I have noticed that Safari (mobile) 1 converts 7 digits numbers into anchor with tel attribute. To stop this behavior of Safari, <meta name="format-detection" content="telephone=no" /> tag should be added.

To produce this issue, from your iDevice, check any question with views over one million e.g. link.

converted into "tel"

page's source

1 iPad 2 (iOS 8.0.2)

  • 14
    My reaction? Meh, not really a problem. Oct 5, 2014 at 12:46
  • 15
    @MartijnPieters it's not significant but it breaks the design.
    – Omar
    Oct 5, 2014 at 14:37
  • 36
    @MartijnPieters how is it not a problem? Just because it's not a big issue doesn't mean it shouldn't be fixed. It's clearly not how it's supposed to look. Oct 5, 2014 at 17:18
  • 24
    I suggest that it would be bad design to have SO emit special code to cover overzealous behavior by one browser. What should a news site do if it reports "Apple to hire 1534911 employees to implement hidden six-finger touch command". There was a time when it made sense to code exceptions for IE6 because of its dominance. If a modern browser renders a page incorrectly, take it up the the browser vendor. (And, no, I didn't recently blow a bunch of time helping a friend turn off "The annoying assistive technologies thing that hovers over the everything else". Ok, I did.)
    – msw
    Oct 5, 2014 at 17:19
  • 8
    Reproduced in IE11, too. I see it as a Skype link in the Metro app. The Skype extension for IE also recognizes it in desktop mode.
    – damryfbfnetsi
    Oct 5, 2014 at 20:06
  • 6
    @msw Looks like IE supports that meta tag too so not just one browser. Oct 5, 2014 at 21:58
  • 1
    Testing: 911 a 123 a 1234 a 12345 a 1234567 a 12345678 a 123456789 a 1234567890
    – bjb568
    Oct 6, 2014 at 3:46
  • 9
    Reach out to Apple? It does the same in iBooks, and is fantastically annoying.
    – Jongware
    Oct 6, 2014 at 6:43
  • 3
    I guess this should be migrated to Meta SE as it "will" affect all SE sites.
    – Omar
    Oct 6, 2014 at 10:19
  • 1
    @msw A news site should report "Apple to hire over 1.5 million employees" instead of mentioning that entire number as if those 35,000 "over" people are relevant to the general public. General news rules: if a number is bigger than 200 or so, round it, because the audience can't really imagine something when they hear 1534911, while they can if they hear 1.5 million. Totally off-topic, I know, but thought I'd mention it.
    – Nzall
    Oct 8, 2014 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


Additionally/alternatively, numbers like this with four or more digits could have commas separators added to prevent them from being detected as telephone numbers (1,534,911 instead of 1534911) . This change would be consistent in style with other parts of the site, such as the questions counter pictured below.

enter image description here

  • 16
    I really dislike the comma separators, as commas are used as decimal separator in some countries.
    – user694733
    Oct 6, 2014 at 9:49
  • 25
    This site already uses comma separators as you can see. If anything, adding them to the view count would simply make the site more consistent. Besides, this site is in English and therefore commas are correct. It's not correct to imply that using commas is confusing on an English language website.
    – NickG
    Oct 6, 2014 at 10:03
  • 2
    @NickG I'm not sure that English means it has to be commas used for separators.
    – DavidG
    Oct 6, 2014 at 10:06
  • 4
    Of course it does. English speaking countries would never use a comma as the decimal separator.
    – NickG
    Oct 6, 2014 at 10:10
  • @NickG Yes, as answer says that they are already used on site, and I was hinting that maybe those could be changed too. SO has a lot of users from non-english speaking countries, and taking into account little things like this would increase usability for them. Note that I'm not against digit grouping, just don't use commas.
    – user694733
    Oct 6, 2014 at 10:35
  • 8
    Use a space instead of a comma and you obtain the same effect but in an unambiguous way (even for non-English speakers).
    – Bakuriu
    Oct 6, 2014 at 10:36
  • 9
    I agree using a comma to separate the numbers. The argument that commas are used as decimal separators in some countries doesn't make sense as we already have decimal points when a user has high rep (eg. 14.2k). So I think it would make sense to most people.
    – Albzi
    Oct 6, 2014 at 10:51
  • 3
    There would be perfect clarity in this instance for two other reasons. 1) Fractional views make no logical sense. 2) Seven digit numbers would have TWO commas.
    – Mark Balhoff
    Oct 6, 2014 at 13:31
  • 3
    @user694733 creating some pseudo-locale is not the way to go imho. Currently, all SE sites (except pt.SO) are available under the en-US (American English) locale, so a comma is the thousands separator. Adding support for other locales could be done, but I'm not sure if it makes sense with all content being in English.
    – Stijn
    Oct 6, 2014 at 14:07
  • 3
    Not that I think it's important, but Indian english numbering uses seperators at thousands, lakh and crore instead of thousands, millions and billions (eg: 10,00,000) - although I'm comfortable with either. I find it harder to read numbers without any separators than those with the Arabic style though. Metric FTW!
    – nishantjr
    Oct 6, 2014 at 17:51
  • @Bakuriu Then any sane telephone-number-parser would parse that as a number. Commas have the advantage of not being used in phone numbers.
    – Xan
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:26
  • @nishantjr Geolocation. If the request comes from an Indian IP, it should be shown the Indian comma convention, and if not, the international comma convention. Similarly, connections from all IPs from non-American English-speaking countries should be shown the site UI elements in British English instead, since that is more common globally.
    – damryfbfnetsi
    Oct 7, 2014 at 16:09
  • 1
    @damryfbfnetsi I'm not in India :P ... Don't browsers send the locale information to the server?
    – nishantjr
    Oct 7, 2014 at 16:42
  • @nishantjr They do, but they prompt for user confirmation first. If this site asks to see the user's location, that would seem weird to users who don't know that it's being used for localization, right?
    – damryfbfnetsi
    Oct 7, 2014 at 16:51
  • 1
    @damryfbfnetsi You're mixing several things. Using GeoIP sucks because it is about the user's preference, not his accidental (apparent) origin of the connection. I'm Dutch and I'd hate to have dutch options. And INDEED, the browser sends locale settings. And no, the browser will not prompt for this. You're confusing with location - which would be a privacy-sensitive thing and the browser might prompt about that (if no blanket permission was already obtained). Note that \@damryfbfnetsi was saying exactly the same, but you missed the clues
    – sehe
    Oct 7, 2014 at 20:56

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