109

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

Screenshot of the current post before it was edited. The Meta banner is visible as is the score and other elements of the page but the title space and post body are completely empty of text, showing only the post notice banner stating that the post was migrated from Meta Stack Overflow

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.

36
  • 28
    We can even submit empty questions. This need to be fixed – Temani Afif Jan 6 at 21:20
  • 15
    This was incredibly hard to get to; nothing is clickable from the Tagged Questions page. Why would you do this?! – Larnu Jan 6 at 21:22
  • 2
    Duplicate: Can we create invisible things?. – Gert Arnold Jan 6 at 22:05
  • 11
    I still can't stop laughing... You know how BAD this looks in the followed posts menu?? – Ollie Jan 6 at 22:11
  • 8
    @Ollie Honestly... not really worse than it looks in the questions list. I expected something more horrifying :) – Adam Lear Jan 7 at 2:15
  • 7
    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 Jan 7 at 2:34
  • 6
    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. – Sebastian Simon Jan 7 at 5:48
  • 5
    Staff, while you're at it, please have a look at my similar request for usernames. – Glorfindel Jan 7 at 8:26
  • 4
  • 3
    @fedorqui'SOstopharming' another one: meta.stackexchange.com/q/10519/386331 ... seems like I ressurected a very very old bug after 10 years – Temani Afif Jan 7 at 9:47
  • 7
    So this is like Winter Bash, but instead of hunting for hats we are hunting for places we can post empty stuff. – Henry WH Hack v3.0a Jan 7 at 11:27
  • 4
    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 Jan 7 at 11:46
  • 5
    Given the answers, I was tempted to add the fun tag... Apparently we're all still in Winter Bash mode :) – Glorfindel Jan 7 at 21:53
  • 18
    I'm laughing at the "Needs details or clarity" close vote here... how could you make the problem any clearer? – Ollie Jan 7 at 22:23
  • 3
    @ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ why, just why do you have to do this? – 10 Rep Jan 19 at 18:10

24 Answers 24

54

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).

11
  • 14
    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. ;) – Larnu Jan 6 at 21:33
  • 3
    @Larnu and using blank usernames ;) – Temani Afif Jan 6 at 21:35
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    That is the stuff of nightmares. – Larnu Jan 6 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. – Gert Arnold Jan 6 at 23:06
  • 1
    @GertArnold why waiting for moderation intervention when we can prevent this from happening? Few more tests on the content should do it. – Temani Afif Jan 6 at 23:09
  • 1
    “if you are using Chrome” — Works in Firefox, too, at least using Nightly 86.0a1. – Sebastian Simon Jan 7 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). – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 7 at 10:50
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    @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. – Larnu Jan 7 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. – ben is uǝq backwards Jan 7 at 11:53
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    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. – Shog9 Jan 7 at 15:20
  • LOL, this is so funny. – user688097 Jan 29 at 16:33
48

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

6
  • 1
    Good job! I click "Looks OK" because it has demonstration value and funny (later it will be likely deleted). – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 7 at 0:32
  • Btw, I needed to dig into the DOM to get the link of this question (now out of review). – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 7 at 0:37
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    hmm, why my empty comment got deleted? – Temani Afif Jan 7 at 0:42
  • 2
    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. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 7 at 0:44
  • I am not enough brave to play with it, but maybe we could create empty tags or wikis/excerpts, too. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 7 at 1:14
  • @peterh-ReinstateMonica yes works with wikis too ;) still trying with tags :p (didn't succeed) – Temani Afif Jan 7 at 7:31
25

Oh boy:

enter image description here

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

5
  • 10
    Please don't, though. – Ollie Jan 6 at 22:39
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    The stackexchange team must be hating me .. I opened the pandora's box ... – Temani Afif Jan 6 at 22:51
  • 9
    @TemaniAfif The Stack Exchange community is loving you, if the upvotes are anything to tell by ;) – Ollie Jan 6 at 22:51
  • 3
    @TemaniAfif and that box is apparently full of emptyness. – VLAZ Jan 7 at 7:56
  • 2
    @TemaniAfif But the last thing left in the box, is hope. – Jack B Nimble Jan 7 at 14:55
21

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:

enter image description here

Go take a look in my profile.

7
  • 10
    Rep for Nothing – rgettman Jan 6 at 22:40
  • 10
    @rgettman badges for nothing – Temani Afif Jan 6 at 22:54
  • 7
    I'd say that this is by-design. Users should be able to have an empty "About Me" section, if they like. – Cody Gray Jan 6 at 23:13
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    @CodyGray They can, but empty profiles always show the "Apparently, this user preferred to shroud themselves in a veil of mystery" or the like. – Ollie Jan 6 at 23:14
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    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. – Cody Gray Jan 6 at 23:27
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    @CodyGray By all means go ahead and make an FR, but I'm just posting the bug according to the current settings. – Ollie Jan 6 at 23:59
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    What I'm saying is, I disagree that this is a bug. – Cody Gray Jan 7 at 0:13
20

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

2
  • 3
    not as empty as it should be. I made it even more empty ;) [let's wait for peer approval] – Temani Afif Jan 7 at 10:00
  • 3
    This is nothing new. If you initially propose them as suggested edits and they get rejected, they'll be blank anyway. – Sonic the Curiouser Hedgehog Jan 7 at 10:19
16

Empty bounty summary:

enter image description here

See Where I started the bounty. (Now awarded)

1
12

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).

Unclickable delete vote entry

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.

11
1
  • 4
    The content of this answer is within an HTML comment that makes this answer appear empty. – rgettman Jan 8 at 17:30
10

Empty suggested edit summary. (I edited Ollie's answer) approved edit enter image description here

Edit view:

enter image description here

1
  • 3
    Suggested no longer, as I approved it. – Ollie Jan 7 at 1:45
10

4

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

2
  • That's a very small screenshot (doesn't seem to zoom when I click it) – Clockwork Jan 8 at 9:13
  • 1
    @Clockwork Fixed. – wizzwizz4 Jan 8 at 19:19
9

Empty reject reason:

Empty custom close reason:

enter image description here

1
7

‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​What interests me is that no matter where I put the magic dots, they don't render. Search engine, notepad, notepad++, IDLE, pycharm, etc. None of them rendered the actual dots.

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

trying it out

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

Lastly, this:

bruh

Why do you have to do this to me?

Also, I've tried this on codidact

3
6

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

Example of an empty chatroom tag

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

0
6

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

3
  • 6
    Best password ever. – mindstormsboi Jan 7 at 16:57
  • 4
    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. – OrangeDog Jan 8 at 0:18
  • 1
    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. – Ollie Jan 8 at 19:05
6

5
  • 5
    Yes, it's another empty answer, but this time it's with a 1x1 transparent image. – rgettman Jan 20 at 18:51
  • 3
    I'm not sure how we would prevent transparent images. – Catija Jan 20 at 20:05
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    Oh, this one is awesome ;) Please take my upvote. – Ollie Jan 20 at 20:47
  • @Catija not sure if this helps but in python it is possible using opencv. – 10 Rep Jan 20 at 21:40
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    Preventing it is simple. Flag it, let a mod take a look, and suspend the user :D – Journeyman Geek Jan 30 at 12:54
5

You can post empty chat messages with this trick:

enter image description here

2
  • yes was going to edit my answer to include it too ;) – Temani Afif Jan 6 at 23:07
  • @TemaniAfif too late ;) – Ollie Jan 6 at 23:08
5

‎‎‎‎‌‌‌

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    @Ollie I'm actually trying a different method. – iota Jan 6 at 23:20
  • Oh... if it's a different method, maybe test it in the Sandbox. This post should be only for stuff relating to this method. – Ollie Jan 6 at 23:21
  • Yeah, I went to the edit page and saw it. Sorry. – Ollie Jan 6 at 23:21
  • 5
    @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. – rgettman Jan 6 at 23:26
  • 2
    @Ollie Since this is a bug report, I thought it would be good to show other ways of producing the same result. – iota Jan 7 at 3:51
  • 2
    To see this alternate method, click the edit button. – iota Jan 7 at 3:52
5

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:

enter image description here

3
  • 5
    flag such behavior .. vandalism isn't something new. I'd prefer empty content rather than bad words – Temani Afif Jan 23 at 14:46
  • 2
    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. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Jan 23 at 17:14
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    If you see this then flag. It's no different from normal vandalism. – 10 Rep Jan 23 at 17:22
4

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).

2
  • "I'm still trying to find out what they are." It appears to be Korean Unicode, a Hangul filler (U+3164). – Mast Jan 19 at 17:59
  • 1
    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. – Sebastian Simon Jan 20 at 6:43
4

||||||

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

Empty "other off-topic close reason" indeed.

0
3

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

enter image description here

Try it yourself:

const textarea = document.querySelector('textarea');
document.querySelector('button').addEventListener('click', function(e){
  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>
<textarea readonly>̣̣̣</textarea> <br>
<button>Copy</button>

2
  • It's Unicode combining characters, right? – iBug says Reinstate Monica Jan 7 at 17:48
  • @̣̣̣ Yes. I see you've tried it. – iota Jan 7 at 17:48
3

Works on Area51 Stack Exchange

enter image description here ‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​‎​

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

1
1

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

Screenshot of question

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  • 2
    How about "Edited 2 mins ago by OrangeDog"... – Luuklag Jan 7 at 12:21
  • 1
    it's only available on my profile or the active tab – Temani Afif Jan 7 at 12:21
  • @Luuklag there is no such text – OrangeDog Jan 7 at 12:35
  • @TemaniAfif it's also clickable in the "Linked" section from other questions – OrangeDog Jan 7 at 12:39
  • 1
    @OrangeDog that's because you sort on Newest, and not on Active – Luuklag Jan 7 at 12:40
  • 1
    You can access with <kbd>Tab</kbd> + <kbd>Enter</kbd> – ppwater Jan 7 at 13:11
  • 1
    @ppwater enjoying the limited markdown in comments? :D – 10 Rep Jan 7 at 22:45
  • @10Repsaysgetvaccinated that's not markdown :P – riQQ Jan 8 at 19:41
  • ... this is too funny – user688097 Jan 29 at 17:39
1

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: not really bugged

But, if I visit its saved link:
bugg

0

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