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All Members: New Post Character Count Restrictions (updated)

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posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 12:33 PM
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Wow! How many times does something have to be explained?

All of my posts vary in length -- some are longer than others. I very rarely find that I have to exceed my limits. If I do find that I "need" more character space to express my opinion -- and it is an opinion with some important relevancy -- I have two options;

1. I can contact a mod, explain my situation and seek an extension or
2. I can "break up" my argument or opinion into several, individual posts.

I can't understand how better to explain this rather simple concept. Sure, it may be "inconvenient" but, really, it' not that inconvenient. If anything, the character limits will prompt members to become more concise and "to the point" in their writing.

Finally, I would suggest that ATS members take the time to reflect that this IS their site because they choose to be here. Just ask yourself why you are on ATS. Could it be that you come to ATS because it is easily the best, moderated, discussion forum around? If you believe this to be true, then it is incumbent upon all members to accept this change is a matter of necessity. Ultimately, it is clearly obvious that this is better for the site to continue running smoothly and efficiently.




posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 12:33 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
Rather than one large post, create 2 shorter ones. How is this such a big deal? How is this restricting the users of ATS?

Take a look at my first post on this thread, www.abovetopsecret.com...
That's obviously just an example, but a post like that will no longer be possible without having to break it up into smaller parts, which IMO is crappy. My problem with this new regulation is that I feel like we the members are being tooled to fix bandwidth problems. Our material is what draws their traffic, if we limit our material, or eat it up with so many rules I have to do a word count before I post something, then that seems like the wrong way to handle it. The rules are beginning to become burdensome, and it seems a new one crops up daily here lately. This is a discussion board, not some collegiate aptitude proving grounds. Some folks don't know that an appositive is supposed to be seperated by comas, or how to put together a bibliography for their post, but it's getting to that point.
Put yourself in a new members shoes for a second, say he wants to write up a post entitled "I Don't Like Flavored Marshmellows", this poor guy will quickly find himself trying to decide what forum to put it in, how may words he has used to say it, won't be able to use a picture of a blue marshmellow, and will quickly find some other members demanding to know his sources for his opinion and calling for his thread to be closed because the poor guy was his own source of information. I think all these rules are ultimately going to cut out alot of otherwise discussion worthy material because people are going to be intimidated out of posting for fear of violating the rules and regulations. It just seems to me that ATS is becomming more and more bureaucratic, to the point of inconvenience. I don't have a problem with the number of characters, I have a problem with the trend.

[edit on 25-4-2006 by twitchy]



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 12:35 PM
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w00t maybe this'll stop the quote whores?



5948



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 12:39 PM
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Lysergic probably has no fears of exceeding his limits. As talking in l33t would probably be very difficult for thousands of charachters. I would love to see an effort though.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by benevolent tyrant
1. I can contact a mod, explain my situation and seek an extension or
2. I can "break up" my argument or opinion into several, individual posts.


So, the options are to cripple the flow and strength of your post, or hope a mod is around for the forum you want to write in. Not quite user friendly, is it?

To me, what this breaks down to is a an enforcement issue. the character numbers tend to be high in a few places- 'quote' threads, debate, and writing threads. Posts like the Rebel Ridge are not particularly common- not nearly so common as excessive back and forth quoting. Perhaps, instead of hamstringing everyone, we should have better enforcement of these policies. No offence to my mod homeboys, we all know you do your damnedest to make sure this place runs proper. But, i can't help but think you might be in over your heads with the current volume on the board. I don't know, but I really can't think of any excessive posts that have happened since...well, I don't know.

DE



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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Cast Of Characters

I'm speaking strictly here as a member, not a moderator. I'm also speaking as the King (possibly the Queen, but at least the Jack) of Long Posts on ATS.

Well, you know what I mean. As I like to say: I'm not a person to use one word where twenty will do.


I just found out about this policy a little while ago. What's my initial reaction?

No problem!

SO has laid the case out nicely. The problem and solution have been explained clearly, and I'm satisfied that this policy is being implemented in the best interests of ATS.

I'm also satisfied that appropriate exceptions can and will be made for special cases, such as the Collaborative Fiction forum, Debates, Conspiracy Masters, Sponsored Forums and other cases where longer posts can be expected.

As problems are identified, I'm sure the administrators will exercise the same reasonable judgment they always do in addressing them.

Let's try this system out and see if this is really as draconian as some seem to be suggesting.

I suspect the effects will not be quite as apocalyptic as might be assumed at first blush.


Besides, only a small fraction of my posts (a mere 87%) exceed 3,000 characters in length.






N.B. This MajicPost® is 1303 characters long, including formatting characters and smilie tags.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by Majic
Let's try this system out and see if this is really as draconian as some seem to be suggesting.

Draconian? No, actually the word I used was bureaucratic, but thanks for adding an element of melodrama while completely missing my point.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 01:16 PM
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Enter The Dragon


Originally posted by twitchy
Draconian? No, actually the word I used was bureaucratic, but thanks for adding an element of melodrama while completely missing my point.

I wasn't speaking to you in particular, but if you want to assume the expression applies to you, I can't stop you.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 01:24 PM
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Some feel that the restriction will limit speech, yet here we are on page 3 of a thread discussing how our speech will be limited.


Can you say Irony?



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 01:31 PM
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Chain posting sounds like a win-win to me. People get to use as many words as they wish, and run up their post counts and scores (and the scores of the threadstarter), as long as the server can handle it.

Make that win-win-win. How can that be draconian?

Maybe some post compositions could benefit from the Five Paragraph Essay?




Sample Outline for a Five-Paragraph Essay
This is in relation to "The Hazards of Movie going"

Title: The Hazards of Moviegoing

1. Introduction
1. Introductory statement
2. Thesis statement: I like watching movies but I prefer watching them at home.


2. Body
1. First Supporting Idea (Topic Sentence): just getting to the theater presents difficulties
1. bad weather
2. long drive and limited parking space
3. long waiting to buy ticket
2. Second Supporting Idea (Topic Sentence): facing the problems of the theater itself
1. old theater's problems such as smelly carpet, worn-out seat, etc
2. new theater's problems such as smaller size, noise from next movie theater, etc
3. both floors will be rubber-like dirty at the end of the movie


3. Third Supporting Idea (Topic Sentence): Some of the patrons are annoying
1. bad behavior such as running, talking loud, etc
2. human noise and disturbance

3. Conclusion
1. Closing statement
2. Restate thesis: I prefer to watch movies at home where it is comfortable, clean and safe.


source



(2125 characters)

Oh, and don't forget the zinger... eh, clincher: I can make my own popcorn at home.


[edit on 25-4-2006 by psyopswatcher]



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:00 PM
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Restrictions on the size of posts? no, no censorship here.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by DeusEx
So, the options are to cripple the flow and strength of your post, or hope a mod is around for the forum you want to write in. Not quite user friendly, is it?


My thoughts as well... I checked, and these posts would no longer be possible:

FLUORIDATION: A conspiracy so old, we think it's normal
A Conspiracy Against Children: Exactly who is out of control?

I'm not sure splitting them up would have the same impact.

I understand the reason for the change, but think it unfortunate some other solution could not be found. No matter how you cut it, this will diminish the look & feel of some of the best threads on the board.

Otherwise, this new policy should have very little impact on 99% of all other posts.

I guess we'll just have to see how this goes over time... I hope this site is not becoming a victim of its own success...




[edit on 25-4-2006 by loam]



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:16 PM
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However, will there be an automatic character count system to keep track of how many characters that you type?

Ceci



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:16 PM
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Damn loam, I was just about to give you a WATS vote for what you said, then you edited it out. I think your words were this board has become a victim of it's own success, I don't think it could have been said any better.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by twitchy
Damn loam, I was just about to give you a WATS vote for what you said, then you edited it out. I think your words were this board has become a victim of it's own success, I don't think it could have been said any better.




I was slow in completing my full edits.... (damn phone)

Actually, twitchy, it's still in there....just wanted to be very clear...


[edit on 25-4-2006 by loam]



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:33 PM
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Originally posted by loam
My thoughts as well... I checked, and these posts would no longer be possible:
A Conspiracy Against Children: Exactly who is out of control?
I'm not sure splitting them up would have the same impact.

In reality, that thread is an example of part of the problem. While an excellent topic and post for ATS to discuss, it has become somewhat popular.

The initial post is just over 12,000 characters (much of it external quotes), and a quick database test indicates it takes an average of .32 seconds to format that post alone for display. We're looking at more powerful database servers, but it may not completely solve the problem as our server is currently running at about 62% capacity... so .32 seconds is close a best case for that post.

The issue is common and involves an art of compromise to prevent diminishing returns for everyone. All popular board software ships with the means to limit character counts in posts, and many boards have tougher limits than we've just launched (no sliding scale). Anyone familiar with the code involved in running search-and-replace and regular expression replacements in a large string of text will tell you that performance slows exponentially as the size of the string increases (including the amount of memory that needs to be reserved for the operation). Adding more hardware (in progress) will alleviate the issue to some degree, but will not eliminate the problem.

If you spend some time reviewing the services and features available on other boards in our size/traffic category, we far and away more tools, options, and perks for members. However, one thing we always mindful of is the efficient performance of the site... because when it slows or crashes, no perk, option, or tool can make up for lost access to content.

We're looking at migrating to a database server with 2 Dual Core Opteron 265 processors and 6 gigs of RAM and gigabyte optical networking. (For those "in the know", it's a smoking machine). This new server may allow modification of these limitations. Until we get it up and running, we won't know for sure.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:34 PM
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You have voted loam for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have one more vote left for this month.


Alrighty then. I think you pretty much summed up my concerns with that statement. All these new rules, it just seems overwhelming to me and I have been here for a couple years now, I can imagine what it would be like to come to this site fresh out of nowhere and try to filter what you want to say through all the rules and regulations. You're ultimately going to scare people out of posting.
Scroll through the Board Questions & Business pages and try to look at that page from the eyes of somebody who just wants to come here and discuss something.

Magic just out of a morbid curiosity, who exactly were you so ambiguously referring to then?



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 02:49 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
The issue is common and involves an art of compromise to prevent diminishing returns for everyone. All popular board software ships with the means to limit character counts in posts, and many boards have tougher limits than we've just launched (no sliding scale). Anyone familiar with the code involved in running search-and-replace and regular expression replacements in a large string of text will tell you that performance slows exponentially as the size of the string increases (including the amount of memory that needs to be reserved for the operation). Adding more hardware (in progress) will alleviate the issue to some degree, but will not eliminate the problem.

If you spend some time reviewing the services and features available on other boards in our size/traffic category, we far and away more tools, options, and perks for members. However, one thing we always mindful of is the efficient performance of the site... because when it slows or crashes, no perk, option, or tool can make up for lost access to content.

We're looking at migrating to a database server with 2 Dual Core Opteron 265 processors and 6 gigs of RAM and gigabyte optical networking. (For those "in the know", it's a smoking machine). This new server may allow modification of these limitations. Until we get it up and running, we won't know for sure.


I think all that you say, here, is fair...


Honestly, the only way we are going to know if this new policy is a problem is to test it out over time....

I'm sure we are all willing to be patient and see how this goes.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 03:27 PM
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Propitious Complexity


Originally posted by twitchy
Scroll through the Board Questions & Business pages and try to look at that page from the eyes of somebody who just wants to come here and discuss something.

I share your concern about this. There is a lot all members are expected to know about posting on ATS, and it can be daunting.

This comes on top of the feeling of intimidation many new members describe with respect to the "Deny Ignorance" culture and level of scrutiny all posts on ATS are routinely subjected to.

Maybe not a shark tank, per se, but it's well known that if you post something dodgy on ATS, you're probably going to be called on it.


I want to do what I can to make life easier as both a member and a moderator, but there are reasons for everything, including the complexities of posting on ATS.

After all, the Internet abounds with examples of what forums which don't have such high standards are like.


The Cheerleader's Retort

I have often been a critic of various decisions on the part of the ATS administrators, but as I have come to better understand what motivates those decisions, I have become more of an insufferable fanboi, to the chagrin of many (including the admins, I think).


That doesn't mean I think they're always right, but it does mean I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

ATS is a work in progress, and this is just one step on a very long road.

Will there be problems? Sure. But we can still enjoy the ride.

After all, what's the worst that can happen? That SO will flip the wrong switch, the database will explode in flames and we'll all be killed?


I'm willing to take my chances.


In The Know


Originally posted by twitchy
Magic just out of a morbid curiosity, who exactly were you so ambiguously referring to then?

I was addressing those who seem to be suggesting that this restriction is draconian.

As is my custom, who that may be is left as an exercise for the reader.






2065 characters for this post, by the way.



posted on Apr, 25 2006 @ 04:14 PM
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5000 to 7000 characters is a good limit. Honestly anything larger than that and you tend to lose readers. If people are having to scroll to read a post you've probably lost them. It is also a good indication that you've probably pasted too much information in your post. If you limit your quotes from sources to a paragraph or two you should be fine.




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