POLL: Character Limit on Identi.ca
One of the features of the StatusNet software has been that notices are limited to 140 Unicode characters, which (usually...) fits into a single SMS message, and which is the character limit for Twitter tweets. Some users love the limitations that 140 characters entail. Others find it unnecessarily restricting.
Our software, StatusNet, with its 0.9.0 beta versions, now supports a variable limit on number of characters; the administrator of a site can change the limit to (practically) any number or set no limit at all. Many users in enterprises or on remote sites report a more enjoyable microblogging experience with higher limits.
For our flagship site, Identi.ca, which runs on the status.net cloud service and uses the 0.9.0 beta, we'd like to open up the discussion of what an appropriate character limit should be. Setting a site-wide limit is a community decision we'd like to leave in the community's hands. In a conversation on Identi.ca we've solicited some candidate character limits that we'd like people to decide on.
- 140 is compatible with Twitter; in many languages a notice with 140 characters fits into a single SMS message*
- 280 can fit into two Twitter or SMS messages
- 300 is a fan favorite
- 420 is Facebook's status limit and 3 Twitter tweets or SMS messages
- 500 is a little bigger
- 1000 is bigger than that
Here's our preferred ways to send input:
- Below is a polling form with the candidate limits. You should be able to vote there.
- We'd love it if people use tags to indicate their preference, by posting a notice on Identi.ca with #limit420, #limit500, etc. (People tags are good here, too.)
- Comments on this blog post
- Discussions on Identi.ca itself
Remember: these are non-binding polls that we're using to survey interest. There's not much value in cheating, except to slow down the process and aggravate everyone.
Thanks to everyone who's expressed their interest so far; I'm looking forward to seeing how this decision pans out.
* But it's a little more complicated than that. An SMS message can fit 140 bytes; that's 160 7-bit ASCII characters (English), 140 8-bit characters (like Latin languages), or 70 full Unicode characters (Japanese, Arabic, etc.). Twitter uses 140 Unicode characters, regardless of language.