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Page widening

A web browser normally puts as many words in a line as fit in the
browser window. However, there are cases where horizontal scrolling is
needed. For a large picture, table or diagram this may be worthwhile, but
without special measures the rest of the web page is also affected, with
long lines that can only be read by cumbersome horizontal scrolling.

This page is very wide due to the examples below. The explanatory texts
are still readable without horizontal scrolling due to explicitly specified
html-code for going to a new line: <br>.

Without that the first paragraph looks like this:

A web browser normally puts as many words in a line as fit in the browser window. However, there are cases where horizontal scrolling is needed. For a large picture, table or diagram this may be worthwhile, but often the rest of the web page is also affected, with long lines that can only be read by cumbersome horizontal scrolling.

Causes of page widening:

Authors of web pages should realize that users may have a lower screen
resolution and/or a larger font, so that less fits on a line.

[1] (/w/wiki.phtml?title=New_Amsterdam&diff=0&oldid=684200) is an example of page widening (for large fonts only) of a table
of two columns, each containing one long "word", a URL.

Page widening by vandals

Page widening is an Internet troll on Slashdot. This form of troll
causes a web page to widen to a ridiculous width, to the point where one
cannot read the text without constantly scrolling left and right.
Wikipedia itself appears to be immune to page widening.

The first true page widening was an accident. Someone posted a UNIX
directory listing that looked something like this:

.foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on .foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on .foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on .foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on .foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on .foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on .foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on .foo .bar .dir .bin .etc .and .on .and .on

A now-infamous troll by the name of Klerck[?] used this little trick to
make trolls such as:

.i .like .wide .pages .dont .you .like .wide .pages .and .on .and .on .i .like .wide .pages .dont .you .like .wide .pages .and .on .and .on .i .like .wide .pages .dont .you .like .wide .pages .and .on .and .on .i .like .wide .pages .dont .you .like .wide .pages .and .on .and .on .i .like .wide .pages .dont .you .like .wide .pages .and .on .and .on

These page widenings were eventually fixed, but only after a considerable
time had passed. One possible reason for the delay was that Slashdot
supports open source software, and the exploit only affected the proprietary
Internet Explorer and Netscape products. Specifically, Internet Explorer's
word-wrap code would not break a line before a word starting with a period
and would place all the words on one line and thus widen the page. The
open-source/free-software browser Mozilla and the popular "alternative" browser
Opera were not affected.

Less than a week later, a new widening troll appeared:

    http://www.everythinghfgfcdoosammgwsnboivvbsczxlzgabc/ooieiabdcdjsvbkeldfogjhiyeeejkagclmieooionoepdk/abcdefmfighyiqxjklmonopqrosoyotuvwxoyqwertyuiov/sdfghjklqewiuznmbjadzmcloeuirquakndsflksjdflkas/fskdfasiewurznmcvweroiqewrnamdnzcvuowieramnfkas/dfhzuxcihskjrnakjzkjcxbviusayrkajsfzxncvizudyri

That widener was also fixed, by a routine that automatically inserts a
space into postings after a certain number of consecutive characters.
This is a source of constant frustration to users who post working URLs or
segments of code that are automatically broken when they hit submit.
(However, this filter does not affect the contents of Slashdot's link tags;
because they do not appear on screen, they cannot widen the page.
The filter does not touch them, and they link properly.)

Recently, some Anonymous Coward has figured out a new
exploit, known as the WWWidener, which still works at the time of writing:

  • WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW



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