I wrote a long anwser to Python decorators. I've shorten it a little since, but you can see the original problem rolling back to the fourth revision. It's get truncated at the end. It's not just on the HTML side, it's on the plain text side as well.

Since it's long and contain links, it may be related to :


  • 5
    That's one monster of an answer.
    – random
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 7:48
  • 2
    You know, there has to be a limit - somewhere... Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 8:02
  • 3
    Yeah, but computing is here to set the limit hight enought so it's not humanly a problem. And as you can see, long answer are usually welcome : stackoverflow.com/questions/231767/…
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 8:04
  • Diago: It's not only the OP who might be interested in an answer. Generally I don't consider an elaborate answer to be bad, not even in the light of a short one being the accepted one already. Accepted answers can be changed, Other people come here with a similar problem but less understanding. That being said, when I write a long answer I tend to include a paragraph at the start which give a short and quick answer while putting the longer explanation below that. But how much effort everyone likes to put in h(is|er) answers should be up to them, I think.
    – Joey
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 8:24
  • Actually, the second line of the answser point directly to a short and neat answer for "in-a-hurry" reader.
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 8:29
  • Comment deleted to avoid further digression of comments. Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 8:40
  • that is a heluvan answer! Why is it so bleeding long?!
    – warren
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 8:54
  • 1
    Because if you teach somebody learning the concept from scratch, this is exactly what it takes for him to understand it from A to Z, without feeling stupid.
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 9:13
  • 3
    I'm not a python guy, but that's a mighty answer and I say kudos! It obviously took a long time to put together and I'm sure a beginner python programmer would really gain from reading all of it. I think that when programmers understand the "why", they can more easily work out the "how". Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


Um.... holy crap?

OK, here's my real answer. I think this is far too large of an answer for Stack Overflow. With the (substantial!) amount of effort you put into it, you deserve the benefit more than us. So here's what I would do:

  1. Post it on your blog. (If you don't have a blog, get one.)
  2. Provide a relevant excerpt that answers the question in non-novella form.
  3. Link to the rest of the entry for those that want to drill into the detail.

It's good stuff, but it's not necessarily a good fit for the SO answer model.

This could also be tied into the "warn me when I get to the 40k character limit" request that was recently posted but I mentally lump these together into the "doctor, it hurts when I do this" file. But at least unlike Josh you have a valid real world example :)

edit: we really should be warning users when they enter a novella body text that's too long, rather than just truncating silently. I added a saner check for this through the standard question form validation.

  • Tempted to accept this answer....
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 8:42
  • 4
    When the answer is so long, you must blog. Blog it real good!
    – random
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 9:03
  • I got a blog, but it's a french one. I'm not going to open a blog just for 3 or 4 posts, as long as they can be. I am a Python trainer, and I learned what are the "hard-to-understand" part of a concept. Decorators can be understood by a experienced programmer from a 15 lines snippets. But a beginner will need all that. All of it. Giving lectures at the Univsersity, I tried quite everything. This is the only way to get it write. Now, if we can't write it on SO, it's ok. Beginers won't get it first, but with time, they will go back one day and understand the 15 lines snippet. No big deal.
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 9:11
  • 1
    @e-satis Consider a special posts section for your blog for these types of situations at least.
    – random
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 9:13
  • Yeah, I guess this is the best shot.
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 9:28
  • @e-satis: three or four posts in English on your blog will not hurt your audience, will it? Or is it illegal in France to blog in English? I wouldn't be surprised... :] Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 9:38
  • 1
    On that note: How long a post would be appropriate for SO? I haven't written full-fledged novels so far but I think some of my answers already qualify as short stories. So a general guideline how much is acceptable and how much should be externalized into a blog post might be nice to have.
    – Joey
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 11:14
  • 1
    @John Smithers : lol, no you are right, that's I should do that. But I'm pretty sure english will be illegal sooner or later. With mac donald and Mickael Jackson. @Johannes Rösse : well apparently the technical limit is 40 000 chars :-)
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 14:24
  • e-satis: Well, Jeff hinted that the practical limit is much less than that. It's just that writing a blog post is a larger hurdle than answering a question on SO, at least for me.
    – Joey
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 14:42
  • when your answer is 40k chars, I am not sure that rule applies. Commented Oct 26, 2009 at 2:47
  • @Jeff It's good to have whatever guideline you have, but I believe this is a usability hazard you should address.
    – Kenji Kina
    Commented Feb 11, 2010 at 18:31
  • @JeffAtwood: any chance this saner check could be implemented on P.SE as well? It doesn't seem to be in place over there, as explained here.
    – haylem
    Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 11:47
  • @haylem the engine is identical everywhere Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 15:21
  • @JeffAtwood: Thanks for the answer. That's odd, because I sure didn't get a notification when I worked on my answer to this, and that happened more than once. ThomasOwens in the Meta.P.SE question I linked above suggested to send a meta request here, but if you say it's already implemented... I'm confused. :)
    – haylem
    Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 15:58
  • @haylem maybe there was a regression. If you can produce repro steps reopen as a new bug here Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 16:28

Think of it as some sort of code-golf... come up with the shortest answer that solves the problem

  • Lol. Obviously everybody doesn't share your point of view : stackoverflow.com/questions/231767/…
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 9:27
  • Perfectly valid with my statement: it's an "explain" question, it should be a full-fledged explanation, not just a note.
    – luvieere
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 10:21
  • Oh, you meant for this particular question. Yeah you are right.
    – Bite code
    Commented Oct 21, 2009 at 14:24

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