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Asked: Aug 28 '14 at 22:03

Seen: 874 times

Last updated: Aug 29 '14 at 11:15

I was just thinking this might be helpful. The question recently closed for this was, I thought, an interesting and genuine one. I immediately thought of a song and a quote that would easily make up the difference in required characters, but as the question was closed, naturally no editing was possible.

I am not sure if this will seem high handed of me, I don't mean it that way - I just thought that it can be rather crushing for a shy user to have a question closed, and they may not have the nerve to edit and get it reopened. Also they may not be able to think of more words, or may not understand how to add links and pictures and such. I'm just thinking that there could be many reasons why asking questions may not be as easy as it seems. I know it used to terrify me. :)

Of course, if other members could swoop in and expand on questions in this way, the questioner wouldn't learn to follow the rules, which I understand are necessary.

Just a thought. :)

asked Aug 28 '14 at 22:03

Grace's gravatar image


edited Aug 28 '14 at 22:14

It isn't about filling up space on the page. There's nothing magical about 1,000 characters (roughly 200 words). It's about making sure the questioner is as clear as possible about what they are asking.

Vague, unclear questions are bad for Inward Quest in a multitude of ways, a few of which are (randomly, off the top of my head):

  • duplicate answers get scattered around the site because everyone has to form their own opinion (guess) at what is really being asked,
  • moderators find it difficult to figure out if questions are duplicates or not or even off-topic or not,
  • they leave the (spam-preventing) karma points system open to abuse by those who might be asking questions just to accumulate points and thereby more "editing privileges",
  • and they are especially bad for our search engine rankings because the engines don't rank unfocused pages as highly.

Even though it isn't explicitly stated (and perhaps we should), anyone who pads out a question with pictures, quotes and the like, while leaving their original question still vague and unclear, is also likely to find their question being closed.

It may seem harsh but, since it was brought in, this character limit has proven to be highly effective. There is really no-one else but the original asker of the question who can make clear exactly what they are asking. A "shy user" has already taken a big step with their "nerve" in asking a question so why they wouldn't invest a few extra minutes in meeting our stated character limit requirements is something you would have to ask them. I don't believe that anyone that is capable of writing a question in English is in-capable of adding more relevant words to it.

The limit has the extra unexpected (to us) bonus of appearing to defeat virtually 100% of the OSQA-targeting spam/bot scripts out there which can't handle our unusual modification to the base software. We've observed that the majority of manual spammers (and even general troublemakers) also eventually give up because it's too much effort.


answered Aug 29 '14 at 04:37

Simon%20Templeton's gravatar image

Simon Templeton ♦♦

Thank you. I know the policy is very helpful.

(Aug 29 '14 at 11:15) Grace
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