In the comment field on StackOverflow (and other StackExchange sites as well, I presume) you're required to write 15 characters for the server to accept your post. If a shorter post is submitted, an information message states that the comment is too short. That is all good.

However, below the comment field is a counter, which counts up to 15 and then down from however many characters you're allowed to type minus fifteen. This counter doesn't always act the same as the actual validation: if I pad my message with whitespace, the validation notices and still says the message is too short, but the counter does not notice, and counts as usual.

Suggested fix: make the character counter trim the message before it counts, so the two messages say the same thing.

1 Answer 1


We view this as intentionally gaming the character count, so my answer is "don't do that".

  • Of course I wont! ;) However, I think it would be a nice feature if the character counter also was aware of this. (And it shouldn't be too hard to implement if the current code is well-written - adding .trim() in the right place should solve it...) Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 9:21
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    OK, but... it still presents an inconsistent user interface. SO has one of the best web interfaces out there. Personally I see this as inconsistent input validation that ever so slightly tarnishes the awesomeness of the overall user experience, not as a "feature" to "get" people who are gaming the counter.
    – Eric J.
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 19:02
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    Mind you - trying to game the counter would thus be stopped already on the client side. (And anyone who tries will realize already before posting that padding with spaces won't work. A more awesome UI, and less load on your servers...) Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 23:08
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    The problem is the UI actually let you game the character count then it warns you not to do it. Would be better to have the UI act accordingly to the rules and not let anyone think they can game the count. Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 16:20

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