In the comment box, you can type new lines, but they are never rendered. This can trick people into thinking that they can separate text into paragraphs, when this is not possible.

I think that when the enter key is pressed, the comment should be submitted.

This would then be consistent with chat and asking a question.

  • 4
    A prompt before submission would make sense too, as users must be used to the current behavior.
    – slikts
    Sep 3, 2010 at 5:36
  • As an aside: Newlines are served to the browser without first converting them to HTML line breaks, but browsers ignore newlines. (See the source of this very comment.)
    – Arjan
    Sep 3, 2010 at 9:55
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/63644/… Sep 6, 2010 at 23:08
  • 22
    I curse you; this feature is very annoying. :P I keep submitting incomplete comments by mistake. (E.g., this happens for me when especially when they're at the most incomplete: when I'm moving phrases around and used to use newlines to keep things uncluttered while I sort things out.) Sep 9, 2010 at 11:27
  • @Shreevatsa, sorry. I'm a big fan of the new feature. I am about to use it right now! Also, you can enter new lines using shift+enter.
    – jjnguy
    Sep 9, 2010 at 13:26
  • 15
    @jinguy: This "feature" broke existing behaviour, differs from nearly every textarea on the web, has unexpected consequences, and violates the Principle of Least Astonishment. It makes it hard to do any nontrivial editing in the little box before submitting a comment; penalizing me with having to use Shift+Enter several times to save one Tab,Enter at the very end. See also the comments by Kop, deceze, and Henrik Erlandsson on the other question. Sep 15, 2010 at 6:12
  • @Shreev, I understand your frustration, but I'm not the person you need to appeal to. I didn't realize how many people would hate this new feature.
    – jjnguy
    Sep 15, 2010 at 14:24
  • I wasn't appealing to you; just reacting to your defence and admiration of this bug. :-) Sep 16, 2010 at 21:12
  • -1 Confirming context menu entries via Enter when entering comments triggers comment to be posted - edit there, happened again when pasting the link... Oct 5, 2010 at 7:20
  • 10
    This is a dreadful misfeature. What were you thinking?
    – walkytalky
    Oct 18, 2010 at 15:43
  • @walky, I like it...sorry.
    – jjnguy
    Oct 18, 2010 at 16:10
  • Ack. Now this lunacy has infected Facebook. I hold you personally responsible for breaking the internet! (Yes, I did see your Oatmeal.)
    – walkytalky
    Mar 17, 2011 at 22:27
  • 1
    @walkytalky, sorry. I hope you will forgive me sometime.
    – jjnguy
    Mar 17, 2011 at 22:43
  • 1
    Very annoying "feature"
    – codewaggle
    Jun 20, 2012 at 9:56
  • This works perfctly, the best is on android where you can hit enter without even moving the on-screen keyboard and trying to "touch" that tiny button (also nnote that there is no tab on the android keyboard so if changed back this needs to be addressed) Apr 4, 2013 at 22:10

3 Answers 3


Comments can now be submitted by hitting enter while in the comment textarea.

Although newlines are not rendered, you can still insert one into the textarea by hitting shift + enter.

Let us know if you find any issues with this new functionality.

  • Testing the new functionality. (Cool!)
    – jjnguy
    Sep 5, 2010 at 15:09
  • 34
    IMO this should be reversed, or shift+enter should be accounted for...a multi-line text box says "hey press enter, you're gonna love it"...if it matched other programs (even SO chat) in the shift+enter respect it'd be ok, but now it seems very broken, definitely thrown me off several times today. Sep 6, 2010 at 23:03
  • 5
    I very much found issues, please see here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/63644/…
    – deceze
    Sep 13, 2010 at 5:06
  • 7
    -1 Confirming context menu entries via Enter when entering comments triggers comment to be posted - edit there, happened again when pasting the link... Oct 5, 2010 at 7:21
  • Shift+enter has no effect after submitting the comment. How can you write readable code this way? Apr 25, 2014 at 17:07
  • 1
    @Jarrod, "Tab-Enter" is the standard for submitting textbox/textareas. Not "Enter".
    – Pacerier
    Apr 5, 2015 at 11:23

They might show in the data dump, right? That might be used for different formatting.

And even when they are never rendered, I still find them useful every now and then, especially when including inline links to other questions that might have dots or question marks in their titles. Enlarging the edit box in my browser, and using new lines, makes things slightly easier to read. Like:

See [How does the comment system and comments work?](How do comments work?) Or [How to use formatting in comments?](How to use formatting in comments?) (But that's just my opinion.)


See [How does the comment system and comments work?](How do comments work?)

Or [How to use formatting in comments?](How to use formatting in comments?)

(But that's just my opinion.)

  • 2
    suggestion: do not get too attached to this behavior, or learn to press SHIFT+ENTER Sep 3, 2010 at 11:57
  • Aha hint noted, @Jeff, so I guess should quickly downvote this feature request, even though my downvote would only apply to the part "when the enter key is pressed, the comment should be submitted" -- which matches the behaviour for the Search, but is different from the behaviour when answering. But well, even comments have an edit option, so nothing bad can happen, really. ;-)
    – Arjan
    Sep 3, 2010 at 12:24
  • @Arjan, when typing up a question, if the tags field (the last field) has focus, and enter is pressed,the questions is submitted. So, there is some precedence for this.
    – jjnguy
    Sep 3, 2010 at 12:58
  • 1
    Well, switch to a better browser. :p
    – jjnguy
    Sep 3, 2010 at 13:39
  • 11
    @Jeff Atwood: If we're going to use newlines several times while typing/editing a comment, and only going to submit it once, why should the rare and hard-to-reverse action (submitting) take precedence over the more useful one? It's not that much effort to hit Tab and Enter just once, while it's a lot of effort to hit Shift-Enter multiple times. Sep 16, 2010 at 21:15
  • 4
    @jjnguy - That is not precedence. The tags field is a textbox, while the comment field and question field are textareas. They have completely different expected behaviors. When you hit Enter in a textbox, the form should be submitted. When you hit Enter in a textarea, it should break to a new line. This is the expected and understood behavior for these components on the web, and there is no good reason to break them. Mar 29, 2011 at 13:06
  • I don't get it. You can enter an "enter" using shift+enter in a comment box, but it won't display (render). There are many reasons to include more than one idea in a comment and it is "normal" in English to make them separate lines or paragraphs. I have no idea what a data dump is in this context or why I should care.
    – Joe
    May 25, 2012 at 18:58
  • @Joe, the data dumps make all content available for other usage. So even though these sites don't render them, some other (future) site might.
    – Arjan
    May 25, 2012 at 19:18

You only want this because your own personal workflow style is to write short comments that need very little thought or editing.

Whereas the more contemplative of us want to write, think, rewrite a bit, check our work, add URLs etc. On some platforms, especially mobile, the backspace and enter key are so close you hit one or the other by mistake all the time.

This is a "fail-deadly" configuration. In exchange for a tiny bit of convenience for you, we are stuck with a great deal of "Aargh, damn it", thrown off our train of thought, and having to struggle back to "edit comment".

To add insult to injury, a 5-minute timer is now ticking. No big deal to a drive-by like yourself, but us contemplative folks often are not able to finish our comment properly in those 5 minutes. Now we must go through yet more rigmarole to copy our failed comment, paste it to a new comment, and delete the earlier comment shard.

Even worse, in those minutes, a person often comes along and replies to our comment shard - and lacking our full meaning, their comment is often redundant, unconstructive or rooted in a wrong inference - and now when we fix our comment, or delete the comment shard and place the fixed comment below, the comment thread makes no sense whatsoever.

So the detour you must make when "press enter to post" misfires is much, much worse than the detour you must make when you hit enter and it moves down a line or does nothing. Hence, "fail deadly".

It also rewards and encourages flash/emotion/snark comments, and discourages thoughtful ones. That alone makes it more suitable for places like Youtube comments, not here.

Kill "Press enter to post"

  • 2
    If it takes you longer than 5 minutes to formulate a comment then it probably shouldn't be a comment
    – Cai
    Aug 30, 2017 at 22:38
  • 4
    @Cai who are you, to judge how I contribute? Is SE only for the quick? Aug 30, 2017 at 23:57
  • Your entire answer is judging how others contribute, in a tone far worse than my comment; my comment was not about who I am just about what comments are
    – Cai
    Aug 31, 2017 at 1:23
  • 1
    @cai fair enough, but I am not telling others how they should write comments. Aug 31, 2017 at 1:32
  • 1
    Rather than performing necromancy on a feature request that was implemented 7 years ago, you should post a feature-request question of your own.
    – ale
    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:43
  • 1
    @ale Done. Trouble is, as we a re seeing of late in politics, saying "[protest group] isn't credible because of [flaws in their method of expression]" tends not to be sincere and tends to lead to advice that's poorly considered. E.g. opening a redundant feature request is not better. Aug 31, 2017 at 13:42

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