# ‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​It's possible to create empty content fields - particularly question titles and bodies - on sites

‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​Prior to an edit, this question was posted with no content in it, both in the title and the question body.

The explanation to reproduce is provided in Temani Afif's answer.

Since this was discovered, similar text fields around the site have been found to have similar issues and they are outlined in the answers below.

## Note from Catija:

While we appreciate all the effort y'all have gone to to test and find places this is possible, we'd like this question to be understandable so that seeing it doesn't cause confusion. Feel free to add additional information in answers but please leave the question itself as-is. Also, while y'all are free to continue to seek out these issues, we hope that you would all refrain from actually abusing this feature.

• We can even submit empty questions. This need to be fixed Jan 6, 2021 at 21:20
• This was incredibly hard to get to; nothing is clickable from the Tagged Questions page. Why would you do this?! Jan 6, 2021 at 21:22
• Duplicate: Can we create invisible things?. Jan 6, 2021 at 22:05
• I still can't stop laughing... You know how BAD this looks in the followed posts menu?? Jan 6, 2021 at 22:11
• @Ollie Honestly... not really worse than it looks in the questions list. I expected something more horrifying :)
Jan 7, 2021 at 2:15
• Chat oneboxen of this post are also not clickable... which is fun cause I thew this into a chatroom to keep an eye on it...
– Journeyman Geek Mod
Jan 7, 2021 at 2:34
• Doesn’t Stack Exchange use a bug tracker internally with questions being automatically added as soon as they get the status-review tag? I’m wondering what this question looks like in the bug tracker. Jan 7, 2021 at 5:48
• Staff, while you're at it, please have a look at my similar request for usernames.
– Glorfindel Mod
Jan 7, 2021 at 8:26
• Jan 7, 2021 at 9:43
• @fedorqui'SOstopharming' another one: meta.stackexchange.com/q/10519/386331 ... seems like I ressurected a very very old bug after 10 years Jan 7, 2021 at 9:47
• So this is like Winter Bash, but instead of hunting for hats we are hunting for places we can post empty stuff. Jan 7, 2021 at 11:27
• Not really no. Its meta being meta and testing things to destruction, like infinite monkeys with infinite bolts of silk recreating the works of Christo :D
– Journeyman Geek Mod
Jan 7, 2021 at 11:46
• Given the answers, I was tempted to add the fun tag... Apparently we're all still in Winter Bash mode :)
– Glorfindel Mod
Jan 7, 2021 at 21:53
• I'm laughing at the "Needs details or clarity" close vote here... how could you make the problem any clearer? Jan 7, 2021 at 22:23
• @ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ why, just why do you have to do this? Jan 19, 2021 at 18:10

As we can not see, I was able to submit an empty question.

To reproduce it:

1. Submit a question with a content
2. Right after the submission, edit the question to remove everything and include invisible zero-width spaces.

Edit the below snippet to be able to see the spaces (they will show as red dots if you are using Chrome)

‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​

The system didn't allow me to submit the question initially due to the quality check but there was no quality check after edits.

We can, by the way, submit empty answers without the need of an edit after (see this answer).

• I can see this is going to be a real pain to stop people doing this, but also I suspect that it's going to be unlikely be abused. If anything, if someone does this with malicious intent they'll likely just going to get stern words from the mods. Though, I won't lie, the whole thing is really amusing. It would be even better if we'd all lumped in to post "blank" comments and answers. ;) Jan 6, 2021 at 21:33
• @Larnu and using blank usernames ;) Jan 6, 2021 at 21:35
• That is the stuff of nightmares. Jan 6, 2021 at 21:36
• Don't focus too much on visibility. Although the content isn't visible, it's clearly visible that (on the main sites) this would be deliberate malpractice, making it not different than any other malpractice, which community moderation is perfectly capable of dealing with. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:06
• @GertArnold why waiting for moderation intervention when we can prevent this from happening? Few more tests on the content should do it. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:09
• “if you are using Chrome” — Works in Firefox, too, at least using Nightly 86.0a1. Jan 7, 2021 at 5:33
• It's not a real pain to stop people doing this @Larnu alter table Posts add constraint ChkPostBodyLength check (datalength(body) > 100); (repeat for all fields with user input text). Jan 7, 2021 at 10:50
• @benisuǝqbackwards a zero width unicode character has a value of 2 for datalength, so 50 of them, and done. But that would also force users to post comments that are 50 characters long. That is far from desired. Jan 7, 2021 at 10:54
• The length could be different for different fields @Larnu, but you're right about the spaces having a length. You'd have to replace them first before performing the length which would make longer strings (i.e. posts) a real pain at scale. Jan 7, 2021 at 11:53
• Stripping leading/trailing spaces (including zws, zwj, etc) was routinely done on submission for years, @ben. It led to some other obscure bugs, so I'm guessing someone fixed them by moving the check without considering the implications. Jan 7, 2021 at 15:20
• LOL, this is so funny.
– user688097
Jan 29, 2021 at 16:33

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

• Good job! I click "Looks OK" because it has demonstration value and funny (later it will be likely deleted). Jan 7, 2021 at 0:32
• Btw, I needed to dig into the DOM to get the link of this question (now out of review). Jan 7, 2021 at 0:37
• hmm, why my empty comment got deleted? Jan 7, 2021 at 0:42
• Only mods can delete comments (maybe if it gets 6 bad-guy flag, then @Community deletes it). Only questions and answers are moderated by 2k+ guys if they get VLQ/NAA flag. Jan 7, 2021 at 0:44
• I am not enough brave to play with it, but maybe we could create empty tags or wikis/excerpts, too. Jan 7, 2021 at 1:14
• @peterh-ReinstateMonica yes works with wikis too ;) still trying with tags :p (didn't succeed) Jan 7, 2021 at 7:31

Oh boy:

We can use it to raise empty custom flags. Empty tag wikis, too.

• Please don't, though. Jan 6, 2021 at 22:39
• The stackexchange team must be hating me .. I opened the pandora's box ... Jan 6, 2021 at 22:51
• @TemaniAfif The Stack Exchange community is loving you, if the upvotes are anything to tell by ;) Jan 6, 2021 at 22:51
• @TemaniAfif and that box is apparently full of emptyness.
– VLAZ
Jan 7, 2021 at 7:56
• @TemaniAfif But the last thing left in the box, is hope. Jan 7, 2021 at 14:55

I can also use this method to screw up my "About Me" section, e.g., remove the text "Your about me is currently blank", and the "Apparently this user prefers to keep an air of mystery about them" that y'all see:

Go take a look in my profile.

• Rep for Nothing Jan 6, 2021 at 22:40
• @rgettman badges for nothing Jan 6, 2021 at 22:54
• I'd say that this is by-design. Users should be able to have an empty "About Me" section, if they like. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:13
• @CodyGray They can, but empty profiles always show the "Apparently, this user preferred to shroud themselves in a veil of mystery" or the like. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:14
• Yeah, but what if I don't want that silliness? Seems reasonable to allow its removal. What I'm saying is, there shouldn't be a content requirement for profile pages like there needs to be for posts. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:27
• @CodyGray By all means go ahead and make an FR, but I'm just posting the bug according to the current settings. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:59
• What I'm saying is, I disagree that this is a bug. Jan 7, 2021 at 0:13
• Answer outdated, showing old avatar and also they now simply don't show the About Me section at all when there's no content. Jun 27 at 13:55

Thanks to @ppwater, the tag now has an empty excerpt and wiki. See the tag info page.

• not as empty as it should be. I made it even more empty ;) [let's wait for peer approval] Jan 7, 2021 at 10:00
• This is nothing new. If you initially propose them as suggested edits and they get rejected, they'll be blank anyway. Jan 7, 2021 at 10:19
• The tag no long exists, making the link to the tag info page dead. Jul 21, 2021 at 19:13
• @bobble is correct, answer has no value now. :-( Jun 27 at 13:57
• It's function is to share the fun we all had with this bug report ...
– Glorfindel Mod
Jun 27 at 13:59

Empty bounty summary:

See Where I started the bounty. (Now awarded)

There's no clickable area to this post from the 10k tools' Delete Votes page (there's an answer here with a pending delete vote).

Even on posts I'm unable to vote to delete/undelete, I can still click the link to hop to that post from this entry.

Not super unique (I mean, we already know the title is unclickable) but I see other answers documenting places where this affects accessibility and figured I would add this to the list.

I don't think I need any further explanations. I can create an empty room name using the ‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​ symbol.

‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​

• The content of this answer is within an HTML comment that makes this answer appear empty. Jan 8, 2021 at 17:30
• So it's not actually really empty? May 31, 2021 at 17:51
• That's not what this bug report is about. Jun 27 at 13:57

Empty suggested edit summary. (I edited Ollie's answer) approved edit

Edit view:

• Suggested no longer, as I approved it. Jan 7, 2021 at 1:45

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Also, it's not possible to put your profile name as these characters. This is what happens when you try:

That doesn't mean answers and questions should work the same way, though.

Lastly, this:

Why do you have to do this to me?

Also, I've tried this on codidact

It turns out I can have zero-width characters in my password, although I also need to add one letter and one number.

• Best password ever. Jan 7, 2021 at 16:57
• In this case I don't think it's a problem, as it won't be displayed anywhere. If you want to make your password difficult to type, that's up to you. Jan 8, 2021 at 0:18
• Why did you deface your username? Now it's impossible to find anything of yours! Also see meta.stackexchange.com/review/suggested-edits/76648, there's already a post that did that. Jan 8, 2021 at 19:05

• Yes, it's another empty answer, but this time it's with a 1x1 transparent image. Jan 20, 2021 at 18:51
• I'm not sure how we would prevent transparent images.
– Catija StaffMod
Jan 20, 2021 at 20:05
• Oh, this one is awesome ;) Please take my upvote. Jan 20, 2021 at 20:47
• @Catija not sure if this helps but in python it is possible using opencv. Jan 20, 2021 at 21:40
• Preventing it is simple. Flag it, let a mod take a look, and suspend the user :D
– Journeyman Geek Mod
Jan 30, 2021 at 12:54

People are vandalising their questions into "no title, no body" questions. Here is an example (see revision 3).

This is the 2nd or 3rd time I am seeing this happen in the wild...

People testing it out in answers:

• flag such behavior .. vandalism isn't something new. I'd prefer empty content rather than bad words Jan 23, 2021 at 14:46
• Agree with @Temani - that's just one way to vandalize, they can also edit it into "plz delete" over 100 lines, seen it done countless times. High rep users can rollback, and if it goes on moderator can suspend the problematic user and/or lock the post. Jan 23, 2021 at 17:14
• If you see this then flag. It's no different from normal vandalism. Jan 23, 2021 at 17:22
• Another test : meta.stackexchange.com/a/361810/598066 Mar 7, 2021 at 5:40

As relaxed as chatroom tags already were, we can also have empty tag identifiers.

The same can't be said about tags created through the [tag:...] format.

You can post empty chat messages with this trick:

• yes was going to edit my answer to include it too ;) Jan 6, 2021 at 23:07
• @TemaniAfif too late ;) Jan 6, 2021 at 23:08

‎‎‎‎‌‌‌

• @Ollie I'm actually trying a different method. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:20
• Yeah, I went to the edit page and saw it. Sorry. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:21
• @Ollie I think this one's ok with a different method of posting something "empty". And I placed an actual answer in my invisible post, using an HTML comment. Jan 6, 2021 at 23:26
• @Ollie Since this is a bug report, I thought it would be good to show other ways of producing the same result. Jan 7, 2021 at 3:51
• To see this alternate method, click the edit button. Jan 7, 2021 at 3:52

There is also another method I found that will do all the things posted so far (credit to a vandal). The characters are in the below snippet:

ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤIt stops here.  Copy/paste the chars <-- from "It".


They are Korean Unicode characters - a Hangul filler (U+3164).

• "I'm still trying to find out what they are." It appears to be Korean Unicode, a Hangul filler (U+3164).
– Mast
Jan 19, 2021 at 17:59
• Yes, there are several nonprintable Unicode characters, e.g. ⠀ (U+2800), the blank Braille character. I don’t think it’s necessary to add another answer for each one of them. It doesn’t even matter if Stack Exchange fixes the ZWSP bug for all nonprintables or just for U+200B, as ⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁⠁ would be an equally low-quality post and should not be accepted anyway. Jan 20, 2021 at 6:43

||||||

The | bars are for indicating the edges of the image.

Empty "other off-topic close reason" indeed.

One can use Unicode combining characters to produce an almost empty display name.

Try it yourself:

const textarea = document.querySelector('textarea');
textarea.focus();
textarea.select();
document.execCommand('copy');
textarea.blur();
});
Select all and copy in the textarea below or
press the Copy button to get an almost empty
display name you can set. <br>
<button>Copy</button>

• It's Unicode combining characters, right? Jan 7, 2021 at 17:48
• @̣̣̣ Yes. I see you've tried it. Jan 7, 2021 at 17:48

Works on Area51 Stack Exchange

‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​

It doesn't work on example questions as far as I know.

• Yes I know Area51.SE uses old code. Jan 9, 2021 at 13:25

Unlike on the main questions feed, there is no clickable area I can find for this question on a tag search: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/empty

• How about "Edited 2 mins ago by OrangeDog"... Jan 7, 2021 at 12:21
• it's only available on my profile or the active tab Jan 7, 2021 at 12:21
• @Luuklag there is no such text Jan 7, 2021 at 12:35
• @TemaniAfif it's also clickable in the "Linked" section from other questions Jan 7, 2021 at 12:39
• @OrangeDog that's because you sort on Newest, and not on Active Jan 7, 2021 at 12:40
• You can access with <kbd>Tab</kbd> + <kbd>Enter</kbd> Jan 7, 2021 at 13:11
• @ppwater enjoying the limited markdown in comments? :D Jan 7, 2021 at 22:45
• @10Repsaysgetvaccinated that's not markdown :P
– riQQ
Jan 8, 2021 at 19:41
• ... this is too funny
– user688097
Jan 29, 2021 at 17:39

I can make a SEDE query with this now: SELECT * FROM Posts WHERE Body='%‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​%';

I am using Chrome, but it does not appear as a red dot in here

But in SEDE:

But, if I visit its saved link:

I posted here earlier that the issue had been fixed, but it's reported that the issue still persisted. I just moved it back to status-review.

• not for me, I was able to submit an empty answer: meta.stackexchange.com/a/379735/386331 Jun 22 at 15:10
• If you will elaborate what exactly has been fixed, maybe we can point out what's still missing? (e.g. if you only fixed the bug allowing to submit empty questions, there's still a bug when posting empty answers.) Jun 22 at 15:15
• We added a check to remove all zero width spaces and zero width non joiners when we validate question and answer body. I wasn't able to submit an empty answer just now. But I'll change this back to status review.
– Shiyao Li StaffMod
Jun 22 at 15:20
• Well probably the trick is using something else, @TemaniAfif can you please elaborate how exactly you were able to post empty answer yesterday? What characters were used? Jun 23 at 7:28