Talk:NAQT Invitational Series

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Character counts

There's basically two schools of thought on character counts / length limits:

  • Length limits should count the actual characters in the question because their primary purpose is to control how long it takes to actually read questions.
  • Length limits should count how long the question appears on the page because their primary purpose is to avoid scaring inexperienced moderators into thinking questions are unmanageable.

NAQT takes the former approach (and thus does not count pronunciation guides and power marks in their length limits) whereas most invitationals take the latter approach (and thus count the number of lines in standard font size/margins rather than characters, and include everything that appears on the page). In neither case would I consider the rules "arcane" or at all irrational, and both approaches seem like valid choices. I'm not sure what the aside in this article is getting at. Matt Weiner (talk) 09:59, 17 March 2021 (CDT)

I think I put in that word, and in any event I stand by it (though I don't feel super strongly). The main thing I'm thinking of is that double-quotes don't count toward the limit while most other punctuation marks (including displayed ones) do.
As a secondary matter, I would have thought that the usual reason for the second approach was just that it's easier/faster to check. Jonah (talk) 11:00, 17 March 2021 (CDT)
From my experience in requesting features in question management software, I've actually been told that automating it (i.e. generating the full text as it will appear in the PDF and counting "lines") is a fairly complex task compared to a basic character count, and as far as I know no one has ever implemented this feature in such software. If you're working directly in Word or Google Docs you can eyeball it but using QEMS etc. means there's no relationship between the shape of the text on the editing screen and in the final packet. Matt Weiner (talk) 11:09, 17 March 2021 (CDT)
Yeah, I agree that's true for applications like that. (And in some software, the question doesn't even make sense because there might be multiple ways to output it, in which it would appear differently—e.g., PDF, large-print PDF, web page). I was thinking of people writing their sets in regular word processing software. Jonah (talk) 11:11, 17 March 2021 (CDT)