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Can I put spaces in Jira Label fields?

Am I able to include a space in a label field? For example a user's first then last name, or does there need to be a dash or comma to separate words?

Seems very simple but can't seem to find an explanation.

Thanks, Jane

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3 votes
Steven Behnke Community Leader Mar 28, 2018

To be frank, it's clear there's separate use-cases for Labels. Those who have been using Jira and Atlassian products for years know that Labels are for adding discrete searchable data points to issues for help in querying. Others seem to think it's for fuzzy searching. 

Since labels ONLY work with = or EXACT match, those expecting fuzzy searching are going to be sorely disappointed when they discover that is not how they're implemented and not how they work. 

1 vote


Jira needs something to separate labels as people type. Spaces are the most intuitive and simple separator to use.

Many of us use _ to join words up

Thanks for the quick response Nic


is there a way to customize the labels separator? 

For example, is possible to set that space is not a separator and set that a new label is defined every time you type a comma (,)?


Thank you


Not without hacking the code that provides the label field.

Commas seem like the most intuitive and simple separator to use.

No. Wrong. Commas represent clauses or pauses for breath. Spaces represent logical breaks between tags. Labels should be short, single words to group things together logically. Why? Well, if you choose commas, this would be a "intuitive and simple" label: no thats no way for him has he no manners nor no refinement nor no nothing in his nature slapping us behind like that on my bottom because I didnt call him Hugh the ignoramus that doesnt know poetry from a cabbage thats what you get for not keeping them in their proper place pulling off his shoes and trousers there on the chair before me so barefaced without even asking permission and standing out that vulgar way in the half of a shirt they wear to be admired like a priest or a butcher or those old hypocrites in the time of Julius Caesar of course hes right enough in his way to pass the time as a joke sure you might as well be in bed with what with a lion God Im sure hed have something better to say for himself an old Lion would O well I suppose its because they were so plump and tempting in my short petticoat he couldnt resist they excite myself sometimes its well for men all the amount of pleasure they get off a womans body were so round and white for them always I wished I was one myself for a change just to try with that thing they have swelling up on you so hard and at the same time so soft when you touch it my uncle John has a thing long I heard those cornerboys saying passing the comer of Marrowbone lane my aunt Mary has a thing hairy because it was dark and they knew a girl was passing it didnt make me blush why should it either its only nature and he puts his thing long into my aunt Marys hairy etcetera and turns out to be you put the handle in a sweepingbrush men again all over they can pick and choose what they please a married woman or a fast widow or a girl for their different tastes like those houses round behind Irish street no but were to be always chained up theyre not going to be chaining me up no damn fear once I start I tell you for their stupid husbands jealousy why cant we all remain friends over it instead of quarrelling her husband found it out what they did together well naturally and if he did can he undo it hes coronado anyway whatever he does and then he going to the other mad extreme about the wife in Fair Tyrants of course the man never even casts a 2nd thought on the husband or wife either its the woman he wants and he gets her what else were we given all those desires for Id like to know I cant help it if Im young still can I its a wonder Im not an old shrivelled hag before my time living with him so cold never embracing me except sometimes when hes asleep the wrong end of me not knowing I suppose who he has any man thatd kiss a womans bottom Id throw my hat at him after that hed kiss anything unnatural where we havent I atom of any kind of expression in us all of us the same 2 lumps of lard before ever Id do that to a man pfooh the dirty brutes the mere thought is enough I kiss the feet of you senorita theres some sense in that didnt he kiss our halldoor yes he did what a madman nobody understands his cracked ideas but me still of course a woman wants to be embraced 20 times a day almost to make her look young no matter by who so long as to be in love or loved by somebody if the fellow you want isnt there sometimes by the Lord God I was thinking would I go around by the quays there some dark evening where nobodyd know me and pick up a sailor off the sea thatd be hot on for it and not care a pin whose I was only do it off up in a gate somewhere or one of those wildlooking gipsies in Rathfarnham had their camp pitched near the Bloomfield laundry to try and steal our things if they could I only sent mine there a few times for the name model laundry sending me back over and over some old ones odd stockings that blackguardlooking fellow with the fine eyes peeling a switch attack me in the dark and ride me up against the wall without a word or a murderer anybody what they do themselves the fine gentlemen in their silk hats that K C lives up somewhere this way coming out of Hardwicke lane the night he gave us the fish supper on account of winning over the boxing match of course it was for me he gave it I knew him by his gaiters and the walk and when I turned round a minute after just to see there was a woman after coming out of it too some filthy prostitute then he goes home to his wife after that only I suppose the half of those sailors are rotten again with disease O move over your big carcass out of that for the love of Mike listen to him the winds that waft my sighs to thee so well he may sleep and sigh the great Suggester Don Poldo de la Flora if he knew how he came out on the cards this morning hed have something to sigh for a dark man in some perplexity between 2 7s too in prison for Lord knows what he does that I dont know and Im to be slooching around down in the kitchen to get his lordship his breakfast while hes rolled up like a mummy will I indeed did you ever see me running Id just like to see myself at it show them attention and they treat you like dirt I dont care what anybody says itd be much better for the world to be governed by the women in it you wouldnt see women going and killing one another and slaughtering when do you ever see women rolling around drunk like they do or gambling every penny they have and losing it on horses yes because a woman whatever she does she knows where to stop sure they wouldnt be in the world at all only for us they dont know what it is to be a woman and a mother how could they where would they all of them be if they hadnt all a mother to look after them what I never had thats why I suppose hes running wild now out at night away from his books and studies and not living at home on account of the usual rowy house I suppose well its a poor case that those that have a fine son like that theyre not satisfied and I none was he not able to make one it wasnt my fault we came together when I was watching the two dogs up in her behind in the middle of the naked street that disheartened me altogether I suppose I oughtnt to have buried him in that little woolly jacket I knitted crying as I was but give it to some poor child but I knew well Id never have another our 1st death too it was we were never the same since O Im not going to think myself into the glooms about that any more I wonder why he wouldnt stay the night I felt all the time it was somebody strange he brought in instead of roving around the city meeting God knows who nightwalkers and pickpockets his poor mother wouldnt like that if she was alive ruining himself for life perhaps still its a lovely hour so silent I used to love coming home after dances the air of the night they have friends they can talk to weve none either he wants what he wont get or its some woman ready to stick her knife in you I hate that in women no wonder they treat us the way they do we are a dreadful lot of bitches I suppose its all the troubles we have makes us so snappy Im not like that he could easy have slept in there on the sofa in the other room I suppose he was as shy as a boy he being so young hardly 20 of me in the next room hed have heard me on the chamber arrah what harm Dedalus I wonder its like those names in Gibraltar Delapaz Delagracia they had the devils queer names there father Vilaplana of Santa Maria that gave me the rosary Rosales y OReilly in the Calle las Siete Revueltas and Pisimbo and Mrs Opisso in Governor street O what a name Id go and drown myself in the first river if I had a name like her O my and all the bits of streets Paradise ramp and Bedlam ramp and Rodgers ramp and Crutchetts ramp and the devils gap steps well small blame to me if I am a harumscarum I know I am a bit I declare to God I dont feel a day older than then I wonder could I get my tongue round any of the Spanish como esta usted muy bien gracias y usted see I havent forgotten it all I thought I had only for the grammar a noun is the name of any person place or thing pity I never tried to read that novel cantankerous Mrs Rubio lent me by Valera with the questions in it all upside down the two ways I always knew wed go away in the end I can tell him the Spanish and he tell me the Italian then hell see Im not so ignorant what a pity he didnt stay Im sure the poor fellow was dead tired and wanted a good sleep badly I could have brought him in his breakfast in bed with a bit of toast so long as I didnt do it on the knife for bad luck or if the woman was going her rounds with the watercress and something nice and tasty there are a few olives in the kitchen he might like I never could bear the look of them in Abrines I could do the criada the room looks all right since I changed it the other way you see something was telling me all the time Id have to introduce myself not knowing me from Adam very funny wouldnt it Im his wife or pretend we were in Spain with him half awake without a Gods notion where he is dos huevos estrellados senor Lord the cracked things come into my head sometimes itd be great fun supposing he stayed with us why not theres the room upstairs empty and Millys bed in the back room he could do his writing and studies at the table in there for all the scribbling he does at it and if he wants to read in bed in the morning like me as hes making the breakfast for I he can make it for 2 Im sure Im not going to take in lodgers off the street for him if he takes a gesabo of a house like this Id love to have a long talk with an intelligent welleducated person Id have to get a nice pair of red slippers like those Turks with the fez used to sell or yellow and a nice semitransparent morning gown that I badly want or a peachblossom dressing jacket like the one long ago in Walpoles only 8/6 or 18/6 111 just give him one more chance 111 get up early in the morning Im sick of Cohens old bed in any case I might go over to the markets to see all the vegetables and cabbages and tomatoes and carrots and all kinds of splendid fruits all coming in lovely and fresh who knows whod be the 1st man Id meet theyre out looking for it in the morning Mamy Dillon used to say they are and the night too that was her massgoing Id love a big juicy pear now to melt in your mouth like when I used to be in the longing way then 111 throw him up his eggs and tea in the moustachecup she gave him to make his mouth bigger I suppose hed like my nice cream too I know what 111 do 111 go about rather gay not too much singing a bit now and then mi fa pieta Masetto then 111 start dressing myself to go out presto non son piu forte 111 put on my best shift and drawers let him have a good eyeful out of that to make his micky stand for him 111 let him know if thats what he wanted that his wife is I s 1 o fucked yes and damn well fucked too up to my neck nearly not by him 5 or 6 times handrunning theres the mark of his spunk on the clean sheet I wouldnt bother to even iron it out that ought to satisfy him if you dont believe me feel my belly unless I made him stand there and put him into me Ive a mind to tell him every scrap and make him do it out in front of me serve him right its all his own fault if I am an adulteress as the thing in the gallery said O much about it if thats all the harm ever we did in this vale of tears God knows its not much doesnt everybody only they hide it I suppose thats what a woman is supposed to be there for or He wouldnt have made us the way He did so attractive to men then if he wants to kiss my bottom 111 drag open my drawers and bulge it right out in his face as large as life he can stick his tongue 7 miles up my hole as hes there my brown part then 111 tell him I want LI or perhaps 30/ — 111 tell him I want to buy underclothes then if he gives me that well he wont be too bad I dont want to soak it all out of him like other women do I could often have written out a fine cheque for myself and write his name on it for a couple of pounds a few times he forgot to lock it up besides he wont spend it 111 let him do it off on me behind provided he doesnt smear all my good drawers O I suppose that cant be helped 111 do the indifferent 1 or 2 questions 111 know by the answers when hes like that he cant keep a thing back I know every turn in him 111 tighten my bottom well and let out a few smutty words smellrump or lick my shit or the first mad thing comes into my head then 111 suggest about yes O wait now sonny my turn is coming 111 be quite gay and friendly over it O but I was forgetting this bloody pest of a thing pfooh you wouldnt know which to laugh or cry were such a mixture of plum and apple no 111 have to wear the old things so much the better itll be more pointed hell never know whether he did it or not there thats good enough for you any old thing at all then 111 wipe him off me just like a business his omission then 111 go out 111 have him eying up at the ceiling where is she gone now make him want me thats the only way a quarter after what an unearthly hour I suppose theyre just getting up in China now combing out their pigtails for the day well soon have the nuns ringing the angelus theyve nobody coming in to spoil their sleep except an odd priest or two for his night office or the alarmclock next door at cockshout clattering the brains out of itself let me see if I can doze off 1 2 3 4 5 what kind of flowers are those they invented like the stars the wallpaper in Lombard street was much nicer the apron he gave me was like that something only I only wore it twice better lower this lamp and try again so as I can get up early 111 go to Lambes there beside Findlaters and get them to send us some flowers to put about the place in case he brings him home tomorrow today I mean no no Fridays an unlucky day first I want to do the place up someway the dust grows in it I think while Im asleep then we can have music and cigarettes I can accompany him first I must clean the keys of the piano with milk whatll I wear shall I wear a white rose or those fairy cakes in Liptons I love the smell of a rich big shop at 7 l/2d a lb or the other ones with the cherries in them and the pinky sugar 1 Id a couple of lbs of those a nice plant for the middle of the table Id get that cheaper in wait wheres this I saw them not long ago I love flowers Id love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven theres nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with the fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things and all the fine cattle going about that would do your heart good to see rivers and lakes and flowers all sorts of shapes and smells and colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets nature it is as for them saying theres no God I wouldnt give a snap of my two fingers for all their learning why dont they go and create something I often asked him atheists or whatever they call themselves go and wash the cobbles off themselves first then they go howling for the priest and they dying and why why because theyre afraid of hell on account of their bad conscience ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they dont know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes they called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharons and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas 2 glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and the pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

Wow! Impressive. And all without a comma!! At least you've shown good use of grammar by using capital letters for your proper nouns :-)

It's from James Joyce. Used it a few times to point out that spaces are good label separators and commas really bad ones (but more often, that proper use of punctuation is a good thing)

That was a bit excessive, and wouldn't be a "simple and intuitive" label with _any_ separator. You could just as well have the same label in the current system by just replacing all of your spaces with underscores (as most people do to get around the space delimiter limitation). Commas, by definition, represent some separation of fragments, whether in speech or subvocalization, and are exactly the kind of separator you'd expect to delimit items in a list (as, for example, you see in lists _anywhere_ else). The use of a space separator to enforce some shortsighted single-word limitation on labels is not only unintuitive, but also ultimately pointless because anyone who wants multiple-word labels just ends up with ugly labels using hyphens or underscores anyway. Of course, this is all just a difference of opinion (you seem to think labels need to be only one word, I think there are cases where multiple words are necessary; you might think stringing words together with other delimiters is okay, I think a list of ugly labels is subpar and detrimental to a task so commonly done as manipulating labels). I'll just take my vote to JIRA and hope things improve in the future. Thanks for the explanation on why things are currently the way they are.

Hi Nic, Hi @Nic Brough [Adaptavist], Do you think you're more likely to want a space in a label, or a comma in a label? You could check yourself by looking how many of your own labels include underscores vs. how many include commas. I suspect you will find that it'd be much more valuable to have a space in a label then a comma.

Neither. Labels should be a single word. As demonstrated above.

This is a poor solution in my opinion. I spend a lot of time just tidying up fields. We have a customer field- how many of those are single words? So We end up with [Jones] [&} [Shuffs] as three words. Users do not expect to have to type underscores between words like that.

Heh. No, I'm not always right. Ask my sister about my spoken grammar, my training manager about how I talk during training, my doctor about beer, my cat about how much catnip is "enough", my mom about raising children, a proper developer about some of my code... the list goes on. I have an open mind (although not so open that my brain falls out, like it seems to have with homeopaths or anti-vaxxers). There's plenty of questions here on Answers where someone has said "but what about ...", and my response has been "You're right, I had not thought of that, my opinion has changed". No one on this thread (or others) has yet given a strong enough argument for that to happen, but it could. And I want to emphasise that what I'm saying on this subject really is an opinion based on a bad experience with a system that used spaces in labels. I do understand the Jones & Shuff point - there are cases where spaces would be useful, but not enough of them, in my *opinion*, to override the problem that people will type sentences and not use your alternative separators well enough to keep your labels useful.

Can we just have the separation character user selectable then? Problem solved!

Interesting discussion, and good point @Nic about some people wanting to write sentences. I've run into that myself (both in labels and item titles) and it always makes me sigh and need to take a deep breath. I still think, however, that a lot of labels need to be more than one word when categorizing something like documentation if you expect to have any form of accuracy. You could say that from a grammatical point of view, adjective + noun, or even preposition + adjective + noun, is often necessary to accurately tag something. Some examples may include: "defect management", "code branching", "canonical data modeling". When I think of delimiting something, comma seems to make more sense to me as a computer user and being familiar with something as simple as CSV files. It just seems like a logical delimiter to me. Grammar doesn't really come in to it at all when you work with computers (or if you are James Joyce, apparently). Preventing people from writing sentences would be easier managed by field length validation, but as you say, differing opinions.

I agree that spaces should be allowed. Label/Tag does not mean one word, it means (and if it doesn't it should!!) term, a phrase. As pointed out, they can be "This & This", it can be even things like "Dynamics Nav", "Service Desk", "Level A" etc. Comma is the logical separator of items in a list. It was correctly pointed out that you can limit the length so as not to make sentences. Though guess what - spaces don't limit making sentences. They can just copy the entire sentence anyways as separate labels like that horrible text example above would have been. There is no protection against the stupidity of users.
This was supposed to be taken to be voted on in JIRA. Where is that? I would like to vote as well against this yet another horrible case of Atlassian logic.

Sadly, this Confluence has had spaces in labels allowed.  It's a brilliant example of how to make labels look really terrible.

If you look at the topics, you can see that there's an absolutely horrid pile of rubbish labels thanks to this change.  Spaces are bad.

No, spaces are good. Restricting people to one word is bad. That is what creates ugly labels.

I have lost count of the number of times someone has typed out a label and not even realised it has been split into more than one because they dared to press the space bar! So we end up with 'Object' and 'Reference' instead of 'Object Reference' - just at least give us the option so we can decide!

I've already proved, repeatedly that spaces in labels are bad. 

As Matt says, I'd prefer a choice, then I can turn the spaces off and have a system where I don't have tens of thousands of single useless labels.  And you can have the joy of spending days making the labels useful by renaming them when you realise your searches don't work

No, you have not proven that in any way. You are just professing your opinion here in a way that states - it is my way or the highway, anyone, who disagrees is wrong. Unfortunately you are in the wrong here. The correct option is like how you finally pointed out - an option. There are projects and people who need it one way and others who are satisfied with the current system. We are the ones that need the spaces. No matter how much you might not like that, it won't change my opinion of them or that we need them.

And as pointed out - having just one word does not make users from not making stupid labels. Your own long text is just example of that - a bunch of useless labels in the end with words like "of", "I", "1", "2", "3" etc. As said - there is no protection against human stupidity. Not to mention that besides an overall length limit (which honestly should be in place right now so that huge jargon should never be a label), there can be a simple option to how many spaces it allows - e.g. for example only two for cases of "This & That".

As for the search that already is problematic. It is so very simply again to check based on settings that if spaces are allowed (or it has spaces) - to add quotation marks.. I mean, at the moment the search is so stupid that it doesn't quote email addresses when it can detect it has an @ in it. Very simple things to add, but as with a lot things - they are not done. Just like this.

I'm afraid you've not understood the argument. 

In real life, spaces don't work because you end up with a mass of single sentences as labels that make them utterly pointless.  That's not an opinion, it's a demonstrable fact.  As a user, it sounds nice to have spaces in labels in a lot of cases, and I'm not saying that's wrong.  As an admin who has to answer the question "why can't I find anything with labels", it's wrong, it fails, and it leads to you either saying "well, your labels are useless", or spending resources trying to housekeep them.  Without spaces, you do indeed end up with a bunch of useless short labels, but people instinctively know how to ignore them, and not to bother searching them.

I quite like your point about imposing a length limit.  That's a really good option.  Allowing spaces in labels with a limited length would actually work.  You'd want to set the limit to maybe 10 or 11 to make sure you don't end up with the same problem, but it works.


No, in real life spaces work. It all depends who your users are. If your users that can make labels are morons (sorry for the lack of a better term), that is what you get - a mess. They can do the same mess with just words as labels - paste the entire sentence and not check that spaces separate them into different ones.

We, who use JIRA as an actual team of more educated developers, know very well how to use spaces for labels and how not. And yes, it is a demonstratable fact how single words fall short and are not meeting the requirements that people have and end up using things like Dynamics-Nav, or Dynamics_Nav which is no way makes it logical or easy. And as said, limits to spaces and the overall label length fixes the issues you fear you will have.

They might work in a small dedicated team who know how to be careful.  In real life, humans do not behave like that when there's a large enough group.  Every system I've seen which allows spaces in labels and has more than a few thousand items in it (pages, issues, documents) is a completely unsearchable mess.  You may not have run into it enough to judge it, but I have.


And again as I have pointed it out before - just because you feel this way, it does not make it true. There are teams that need it and we are one of those. You keep your one word, we want spaces. And it does not matter how much you try to persuade people out of it in this thread, it does not change our team requirements. You need to be more considerate of others. You are not the only one using the software. For us it is the opposite - it is a mess because we don't have spaces and have been forced to use a hyphen.

And as said before - there is no protection against human input. That user of yours that does messy labels can very well write meaningless issues and waste your time in another way. But even so we still have the option to write them, now don't we. And not only can those options be added as outlined to make spaces more safe for your type of users - you can also add permissions on who can add labels and who not. Then you can block the ones that don't honor the system.

Please stop harassing people here and let them voice their opinions. You have said your point. You are against it. We get it. If you feel the need to argue, join a debate team! Let others speak and say what are their requirements and why they feel they need this. I, for one, have offered solutions to make spaces work for those who want it. With the limit of amount of spaces you can set it for 0 to have one word only. Everyone should be happy, but you are not. If I want to create a "mess", as you claim, that is my prerogative!

#boredofthis #givetheuserthechoice

<sigh> I'm not harassing anyone, I'm not stopping anyone voicing an opinion, it's a good discussion to have.

I'm simply pointing out that some "opinions" could be said to have some divergance with the reality of what happens.  I have strong feelings and a mass of experience to back up my points.  You've put up some good points about the subject, and I've explained why some of them are unrealistic or wrong, and accepted others that are not.

(The new one about "blocking people that don't honour the system" is also a good idea, but exposes another weakness - if your approach worked, you wouldn't need to block people)

You're absolutely right that it's your choice.    My opinion is that you shouldn't, because you'll almost certainly make a mess, if you've got a larger system.    Your opinion is different. 

Can we just agree to disagree?


p.s. +1 on what Matt said while I was typing.  Let us have the choice.

A simple agree-to-disagree would have done.

I have to jump through hoops to reformat our custom release notes due to it not being able to include a space.  Some of our labels have spaces from a previous version where I could use Alt+0164 to insert one, which is fantastic, but when I need to enter a new label I can't, so I wind up manually going through and editing after I export our notes and stripping out all the commas and re-alphabetizing our two-word labels.  This is ridiculous.  Let us customize whether to allow spaces in our labels or not, so you can have it your way and the rest of us don't have to waste time.

Spaces should be allowed in labels. I am trying to create a label called "visual editor" and I cannot. Instead I have to put a dash in it. Who is going to search for "visual-editor"? No one. So now I have the extra task of educating my entire company to put dashes in their search terms. Very user unfriendly. And then that dashed search term, if I can even get people to use it, won't match pages where I've used "visual editor" in a sentence. This is a major roadblock in using Confluence as the place employees come to find information.

Wrong.  This community has just started on a mini-project to clean up the tags.

There are over 18,000 individual tags.

  • 70% look useless because they are only used once.  Of this block
  • Around 5% are mistakes, mis-spellings or posting on the wrong subjects 
  • Around 20% are single words
  • The rest are sentences, because the old systems allowed spaces

That's at least 9,450 useless tags directly caused by spaces.  9,450.  That's idiotic and should never have been allowed. 

But it's higher than that.  The 30% of tags that are used more than once, I've not done a lot of analysis on, but it is very clear that spaces have caused massive problems in them as well.  People have reused two+ clauses, so we've got a huge pile of useless tags that have been used two or three times.  We've also got separator madness (not specifically a space problem, but spaces are a contributor) - tens of thousands of tags that are duplicated, but not quite the same.

Good info, Nic. And let's not raise the whole case sensitive or insensitive kettle of fish!

@Nic Brough [Adaptavist], Wrong!


It'd be great if Atlassian didn't have such big-headed moderators.  While the statistics are very beneficial and appreciated, telling customers their desire for two word labels is wrong.  I'm presently here because atlassian doesn't have support for the label "phone request".  And rather than helping your the users, you've approached the topic with an arrogant tone that hurts community relations.


Labels: big-headed, community disagreement, rebuttal. 


PS. I'll settle for suggestions on how to handle the above set of labels.


PPS. I'm not saying spaces are right for everyone's business case, but the idea that your customers are overwhelmingly frustrated by this decision in their own environment is silly.  That your customers have to manually copy and paste non-breaking spaces is silly.  Disable spaces in your own environment but don't lambast your customers for wanting a feature to work intuitively.

<sigh> Could you try again?  Please re-read the arguments and the statistics.

If you do read it, you will find that the "desire for two word labels" is wrong.

Instead of being insulting, and arrogantly asserting something the evidence contradicts, please provide a good argument that supports your case. 

Rather than giving into your users who don't understand and, instead, helping them do what they want, you've approached the topic with an arrogance that you know what is right, which is clearly contradicted by the data I've given you.

I've pointed at a pool of 20k labels that is mostly useless because it's too large and has a lot of poor-quality entries.  The main reason it got that way is spaces in labels.  Please explain how that is an incorrect statement of fact?

If you read the conversation properly, you'd have seen my opinion change over the years.  Originally, I thought spaces were bad.  I moved towards the idea that they can be useful, but in the last year, after being asked to help clean up the mess in the community, I've realised that it's not "spaces are bad", but "spaces in labels should be nuked from orbit". 

However, my original instinct was also "no separators" - that has very much changed to "we absolutely need labels with separators", as long as it's not a space, and enforced as a consistent character.  (There's an essay on why a space is the worst choice, not for here.  I now agree we need a separator)

Ah, and the edit:

"I'm not saying spaces are right for everyone's business case, but the idea that your customers are overwhelmingly frustrated by this decision in their own environment is silly.  That your customers have to manually copy and paste non-breaking spaces is silly.  Disable spaces in your own environment but don't lambast your customers for wanting a feature to work intuitively."


But you're wrong that customers are frustrated.  They absolutely are frustrated that their searches don't work.  Why?  Because there are spaces in labels.

Most people don't think about non-breaking spaces.  They should not have to.  If you don't use breaking spaces in labels, they don't have to.  Stop using spaces in labels, problem solved.

If you want this feature to work intuitively, then create each word in a label as a separate label.  It's less intuitive as you type, but works for searching, and, please, please, please, READ what I said on April 17th three years ago, which clearly shows this.

There's a really simple solution to the search issue.  And it works in JIRA currently (I guess not in the cloud version though?).  Auto-complete.  Start typing something, and you get suggestions for all the existing labels.  Maybe it should prompt you for confirmation and offer suggestions if you try to add a new label, to make sure it's not a duplicate.  I'm not sure why you're so dead-set against spaces as a character, since this could be an issue no matter what substitute character you used for this purpose.  Fact is, some of us want to have spaces in our own instances.

Could you PLEASE have a re-read of the previous conversation?   Specifically the most useless label in the world, and the fact that this system has thousands of utterly useless labels with spaces being the one of the biggest problems, and maybe all of the logic?

Your point about auto-complete is, in theory, good, but when your auto-complete is trying to work with hundreds of possible junk labels, they tend to struggle and often have no choice but to offer up bad labels.  That's why we're trying to get rid of them here in the community system.

I'm still waiting for someone to come up with anything resembling a good argument that spaces might be useful in labels (and "I want them" with no reason is not an argument)


Disagreement is fine, but one of the marks of the Atlassian community is that name-calling is not acceptable. If you have a problem with Nic, contact him directly. He's not hard to find. 

I'll just leave this here...


Screen Shot 2018-03-26 at 10.41.56 AM.png

Steven Behnke Community Leader Mar 28, 2018

He's a community champion -- He wasn't elected. He contributes and has been upvoted and marked as correct time and time again, and now holds the title of champion. 

It's quite a thankless job.

Is there a ticket for this so I can go add my vote?

We're on JIRA version 6.4.11 and I can insert spaces into labels using Alt+0160 on the numpad.  I know there were some earlier versions where this stopped working, but I'm glad to have it back.  Hopefully this doesn't get removed again because it's definitely required functionality for us.

Unfortunately that does not work on an Apple computer

Try Option+Space?  Not sure if it will work but that's apparently the Mac equivalent.

Thanks for the suggestion, but it just puts in a regular space

I should also mention that I am on Jira Cloud, so it is possible in my version non of those would work.

Please don't.

This community has over 18,000 labels.  80% of them are utterly useless, and of that 80%, one quarter were created by a (defunct) automation, one quarter by misspellings and the rest by people using spaces in labels.

As was said above, if it were configurable then this community could choose not to allow it. However there are others, including me, that would like it.

Nic, other companies use JIRA in different ways from how you use it.  We need spaces for our use cases.  If you don't need them, don't use them.  Making it an option to configure the behavior would address both situations.  Allowing or disallowing spaces isn't going to prevent people from inserting unhelpful or misspelled labels.

You might want to take a look at the James Joyce quote above.  It's a valid label.  Because of the terrible idea of allowing spaces in them.

The problems this community have with broken labels is under active discussion right now, and remember that we only moved to this platform a few months ago, and inherited a LOT of historical junk, including poor labels.

The history is a fantastic example of why labels should absolutely be limited, and why spaces are an awful thing to do.

The community lead Atlassians have recently asked the champions to clean up, and while the current goal is to clean up the most easy targets (singleton labels, used only once), we are talking about rules or conventions for labels, and how to enforce them.

My opinion has shifted slightly since the previous postings, but not a lot.  I like spaces in labels a bit more.  But only with hard constraints.  It is very very clear that labels with spaces don't work, but the problem is not really the spaces, it's the separators.  My earlier opinion was "use single words".  That is still by far the best choice, because it allows for the clearest flexible combined search, but is weaker when you do have a specific. 

I have changed, I can accept a well-used separator.  But not more than one, and not repeated. So, now, I would say that a label should be limited to:

  • a-z
  • 0-9
  • One, single, separator.  A space is fine, - is fine, , is fine, but never more than one.  (Here, we have inherited the problem of "Jira Software, Jira-Software and JiraSoftware" - at the very least, we need to block either spaces or hyphens)
  • Never more than two separators in a label  (Or, better, one, but I really can't be bothered to argue that two still allows for the build up of way too many useless labels because people are too opinionated to accept the proof)

>Allowing or disallowing spaces isn't going to prevent people from inserting unhelpful or misspelled labels

Absolutely right.  My concern here was never about misspelled labels or people adding useless ones like "absquatulation", which, despite my spell checker's objection, is a real word.  We can't fix those.

My worry is all about people using spaces to generate useless labels.  Which they will do if they're allowed to.  (See essay posted while you were typing)

Need to have spaces in labels.

Enter, or comma, would be the most natural key to listen for and start new labels.

And I need a pet thermonuclear warhead.  Please have a read of the conversations above, a statement of "I want" is pointless in the face of evidence.

@Mark Drake feel free to disagree with @Nic Brough [Adaptavist] but please refrain from using abusive language in the process.  Thanks!

If a sizable number of JIRA customers want to use spaces in their labels, I would consider that to be sufficient evidence that it would be a valuable addition to the product.  It's obviously a pain point for certain use cases.

Here's an example of the labels we're using at Evisions.  They contain Alt-code "spaces" to make them more readable.  This has been working really well for us.  My only complaint is that the alt codes are difficult to type when the label is first created.  Other than that, the spaces bring much-needed readability to an otherwise (necessarily) complex label.



How well does searching for labels with non-breaking spaces work?

When searching, I can just type a regular space and it finds it with no problem.  The autocomplete also works.

But you can't find anything you want to unless you know exactly what you are looking for.  You have four labels in your screenshot, of which

Two of them are useless because no-on cares about "xxx yyy zzz".  They DO care about keyboard-navigation, names, roles and values.
The third is even more dreadful.  What does "Level A" mean? 
Same for WCAG 2.0

Seriously, go back to your business and think about how you might map your process on to tools.

Steven Behnke Community Leader Mar 29, 2018

It's depressing but I fear 99% of people don't care about data, or business process, or implementation. :/

Nic, I'm not sure how you can make that claim without being in an environment that actually uses these labels.  We're working on WCAG 2.0 compliance.  The "Level A" label is helpful because we can search for issues that are preventing us from meeting this first level of compliance.  WCAG 2.0 distinguishes issues that are required by the WCAG 2.0 accessibility standards, as opposed to accessibility-related tickets that aren't strictly required for compliance, or that address a different accessibility standard.  And knowing the specific criteria the ticket pertains to is absolutely invaluable when it comes time to update our VPATs.

Regardless, criticizing labels that other people find useful doesn't contribute to the discussion about whether or not *spaces* are useful.  I would appreciate it if you could retain a minimum level of civility in your responses.  Otherwise, I've said my piece here.  Have a good day.

I do work in several environments that use labels.  I've spent over 20 years in these environments.  I have yet to find one where spaces in labels work, and I've been specifically commissioned to write code to expunge them, because they do not work.  At all. 

Your screenshot and explanation is useful to see how you're thinking, but it supports my point better.  You fail to explain the first two labels (I have to assume because you have recognised that they're pretty much useless).  The Level A label is useless without specific context and could easily have been built without an unnecessary space as it has no benefit.  The WCAG label is poor because it has a space in it.  How would you use it to distinguish between versions of WCAG?  (I made that point before, admittedly very badly)

Some separators are definitely needed, but spaces are inconsistent in the way humans think of them, and hence just lead us to having labels that are useless.  As I keep pointing out an obvious example, there were 20,000 labels here in the community.  One third of these were useless noise because they contain spaces.

I would appreciate it if you could have the civility to read what I've said properly.  All I'm asking for is a good reason that spaces in labels are useful.  No-one has done that yet.

No I will not refrain from using "abusive language" - I use adult language because I'm old enough to and understand the meaning of the words. I'll apologize when I've used the incorrect one - but the post you referenced was 100% on point.

And I did read your thread above Nic but you're a [crankypants]. You think you are the be-all and end-all of human thought patterns. I don't know what role you serve at Atlassian, but you are still a company that requires customers to buy their software or subscribe to their services. You are a waiter - not a gatekeeper. You are here to serve - not to persuade nor act like a [poopybutt]. Mark that as "abusive" if you want.

Based on your abusive stance towards ideas that are different than yours perhaps I should just go back to my company and recommend we move to a completely different solution in the future. Your software is not revolutionary by any means, it's just convenient. I'm pretty sure we could build this via open source pretty quickly. A quick search showed me Open Project - looks a lot cheaper than our bill from Atlassian and we can quickly edit the source code and make our own contributions back to the software. 

Good luck with this business model you have here.

Here at Alassian we feel searching is too difficult of a task, and updating the existing code to add new features is "hacking it".

We store your labels as a big blob of text (wrong) and when you give us a search term like "WCAG 2.0" it gives our Jira back-end diarrhea. You don't want the server to shit in it's rack do you? Of course you don't! That's why we don't allow spaces.

I have a strong opinion that differs from yours, and I offer evidence to support it.

Resorting to name calling instead of evidence just tells me that you know you're wrong, as it's a argumentum ad hominem.

Finally, I'm not an Atlassian, I'm an admin of their software who has spent far too much time with broken searches and cleaning up the mess made by people doing the wrong thing, however well-intentioned.

Some language edited. @Mark Drake,the issue isn't the language itself, it's the personal attack. Please take a minute to review our community guidelines.

Yeah Monique you don't deserve this, so I'm dropping out of the conversation. Thank you for being civil at least. I do respect you for that. 

I imagine most feedback goes nowhere here, and I've already made a decision to invest in an open source alternative. I can't imagine having to fight with people to make simple changes like this especially when they are well supported (and apparently well known issues since people like Nic spend countless years correcting customer environments). Should be a red flag when you did it the second, third, and 100th time.

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