How to turn off tab + space submitting a reply?

It happened to me more than once that a topic was posted even though I haven’t finished writing it, since some key combination (I don’t know which one, it always happened by accident) created the topic and/or sent a message.

This is truly annoying, especially since no follow up email is sent, when editing this unfinished post. This means that someone who mainly reads their messages by mail, will only get part of a message.

Is there any way to turn off keyboard shortcuts while creating a message/topic? (On a per user basis - maybe a checkbox in Preferences -> Interface.)

The one that you’re hitting is controlenter.

I’m happy the they are on. To make your point, however, Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts are off by default.

Nope, definitely not. My hand was not even close to the Enter key. In fact it happened when I hit some keys with either cmd, option, or control (or a combination of any of the meta keys) with my left hand. My right hand was not even on the keyboard.

I believe you that control+enter is one shortcut that triggers that behavior, but it’s for sure not the only one.

I’m not.

So what does that mean? I can’t turn them off?

P.S.: I forgot to mention: thanks for the reply.

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It is not possible to turn them off at the moment, no. This is the first time in 6 years I’ve heard anyone say it is an issue, though.

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It’s not an issue per se, but this has happened to me several times already, so I’ve noticed it. That’s all.

I’ve already started to write my responses in a text editor first, but this seems like a shitty workaround. Thus I hoped for an option, but I do understand if you do not want to add one. (Maybe not to deactivate all shortcuts, but just the one that posts the topic.)
Or maybe it’s a glitch (bug) that some other key combination (besides ctrl+enter) triggers it.

I understand. If we can reproduce it, we can fix it.

I think I found it. It’s not a shortcut, but a sequence of keys.

If you hit tab by accident and then press space the post is created/sent.

This can happen rather easily. You want to type ` and hit the TAB key instead. All following keys are ignored (which you might not notice right away) and if you then hit space… voilà.

Maybe tab shouldn’t focus the reply button. Funny thing is that the button is not even highlighted. Usually an element looks different, if the focus is on that element.

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Tab should definitely focus the reply button, it’s a major need for accessibility and keyboard navigation — the button should highlight (something similar to the screenshot below), maybe there’s an improvement we can make there. Which browser are you using?



I’m using Firefox 65.0.1 on macOS, but my button looks like this when the focus is on it:


But highlighting it would not help in my situation. If this situation occurs, tab and space are so quickly pressed after each other that highlighting would not do anything.

There are a few ways to improve the situation.

  • If cancel were the first button to focus, this would never happen. Instead a popup would show up with the typical Are you sure you want to abandon your post? message.
  • An option in preferences to
    • require control+tab to jump out of the editor and focus Reply. I’d rather be able to enter tabs in the editor anyway.
    • confirm sending the message (a similar popup like the one for canceling).
    • choose the focus order (cancel, reply) or (reply, cancel)
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Ctrl+Tab is standard browser behavior for going to the next tab, so it seems like a bad idea to override that.

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Hmm, I see this behaviour in other apps as well, for example, in Gmail, after typing an email and then hitting Tab followed by Spacebar.


Ok, let me rephrase then: a combination of tab plus something. Or something else completely, something that is not tab alone.

I don’t use the gmail web UI, so what does that mean? Gmail sends an empty email without subject and body? Not very smart, is it?

Shift+Tab is standard for tabbing in the opposite direction (in your example if you hit Tab to go from the text box to the Reply button, Shift+Tab would bring you back to the text box).

Alt+Tab is also standard Windows behavior (I can’t speak to other operating systems) for switching windows.

I’m not saying there’s no solution of course, but I don’t think you’ll find one that involves a new key combo with Tab. (But hey, I’m just a random user chiming in, so my word doesn’t mean much.)

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Tabbing to move around and space to interact are firm accessibility requirements. They should never be overridden, lest we get bombarded by many many legitimate accessibility complaints.

Sending a blank email is a legitimate thing too- many mailing lists require an email with unsubscribe in the title and no body content.

As others have said, this is the first time we’re hearing this. It’s going to be much easier for you to adjust to web conventions than for the internet at large to make allowances for you.


The Gmail solution is to have access to an undo button for some seconds.

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It’s not fair to call that an undo button, it’s deferred sending. They don’t actually send the message until the undo button disappears.

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But if the message is really sent, there is no undo. And Discourse has some similar delays built in. This notion of undo is much better than an ‘are you sure’ because you just automatize the extra (annoying) prompt.

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Isn’t that just the edit window?