Apple 3.0 character limit

The comment stream is getting too harsh for my taste. And too long a slog.

To calm the waters—and streamline the reading experience—I’d like to impose a character-count limit. Think of it as a traffic calming device, like a speed bump.

But it’s your conversation. You tell me. Is 500 characters (75 words) too few? Is 1,500 characters (225 words) too many?

See also: Apple 3.0 is a politics-free zone

UPDATE: Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I’ve taken the liberty of posting — without prejudice — some character counts so you can see what 500 and 1,500 words look like.

33 Comments

  1. Jacob Feenstra said:
    I would rather see them a little on the short side. For me 75 words is too short, but 225 words is definitely too long. Maybe 175? I myself rarely read the whole thing, even when I admire the writer. Let’s take the time… to craft short messages. Or to draw lessons from Pascal: I have made this longer than usual because I didn’t have time to keep it short. (Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.)

    2
    May 18, 2020
  2. David Emery said:
    And now for a different view: I’ve enjoyed some of the long posts, where a topic has been explored.

    I do agree we’ve gotten a bit snappish, but I’m not convinced restricting the length of posts will fix the tone of posts.

    If people really want to toss soundbites back and forth, they can to to Twitter.

    5
    May 18, 2020
  3. Jonny Tilney said:
    Let us vote for those allowed to post longer than 150 words.

    0
    May 18, 2020
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    The length of characters has little to do with calming the threads. One can offend another in writing a few characters as in writing a compendium. What is called for is treating others with the respect and dignity they deserve by avoiding name calling or by denigrating another’s point of view. Commenters all need to agree to disagree at times.

    As far as politics in the comments, much of that is relative to the subject blogged. Candidly, politics impacts a global company like Apple easily. We see that with the imposed trade tariffs.

    I read every individual’s comment in its entirety because I desire to hear what another has to say whether I agree with him or her. This is how I learn.

    Some folk are loquacious and others are laconic in writing their comments. I welcome all they have to say. I will take time to read their comments because they took time to write their comment, and for that reason it must be important for them to say.

    I always assumed that others who prefer brief, concise statements or opinions and find a comment too extensive to read would do what we do with emails that we may not be interested in reading: delete them and move on except with comments, skip them.

    In summary, it is not the length of one’s comment that calms the waters or makes the comment stream harsh. It is exercising judicious judgement to treat all others with respect and dignity they deserve whether we agree or disagree with their views; and, avoiding denigrating views of others not congruent with our own.

    When individuals no longer are able to articulate fully their views, they stop talking.

    6
    May 18, 2020
    • katherine anderson said:
      Beautifully put Jerry, as are all your posts.
      I just signed on to PED30 for another year so I could affirm your comment, and go back to reading them … Last few months I wanted a break from Apple news, especially the focus on shareholder value, so don’t know about the harshness in the comment section, but it seems to me Philip’s site and short posts are designed to stimulate free discussion, insights and observations among commenters … Phillip starts his stories, but his commenters are as much a part of the telling. This is what is unique and fulfilling about Philip’s posts and the new and better journalism designed like Apple, with the user experience at the forefront.

      7
      May 18, 2020
      • katherine anderson said:
        Sometimes Jerry’s comments are longer than that; and that’s fine too, for those of us who read them … sometimes even printing them off to save them

        1
        May 18, 2020
  5. Bart Yee said:
    IMO, a character limit will work but for those of us with more to say, or just being a little wordy or use data, wouldn’t we just use multiple posts?

    That said, moderation is always difficult – I own/moderate one newsgroup site and belong to three others with moderation. I prefer sites which set up ground rules and consequences for abusing or crossing those rules. Paraphrasing one site: “It is PED’s living room (virtually) he is allowing us into as guests, so it’s his house rules, even if we are paid subscribers. As such we adhere to his rules.” Otherwise, we could be subject to moderation of posts, warnings (directly and in threads), time outs, suspension, temporary or permanent bans.

    On smaller sites it may be one or two people moderating, on large sites like AudioKarma or BikeForums, it’s literally teams, and a thankless job at that.

    I would prefer a larger limit, as you can see by my post.

    4
    May 18, 2020
  6. Kenny Kruger said:
    Agree with Jerry. I learn here by reading. Type away!
    If a thread gets out of control, close the comments.

    3
    May 18, 2020
  7. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    Tone, in two words or a bajillion, can be inferred even if not explicitly stated. I just swipe up and swipe up for lengthy posts if my interest isn’t held (that doesn’t mean I might not go back & read in its entirety) when I want to read other comments. But if I pick up the tone, especially the negative ones , that can resonate with me, for the entirety of the day or more.

    Power of the word and all.

    There’s reasons for saying what we say, but let the topic or opinion or data or whatever become the point of dispute debate, let’s just not make it a personal jab against the person who said it.

    5
    May 18, 2020
  8. Joe Murphy said:
    I advocate taking responsibility for our words, actions and responses. Including limiting snide remarks, disparaging personal comments while also not taking things personal. This is where limits are best. I like, learn and enjoy reading others comments. If one is too long I quit reading it.

    3
    May 18, 2020
  9. Gianfranco Pedron said:
    FINALLY! YESSSS!

    500 characters is plenty.

    I find it disrespectful to Philip, who has spent decades building a loyal readership, starting his own blog, that someone should ride his coattails and highjack his well earned and curated soapbox.

    If you can’t say it in less than 500 characters, then go start your own f*%=~ blog and stop usurping someone else’s hard work.

    Sorry for the harsh words but I dislike freeloaders even if they do pay their hundred bucks.

    I know, I know, Philip but somehow I still have access and I just couldn’t bite my tongue on this issue. If you can get this crap sorted out I’ll gladly pay my dues.

    Ooops! Did I go over 500 characters?

    5
    May 18, 2020
  10. Fred Stein said:
    1500 characters is OK. 500 is too short.

    Tim Cook provides an excellent role model for communication. Factual, fast, and non-inflammatory. He never indulges in speculations, opinions, or rants.

    6
    May 18, 2020
  11. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    Thank you, Gianfranco, for talking about subscriptions.

    I’ll be honest.
    I subscribed because … It’s the smart folks & their comments as to what I look forward to here.

    I finally joined because I wanted to be part of this blog family.
    It’s like Thanksgiving week (pre-COVID-19) – I love the talks, debates, advice, opinions, stories, and learnings shared between family members. And we are always fighting for air time, at times just interrupting to force “my” talk to air.
    Be nice if an electronic version of that was possible.

    Hated it when one of those dinners got ugly on occasion, sometimes someone left crying or stormed off so angry. That hurt can last years, I’m sorry to say.

    I hope we keep the hurtful stuff out (or try to control it, please) and continue with healthy sharing, advice, opinions, and debates. Come on!

    6
    May 18, 2020
    • Gianfranco Pedron said:
      I agree.

      All I’m saying is that paying to eat at the wonderful PED3.0 buffet doesn’t give one the right to set up a hot dog stand in his parking lot.

      2
      May 18, 2020
  12. Randy McCleary said:
    As in many ‘blog’ ecosystems, readers resonate with the author’s thought, prose and thinking. We agree, disagree or find subtle fault. Sometimes we find duality where none exists. We value alternative narratives to challenge our bias and viewpoints. Good communication elevates good decorum, until it doesn’t. Quips, insults, zingers attempt good communication. As a reader village remember that long prose or terse reply, we share a single home.

    Thanx PED for allowing this space to exist. -RJ

    3
    May 18, 2020
  13. Jim Fournier said:
    500 is plenty as far as I am concerned.

    0
    May 18, 2020
  14. Peter Kropf said:
    I enjoy almost all the comments, even those that are a bit harsh. However, I know occasionally you’ve stepped in and removed comments that are too malicious, off-topic, political, whatever.

    Regarding “The comment stream is getting too harsh for my taste. And too long a slog.”

    One idea to consider is to leave things as they are and recruit some volunteer moderators to remove some of the burden of policing and policy from your shoulders. Volunteer moderation works well for more than a few other sites.

    1
    May 18, 2020
  15. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    “If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn’t thinking.”
    — George Patton

    “Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument.”
    — (unknown)

    “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”
    — Abraham Lincoln

    “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.”
    — Oscar Wilde

    4
    May 18, 2020
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      “Respect eliminates hate.“
      — Tony Bennett

      0
      May 18, 2020
  16. Alessandro Luethi said:
    I feel that Gianfranco’s comment can seem a bit rude… but he happens to express the same thing I was thinking again and again about the long posts.
    On the other hand some of the long posts are really worth reading…
    Generally I prefer short and concise! And if it goes out of control I agree with Kenny, shut down comments.

    1
    May 18, 2020
    • Gianfranco Pedron said:
      Alessandro, the rudeness in my comment was not without forethought. Heaven forbid that I should be mistaken for a “snowflake”. Unfortunately that rudeness accurately and concisely expresses my frustration with what is slowly becoming the new “normal”.

      My issue is not with all lengthy posts but those wherein a commenter repeatedly hijacks the comments section to use as his personal blogspot. I find that rude and disrespectful.

      2
      May 18, 2020

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