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Minimum length requirement - amusing trivia

  1. Apr 20, 2013 #1

    Nugatory

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    I just [STRIKE]noticed[/STRIKE] discovered that the PF requirement for a minimum length response is four characters, which has the interesting property that "yes." is an allowable answer but "no." is not. This is actually something of a feature, as the former is more likely to be a helpful answer than the latter; indeed a single-word yes is probably the smallest possible helpful answer . Coincidence or machiavellian cleverness on someone's part?

    (Of course "yes" is too short, but the period is a small price to pay for excluding "no!")
     
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  3. Apr 20, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

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  4. Apr 20, 2013 #3

    jtbell

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    Nope. :biggrin:
     
  5. Apr 20, 2013 #4

    Evo

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    It was decided years ago to prevent short replies. I never understood why when a simple yes or no is often sufficient. You'll sometimes see a "yes' or "no" answer followed by "4 char", or dots, etc... it's pointless, IMO.
     
  6. Apr 20, 2013 #5

    Simon Bridge

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    Q. "Did I get this right?"
    A. "Yes"

    ... what has the questioner learned?
    ... what if the answer was "no"?

    There are so many ways to get something right without understanding what you did. That's also why we don't want to answer a question without, first, figuring out how the questioner understands the question.

    The one-word may be good enough to answer the question - but do we want to settle for just good enough?
     
  7. Apr 20, 2013 #6

    Evo

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    Very good points!!

    Depends on the question or statement and which forum. I'm queen of the bargain basement, quite often the correct answer is less than 4 char. :tongue: Such as "lol".

    I guess I expect answers in the science forums to be more detailed. Wishful thinking?
     
  8. Apr 20, 2013 #7

    Simon Bridge

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    Even when the short answer is strictly correct - the post is likely to be better for a little extra effort.

    The usual idea about this sort of limit is to make sure that the short response has been thought about at least a little bit when it is made. The forum is better for the restriction and at low cost.
     
  9. Apr 20, 2013 #8

    Evo

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    But it still doesn't stop responses like "yeah, sure, uh huh, okay... So it makes people that say yes or no add ...

    This is really why I've never seen the point.

    It would be nice to believe that the person that first answered "no" then proceeded to give an eloquent and meaningful reply. :smile:
     
  10. Apr 21, 2013 #9

    Simon Bridge

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    It's not supposed to stop short responses - just makes sure they are not completely thoughtless and increase the likely-hood of more informative responses. It's probab There are probably mods still around from when the forums were first set up who remember what it was like before the rule.

    Don't knock it, it works.
     
  11. Apr 21, 2013 #10

    Evo

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    That would be me. :biggrin: I've been a mentor since 2003. Members started typing "4 char". There is member Char.limit that is still here.

    It didn't make any difference, except that we would occasionally get a complaint, as we still do. It's not a big deal, people work around it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  12. Apr 21, 2013 #11

    Simon Bridge

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    Oh well - it was an effective strategy when I was running BBSs back in the day.
     
  13. Apr 21, 2013 #12

    Evo

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    That's ok. Luckily we seem to have members in the science forums that feel compelled to give lengthier answers. Many in those forums are surprised to find that there is a minimum, even some mentors have been taken by surprise. I told them that's because they don't usually type "lol" as a response to a post. :tongue:
     
  14. Apr 21, 2013 #13

    Danger

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    I remember that when I joined it was something like 8 characters, so I'd just add a bunch of ghost-written periods at the end. (ie: background colour)
     
  15. Apr 21, 2013 #14

    Simon Bridge

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    Which is probably more effort than just typing the extra five or six characters ... but also more fun :)
     
  16. Apr 21, 2013 #15

    mfb

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    I am glad that the limit does not affect usernames.

    Sometimes, everything is right, or the user just wants to check his final answer (after some discussion how to get it). A simple "yes" can say everything there.
     
  17. Apr 21, 2013 #16

    Simon Bridge

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    yes, it can.
     
  18. Apr 21, 2013 #17

    Evo

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    Lol.
     
  19. Apr 21, 2013 #18

    Danger

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    Well, the problem is that the majority of my jokes relied upon very precise wordage. Even one extra visible character would mess it up. Most exceeded the limit naturally, but sometimes a couple of letters were just right.
     
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