There are a small handful of people that are confused by line breaks when writing comment not appearing when the comment is submitted.

There are a large number of people that find having enter submit a comment to be problematic.

I suggest addressing the needs of the few in a way that does not obstruct the many: make a message appear below the comment field (or maybe to the side of the submit button) when enter is pressed that explains that line breaks will not be rendered.

In concert with this change, it may be useful to let shift-enter submit the comment.

Even better, add a user preference to allow a user to select the behavior of the enter and shift-enter keys with three checkboxes

  • (Default on) Warning message when linebreaks are entered as described above. (possibly including a suggestion to see their user preferences)
  • (Default off) Enter submits comment
  • (Default on) Shift-enter submits comment

(enter and shift-enter would both create line breaks when they are not configured to submit)

EDIT: Looking through the comments and even answers, it seems that many people got the idea that I'm proposing that comments actually be rendered with line breaks. That is not what I am requesting.

I am requesting that a method of informing the user that line breaks will not appear in comments that is different than making the enter key auto-submit.

This misinterpretation has presumably skewed the votes, probably irrecoverably. Should I repost this request in a clearer way so that the votes accurately reflect the opinion on the actual proposal?

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    FYI, Line breaks are automatically removed from comments anyways so they are pointless. – Josh Mein May 14 '13 at 14:43
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    We can't get them to add user preferences for actual useful things, I'm pretty sure they're not going to add three checkboxes for choosing what key submits a comment – Michael Mrozek May 14 '13 at 14:44
  • @Josh: Not true: line breaks help when writing too. But even if line breaks are pointless, pointless is better than harmful. – user205515 May 14 '13 at 14:45
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    @Hurkyl Pointless as in "they won't show up". – Bart May 14 '13 at 14:45
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    Yes, implement this. And then tackle the flood of "why doesn't enter submit?" questions. – Anthony Pegram May 14 '13 at 14:46
  • @Hurkyl: Any line breaks that would be helpful for writing such text would be equally helpful for reading it. And more people read a comment than right it. – Nicol Bolas May 14 '13 at 14:46
  • @user414076: Check the links in my post. The point of view you describe has a -5 vote tally. The opposite point of view has a +123. – user205515 May 14 '13 at 14:47
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    @Hurkyl That linked post was immediately after the current behavior was implemented. It was primarily people just upset that things had changed. Now everyone is used to the current behavior; if you change it again a small handful will be happy and the vast majority will just be pissed that it changed. – Servy May 14 '13 at 14:53
  • @Servy: It keeps coming up from time to time; e.g. here. And I recall it being upvoted every time I've seen it. – user205515 May 14 '13 at 14:56
  • @Hurkyl That's only a small handful of upvotes; nowhere near the overwhelming support you seem to indicate. There is also a simple counterexample here – Servy May 14 '13 at 14:58
  • @Servy: And this is the first time I've ever seen the current behavior supported. But from the comments, it appears to me more like people didn't actually read the suggestion and assume it's just another complaint about the current behavior. – user205515 May 14 '13 at 15:00
  • @Hurkyl your -5/+123 examples are from 2010. This may have been popular then, but clearly by this post it is not any longer... – TronicZomB May 14 '13 at 15:01
  • @Hurkyl I think that's a false assumption to make. Having read it myself I'm quite confident that most people who read it wouldn't support it. The votes on the post seem to corroborated that assumption. – Servy May 14 '13 at 15:03
  • @TronicZomB: I wonder if opinion is correlated with site, then, as I read math.stackexchange far more than the main stackoverflow site. – user205515 May 14 '13 at 15:05
  • @Hurkyl There is a chance for that. – TronicZomB May 14 '13 at 15:06

Pressing enter in a comment field should generate a warning text rather than submitting the comment

First things first, in a TextBox, the Enter key is a line break.

Now. Comments are meant to be short, straightforward with no line breaks, no lines of code or else.
Just short, plain text.

In concert with this change, it may be useful to let shift-enter submit the comment.

In my opinion, this could win the contest of the most unintuitive design ever.

Even better, add a user preference to allow a user to select the behavior of the enter and shift-enter keys with three checkboxes

I think you meant even worst. Don't forget. We don't want line breaks or codes blocks and stuff in the comment section. They have their own purpose and should not be misinterpreted as answers. Also such an idea would never make it through. Why would they give you the choice of what the Enter button does in a textbox, in the comment section. Way to specific and unecessary.


Not a good idea. Comments are meant to be short comments with no line break, code snippets and stuff. This is why line breaks are ruled out automatically.

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    [feature-request] upvote this answer twice. – TronicZomB May 14 '13 at 14:54
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    There was a time where shift+enter was a common replacement for enter when enter inserted line breaks, but not generally on websites – Michael Mrozek May 14 '13 at 14:57
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    @MichaelMrozek there was a time where connecting to the internet kept me from using my phone. – ʞunɥdɐpɐɥd May 14 '13 at 14:58
  • Your "in a TextBox, the Enter key is a line break" just isn't true for comment text boxes. – sth May 14 '13 at 21:30

Comments are not meant to be long and drawn out conversations or include line breaks for lots of code. That is what chat and answers/editing is for. It is not a good idea to encourage line breaks in comments at all.

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  • Who's encouraging linebreaks?!?! – user205515 May 14 '13 at 14:46
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    You are, by asking for this feature change. – Anthony Pegram May 14 '13 at 14:49
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    @Hurkyl "(enter and shift-enter would both create line breaks when they are not configured to submit)"... from your own question. – TronicZomB May 14 '13 at 14:52
  • @Tronic: How is that encouraging linebreaks? That is a description of what a user expects when they press the enter key if they don't expect enter to do something else. The only reason for stating it explicitly is to pre-empt a suggestion that enter do nothing at all. – user205515 May 14 '13 at 14:57
  • You want it to create line breaks when not configured to submit, but and you state that is how it will be worded, but then the line breaks will be removed...? – TronicZomB May 14 '13 at 15:00
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    It's not about line breaks in the rendered output, it's about the enter key doing unusual things in the text box. – sth May 14 '13 at 21:34

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