the empty span is still there (1.2.10) if there is no "Board description" set in
administration -> options. as this is not a mandatory setting, i consider this
a very low low low priority bug which breaks the validation.
here's the patch against 1.2.10, it's really brain dead simple,
it can be done without an if so doesn't disturb the source very much.
ps. as i read back the discussion now, the nbsp is not a good idea.
the admin can still set the "Board description" to nbsp if very inclined to,
it can contain html after all.