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How do you stop members from posting walls of text?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Alfa1, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    There is nothing stopping or correcting members posting walls of text. To many people such walls of text are simply unreadable or very annoying. So how do you avoid this?
    Does this need an addon to be developed?
  2. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    Umm...if you don't like long posts in your forum would you not just use Maximum Message Length within admin.php?options/list/messageOptions
    Rob likes this.
  3. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Or is it more to do with the lack of sentences and paragraphs?

    It wouldn't be possible to deal with that with an add-on as it would be impossible to program an algorithm which could analyse the text and break it up in the correct positions.

    I find that members who post like that tend to get very few responses.
    You can always contact them in private and make a few suggestions to them as to how to make their posts more readable.
    Alfa1 likes this.
  4. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    @Brogan is correct that it is about members posting long messages without line breaks. The same members also often post without punctuation.
    On a big board its not really feasible to contact every member who needs to improve formatting.
    In terms of functionality that could improve this, a script could check the text on submission and in absence of line breaks ask the user to add line breaks.
  5. James

    James Well-Known Member

    An addon could potentially be made to check for line breaks and if none exist display a message stating "your post may be unreadable, consider using paragraphs"
  6. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    I think it doesn't matter, some people take lots of time to plan a well thought out and worded post and no one responds or likes it, and some people make 3 word messages in condescension of that same message and tons of people like it and respond to the troll comment.

    Personally I would rather remove the short trolling messages because if I wanted to read trollish one-liners I would be an active member of FB or twitter.

    In the end this is a preference thing and like I have always said, if you are not willing to help fix what you personally believe is a problem without adding a different problem than it doesn't matter...peter paul and robberies and all that.

    The problem is technically three sentences is quite fine for a paragraph like above and really if it is one paragraph the breaks aren't even needed or appropriate.

    Since not everyone thinks that way or alike in any event...

    A text analysis system is possible but it is not a simple thing and it will add overhead and that type of thing is a system which is best suited for an API service and to be honest it would probably cost more a year in requests to use a decent service than a copy of XF+renewal. Anything simple and generic would interfere with normal acceptable posting activity probably pissing legit users off and thus it is not a reality unless you want to put up the coin for the development and what would most likely be a rate plan with an outside service.

    In the end I still have only seen systems which return an analysis of the text and not any corrective replacements so the best you would be able to do is force feedback on posts to users when an unacceptable quality threshold has been passed, maybe like a notice that doesn't go away until they edit the post and make it nice, or just plain hide it from everyone other than the posting member...which will probably piss people off if not instantly then eventually.
  7. James

    James Well-Known Member

    Yeah I understand your point but if you relegate the processing of the addon to javascript and only start checking for line breaks after the messages has >X characters (or lines) it would interfere less than an addon that always displayed.
  8. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    It wont work...the script would have to account for the context of words to know where to line break. I mean if you don't care and can whip it so your people don't care either and it works for you as a simple fix to what you consider a problem then go for it, I just feel doing it half way will add more problems rather than fixing anything.
  9. James

    James Well-Known Member

    You're considering an addon in a more complicated method. The idea I had in mind is a simple "if post has x characters and no line break then display message". I agree an addon to solve this would need to be very advanced but an addon to detect if a post of 4000 characters has a line break wouldn't be as difficult. While this may not solve a problem, it may encourage users to reformat their post.
    Alfa1 likes this.
  10. Hoffi

    Hoffi Well-Known Member

    I do ... nothing. Why should I? If it annoys the other users, no one will reply.
  11. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    I mean it all depends on the type of site you run, if people are at a place casually they are not going to want to be told what to do VS an open marketplace where you can set rules for postings and people can comply or gtfo like an auction or classifieds system (ebay, any newspaper's site classified section). If people are not selling through you or otherwise making money with you and they frequent your site anything done to impede them participating could have a negative effect for you.

    What you are suggesting could be done (detect breaks and force notices which can't be dismissed in node ids containing a users posts which match that criterion until they edit those posts) but I really think it would just taste bad to many folks and discourage them from posting altogether, this is in a broad sense for many sites...though I can see cases where it could work just fine (as in the membership benefits directly from it).
    James likes this.
  12. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    With a wall of text I mean 60 lines without line breaks and often without punctuation.
    People generally do not reply to posts with a wall of text. Except for comments that the wall of text sucks.
    So we can either delete such posts or try to get people to reformat. I already run scripts that check the post content upon submission and informs the user in case something is not allowed. (without submitting the post) If coded well its no problem in terms of overhead. And users do not have a problem with it. I guess that's simply the way to go.
  13. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    If it's just a matter of spacing out punctuated sentences and you don't want to offload requests to a text analysis api you could literally insert the breaks with js on pageload in what you deem appropriate places and it's probably less hassle than trying to change people with standard messages and warnings.

    If I am posting on someones forum and I get a message that tries to force me to rewrite my words when none of my words break any rules of conduct...I am out, jussayin.
  14. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I think you can only guide members so much. We have a members guide to increasing their responses -- some use it, some don't. Like above... it is difficult to enforce unless you make it part of your ruleset -- then staff have more to do.

    I used to have this implemented as part of basic grammar use... with more mobile users now than desktop -- it got difficult enough that we stripped it from our rules.
  15. aker2k

    aker2k Member

    Well, someone who posts walls of text probably is more willing to spend more time in your site, don't see it as something completely negative. Make a post encouraging well formated posts, organized ideas.

    Explain them the benefits of making their posts more readable.

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