When I add a comment, which has less characters than the minimum we see a message below which looks like this;

2 more to go...

which means that the comment is two characters short of the minimum length.

But when I was adding a comment earlier today, I had forgotten about the comment minimum and was left clicking a non-responsive "Add Comment" button. At that point I saw the "2 more to go" message but initially thought that it might mean I had to wait two minutes before commenting (it was a new post). Eventually I figured it out by editing my comment then I saw then number change (I hadn't noticed it before).

Can the message be changed to read something like

comment too short by 2 characters...

and can the "Add Comment" button be disabled (greyed) until the comment is of correct length.

  • 2
    If I'm not mistaken, there's currently a pop-up if you have to wait to post another comment. In my opinion that message is not ambiguous at all. It would have said clearly that it was about 2 minutes otherwise.
    – MarioDS
    Nov 18, 2012 at 1:00
  • 2
    Sure @MarioDeSchaepmeester, but Ken would only know about that if he actually tried to submit a 2nd comment within the time period. Something can't be clear and unambiguous if you don't know it exists. ;)
    – jmort253
    Nov 18, 2012 at 1:02
  • 9
    I think the message could use a change from the word 'more' to 'characters' for clarity. The phrase "x more to go" should trigger a "more what?" response. Moving the number to the middle of the phrase, however, is completely unacceptable.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 18, 2012 at 1:03
  • Good choice of words, @animuson, and I guess that change wouldn't really clutter up the UI all that much. It's short, concise, and more to the point, which is exactly what a good UI should be.
    – jmort253
    Nov 18, 2012 at 1:12
  • 1
    So I took the liberty of retagging this into a feature-request. Nov 18, 2012 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


I've been caught by this before. It only happened once, and it will only happen once to you too, as from this point forward you know that comments have a limit, and if you accidentally try to submit a comment that is too short, you know what the message means.

I'm a little on the fence on this feature request, because it's honestly not hard to update the text. It's just text. But the more stuff we keep adding to the UI that is inconsequential just serves to decrease the signal to noise ratio, which isn't good.

The worst thing that would happen to you and I in this case, had we not realized "oh, the message is talking about length", is that we would just get frustrated and not post our not-valuable comment. There would be no big loss to the community. Eventually, we'd catch on, which we both did. ;)

I'd prefer to focus on improvements to the UI that encourage people to improve closed questions instead of angrily running away from the Q&A model; I'd prefer to focus on UI changes that support quality Q&A. Adding more text in hopes that it may help a subset of users understand something that isn't critical to Q&A just serves to drown it out. Speaking from experience, I've seen UI's get so cluttered to the point where people are using bold red to drown out red text and blink tags with 18pt font to help make it stand out over the bold red. ;)

One of Stack Exchange's strengths is in keeping a clean UI, so I would hope that there would be more data of people sitting on a comment screen for minutes on end clicking submit and scratching their head, wondering why it doesn't work, before impulsively making this change to the text.

In short, I'm not suggesting it's a bad idea, but I am suggesting that there should be data used to determine if this is truly necessary.

I like @animuson's suggestion to change the word "more" to "characters". This is sort of like changing a generic pronoun to a concrete noun, and doesn't increase the total word count of the message.

2 characters to go...

  • increasing the signal to noise ratio surely is good as implies more signal or less noise. Nov 18, 2012 at 10:01
  • @MartinSmith - Fixed! Damn, I always get that backwards. ;)
    – jmort253
    Nov 18, 2012 at 20:13
  • 1
    @animuson's compromise seems to fix it without adding clutter
    – Ken
    Nov 18, 2012 at 21:56

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