I am preparing (offline) a rather long (didactic) answer to a certain (very short) question on StackExchange Mathematics. Since I am yet unable to see to the end of the answer, and what I have is already over 20k characters, I started wondering whether there is an upper limit on the size of an answer. I looked through the help: no mention of any size limit. Searching Mathematics meta
I found only one question Is this the longest answer on the site? about lengths of answers.
A comment to this question mentions an upper limit of 30,000 characters, without giving away the source of this information. But then the very next comment points out an answer which consists of cca 54k characters. So, is there a set size limit or not? Also, is there an upper limit on the size and number of figures in an answer (or for that matter, in a question)? I also searched far and wide to find any information about this, thinking up lots of different queries, but without success. And, in case there are upper limits on the character count and, say, the total size (in bytes) of figures in an answer, can I break up a very long answer into several shorter answers, so that I can discuss, in several installments, everything about the question which I am answering that my mathematical heart desires?

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    $\begingroup$ 30,000, according to this fairly recent question on Meta Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2016 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ Here is an official confirmation. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2016 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ I would assume 30,000 characters. There really are some answers with more characters than that, it is something of a mystery as to how those happened. The people who wrote them do not seem to know anything special that they did at the time. I run into the limit sometimes when pasting in a long computer output. As usual: if this is really important in some way, put an answer here, but have available a longer Latex document, on a website or emailed to those who request it. $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    May 30, 2016 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ I just ctrl-A ctrl-C ctrl-V'ed the purportedly ~54k answer, and wc counts just 16313 bytes. I suspect some similar overcounting happens for other answers apparently above the limit. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2016 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Daniel Fischer - Thank you, it is fine to know for sure. But how about a series of answers, each of them under the limit? $\endgroup$
    – chizhek
    May 30, 2016 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ Generally, no. Each answer is supposed to stand on its own. And the platform isn't made for texts that long. It might be tolerated nevertheless, but don't rely on that. $\endgroup$ May 30, 2016 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielFischer right, the tentative conclusion at my earlier question was that the system adds apparent size (as in the reported 54k) for the number of distinct Latex blocks. I suspect chizhek is thinking in terms of the grief he got for multiple edits on mathoverflow.net/questions/3269/… $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    May 30, 2016 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ The discrepancy between the 30000 character limit and the 50000+ character answer is largely due to the way data is actually stored in the SEDE. I've provided a new answer there that explains this in more detail. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    May 30, 2016 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ I posted the first installment of my intended answer (to a barely alive question) here. Size 29680 characters. $\endgroup$
    – chizhek
    Jun 3, 2016 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ @chizhek: Wow, that looks awesome! I've only read the first few screens, but I liked what I saw, and the attractive diagrams really help to illuminate the nature of these functions. However, SE isn't really the venue for posts like that. More focused, concise answers are preferred; your essay is more suited to a blog. So don't be surprised if you get a few comments telling you to get a blog. :) $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jun 4, 2016 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ FWIW, I once ran into the length limit, in my answer to a problem involving geodesics. After showing an exact spherical solution and then a numerical method to get the desired ellipsoidal solution, there was no room to post my code implementing the algorithms. I was not pleased. :( $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Jun 4, 2016 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ @PM 2Ring - I do not want to blow my anonymity, so a personal blog is a no-go. Putting a PDF file on a server would have the same effect. Besides, both methods may result in broken links, in time. I would much prefer if I could upload a PDF document to StackExchange Mathematics, like I can upload a PNG image, and then give in my post a link to it. Such a document would be accessible as long as my SE Math account would exist, which I suppose would be as long as StackExchange would last. $\endgroup$
    – chizhek
    Jun 6, 2016 at 6:50


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