How long is too long for a forum post?
1 sentence or less
4.7% (4)
4.7% (4)
5-10 sentences
4.7% (4)
4.7% (4)
10-20 sentences
10.6% (9)
10.6% (9)
20-50 sentences
25.9% (22)
25.9% (22)
50-100 sentences
17.6% (15)
17.6% (15)
100 or more sentences
9.4% (8)
9.4% (8)
other
25.9% (22)
25.9% (22)
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Poll: tldr; How long is too long?

I have a tendency to write really lengthy posts. However, I know many people can't actually be bothered reading a huge essay constantly.
Now, I understand that people might get bored trying to read a 5000 word essay as part of a forum post, but a while back someone accused me of writing a 'lengthy' post for writing all of about 5 sentences.

That got me thinking... How long is TOO long for most people to bother reading? Should you limit replies on a forum to a single sentence? A paragraph? A couple of paragraphs?
(The above was about the length of what I was told was a 'lengthy' post.)

When does 'this is long' become 'I can't be bothered reading any more of this'?

So, what do you you all think? How long should a forum post be?

After about 3/4 of an A4 because by that point it seems that the poster is just trying to bludgeon you into submission.

If I have to scroll to read your entire post, it's too long.

By my rule, you have approximately 30 lines of text for your post (with estimated 2 sentences per line, you're looking at about 60 sentences before it's TLDR).

This is a discussion forum; not a blog.

It really depends on how it's broken up.

If it's just a huge wall of text with no paragraphs or pictures to break things up a bit it kind of makes me not want to read it.

Pretty much taken up the entire height of your computer screen and even more that you have to scroll down to read the rest of it!
This is including if the person did added spaces for the paragraph and added images aswell.

to me it depends how many points the user is trying to put across, if it is just one point and an A4 page, too long. but if it is several points on an A4 page then it might not be all that bad

I can't quite put a number on it but when it starts to look more like an essay than a forum post, then you're not doing a very good job of getting your point across. It's not coherent enough

Once you repeat yourself.
More than 10 lines with no line breaks
Once you commit any fallacy
Once you stray to a topic that no longer even relates back to the original topic

A well thought 500 sentence document is easier to read than a massive text wall of you making one single point over and over again for 10 sentences.

I'm sorry I didn't finish reading the first post...too long...lol seriously though, It depends, If it's something that interests me, then I don't mind reading pages and pages of text just to make one point.

If it's something interesting or written well, I'll read it. If it's on a topic I don't care about, the formatting sucks or I think I know all the information, I skip it.

tippy2k2:
If I have to scroll to read your entire post, it's too long.

That's a good rule of thumb to use.

If it takes up about 3/4th's of my screen then I probably won't read it. If I have to scroll to see the entire thing then that's even worse. I do read some long posts from time to time but those are almost always posts in the RP forum since those posts are usually meant to be longer than most posts.

Too often I feel I write too long posts but that's because I try looking at several points and giving some background to each, instead of spewing several sentences that I would feel are inadequate to get what I'm saying across.

At least I use paragraphs. If I see a single paragraph that takes at least half my screen, my alarm bells start ringing. If it's longer than that, I might skim it but not read it thoroughly. If it's a block of text bigger than my screen, I won't read it, unless somebody quoted it further in the thread (preferably just parts).

But as long as there are paragraphs, or at least some well placed white space, then I have little problem with a post. Still, if it's more than a screen, I might skim it to see if it's worth reading.

I can't say exactly how many sentences there would be. I voted 50-100 as a guess.

tippy2k2:
If I have to scroll to read your entire post, it's too long.

Damn right.

I have a pretty big screen though, so you can fit quite a lot onto it...

Daystar Clarion:
It really depends on how it's broken up.

If it's just a huge wall of text with no paragraphs or pictures to break things up a bit it kind of makes me not want to read it.

What Clarion said.

If it's broken up in nice paragraphs, well typed out, is interesting and has a pink shiny bow on it then it doesn't matter how long it is.....

Note the important part....

It has to be interesting.

A 32 paragraph typed out explaining the contents of your sock drawer isn't interesting. Just an example.

However if it's just one large block of text then it doesn't matter if it's telling me how to make the tastiest chocolate muffin of all time i'm still not going to read it.

If it's over 20 lines, I'd say. One thing that really annoys me is when people quote an article then have about one sentence asking what everyone's thoughts are. The article should be supplementing the OP in theory.

Interesting...

Several people have mentioned having to scroll...
A few have related it to A4 paper...

I myself used lines of text as a measure.
Of course, all of these have the issue that if different people have bigger or smaller screens, different screen resolutions, or different fonts, you get different results.

Oh well. I never was too good at being concise. But at least it doesn't sound like anyone's too extreme on what they consider too much to read.

Went with "Other"

To me it depends on content, if you have many points to make, then it should be as long as it needs to be.

Also: You should have had 140 Characters as a choice, the stupids cant tell the difference between mediums of communication.

Depends on how it's written, what the topic is, and how the topic is being handled.

It depends on a lot of things - how it's formatted, what the topic is, how you're writing "sounds", the content of your post, etcetera etcetera.

A good unit of measure is to click preview and ask yourself - "is this long? Would I read this?" If yes to the first or no to the second, either cut down the post or add a TL;DR

TL;DR Depends.

Depends on the topic. Some things warrant lengthy discourse, others just a sentence or two. I try to avoid writing essay length responses to anything.

If its a wall of text on a subject I know nothing about or care very little about, I won't read it.

If it is something I'm interested in, I'll usually read most, if not the whole thing if it is well written and formatted. If those parameters are met there is no limit for me.

That most people's limit seems to be about the same as most news articles, I'd say it makes sense. Anything more is an essay.

Though I do hate it when someone says TL:DR and goes on to offer an opinion anyway... fucks me right off...

Depends on the post itself. In general chat (games, news, off-topic), if the post is about 50 sentences long, it's stretching it a bit. Something like role-play though, it can go further but it has to be not trying to just be long, it has to be relevant.

If people had any sort of sense, as long as it is, as long as it's interesting.

But the average internet opinion is that, although we're all just killing time here, anything more than a sentence ain't worth reading.

Depends on how it's written.

I won't even bother with the first sentence if I can see it's been written by someone trying to impersonate a 5-year-old.

It's not up to me to struggle through an OP's mess of a post.

There are plenty of times though where I'll only read a portion of an OP and reply anyway. It's always worked so far.

What Daystar said. Being more literate than many, I don't mind reading a well-formatted post, but I will ignore huge blocks of solid text. The poster's avatar also enters into the equation, because an ugly or disturbing avatar has the potential to cause me to ignore that user's posts entirely.

I use the 1 full screen rule. Unless I can see 3 paragraphs on the screen, then I'll give ya a skim. I'm just not all that patient

The wall is filled with a persons rants that could be summed up with two words. They are trying to say the that the game sucks and it has bad controls. it goes on and on, you have to keep scrolling to see the rest of it. Make sense in some parts, then go off the rails and rant about bullshit you don't care about. Okay so it feels like a poorly edited movie that they think is great. They don't care that the camera work is shit and the actors can't act. They don't care that their thoughts only grossed half of what it cost. Everyone that comes after them is met is shot down because they can't see their brilliant mind at work. Ranting train is coming to a complete stop, all hands and pocket protectors inside.

Depends on how well it's written and if it interests me enough to read the rest. If it's boring but short I'm not going to read it. Likewise, if it's massive but interesting I'll read it.

A good general rule is if I have to scroll to read it, I'll probably pass.

CrystalShadow:
I have a tendency to write really lengthy posts. However, I know many people can't actually be bothered reading a huge essay constantly.
Now, I understand that people might get bored trying to read a 5000 word essay as part of a forum post, but a while back someone accused me of writing a 'lengthy' post for writing all of about 5 sentences.

Five sentences? Long? Good grief... I inadvertently wrote what amounted to a treatise on a recent thread, which was quoted in its entirety twice... o_O' I had to press page down five times just to get through my own damned post... *hrk*

Daystar Clarion:
It really depends on how it's broken up.

If it's just a huge wall of text with no paragraphs or pictures to break things up a bit it kind of makes me not want to read it.

This right here. It's all about how well/easily it can be read. Hell there are some people whose posts are still short, but fucking hell it can be incoherent drivel at best.

Raven's Nest:
If its a wall of text on a subject I know nothing about or care very little about, I won't read it.

If it is something I'm interested in, I'll usually read most, if not the whole thing if it is well written and formatted. If those parameters are met there is no limit for me.

And this... if I'm not interested in the subject matter, I'm not inclined to read anything more than half a page, and that's if I'm feeling magnanimous...

Th3Ch33s3Cak3:
I'd have to say that over 9000 sentences is too much

LOL, surely you mean anything less than 9000 is not enough...(!)

Depends on what you are talking about. If it is about how you don't like the change in color in Kermit skin in the last Muppets movie. One or two sentences will do. If you are explaining the major themes of well known, and well written, book series you can go for as long as you have something relent to say.

If the post if more than about 10 lines, I'll read the first paragraph and decide if the person's just going to ramble or not. I think that some issues are too complex to discuss concisely, so I try to avoid skipping long posts if at all possible.

I think that three or four paragraphs max is a reasonable limit to keep to.

Also, my captcha is "umbrella corporation". That is amazing.

I don't tend to write essays, so I have no idea how many sentences it would be. A sentence can be any length though anyway. But my answer is it depends on a lot of things. It depends on the subject of the post. I will be more inclined to read something long if it's about something I care about. There's also how well worded and fragmented a post is. If it's just ramblings and/or a huge block of text then obviously I won't read it as much. How tired I am is also a factor. If I'm sleepy or worn out I often can't be bothered to read a whole long post.

So yeah, there's a lot of variables. Because of that "too long" could be anything between 3-4 paragraphs on a bad day to several pages (if it were written in Word or something) on a good day.

 

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