When a question or an answer is too short (and specifically what is the cut-off?), this error message appears:

Oops! Your question couldn't be submitted because:

  • It does not meet our quality standards.

If the sentence after the bullet said "It is too short.", then that would be honest and informative. Just how is a person who sees this message for the first time supposed to know that brevity is what causes this message to appear? Whoever decided to write this rude message instead of just writing "It is too short." wasn't using his head, and should have been.

Can anything be done to change this so that it says "It is too short."?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, you are right, it should be made clear. But it won't be. Not so terrific people in charge! $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Sep 10 '12 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ I just got this message when I was testing: "body must be at least 30 characters; you entered 29". Is this new since the question was asked? Or, was the error in the OP about something else? $\endgroup$ – GeoffDS Sep 11 '12 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ For science, I've just successfully posted a question saying "Oops! Your question couldn't be submitted because: It does not meet our quality standards." $\endgroup$ – user2468 Sep 11 '12 at 18:50

The point of not being explicit about what the "quality standards" (it would be more accurate to say "heuristics for detecting bad questions," and I suspect length isn't the only one) are is so people (and spam bots) can't game them. If they were known, they would be easy to bypass, which would largely defeat the point of having them.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you saying that actual real people should be inconvenienced in order to make life more difficult for machines? $\endgroup$ – André Nicolas Sep 10 '12 at 6:28
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, if those machines are going to make life more difficult for actual real people otherwise. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Sep 10 '12 at 7:56
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    $\begingroup$ @AndréNicolas Whether you like it or not, such has been the internet norm for 10 years. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Sep 10 '12 at 9:06
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    $\begingroup$ @André, it is indeed very annoying, but alas, it has come to this. As people sometimes say, the unruly machines (and the unruly people behind them) are why we can't have nice things... $\endgroup$ – J. M. isn't a mathematician Sep 10 '12 at 16:49
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    $\begingroup$ This seems like maybe a good place to leave this relavent xkcd $\endgroup$ – crf Sep 11 '12 at 8:09

The reason that the text doesn't just say "It is too short" is that length is not the only criterium used in the quality check. While my impression is that length is the most important aspect, and that more text helps to avoid it, length is only one of the quality criteria.

More information about this is available on Meta.SO: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/92075/151385


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