This is a minor frustration, but I have a comment that I put italics and bold into (using asterisks.) Now I know I just just be happy that I could do it at all, but it seems to me that those should not count toward my comment char limit.
Six hundred characters isn't enough to include your content plus formatting? That Should Be Enough For Anyone™.
That particular comment could be done as an update to the question, where it would be much more readable. View source to steal:
Update: Regarding pm.h as ctacke points out, I must have something funny going on. I have 5 versions of pm.h on my machine and none of them have POWER_STATE_BACKLIGHTON in them. I am using VS 2008. They are located at:
- C:\Program Files\Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK R2\PocketPC\Include\Armv4i
- C:\Program Files\Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK R2\Smartphone\Include\Armv4i
- C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\SmartDevices\SDK\PocketPC2003\Include
- C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\SmartDevices\SDK\Smartphone2003\Include
- C:\Program Files\Windows CE Tools\wce500\Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC SDK\Include\Armv4i
Links are my biggest problem, and the one least under my control. If a URL has a long link none of the options are ideal...
- Don't link to it, reducing the utility of the comment.
- Obsessively trim the grammar to get more space, which is no fun & can garble meaning.
- Use a URL shortener, risking it becoming obsolete.
- Trim that whole section of the comment, losing content.
Assuming the purpose of the comment character limit is to discourage long discussions in comments (and encourage you to make them answers), it seems the limit should be more concerned with the information density of the comment rather than its raw character count. Regardless of the technical limitations, it would be useful to discuss this in principle.
Since Don't make URLs and title attributes count towards comment character limits has been marked a duplicate of this question here, please keep link target URLs in mind when you think about “formatting”. For example (constructed but similar to real-life situations I encountered):
is too long by 10 characters. Since I'm very much of the opinion that adding detailed links to all the pieces of documentation that you refer to makes not only questions and answers but also comments more useful and valuable, I think doing so should be encouraged. Having to delete links later on because the comments turns out to be too long is rather encouraging me to leave them out in the first place, which I consider harmful. So while I don't have such a strong opinion on other formatting, I'd very much like to at least discount link target URLs since those can easily dwarf an otherwise really short comment.
How many formatting character do you propose to use out of 600ish in you answer, man?
I mean, I routinely use 4--8 in a long comment, but that is of close order 1%.
Surely you can tighten up you prose enough to make that big a difference, and if you can't you're trying to cram too much into a comment.
I suggest adding an "off topic" button next to each answer/question which will open a different chat UI where people are free to write whatever, when discussing things which should not be written as comments, but long internal debates over something.
Comments should stay short, because they are meant to be helpful to readers and not be used for long debates