Why bother with the minimum character requirement for replies?

So, did you turn it off? :stuck_out_tongue:

The default is 20 xters. It’s still on.

I think you got it right. There’s absolutely no value in one-word replies like, "LOL’’ or the dreaded "FIRST!’’, so setting a sane minimum character count prevents that which makes contributions worthwhile. It’s a very rare situation where you can answer meaningfully in less than twenty characters.

By giving a site’s admin the option to amend, or entirely remove, that limit it means that you’re not forcing your decision on anyone that disagrees with it. I can’t think of a fairer way to do it.


Some people are able to post with brevity

Like “lol!,” “omg!,” right?

I think it is historically useful as it discourages ‘+1’ , ‘Like’ and ‘thanks’ style posts. However, now there’s a ‘like’ button I don’t personally care so much.

True, “Like this post” takes care of all that short replies.

I’ll bite the bullet here, How are you doing it?


it took me quite a while to get this nonsense lol posted, there seems to be more constraints other then the amount of characters required[quote=“pessimism, post:20, topic:898, full:true”]
Even if it’s a configurable setting, it is still worth discussing whether it should be the default setting.

“It’s configurable” doesn’t mean it isn’t a stupid feature to begin with—especially if it’s the default setting. :slight_smile:

i think this topic has been discussed over and over again, and what we are trying to avoid with these default constraints is the post i made above. it holds no relevance to anything nore does “i feel you” or “I like you ideas” or “thank you” or “me to” or “lol”. all these things are meaningless when it comes to a discussion, if you wan to thank someone; then these constraints encourage you to maybe give a reason or two why you are thanking or agreeing with some one

Limits such as these never avoid the problem.

Users often work around them anyway by padding out with junk: I’ve seen it time and time again on mailing lists that impose limits on new to quoted text and similar, along with endless side discussions about having the problem.

IMHO, if you really want to guide the user then, as we’ve got an interactive interface here, a little ‘guidance’ message could be shown until the rule “passes” but a Reply could still be submitted at any time. (Maybe a warning is given, ala ‘rn’, requiring confirmation to post: “Your reply is quite short, are you sure that’s all you want to say?”)


I think that on top of the minimum, there should be some encouragement to answer meaningfully aside from just the limitation.

What type of “encouragement to answer” do you have in mind?

@jrg shared a good example of the general idea:

Basically some short pyschological priming to get the user off on the right footing.

StackOverflow used hints like that to keep comments in line with their usage. On Reddit, many subreddits took some pretty creative measures to encourage users not to post undesirable content. /r/atheism’s mods took a creative approch in setting up 3 separate links to post that actually end up shunting things off to different subreddits.

We may need more brainstorming and examples to do it effectively, but it is a problem worth solving for any larger forum.

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The limitation is just a computationally easy/possible way of trying to filter out junk replies. I agree that there should be encouragement to answer/contribute in meaningful ways, but I don’t think you can institute that in the forum software itself. How would the server know whether I’m making a good, valid point, or merely pasting in a paragraph or two of A Game of Thrones?

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There are some low-hanging fruit that the system is already looking for, like duplicate posts and posting too quickly and short comments.

A more creative example is 4chan’s robot9001 board (nsfw) which just blanketly prevent users from posting ANYTHING that has been posted in the past. - I don’t think we need to go to such an extreme with discourse, but the server can do a lot of things to prevent crappy content.

What I am saying is that it is not enough to simply dis-allow it, but instead to encourage people to post better in general so they aren’t compelled to get around the limitations. Its a peopleware problem.

@sam was already talking about Bayesian Analysis as a extension. This is what they do to filter out email.

I found it: first line parameter “min_post_length” in “/admin/site_settings/category/posting”
Thanks for the feature.

This is just what I was looking for.

Has the ability to set the minimum posting length to 0 been revised? I am unable to set it to 0 from the admin panel. 1 appears to be the minimum allowed value. Our board is migrating to a Discourse instance, and we are all (mostly) new to the platform. The ability to quote a post and reply without any addendum is considered socially acceptable by us. :smile: However, attempting to do so on our instance displays a message about empty posts not being allowed. It can be achieved by adding a <br> after the quote, but this is a QoL issue. Unfortunately, I cannot set the minimum post length to 0 without getting a similar message from the admin panel. There are suggestions in this thread that it was possible in the past though.

Is it possible from the CLI? I’m still picking up on how the Rails interface works.

May you show an example, please? I can’t figure out what an empty reply would look like and what it would mean.

Do you mean, you might answer someone’s question by just citing someone else from above?