Recently there has been some code formatting appearing in answers for emphasis and highlighting. A couple of comments have been left by myself and Mad Scientist, and I began editing the formatting out before coming across this previous discussion between MadSci and Lo Sauer.

At least three community users have expressed disagreement with this practise (myself, MadSci and the upvoter of Mad Scientist's comments), however Lo Sauer makes the valid point that "Unless it is explicitly prohibited, I will prefer that formatting."

Do we need to explicitly prohibit it as well as the implicit don't do this it looks terrible that exists currently?

A further point for discussion would be the issue raised by Lo Sauer in his rollback "reverted to initial formatting... terms or phrases are highlighted; "see: How To Edit: always respect the original author" thanks".

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    $\begingroup$ Notably, this type of usage has been made explicitly disallowed on a couple of our language sites. It's considered jarring and doesn't add anything. The exception is IPA/linguistic orthography, so making an exceptional use case is not a bad idea. No idea where that would fall in Biology, though. $\endgroup$
    – Aarthi
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ There are several Stack Overflow users that suggest edits that apparently randomly add code formatting. Might be the same issue here. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


Personally I think this is not the way the system was designed to be used and makes the post body hard to read and not flow well.

Furthermore I would strongly contest the viewpoint that altering the style of emphasis used (which is distinct from altering the emphasis itself) is in no way not respecting the original author when editing.

With that in mind I move to explicitly state that this usage is not acceptable, I would imagine that thsi is the view of the majority of the community however will post to allow a definite voting period.


It’s horrible style. But it’s not the users’ fault, it’s the software’s fault: why does the editor offer code formatting with a convenient shortcut at all?

On a biology site this is weird enough. But it’s even present on a cooking site. Stack Exchange utterly failed to adapt their site’s interface to a non-programmer audience. This needs to change. It’s no use trying to re-educate the users when the interface makes it so convenient and tempting to be misused.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a feature request for that on Meta.SO? And the inline code style doesn't have a button, so that wouldn't help in this case for users that know the markdown format. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 10:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Mad I haven’t but I’m sure this has come up in discussions multiple times. Can’t find anything now though – I don’t really know what to search for. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ Are you referring to inline code styling (a.k.a. backticks) in particular, or both ways of having monospaced fonts? $\endgroup$
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ @balpha I was referring to the editor UI in general. First off, the GUI is static across the sites which makes no sense (cooking/parenting will never need code blocks). More generally, Markdown totally rocks, I love it to death – but for an audience of parents or bikers it’s inappropriate and should be replaced by WYSIWYG, and on a cooking site a more specialised editor supporting the editing of recipes would be beneficial. The SE GUI is designed for programmers. It’s used across the board. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 13:13

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