43

For questions and answers, the maximum length is 500 characters. For comments it was a mere 200 characters, but was increased to 500 characters on 2022-10-19. It was impossible to "Be specific and detailed!" in 200 characters. With 500 characters it can still be quite a challenge. I suggest a much higher limit, like 1500 characters.

Alternatively: When I run into the max it's because of links to other questions/answers/comments. Perhaps make the limit 500 in both comment and post flags, but don't count in-network links against that limit.


I've hit this twice more since posting this. Today I was SPECIFICALLY asked by a moderator to describe something in detail in a flag. Except of course, I couldn't. So weeks go by between my attempt and their asking for more information...

See also: Can we get a longer maximum length for messages in custom mod flags on comments?

11
  • 2
    In those cases where the comment flag space too small I normally switch to flag the answer, explaining there what is wrong with a specific comment.
    – rene
    Nov 19, 2017 at 18:24
  • Just curious - how often do you run out of characters? Nov 21, 2017 at 0:05
  • 3
    @JourneymanGeek: I haven't kept track, probably 1 in 10? Usually when I have to cite other questions and/or describe behavior while being "specific and detailed." :-) Nov 21, 2017 at 7:23
  • 1
    I don't know if that was already the case when this question got posted, but I just stumbled about this problem too, and found out that you can actually use some kind of relative path instead of the full URL to link other posts. I thought mods would be able to decode /a/post_id/answer_id/ does point to https://stackexchange-site.com/a/post_id/answer_id. But it seems the system does it by itself (at least an anchor was created in the flag-summary window).
    – Kaiido
    Aug 21, 2018 at 6:44
  • 1
    @T.J.Crowder I didn't have the chance to reply to you in the other post... this was also requested again less than 2 years ago: Can we get a longer maximum length for messages in custom mod flags on comments?. You might want to bring attention to this by editing the post or offering a bounty. Not that I think it would make much of a difference.
    – 41686d6564
    Jun 7, 2021 at 18:49
  • 3
    Thanks @41686d6564! And yeah, as you say, this is probably pointless. But f'crying out loud, they asked me to be detailed in the flag, and I ran hard up against the limit. It's asinine. Jun 7, 2021 at 18:51
  • 3
    @Kaiido The short path relative to the domain is /q/<question_id> for questions and /a/<answer_id> for answers. You actually don't need to know if it's a question or answer, because the post IDs are unique across both questions and answers, so you can also do /a/<question_id> for questions and /q/<answer_id>.
    – Makyen
    Jun 7, 2021 at 21:50
  • 1
    @Makyen - Yup, I use those (not because I'm clever, but because I copied the link on answers and removed my user ID from the end of it :-) ). Jun 7, 2021 at 21:54
  • 10
    If these get changed, I'd also like to change the permitted length of moderator responses to flags. Responses must be < 200 characters, which I routinely find woefully short. Having that limit be short often makes it necessary to not fully explain what the correct thing would have been for a user to do and/or makes the response to flags much less "welcoming". Having to edit responses (and flags on sites where I'm not a moderator) down to fit these limits takes a very noticeable amount of my time, which could be spend much more productively.
    – Makyen
    Nov 10, 2021 at 1:15
  • @Makyen - Wow. Big time! How are mods supposed to educate in that space? Nov 10, 2021 at 7:54
  • @Makyen I think it would be helpful (in addition to this suggestion of more characters (which I've upvoted) to make it easy for a mod to open a private chatroom for the mod team and the person reporting the issue to discuss the flag if further clarification is needed from the reporter or the mod team would like to provide detail instructions/explanation. Users don't get notifications when a mod has replied to their flag.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 12, 2022 at 19:51

3 Answers 3

26
+50

This is important because of the need to include links

Here are a bunch of the flags I've sent in the past few weeks. All of the links and names have been anonymized and don't lead anywhere. Virtually every one has been painstakingly edited down to fit in the character limit, and I left out additional examples from multiple because I couldn't fit them. This is an enormous waste of time, and makes it harder for me to provide moderators with information. Judge for yourself whether these are even borderline too long.

Also note that these take advantage of the mini-Markdown support in flag text as well as relative links and short-form links wherever possible to provide a clickable link in the shortest possible number of characters. If I didn't know how to do that, I'd be able to fit far less into my flags.


500 chars: Bad edit reviews: user1234567 isn't rejecting bad edits—ex: 1 (changes meaning, breaks formatting), 2 (changes meaning, makes text not match screenshot), 3 (adds unrelated tag), 4 (makes grammar worse), 5 (borderline, I'd reject—text in image is "favorites", not "favourites"). Consider a review suspension

499 chars: Bad LQA reviews: Abcdefghi is voting to delete a large number of code-only or short answers. Ex: 1, 2, 3, 4 (wrong, not NAA), 5, 6 (possibly a borderline dupe, but no comment to that effect). Please consider a review suspension to inform them to only delete NAAs.

480 chars: Bad edit reviews: Abcdefghijklmnopq isn't paying attention. Examples: 1 (reject: puts a space in the middle of method name in the title), 2 (reject: misuse of code formatting on things like "OpenCSV"), 3 (reject: adds unrelated tags). They've also failed an extremely obvious audit. Please consider a review suspension.

498 chars: Bad LQA reviews: Abcdefghijk is voting to delete a large number of code-only or short answers. Examples: 1, 2, 3, 4 (caught 1 of 2 typos in the question), 5, 6 (contains a guess at an answer, albeit with a follow-up question). Consider a review suspension.

500 chars: Bad suggested edits/reviewing: Abcdef's suggested edits primarily add code formatting to things that are not code. Ex: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Please consider informing them to stop and/or suspending some reviewers who approved these.

500 chars: Bad edit reviews: Abcde1 (approve: fixes broken link), 2 (approve: code-formats code), 3 (reject: removes code format from 2nd code block), 4 (approve: fixes copy/paste error), 5 (approve: improves format), 6 (approve: better tags/format). Consider a review suspension.

499 chars: Bad edit reviews: Abcdefghijkl1 (reject: just adds space), 2 (reject/improve: adds code formatting to non-code (subselect)), 3 (reject: no improvement), 4 (reject: incorrect tag link), 5 (reject: adds improper indentation), 6 (changes answer to this)

3
  • 3
    Links to suggested edits can be shortened even further, by using the suggested edit database numbers instead of the review task numbers. This shortens the link scheme from /review/suggested-edits/[x] to /suggested-edits/[x]. Nov 11, 2021 at 21:56
  • 4
    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog That's good to know (though even with that, I still don't know how to obtain the database ID). But I think that doesn't detract from this being a reason to increase the limit, because the chance of most flaggers being able to do that is basically nil.
    – Ryan M
    Nov 11, 2021 at 21:59
  • 18
    And you shouldn't have to be a graduate-level expert in SE arcana to raise a moderator flag. Nov 12, 2021 at 7:35
20

This issue has been addressed by increasing the mod flag comment max length to a limit of 500 from its previous 200 character count.

This should help with some limitations of giving a more specific detail when flagging a comment.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

9
  • 2
    Did you consider adding support for newlines as proposed in this answer?
    – 41686d6564
    Oct 19, 2022 at 17:15
  • 4
    @41686d6564standsw.Palestine I could be wrong but our flagging infrastructure doesn't generally support new lines, so I'm pretty sure adding that was out of scope of this request.
    – Catija
    Oct 19, 2022 at 18:04
  • @Catija would it be possible to add additional markup-support in comments? <br><sub>Perhaps</sub> a bit of a <sup> reach </sup> ? Some is there already, but not inline html tags.
    – Criggie
    Oct 19, 2022 at 18:47
  • 5
    @Criggie You're welcome to make a new request if there isn't one but the request here, despite the answers, is extremely narrowly scoped to increasing the character limit. This was relatively easy to change as the DB already allowed many more, so it was a matter of just changing the UI to allow it. I'm guessing that we're unlikely to, though, in the same way we only parse mini markdown in actual comments on posts.
    – Catija
    Oct 19, 2022 at 18:53
  • 4
    Thanks for making this longer. Would it be difficult to also increase the max length of post flags, as the post had originally proposed before today's edits? In my experience, it's generally post flags where one hits the limit (though comment flags can be tricky in certain situations as well, so this is definitely an improvement).
    – Ryan M
    Oct 19, 2022 at 19:23
  • 1
    @Criggie So <br> actually works, apparently. Or how were you able to get that line break in your comment?
    – Joachim
    Oct 19, 2022 at 20:29
  • 5
    @Joachim: I'd assume it has something to do with the text <sub>Perhaps</sub> not fitting on the same line after all the preceding text – not because <br> creates line breaks in comments (it doesn't, as indicated by your comment not having a line break there – if <br> was responsible for creating a line break in a comment, then the text <br> itself would not be visible as part of the comment). ...But anyway, this discussion is pretty unrelated to the increased character limits mentioned above :)
    – V2Blast
    Oct 19, 2022 at 20:32
  • 1
    Yeah, as @V2Blast Says, if you change the viewport width, you can get the <br> and the <sub>Perhaps</sub> on the same line. :) i.sstatic.net/dxiDO.png
    – Catija
    Oct 19, 2022 at 21:07
  • 4
    @RyanM Probably depends on the DB limitations for the fields. It looks like they're capped at 600 currently, so it'd be a bigger change to increase them much more.
    – Catija
    Oct 19, 2022 at 21:13
10

With the increased character limit, the flags will be even bigger walls of text.

It would be useful to at least have the ability to format the text with newlines.

This will let us make paragraphs and lists (of post links), which will make it a lot more readable.

Taking the first example from Ryan M and applying some basic formatting with newlines:

Bad edit reviews: user1234567 isn't rejecting bad edits—ex:
 - 1 (changes meaning, breaks formatting)
 - 2 (changes meaning, makes text not match screenshot)
 - 3 (adds unrelated tag)
 - 4 (makes grammar worse)
 - 5 (borderline, I'd reject—text in image is "favorites", not "favourites")

Consider a review suspension

vs

Bad edit reviews: user1234567 isn't rejecting bad edits—ex: 1 (changes meaning, breaks formatting), 2 (changes meaning, makes text not match screenshot), 3 (adds unrelated tag), 4 (makes grammar worse), 5 (borderline, I'd reject—text in image is "favorites", not "favourites"). Consider a review suspension

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .