perfect response. +1 Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:37
  • 2
    Wouldn't it be nice if software didn't let you intentionally break things? Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:38
  • 1
    Not really, @Null. Then we couldn't have any fun. There will always be more ways to break things if you go looking for them than there are fixes. And as usual, it's a case of intelligently allocating limited resources. Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:39
  • 11
    Precisely; especially since there is no valid use case for any comment that tricks the auto-whitespace insertion (there are just a few cases where that's happening). If a user insists on posting a comment containing 500 apostrophes, that might as well break the page to make us notice that there's a misbehaving user here.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:41
  • Problem is more that there's no valid use case for this, but I agree with the general sentiment
    – Zelda
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 16:54
  • 1
    @Ben /me goes and invents,a new language, based on Whitespace architecture. /me calls it Apostrophe. /me uses it in comments on questions pertaining to the language There's your use case ;-). Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 17:04
  • 2
    @Manishearth Already addressed elsewhere on Meta: lengthy code snippets don't belong in comments. :-) Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 17:05
  • 13
    For the record: I intend to fix this, I'm just not excited enough to consider it high priority.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 17:06
  • 6
    @balpha until you fix it, Woodstock won't be able to use this site. Please think of the birds.
    – Zelda
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 19:22
  • 2
    @BenBrocka: ''' '''''' '' '' '' '''' '''''' ' ' (Thank you in Woodstock-ese) Anyway, Woodstock uses spaces as well (IIRC). =P Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 4:11

The boring unicode spaces weren't inserted at places within the string that contained special characters, i.e. characters that either have a special meaning in MarkdownMini, or those that get HTML-encoded. Since your comment solely consisted of characters in the second group, nothing was inserted. This is fixed in the next build.

Cody's answer is still valid, though.


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