I've just seen this trick in the review queue and I have to admit it's pretty clever:

HTML comment used to circumvent edit distance

Users below 2000 rep have to change at least some number of characters for the edit to be allowed by system. Apparently adding HTML comments counts into that number, so this requirement can be easily circumvented by smart users.

In this case the edit was actually useful, but that bug could be exploited for obsolete edits.

Should we do something about it?

  • 2
    it's a fairly old trick..
    – Sathyajith Bhat Mod
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 3:26

2 Answers 2


That's really very clever! Someone give that user a cookie.


I am going to sit in the camp that until you've obtained the proper user privilege, edits should be character-counted after removing markup.

My justification for this is simple: this is a loophole, as these edits were intended by the devs to be stopped before they're even allowed to be submitted. If a single character edit is needed, you could for example, try and make more substantial edits to the post at the same time.

  • What if there is no other room to edit the post?
    – gparyani
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 6:33
  • It's not the markdown, it's the rendered HTML code that is checked by the system in the difference check. Since sometimes the Markdown parser is changed/updated and since the rendered HTML is saved after parsing once, the system sometimes complains about this even though the Markdown is the same, since there is a slight difference in the rendered HTML codes between the old revision and the new revision, even though the Markdown is exactly the same.
    – gparyani
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 2:19

This is by design. If you wouldn't allow comments or other markup to count as edited characters, people would just start to use whitespace or "invisible" characters creatively.

If people want to make an edit, they'll find a way. As long as the edits are with good intentions there's nothing to worry about.

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