Why are message board posts limited to 4,000 characters?

In December 2014 a limit of 4,000 characters per post was imposed on message board posts to address site performance vulnerabilities.

Prior to December 2014, Phantasy Tour did not constrain the length of message board posts.  This policy (or lack thereof) would at times be to the detriment of site performance.  Excessively long posts can have a crippling effect on page response times, particularly when they appear in a busy thread.  When this performance issue was discovered, it prompted us to consider the significance of unconstrained post lengths vs. the risks to site availability.  Our goal was to close performance vulnerabilities while having the least impact on the typical Phantasy Tour discussion thread.

We looked at post length statistics and determined that only a very small percentage of message board posts exceed 4,000 characters.  When we examined the posts that did exceed 4,000 characters, it was with rare exception that the post itself was of great value to the topic of the thread.  Most Phantasy Tour members have never posted more than 4,000 characters in a single post.  More often than not, excessively long posts contained one or more of the following:

  • A copied and pasted passage from another source which could have been linked instead
  • A long passage that was completely unrelated to the topic of the thread
  • An illegible collection of symbols and characters
  • Excessive use of the quoting function to repeatedly post the same content
  • A malicious attempt to disrupt a thread (aka a denial of service attack)

We determined that posts could be capped at 4,000 characters without greatly impacting the flow of a typical message board topic.  Members who encounter the post limit when posting unique and relevant content are encouraged to split their content across 2 posts.

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