Proposition: Increase or Eliminate 10k Character Limit

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Tiassa, Mar 6, 2015.


Petition the Administration to increase or eliminate current character limit per post?

Poll closed Mar 20, 2015.
  1. Yes

    7 vote(s)
  2. No

    11 vote(s)
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  1. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    What did he say?
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  3. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Or a telephone directory.
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  5. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    If the 80% i didnt read was anythang like the the 20% i skimmed over... it was perty much a 2 post hissy-fit.!!!
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  7. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Indeed, but sometimes discussions can become more technical, theoretical, or otherwise involved than can be adequately given in a 10k limit.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    For the record, it is worth pointing out that distortions like that are exactly the reason you are regarded as not exactly a reliable character.

    Or would you like a less concise and more precise answer?

    Our rules have not been formally updated since the software changeover, meaning some new aspects of the site are not yet officially covered by the ruleset; in other cases, however, system changes have changed the relationship between standing rules and site function. The 10k limit is one of those occasions: We have a rule against consecutive posting; the 10k limit forces consecutive posts on some occasions if one attempts to cover enough material. At present, the staff is not inclined to suppress people trying to write longer, good posts. We have inquired directly, and learned that at least one person we hoped had that particular key does not. The other administrators have not responded. The vote was aimed at reinforcing the request, even if all that comes back is a negative response; at this point, any response from the ownership Administration would be appreciated.

    Historically, "if the opinions of the members don't matter", there are a lot of people still around today who wouldn't be. We once had a prohibition against profanity, but sheer anarchic democracy put that rule to rest when that many people, staff included, cussed anyway.

    Similarly, we have rules about what we call drive-by posting, in which someone posts a link or a quote with no user-generated context and leaves it for other people to discuss. We largely gave up enforcing that rule years ago, and only mention it should circumstance really demand.

    Likewise, did you know we have a citation structure? All the people quoting and then just leaving a hyperlink in the post are breaking our plagiarism rule, and they're still here because we don't want to throw out that many of our members.

    And in this? We're just asking for the community's voice in order to reiterate the request. In truth, while it was hard to imagine what the opposition would be, the idea that it would be a celebration of low-effort, low-intellect posting did, indeed, catch me by surprise.
  9. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    The irony is, I didn't even have that in mind until he posted it. My vision, when first voting "no", was that it would make life easier for M R, not DMOE.
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    The problem is "otherwise involved." Tiassa's post above is a good example. Within the character limit we currently have, he was able to get half a dozen personal attacks in, and wander from the current topic to several completely unrelated topics. For example, he managed to use all those characters to conflate Russ's objection to the new character limit to Russ supporting slavery. Then he spent a few paragraphs on the Ferguson shooting. He was then annoyed by having to break his rant into two sections.

    Do we really need to be making it easier to post such rants?

    On the other hand, someone posting good material should not be limited by character limits - and from my reading of this forum, they have not been.
  11. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    I guess we've just been reading different sub-forums then *shrug*
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Do you have an example where a good post had to be split into several pieces as a result of the character limit?
  13. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Recently and ready to go - no, I do not. I have, however, had it happen myself in the past, particularly when refuting multi-part arguments. I'll see if I can dig some up.
  14. Bells Staff Member

    This thread is volatile enough as it is without your flaming input.

    So if you wish to stoke fires with your own little agendas, find a fireplace instead.
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Try to remember, people, that this thread is ultimately about what people consider to be "too long" in a forum post. It isn't actually the start of World War III (probably not, anyway).
    cluelusshusbund likes this.
  16. Bells Staff Member

    I wasn't aware that counting and limiting characters was tantamount to professionalism. Professionalism is writing legibly, to support one's argument and claims with evidence. That is what I consider to be professional. What I do not consider professional is "TL;DR", or people who whine that someone's post is too long or that someone is taking the time to address each valid point and supporting their argument with links and quotes from external sources.

    I consider that rude.

    I take it you have never been to professional dinners where speeches are given, or award dinners, dinner speaking engagements where people get up to speak and do give speeches, or even a wedding dinner? If someone is speaking at such an event, just getting up and walking out because it is too long, is rude and unprofessional.

    Ophiolite explained how in his profession, he requires concise writing. Great. In my current employment, what is required is clear writing with no ambiguity because ambiguity could result in someone being taken to court. I do not work in a profession that values character limit over substance and content.

    Bully pulpit?

    How is a professional event, where such speeches are given, "bully pulpits"? Or weddings? Let's leave the dinner part aside for a moment. How about a funeral? Have you ever had to give a eulogy about someone before? I have. And I can assure you, keeping it "concise" and therefore not researching or looking back at the person you are speaking for or about and skipping parts of their lives because well, it has to be concise, is offensive. Just as getting up and walking out because "bully pulpit" is offensive and rude.

    It is not the speaker's fault, or in this case, the writer's fault, if you have a short attention span. I am not saying that you do, but you understand my point...

    And when you say that about someone else, that is also considered a criticism and it is quite insulting.

    And that is where you lack context and perhaps history on this site.

    Or when you tell someone or speak of someone who spends so much of their time writing that you can shorten it because they lack experience in tight writing or effective editing, that is directed directly at that individual and frankly, it is insulting and rude.

    I beg to differ. We all know who he was talking about. Or the other poster's jibe about just writing it on your blog and linking that, because apparently they are happy to read the lengthy post there, but it is apparently offensive if it is posted here? Come on! The ridiculousness of that argument was not lost on anyone.

    At the end of the day, this has become a popularity contest, as we saw with post #55 and when another poster advised they changed their vote because of the argument this thread has become...

    The OP was not disrespectful either. But then you get to #3, for example, where one poster chimes in with post it elsewhere and link it here, because apparently it is better to read it on another site instead of here in what is and was a complaint about having to read long posts.. I thought that was pretty disrespectful. Or post #11, where it is a direct jibe at the writer, or #16, which was pretty much aimed at those who voted "yes".. Before Tiassa responded. When people go out of their way to offend those who do write, they shouldn't be offended when that person bites back. That's how I see it, anyway..

    Of course forum quality affects everyone. Quality for me is someone who is able to back up their points, who understands context and the nuances of the topic being discussed, who takes the time and effort to get his or her point across. That to me is quality. What is not quality for me is someone who considers the value of someone's post by their character limit.

    I don't care about how much someone writes. I care about the content of what they write and how they address the topic and the points in their responses. Not the length of post.

    As I noted to Ophiolite, which resulted in an offensive spray from him, removing the character limit is not going to affect you or anyone else. All it will do is allow us to not have to post multiple posts in a row instead. That is literally what this is about. Keeping it at 10k is not going to force anyone to write less. Dropping it down to 5k or even 1k is not going to force anyone to write less, just as removing the character limit is not going to make anyone write more than they normally would write.

    And that is the thing.. The notion that some may have that removing the character limit will make people write more than they would normally write is ridiculous. People don't go 'ah mah gawd, no character limit means that now I simply must write more than I ever did before!!'.

    For those of us who are sometimes verbose? It will just mean we get to keep it all within one post instead of splitting it into multiple posts. Those who are never verbose will just continue writing as they do now. And that is pretty much what it is. Simple isn't it?

    This is the main point that everyone is missing:

    Extending the character limit is not going to make anyone write more than what they currently would or do normally write.

    And 5 pages later, that simple detail has been blown out of all proportions by everyone involved.

    Perhaps everyone should just grow up and actually act in a professional manner and remember that one point..

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  17. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

    R_W, is your "DMOE" in reference to myself?
    If so, then why must your "vision" be in any way concerned with the "ease" or lack thereof in my life?

    BTW : I have never had any problem with any "character limit", so I exercised my right not to vote either way.

  18. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    It was. I've seen some very long posts from you and assumed you probably ran up against the limit at one time or another. I guess not: I stand corrected. Carry on!
  19. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    Yes, writing quality, including quantity, is an issue of professionalism. That's not just my opinion or the opinion of the others that agree with me, it's pretty universal. For example, I googled "article submission guidelines length" and this was the first hit:
    I submit that if six pages (single spaced, dual column) including text and figures is deemed enough to convey a complete, complex thought in the judgement of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that should be a reasonable standard nearly anywhere.
    "Legible" is an odd word choice for an internet forum where everything is typed. If you mean "well written", we agree -- we just have different ideas about what constitutes quality writing. There's nothing wrong with that: people can have respectful disagreements about standards. Clearly, my standards are more strict, especially considering I've been involved with or started several threads discussing the issue of standards here. By now I am wholly aware that this forum values freedom and accomodation above quality, so even if the staff agreed with me on what quality looks like, you still might disagree about implementing it. So be it -- but the thread asked for opinions, so I gave mine.

    I am a bit taken aback though by how much difficulty I and others seem to be having conveying this. I don't think it is a complicated issue and I wish you and others would try a bit harder to understand the opposing point of view. That doesn't, of course, require that you agree with it.
    If you submti a 7 page paper to PNAS, that is essentially the response you'll get. You may not like it, but the reality is that length is considered an issue of professionalism/quality in the real world.
    All the time. I was at one last night. Sometimes, I'm the speaker. A speech is not a discussion. That you mistakenly believe that this is a reflection of that, is telling. If that's what you prefer, I suggest that this forum be changed to a blog site, with individual blogs and a comments section (moderated by each indivdual blogger) at the bottom of each, instead of a discussion forum. That format would be much more conducive to a captive-audience speech type format.
    That might explain a lot. Are you referring to a legal or regulatory type of context? It wouldn't surprise me to hear that in such areas, being concise is not considered a virtue. But I can assure you that in technical/scientific writing, it is.
    It may not be 100% what the word typically means, but it was the closest I could come to what I was trying to convey. Essentially, "I'm the expert, so shut-up and listen to me for the next hour."

    Again, though, note that this isn't that.
    We really shouldn't have ever left it. Again: discussions are not speeches. You're off-track in this comparison.
    Given that I voted "no" and explained why, it might be surmised that I'm someone who might have a short attention span, if that is indeed a valid criticism. So I would say that that can be construed as an oblique/indirect criticism. Am I offended? No. Is a criticism automatically an insult? No. If you stated explicitly that you think I am someone who has trouble staying focused, would that be insulting? Not if stated in a dry, dispassionate way (the way you said it, addressed to "you", but without the added disclaimer would qualify). You'll note, I'm not flaming you for saying that. That would be out-of-line.
    Well apparently, based on Tiassa's long diatribe against me based on a post I made months ago (I think), I am the context! Another member and I honestly had a head-scratching conversation trying to pinpoint the issue before Tiassa posted that.
    I get that based on the fact that Tiassa started the thread and proposed/voted "yes", that any "no" response can at least be implied to be directed at him, but given that the post you are referring to was directly addressed to Kittamaru, shouldn't Kittamaru, not Tiassa, have been the one to post thousands of words of flaming in response? Also, I apparently was one of the targets of the original diatribe and my original post on the issue wasn't even about quality, it was about discussion continuity - indeed, even self-deprecating, if I'm believed to be one with a short attention span. It didn't imply anything wrong with long posts, per se, just that they didn't work well in a discussion forum because people [with short attention spans] would be less likely to read them.
    No one used the word "offensive". What I find ridiculous and offensive is the continued strawman arguments. The points the "no's" have made are not complicated. You may not agree, but you should not be having any trouble understanding them.
    Post #55 was about the count, by an original "no" voter. I think you mean post #47. That's not what it said. The poster clearly indicated they see the point of "no" and changed their vote because they agree with the point. Again, this isn't a complicated thread. That wasn't a complicated post. I don't understand why these points are getting so badly misconstrued, but it seems like you (and of course, Tiassa) are making assumptions about personal motives that don't appear in the posts you are commenting on. It's an "anyone who disagrees with me must be a lying troll, no matter what their actual argument is" stance. It's ridiculous and insulting....not to mention, unprofessional.
    Can you suggest an alternate wording to the post, such that it could get across the reason for the "no", without being disrespectful? It just seems to me that any objection, not matter how blandly worded, is automatically being intepreted as disrespectful. That's not a correct interpretation and is not fair. Post #3 was no more of a disrespectful insult than what you just said to me, above.
    Well, again, I recognize that you don't believe being concise is an issue of quality and respectfully disagree.
    Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Maybe someone writes a 10,002 character post, gets caught by the limit, and deletes one superfluous word to make it fit. I see it sort of like all of those guidelines in the forum "rules" that don't get enforced. Yeah, they don't do much to change behaviors, but people should nonetheless be encouraged to follow them.
    I would love to see that. In fact, I see it as a duty of moderators to set a positive example for the forum members to follow.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member


  21. Bells Staff Member

    Russ Watters

    I won't address each of your points with quotes, doing so would result in over the 10k limit and then the sky might fall down and then I could find myself taking over into a second post and then all hell might break loose and I could find a crowd outside my house with torches and pitchforks.. At 4 in the afternoon!*

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    We obviously disagree on this point and that is fine. You are right to your opinion, as I am right to mine. We do not often get 6 pages of one post. I have been posting here for a great many years and have yet to see that. Even with the old format where we were not limited with such constraints as we are now.

    One thing I have noticed is that usually if we would address several people in one post, but with this new format, we find ourselves having to post multiple posts, one after the other, just in case they do not all fit. I find that more irritating to read personally, but that is just me.

    What I do know is that when we did not have a character limit, people did not write more than they do now.

    You are correct, no one used the word "offensive". But that does not mean that it did not come across that way.

    One thing you are incorrect about is that I do not see or understand your point of view, or that of Billvon's or Ophiolite's. I absolutely do. I would request that you understand mine and ours.

    I did not vote yes because I want to write more than I normally do or normally would. I voted yes because on the occasions where I do have to respond and it goes over the 10k limit, I find it rude and frustrating to have to split it up into little posts because I may have quoted someone's post and responded with posting a quote(s) from external sources. Worse still, if I am responding to several people, I will often have to split them all up, so I end up spamming a thread with multiple responses, because the character limit will not allow me to address everything in just one post. That is annoying to look at and read, and it is as annoying to have to do. Then of course comes the matter of context and content. As a moderator, context is very important. If I am dealing with a report, I will always quote people's posts completely and then address them. This ensures that people do not then complain that I have not read their post or that I am misrepresenting what they are saying or cherry picking. You have no idea how many times people complain because to save space and be concise, I address what I think is important in their complaint and they complain and ask why I have not addressed the rest and then tell me I suck as a moderator as a result. Then of course we do have members who demand and require that we address every single one of their posts and their points and failure to do so results in even more work down the track..

    As for the back room, quoting everything in full so that context and content is not lost when dealing about particular posters and their complaints about others is vitally important. We sometimes get into knock down fights in the backroom about particular posters or posts themselves and in those instances, we all tend to quote what we are discussing in full. So having to split up those posts is annoying, time consuming and then we end up with multiple posts again, when one post would not only look better, but also be better - especially if while in the process of posting these subsequent parts of one's post someone responds and the line, as they say, gets broken... All I can say that when that happens, I feel like my right eye twitches. You know those feelings where you just go 'aaarrgghhh'...?

    I absolutely see your point. I do not write to be wordy. I could certainly not care and just leave everything to two sentence quips and just link articles at the bottom. While that would be concise, people then complain why I have not summarised it all for them because how could I expect them to read articles or as I saw with one poster, complained that a video was linked and someone might have to watch it all.. We all try to be concise. All the time. And sometimes we are not. That is not because of lack of writing skill or lack of experience and skill in keeping it short. Sometimes, a subject, a member, a post, does require that level of attention and time. I would just like to be able to cater to those situations without what amounts to spam in a thread. And sometimes, I find that I have to remove what is human from my post just to make it fit and I think that kind of detracts from posting here.

    As I noted previously, I do not expect people to write more than they are comfortable with or want to.

    Are there alternate words that could be used where offense could not be taken or noticed? I don't know. I think what is tantamount to 'just write less' and 'I could teach you to write less' etc, was not really fair or nice. Perhaps we should all take a step back and remember that we are all actual people behind the screen and not, well, lose our collective shit over character limits.

    * Bonus points for who knows where that is from..
  22. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Intelligible is the word, not legible.

    Legiblity is writing so that something can be read easily.
    Intelligibility is writing so that something can be understood easily.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2015
    dumbest man on earth likes this.
  23. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Using legible instead of intelligible is ineligible.
    Ophiolite likes this.
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