Tag Wiki Excerpts support ~ 450 characters, but Tag Wiki dropdowns only display ~ 300 characters. The remaining characters are truncated.

This would not be a problem if the tag excerpt was used merely to describe a tag. But the tag wiki excerpt is also used to describe proper use of the tag as well, because it puts this information front-and-center when the tag is hovered.

It sometimes takes some pretty creative writing to get that information to fit into 450 characters, only to find out that the last 150 or so characters are being cut off in the hover dropdown.


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This effectively limits the useful size of a Tag Wiki to 300 characters, and complicates the editing process, because you have to experiment with repeated edits to get it to fit onto the dropdown.

I suggest that we either increase the size of the Tag Wiki dropdown to accomodate all 450 characters of the Tag Wiki Excerpt, or limit the tag wiki excerpt to 300 characters.

I also suggest that we preserve line breaks in the Tag Wiki Excerpt, so that we can separate the paragraph that describes the tag from the paragraph that describes its proper use.

  • +1. In cases like "database", though, it's probably safe to say that you could delete the Wikipedia definition of the word without decreasing the value of the excerpt. – Gabe Mar 31 '11 at 19:33
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    It's supposed to be an excerpt, not a novel. 450 gives you breathing room, but you really don't need to be using it. – Shog9 Mar 31 '11 at 19:59
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    @Shog9: I didn't really mean to turn this into a philosophical discussion. It seems to me like extending the size of the tooltip so that it matches the size of the field is a simple solution to a simple problem. – user102937 Mar 31 '11 at 20:02
  • @Robert: Yeah, but the other solution is to reduce the length of the excerpt to 300 characters. So an argument for the full 450 would help. – Shog9 Mar 31 '11 at 20:33
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    @Shog9: The argument for the full 450 is that it's not practical to reduce the current size; there are already many tag wiki excerpts that go over 300 characters, and editing them all to accomodate a 300 character limit is an impossibly large task. – user102937 Mar 31 '11 at 20:34
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    @Shog9: However, I would be in favor of a 300 character hard limit if that could be gracefully incorporated. – user102937 Mar 31 '11 at 21:02
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    Let me just say that I agree 100%. I don't care if it's 300 or 450 or whatever number of characters, but please, oh please make it consistent! Or even just add a warning to the edit form when the length goes over the dropdown limit. – Ilmari Karonen May 9 '13 at 2:55
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    Tag wiki excerpts longer than 300 characters - I don't see any reason not to display the 450 (460? no idea how/when these limits were added) characters. Will ping our PM/UX man, Jeremy. – Jarrod Dixon May 14 '13 at 1:32
  • Do tell him to hurry, @JarrodDixon! There's barely a day left to write an answer that qualifies for the 300 UD prize! :D – jscs May 14 '13 at 23:20
  • @JoshCaswell I refunded it; we'll get to it tomorrow :) – Jarrod Dixon May 15 '13 at 2:46
  • Thanks, @JarrodDixon; I wasn't really worried about losing the points, but I do appreciate the thought, and I look forward to the answer! – jscs May 15 '13 at 2:47

This is a particular problem to those who can't directly edit the wikis (almost everybody under 20k) because they can't preview the exceprt before submitting it for approval. (I almost wrote a feature request for a wiki excerpt preview.)

It's also a problem when reviewing edits because it's hard to tell if the editor pushed useful content off the tag pop-up (drop-down?).


I removed the truncation in the tag hover popup.

I didn't allow line breaks yet, as I need to look at more excerpts to ensure the popups won't get too unwieldy.


There are three easy places to see tag wiki excerpts:

  • The dropdown. Truncates silently.
  • The list of tagged questions. Truncates silently; seems to have a one-letter difference in length compared to the dropdown.
  • The tag page. Not truncated, but hidden by default.

So basically, the only place where the excerpt is not truncated is where the system would rather you read the full tag wiki. Does anyone else see a problem here? The excerpt is supposed to be the truncated version of the full tag wiki, why is it re-truncated when used? This also results in bad usability; it can take two clicks to find out what the non-truncated version is (from dropdown to tagged list to tag page), and once there you need a third click to unhide the thing because its bigger brother is blocking you off.


If it takes some beautifully creative writing to conform to the restrictions, sic leeches on those muses.

There's no need to put a dictionary definition in there and throw in the proper use case of the tag.

When in doubt, revise, revise, revise.

300 characters is pretty generous as it is for a quick flash tooltip.

Your other problem is to have those who review the suggestions know that the excerpt isn't supposed to be all encompassing uncyclopaedia entry.

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    Do we really want the excerpts to take two different forms (What the tag is, what it is used for)? I would suggest decreasing the field size to 300, but that's probably a non-starter. – user102937 Mar 31 '11 at 19:43
  • No we don't. But there are plenty of people who know enough English to be able to cram succinctly and coherently both forms. @rob – random Mar 31 '11 at 19:45
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    The problem is that, without a preview, how is an editor supposed to know how succint to make their excerpt? – Gabe Mar 31 '11 at 19:50
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    @Robert The "definition" portion of an excerpt should rarely take more than 2 sentences, especially if it isn't simultaneously addressing the "what to use for" element. – Grace Note Mar 31 '11 at 19:51
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    @Grace: The excerpt editor says that there are 450 usable characters. All 450 characters should be usable. Just sayin'. – user102937 Mar 31 '11 at 19:59
  • @Robert I'm not denying that, I'm just speaking about the "take two different forms" bit. It generally shouldn't have to be so distinct. The definition should blend into the usage when possible. – Grace Note Mar 31 '11 at 20:00

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