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Please increase post size limit again above 10,000 chars

mdrejhon

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Hello,

I post huge posts.

New forum software upgrade has a smaller post size limit.

Today, I had to backspace some of my big post text I just wrote today because one of my posts exceeded 10,000 characters.

If you want me to keep posting useful posts like these (painfully trunctdated to 9975 characters), please bump the limit to 50,000 or 100,000 characters, or a minimum of 25,000. Don't stop at 20,000 -- at least one of my UrbanToronto past posts is bigger than 20,000 before the forum software upgrade, and I touch type at 140 words per minute.

Thank you :)

Mark Rejhon
 
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nfitz

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... on the other hand, Mark's posts are generally unreadable, because they are too long. Maybe putting a 200-word limit on posts would encourage brevity.
 

mdrejhon

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... on the other hand, Mark's posts are generally unreadable, because they are too long. Maybe putting a 200-word limit on posts would encourage brevity.
That's a generalization that only applies to a subset of forum members.

Not everyone finds them unreadable, but find my posts to be their favourite. Perhaps a sort of love and hate, of course, but that's what makes UrbanToronto so popular! I've also added "TL;DR" to some of them. Also, I've intentionally carefully formatted some of my big posts (see above link) to make them more readable than before.

Others do big posts too. Look at our resident GO train driver vegata_skyline, he is one of our most famous forum members, and he posted more than 10,000 characters a few times, including this one:
Positive Train Control (third post, by vegata_skyline)

Does UrbanToronto want to repel people like these too? It's a double edged sword: "Do I want to reduce those annoying long posts, or do I want to keep our best forum members like vegata_skyline?". The most enthusastic forum members like me and him, do a lot of referrals to UrbanToronto -- I tell people this is the best place in for general GTHA transportation discussion forums, including in the comments section of some mainstream papers. We aren't the comments section of the Sun newspaper.

Transportation subject matters are certainly a matter of cerebral importance -- just see those big posts made by other favorite people! The pros of not putting a post size limit can massively outweigh the cons. Just let administrators manually police the inappropriate big posts -- problem solved (Yes, I've been reprimanded for one of the posts already ;) but also complimented for many other posts in other PMs by other everyday forum members).

Keep the character limits to twitter where everybody stays to the point -- not to forums like these. :) Filtering those best posts can reduce the average IQ level of a discussion forum, as some lurkers here have almost certainly registered solely because of good posts by specific members (e.g. reading vegata_skyline's posts).

P.S. I already registered www.hamlrt.ca via GoDaddy for an upcoming Hamilton LRT blog, so I might begin to move some of my big texts offline to annoy fewer people, and post smaller here, but still -- 10,000 is way too small for star forum members (not myself). Generally, on forums throughout the Internet, star forum members tend to be master alpha in word-of-mouth helping make forums popular, so I treat them like treasure as part of my forum membership of my own forum website operations, including removing post size limits.
 
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WislaHD

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I think nfitz is joking.

I do enjoy your posts mdrejhon. Sometimes they are too big that they are unreadable and just skim through, sometimes its on a topic I find interesting so I take the time to read through them anyway. Sometimes I save them for later. Overall they are a great contribution to the forum.

I do agree with the suggestion of more tl;dr usage in your posts, some of us only have time for the brief synopsis.
 

nfitz

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I think nfitz is joking.
Mostly. Sometimes a long post may make sense; but I'd think significant distillation would lead to better communication. And often a massive detailed post is lost hours later under pages of chatter. A blog might be a better outlet.

I touch type at 140 words per minute.
With a bit of work, you should be able to hit the Guinness World Book of records. The record for sustained typing is only 150! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Words_per_minute
 

Markster

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I'd say that, once a post reaches 10,000 characters, that's a good point to step back, and take stock of what you're writing. This is a discussion forum, and trading multi-page manuscripts as "discussion" is better suited to the Humanities, not a construction/transportation/development fan community.

At the 10,000 character mark, you make a choice. Either re-write more succinctly (by far the better option), or in the case of a truly educational, informational post, break it up into multiple consecutive posts.

No one will ever consider a good info-dump that has been broken up into multiple posts to be spam. However, it will expose weakly written, overly verbose posts.

[EDIT] Please note, that while I use "you" several times in the above, that's not meant to be aimed directly at the OP. It's "you" in the general sense.
 
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PinkLucy

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For those of us who get email notifications, it now shows the entire message in the email, complete with formatted replies, photos, etc. you then have to scroll to the bottom of the email to click to go to the forum. Can messages be truncated? I really don't want to see an entire 10,000 character post in my email, nor do I particularly want to see it in a discussion forum. I agree with others, i.e., that length of post is better suited to blogs. Better to post "if you want to read my lengthy reply, click here" than to give us scroll fatigue.
 

mdrejhon

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:(

I may just very well start my own forum site (I own www.hamlrt.ca)
I seem to be well-liked enough.

In all seriousness, a 15,000 character limit would be a compromise. Most low-quality forum members are the ones that make short posts, and the long posts mainly come from multiple very-high-quality forum members who (if you do some SQL queries) are already collecting several likes, including vegata_skyline.

Do you want to satisfy 100 Sun-type low-IQ forum posters only to piss off 5 star forum posters? Find a fine balance, admins!
 

mdrejhon

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...and people could just "Part 1 of 2" / "Part 2 of 2", I guess, and only whenever there's a real good reason on good content.
(Grudging tolerance, baby!)

The siloing of forum versus blog does not always work for cerebral matters such as "Area 51: Display Engineers" (a topic area of a specific gaming forum I run, one of the many I've been involved over the years).

And we've seen those cerebral posts by a quite a few here, on Urbantoronto.

And we know some project planners have been influenced by Urbantoronto.

And we know average frustration-level of a person is higher for somebody failing after 10,000 keypresses (And losing some text) than after 100 keypresses.

And we know it's not as easy to blog as to write a forum post, especially in the hacker & two-factor authentication world (a blog account commands much higher security than a forum account; trust me on this -- from my repeated hack attempts -- and this often precludes using common CMS apps in App Store that would otherwise make blogging easier. Makes CMS selection tough, whether one likes Wordpress or Drupal or whatnot)

Obviously, using an iPad from a GoTrain, forum posts are easier as a lot of CMS interfaces (e.g. Wordpress). At a typist speed of 600+ characters per minute (120WPM at 5 keypresses per word, statistic measured by typingtest.com) -- means I type 10,000 characters in only 15 minutes, though realistically it's usually 20 minutes due to proofreads and edits.

Otherwise one does not bother, if they get barriers to expression.

If you are targetting more of a higher-than-mainstream audience, to maximize banner revenue, that's fine, I guess -- it is understandable if you're hitting say, the 98-th percentile. On the other hand, at the bottom line this really is much ado about nothing, due to the very occasional (reasonable, rare) Part 1/2-Part 2/2 post-splitting people do anyway, they're at least forced to decide if it's worth continuing to posts. But potentially losing 1,500 extra characters I typed is still a frustration-inducing moment especially on a mobile device. At least now I know to copy-and-paste -- next time -- if I see the warning. Unless the iPad runs out of memory and refreshes the page, in which case, the text becomes lost.

As a compromise, some forum admins force a "More..." below a post height, forcing people to put relevant information in the visible part of their post, or to shorten the post so everything is visible. Far less frustration inducing. Not sure if this forum software includes such a feature to reduce the amount of visible text, or to allow users to choose how much of text to show before displaying "More...", but it's a rather neat adjustable compromise in the situations that I've seen it happen.

And, most of us, all have been there, one tries to lots of text into a mobile web browser (application forms, feedback forms, bug report forms, forums, newsgroups, whatnot) then something fails in a submit, or iPad browser crashes, and we've had to start over, etc. Fewer barriers to that, considering more than 50% of people are beginning to use mobile devices to visit certain types of discussion forums (not sure if this is true for UrbanToronto). This is just an additional consideration since frustration level of this is usually over, say 100x, times bigger if you've written lots of text (10,000 characters), than a forum member bored of long posts and skipping over them.

So therein is my explanation, why siloing blog vs forum has not always worked, in all forum use-cases in the past...

That said, I do observe the new forum software is good at saving drafts.
 
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nfitz

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Do you want to satisfy 100 Sun-type low-IQ forum posters only to piss off 5 star forum posters? Find a fine balance, admins!
This post implies that the length of post is related to intelligence.

Surely the most intelligent thing to do is to distill one's thoughts down to a few brief words, rather than post novellas that few will bother reading.
 
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