Increase/remove character limit to support bigger thoughts

There was a discussion in Discord around being able to work with more text in a single card:

For this thread, I want to focus on a few related use cases and propose a change that I think might help.

Use cases

  1. Studying a passage in the Bible (or other corpus of text). One of the primary units of thought is a paragraph. I’d like to be able to create cards containing paragraphs that I can then make connections to and comments around.
  2. Writing a paper. One of the big parts of editing is arranging my ideas and arguments, and this is often done at the paragraph level. Being able to manipulate paragraphs as cards would be very handy.
  3. Analyzing legal documents (feel free to chime in @Sharknader). “So for example, I get a legal document with really dense language and need to figure out what it says. It’s really difficult to just read it, and I end up copying complicated parts and turning them into sort of outlines to see how different pieces work. It works OK most of the time, but often I have paragraphs that are over 300 ch long that I may want to keep as a quote for reference, or that I’ve no idea what to do with and need some place to park before figuring out how to analyze it”


I feel like these two changes could go a long way to supporting these:

  1. Remove 300 character limit (or make it much higher). I know part of the reason for this limitation is to encourage folks to write snappier, smaller chunks that can be composed. But what are the harms of removing it? Now that image cards are supported, you can virtually do this by taking a screenshot of text. And yes large cards can get unwieldy, and users already need to deal with it when they resize an image card.
  2. Increase the max-width of cards to 300px. Suggestions: image/gif resizing, font italics/bold/underline This would improve readability of multiple lines of text. It seems this would still allow for cards to be readable on small screens. Perhaps this can be that automatically happens when you get to a certain size, or there can be a size toggle.

(Set aside any philosophical arguments whether Kinopio is designed for long-form writing)



900 characters, maybe? How many paragraphs are greater than that?


That sounds reasonable. I think with greater length, you’d need to be able to make the card wider and bigger, as it would be very difficult to read otherwise.

The card sizes are already fitting to the text, so they are not all the same. There is just an upper limit to how tall and wide a card may be.

But as much as I would love to see this implemented, I wonder if this is too much of a mission/scope creep; maybe the intent is just to express your own thoughts and not rely on card text to quote others.


What if my thoughts are longer than 300 characters? :slight_smile:

Fair point!

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Then you need to stop thinking. =p

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Hi, does anyone know if there have been any updates on the thinking or plans for longer text cards?


no updates right now, the in-between update will be to allow all cards to be resized.

I did a short a technical investigation, it’s not as simple as just upping the limit because with a higher limit, the higher the chance of sync problems.

First I’ll need to implement an operation transform OT layer, this’ll improve network perf around the board, but it’ll take some time to do


Maybe this is throwing a wrench in the works here, but I’m trying a new (for me) philosophy of not putting anything in Kinopio that I wouldn’t have written down by hand. Basically, it forces me to write only things worth writing down and in my own words.
I can report back if this is working for me, but I’m finding that 80%+ of my notes are kind of useless once I reach a decision or an outcome.

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philosophically, isn’t this a good thing? i.e. you’ve reached the decision, and unless something goes wrong or you need to re-evaluate, there’s no reason to look back?

Relatedly, there’s a bit from the intro of bruce lee’s book ( where he’s says something to the effect of: learn the lessons in this book, and then use the pages of the book for something useful like mopping up spills


Totally, and thank you for the book recommendation! I was more referring to my tendency to hoard/collect stuff that I never get to actually process or internalize. I feel like Kinopio helps to check that. I even delete cards :scream:

that’s also fantastic to hear. The UI is specifically designed to help avoid the common pitfall of most productivity apps where you hoard too much info to process and have to use a new app just to start with a new blank slate (where the pattern then repeats)

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btw, this is how Napkin handles longer cards. It has a default size of a card (but it expands down as you type more). The larger size does not stick, and is only expanded if you click on it again. Not sure if I hate it, but it feels anxiety inducing to me.

Another interesting take on character limits

With the exception of comments (which are explicitly supplementary) I don’t like hiding or nesting text because it makes a space harder to read/review and over-prioritizes cleanness imo

Even if it’s ‘uglier’ I want to prevent ppl from getting into a black hole scenario of productivity apps where you’ve put way too much in to process , causing you to feel anxiety and eventually give up on the app


Agreed. Feel like this would make a space with lots of text nearly impossible to read / glance. You’d have to constantly be flipping cards open.

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