Why is the Pub Details description limited to 280 characters? Can it be expanded?
Hi, thanks for sharing!
The character limit is in place because this field’s primary purpose is to serve as the description for social media cards and search engines, most of which enforce character limits of around 280 characters.
We are planning on introducing an abstract field that will not have a character limit mostly for the purpose of depositing abstracts.
If you don’t mind sharing, how are you planning to use the description field, and how are you finding the character limit getting in the way of that intended use?
My biggest concern was the blurb that appears on the front page. These are the teases which will see if a reader clicks through. For example, I think I was originally told 50 words, and I thought this was good at 57 words:
Wikipedia’s death has been predicted many times in its twenty years. Joseph Reagle, author of Good Faith Collaboration (2010), groups these dour prognostications into four periods related to Wikipedia’s early growth, nascent identity, production model, and contributor attrition. Though this history shows making predictions is foolhardy, Reagle predicts Wikipedia has many years of life ahead of it.
Now it is:
Wikipedia’s death has been predicted many times in its twenty years. Reagle groups these dour prognostications into four periods. Though this history shows making predictions is foolhardy, Reagle predicts Wikipedia has many years of life ahead of it.
That’s okay, but very tight for setting the context.
Also, writers don’t tend to think in characters, but words. If there were a 60 word (or 600 character) abstract, that’d be awesome, with the option to do a 280 “tweet.”
Gotcha, thanks for the context.
Unfortunately, there’s a mismatch between what designers need for predictability, which is character counts, and how writers tend to think. So it’s unlikely we’ll be moving to word counts. But we might be able to do something like
280 characters (about 35 words) as a compromise.
I’ve added an issue for that to our development pipeline: https://github.com/pubpub/pubpub/issues/363
In future versions, we’ll consider the ability to use the abstract for pub previews instead of the description to allow for longer previews.