I was looking at an old post and when I expand the comments they spread way over everything on the right. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

I see it in Firefox 4.01, Chrome 11.0.696.68, and Opera 11.10 (on Mac).

  • What browser? It looks fine on IE8.
    – mmyers
    May 16, 2011 at 15:52
  • 2
    Certainly looks like a problem, I see it too (Firefox 3.6, Mac)
    – Nicole
    May 16, 2011 at 15:52
  • @Renesis , @mmyers am I posting this to the right place ?
    – mcgrailm
    May 16, 2011 at 15:54
  • This is a know bug. Jeff has stated many times that it is difficult to limit the width of comments because they have variable width.
    – jjnguy
    May 16, 2011 at 16:03
  • @jjnguy but it wraps just fine until i open the additional comments
    – mcgrailm
    May 16, 2011 at 16:15
  • @mcg, that's because the comment that is causing the problem is hidden until you expand them.
    – jjnguy
    May 16, 2011 at 16:19
  • @jjnguy right but that shouldn't matter see my answer
    – mcgrailm
    May 16, 2011 at 16:21

3 Answers 3


Yay! More unicode fun!

So far we were inserting soft-hyphens ­ into long comment lines without whitespace to force line-breaks; but it seems that not all browsers can be convinced to make this work in all cases.

We can't use the zero-width space ​ because it doesn't work in IE; we can't use the zero-width non-joiner ‌ because that doesn't work in all browser as well.

But alas: It seems the using both actually works everywhere. So, from now on, our Stack Exchange™ WhiteSpace EnforcementOfficer™ is


Next build, as usual.

  • ok I'm sure this is good logic to this but why not use what I suggested..please keep in mind that I am not a css expert
    – mcgrailm
    May 16, 2011 at 17:30
  • 2
    @mcgrailm See Jeff's answer here as to why CSS changes don't help in comments.
    – balpha StaffMod
    May 16, 2011 at 17:39
  • still don't get it, seems the answer is because hes not willing to make it fixed with or max-width seems like it's not a good reason but its not my site LOL
    – mcgrailm
    May 16, 2011 at 17:50
  • Did you consult with badp or are you putting him out of business? (; May 16, 2011 at 20:25
  • 1
    @RebeccaChernoff: He's the Deputy. Which is good for him, because the Deputy is still alive.
    – balpha StaffMod
    May 16, 2011 at 20:45
  • Favoriting this answer for my own use in the future. Also, such a good answer maybe this should be migrated to SO; then again, it's probably a duplicate there :)
    – Nicole
    May 16, 2011 at 23:27
  • 1
    I guess you'll see it one day, but just in case you would not: what about inserting <span style="display: inline-block"></span> instead?
    – Arjan
    Mar 9, 2013 at 10:31
  • Instead of the often proposed word-wrap: break-word, there's also word-break: break-all, which works nicely in all my browsers, but apparently not in Opera... :-(
    – Arjan
    Mar 9, 2013 at 19:46
  • (@NickC, late response: if that future has come for you already, then maybe some other non-Unicode trickery is better, if your visitors are copying text. See my comments above. And of course all trickery might make it hard for search engines to index correctly.)
    – Arjan
    Nov 23, 2013 at 23:52
  • These characters are now inserted into comments even when there's enough whitespace. Is this normal or is it a bug?
    – Szabolcs
    Aug 18, 2016 at 10:00
  • @Szabolcs Marco is working on that code right now, I've pinged him.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Aug 18, 2016 at 10:54

I think this could be fixed with


no ?


example image

it doesn't look like overflow is hidden here

  • So, you propose overflow: hidden?
    – jjnguy
    May 16, 2011 at 16:23
  • @jjnguy see edit
    – mcgrailm
    May 16, 2011 at 16:36
  • why the down vote ? is this not a logical answer ?
    – mcgrailm
    May 16, 2011 at 18:09
  • dunno, it wasn't from me.
    – jjnguy
    May 16, 2011 at 18:13

Using <wbr> tags instead of Unicode characters for breakpoints is likely to play better with copy-and-paste in current browsers (especially Firefox).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .