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Hold on, IPS want blank posts?


bigPaws

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Tried to post this as a bug but @Andy Millne shut it. Why is IPB4 programmed in a way that allows a user to post blank (spaces only) posts? What is the benefit of allowing this which means they are unprepared to change the behaviour - even forcing just a single alphanumeric character would be better?!. 

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The reasons why have already been explained in

http://community.invisionpower.com/4bugtrack/can-edit-to-blank-post-r4698/

Please take a step back and understand that if there was an easy fix for this we would of course make the change you are requesting but in practice it is a hypothetical bug that does not actually present in real world usage and there are technical reasons why attempting to do so can actually create real issues. Please do correct me if you are seeing actual issues on your site because of this.

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We get around 1,500 posts per week, once users are aware of this they will troll. It's the nature of the web :)

Thanks @Andy Millne I couldn't work out why you closed it without comment. I wish it was an easy fix, it just seems a bit surprising such a modern script doesn't allow us to force users to at least post something - a period mark would cause less confusion than a completely blank post  - IMO

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With all due respect I think sometimes IPS forgets that with 100s of posts per day most of us large forum owners rely as much on software based methods as we do on our put upon volunteer moderators. Enforcing minimum post quantity on an edit would make things harder for trolls and anything that does is welcome when dealing with volume.

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… even forcing just a single alphanumeric character would be better?!. 

​Why?

And what if that one character is assigned a white color and posted then? Why must a pointless empty post be prevented, but any other pointless post can go through?

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We do actually have a very basic check for absolutely null posts. If you hit reply below for example without posting content it will notify that the field is required. But beyond this the development time becomes astronomic to prevent things further. The nature of a WYSIWYG editor for example can mean that a blank <p></p> could be retained as well as other invisible html elements or characters.

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We do actually have a very basic check for absolutely null posts. If you try to reply for example it will notify that the field is required.

Yeah found that, looks great. Was just hoping for similar on edit if no alphanumeric characters entered. 'Tis all :)

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You can enable edit logging to review edit history and restore if required.

You can't just check for a single character, because an empty post is returned like so:

<p>&nbsp;<p>

So lets strip tags? That'll return &nbsp; which we can unescape and show is a space.

That's OK.

Now I add a post with just a YouTube link in it. This is converted into:

<p><div class="ipsEmbeddableVideo"><iframe src=".....></iframe></div></p>

So we remove the iframe and all empty HTML containers and we're left with nothing. So when you hit "Save" you'll get an error that the post is empty even though it's not.

Same issue may show itself for codebox, quote, etc. You have to consider that we're dealing with HTML markup, not plain text.

So we could check for iframe or strip tags and check, and that will fix that one issue. But that only solves the issue with a single space. How about white text or HTML escape characters, etc? Should we continue to tirelessly add more and more code to trap "invisible" things or just be realistic and recommend that trolls are banned or moderated with the tools the suite provides?

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I get the (.) thing. But not having the warning prompt and allowing an actual blank post just encourages more blank posts. When you get the error message telling you a post cannot be left blank after you try, a user will often (but not always) put something shorter that at least keeps within the conversation.

Try to leave blank...

"This field is required"

I edit my long post I want to remove to:

"Sorry I misunderstood."

But if I never get the prompt, I'm leaving it blank. Getting the prompt tells you to add something. Sure some people add a dot, others rethink their reply. No prompt at all and a blank post is left blank.

It's a series of events.

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I get the (.) thing. But not having the warning prompt and allowing an actual blank post just encourages more blank posts. When you get the error message telling you a post cannot be left blank after you try, a user will often (but not always) put something shorter that at least keeps within the conversation.

Try to leave blank...

"This field is required"

I edit my long post I want to remove to:

"Sorry I misunderstood."

But if I never get the prompt, I'm leaving it blank. Getting the prompt tells you to add something. Sure some people add a dot, others rethink their reply. No prompt at all and a blank post is left blank.

It's a series of events.

​This.

Disallowing the easy ways such as completely empty, a space or two, or just a period mark will go a long way to prevent people from just being lazy and perhaps explain why they edit their post, like @chilihead said.

Trolls will look for more advanced ways such as using BBCode, etc. and moderation tools are nice for those kind of people, but I think the most basic limitations to make blank/tiny posts discouraged should be implemented.

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You can't just check for a single character, because an empty post is returned like so:

<p>&nbsp;<p>

So lets strip tags? That'll return &nbsp; which we can unescape and show is a space.

​My previous post is completely empty (without &nbsp, only p tags). I was enter b bbcode. Is it a bug?

<div data-role="commentContent" itemprop="text" class="ipsType_normal ipsType_richText ipsContained" data-controller="core.front.core.lightboxedImages">
	<p></p>
</div>
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IMHO, because there are a billion trillion ways to generate an 'empty' post, from simply entering a period, to entities, to text matching bg color, etc.

I'd argue it's a waste of dev resources for no practical benefit, personally.

​So let's not do something because it won't be a 100% perfect solution? Never mind that it's much better than no solution.

 

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