Minimum post length

If we’re keeping score, that post was :+1: liked by seven people (now eight) who decided that an emoji reaction sufficiently captured their thoughts on the matter without needing to spam people who are using mailing list mode. Quality over quantity, I suppose.

Speaking of mailing lists, I’d favor a limit no lower than seven characters: an emoji, a space, and (EOM). It’s the best we can do to recreate the good old days of e-mail, since individual posts here don’t have subject lines.

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“Danke” is 5, “Merci” is 5. Are we going to have different limits for different languages. Why does there have to be a minimum post length at all? To me it seems we are fixing problems we didn’t have, and unfortunately this also introduces problems we didn’t have.


I guess that makes the decision clearer then: do we want people to use emoji reactions or separate posts to say “thank you” (in the relevant language)?

It occurs to me that this wouldn’t be an issue if Discourse would treat short posts the way it treats redundant links, as a warning but not an error. At least a warning would somewhat avoid the “+1” / “me too” / “OK” spam I receive constantly by e-mail from other sites like GitHub and even occasionally the OSM mailing lists.


Er, no? An emoji reaction for “+1” is available, and I guess you could mangle that into meaning +1 or “thank you” in a lot of cases. However, it’s reasonable to assume that if people just want to give a “thumbs up” reaction they will, since it’s less effort than actually writing a post to reply “+1”.

There are of course lots of short replies that simply aren’t covered in the odd 9 reactions that we are allowed to use - “-1” being the most obvious missing one.

That’s why I continued, asking:

If emoji reactions are configurable, perhaps there should be some more specific reactions than just the ones that give off approximately positive vibes. Most Slack workspaces that I’ve joined have added a custom thank-you emoji reaction, for example. In the other workspaces, people normally use :bowing_man: or :pray: instead. Even so, when someone has done a favor for you specifically, an emoji reaction does feel a bit dismissive, adequate only for the bystanders who are also glad the thing got done.

I don’t have as strong an opinion on this matter as you seem to think I do. As you say, this is not a hill for anyone to die on.

A post was merged into an existing topic: Straßennamen auch auf den Fußwegen zum Haus?

Oddly, we did have a completely empty “first post” this morning - the original version of this post. before it was edited.

It did get caught in the moderator queue because it was “posted too quickly” - I had to release it.

There’s been another one of those. I suspect they trip the first post typed too fast trigger because it would take 0ms to type an empty post.

Next example of why a minimum of 10 characters is too much:


Or another great example of why communication needs a bit more text. Because if the question had been presented sensibly, I would have understood it just like that. But without content and links, I had to read several posts to even understand the sole "Why?


Why? Thanks to the features of Discourse forum software you will find the related post either directly above the answer (or in the given case the question “why”), or if the answer/question is related to an earlier post you will find a clickable link on the right side leading you directly to this post.

To my understanding this is quite a good solution and easy to handle. Much better than to expect from every user to repeat the aforesaid in their reply to help you understand the whole context without reading the related post.

This applies all the more if Discourse prevents a (full) quote in the system in the case of directly consecutive posts in which the second post refers to the first (as in this example).

Also, a quote would not be counted in the minimum number of characters.

In order to understand a single post, it is advisable anyway - at least if you enter the discussion in the middle - to read the last posts in order to understand the content and the context.

I would also not consider it better communication in every case to summarise again in one’s own words in every reply what has been written before (in the example from at least two posts). That would cause much more traffic.

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@Tordanik First of all, thank you for abolishing the minimum character length at least once for the private messages. I found it very worrying that the forum software also interferes with my private communication.

Thank you also for your second answer, with which you unfortunately confirm my previously gained impression that the current forum governance team is not willing to reconsider the supposed compromise and does not have the courage to at least try out an OSM forum without minimum character length (until 2022 it worked just fine without it).

Another example of why the minimum post length should be abolished. Clear question, short, clear answer!

Could @SomeoneElse have worded his answer differently? Of course:

Yes, such a limit has already been considered.

Is that better communication? At least it sounds more polite.

Does @SomeoneElse have time for that right now? I don’t think so.

Would more characters have brought more information across? Quite clearly: no!

Did it save traffic? No. More characters, more traffic.

Could the question have been answered with a reaction/emoji? No.

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In this specific case (dealing with an attack on OSM’s infrastructure) I was deliberately trying not to provide too much information! :grinning:


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Can I ask a favor? We’ve reached ninety-some messages in this topic in large part because you’ve gone through the trouble of noting each instance in which someone has had to pad their message due to the limit. As a result, you’ve become the most frequent contributor to this topic, by a factor of two. Some might misinterpret your commitment as nagging or whining, which doesn’t really help the cause.

A more sustainable approach would be to mark one of your posts as a “wiki post”. That’ll allow you to edit the post at any time, not subject to any time limit. You can collect a list of such posts in one place without belaboring the point, and others can contribute too. Of course you can continue to provide separate updates about key milestones or for calling attention to a notable variation on the problem. Thanks for your consideration.


This is not the same as:

:ballot_box_with_check: looks more like a typical posting with +1 ( :+1:), which are precisely unwanted and should be prevented by the minimum number of characters. That is counterproductive.

And the fact that it worked for you also shows that it is not consistent or that the minimum number of characters can be circumvented. Then you can also omit it altogether.

I will take this into consideration.