In replying to Text Alignment Problem on SO, hyperslug wondered what would happen if a non-breaking character string was added to a post. What he discovered is that unlike a code block which wraps things up with scrollbars the non-breaking string overflows the post element div. A modification to the .post-text CSS is warranted to prevent this behavior.

Example of Problem. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  • Does this happen in the title too? Or on the question listings when the first line contains this.
    – akarnokd
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 7:47
  • 38
    Stop attacking the Related list! It's only trying to help!
    – random
    Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 0:38
  • Reverse duplicate: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/41068/…
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Mar 4, 2010 at 2:11
  • "@John Rasch Oy! You got your Unicode in my ASCII!" stackoverflow.com/questions/1732348/… Commented Mar 4, 2010 at 3:11
  • It looks fixed on my firefox browser. Commented Nov 4, 2010 at 7:27
  • Looks like this is only fixed for ASCII / other normal characters. It can still happen in very extreme cases
    – Lukas Eder
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 12:03
  • Post Overflow is solved now we have comment overflow. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
    – Sandeep
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 11:18
  • @SandeepBiradar in his answer Jeff mentions that when post overflow was fixed he didn't fix comment overflow. Not sure if this was ever fixed in the intervening years.
    – ahsteele
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 14:39

8 Answers 8


The word-wrap:break-word suggestion is a good one.

Works fine on posts, which are fixed width, and that is implemented.

Near as I can tell, there is no way to get this to work on comments because they are variable width. That is, the actual comment size depends on whether or not the comment vote UI controls are present (fex, on your own comment, you don't have controls, if you're not logged in there are no controls, etc), and if the comment has say 100 upvotes that's wider still.

edit: because we loop through comments on the fly for rendering anyway, we are now force-inserting a soft hyphen boring unicode spaces every so many characters without a space. So this should be truly fixed now.

  • 6
    i don't think it'd be that hard to give the comments fixed width. they only vary by about 45 pixels from anonymous+no votes to logged-in+10 to 99 votes. 50px probably would be enough room for 100-999 votes, and beyond that you could do "1k". (do any comments have 1000+ votes yet?) i don't think having a constant 50px left indention on all comments would be that distracting.
    – Kip
    Commented Mar 18, 2010 at 21:07
  • 5
    So it's not really [status-completed] then.
    – Ether
    Commented May 11, 2010 at 4:09
  • 1
    @ether I'm not willing to make comments fixed size at the moment. I thought about checking server side by looping through the string and forcing spaces every (n) characters if there aren't any just to prevent griefing. Commented May 11, 2010 at 6:19
  • Please do not overdo using pixels to measure things. The sites scale pretty badly as it is :( Commented Nov 1, 2010 at 18:37
  • Too bad, somehow Firefox 4 is ignoring those soft hyphens, at least in <code> blocks. I guess that's a Firefox issue, but still.
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 16, 2011 at 11:45
  • Same issue for normal, long comments in Firefox, so it's not only ignoring the soft hyphens in code fragments. (My previous comment was about comments too, by the way.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 18, 2011 at 7:42
  • Can you do this for comments in the moderator dashboard too? See i.sstatic.net/NJULm.png for instance.
    – mmyers
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 20:22
  • I'm not testing this, but the spaces aren't inserted in pre blocks, are they? Commented May 6, 2012 at 3:32
  • 1
    @balpha, just to be sure: inserting zero width whitespace breaks pasting code from comments. (Hence, I liked the visible soft hyphens slightly better.) But I wouldn't know another solution, other than inserting regular whitespace, which at least is visible! Or maybe using <span style="margin:0"><code>first</code><code>second</code></span>?)
    – Arjan
    Commented Jun 16, 2012 at 13:58
  • @Sonic you can't really re-write history. Even if now things are different, what's written here is a response to some old bug report. Do not change it. Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 9:31
  • @ShadowTheBurningWizard I've done this before several times with no complaint; this is the first complaint I've received regarding this. Commented Jan 12, 2020 at 18:55
  • @Sonic it's fine in a FAQ or even support question, but this is just an old bug report. We shouldn't re-write the answers to bug reports, IMO. Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 7:13

Adding the CSS rule:

.post-text { overflow: hidden; } 

Appears to fix it up nicely.





Japanese doesn't really have the concept of spaces, but is also not picky about wrapping. Japanese text will (and should) usually wrap after the last character that fits on a line, as is illustrated here. There are no spaces in the above text except two empty lines where you see them, so this is being handled correctly (most likely by the browser).

I would imagine Thai and other languages without spaces are handled similarly, leaving this problem only to languages with spaces.

  • 10
    indeed. Letusalllearntolivewithoutspacesinourlanguage. Onlythencanweavoidthewrappingissue, andfunctionaccordingtothegraddesign.
    – jweede
    Commented Sep 3, 2009 at 17:03
  • I just used firebug, too, to put overflow:hidden, overflow:auto, and word-wrap:break-word on your post and it didn't magically start distorting things either. That's not exactly an exhaustive study, but it goes to bolster the point that there's no reason not to address the issue. (No non-English language difficulties would seem to result.)
    – user141160
    Commented Mar 4, 2010 at 10:41

Please add word-wrap: break-word; to comments, questions and answers.

That's all folks. Please don't make me add another greasemonkey script for such a thing.


Comments have this problem too apparently. See my test above.


The only solution that I know of is to insert <wbr> tags into the long words. If it was done at punctuation marks like .-_ etc. it shouldn't be too costly.



  • 16
    Maybe someone wants to know how to fix their broken space key.
    – kaba
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 7:54
  • 2
    It would be an issue with languages without spaces, like Thai.
    – Leonardo
    Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 8:03
  • Wow Thai has no spaces! interesting... Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 8:05
  • 1
    Actually Thai does have spaces, used like full stops in english so there will be less of them in a typical text. Commented Jul 15, 2009 at 8:46
  • I think you're trying to communicate something but I can't tell because your text flows under the related box. Very annoying! Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 20:35
  • Cut'n'Paste into notepad Commented Jul 17, 2009 at 8:47
  • @HollyStyles: Here is an example of a real case where the text overflowed without the user being malicious: stackoverflow.com/questions/1296571/…
    – Kip
    Commented Aug 19, 2009 at 15:12

Stack Comment overflow:


This bugged me, so I came up with the following fix:

td.comment-text div
    display: block !important;
    word-wrap: break-word !important;
    width: 624px !important;



Note: In the thread where the screenshots are from, I also discussed another CSS fix related to <kbd>: http://meta.superuser.com/a/4791/100787

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