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so, I had a question. In it I had an error message. I wanted to make it stand out, so I put it in a blockquote

This is the error message

But this error message had angle brackets in it. This dramatically changed the nature of the question, and I think partially as a result, I got some answers that were led down the wrong track.

So, a few minutes later, I changed it. I initially considered a code block, but decided against a code block, because it was a long error message, and I didn't want to hide the information scrolled far off to the right.

This is <a sample of> the error message                                                                                                                              but look way over here is more information.

so I decided with an o be an inline code block

This is <a sample of> the error message

I liked this, and thought it worked well, so I did it.

Then a day later, I notice that the angle brackets are gone again? What happened?

According to the revision history, someone changed it back with the message of "formatting".

This is the error message

Sure, they formatted it, but it made my angle brackets disappear again.

So I changed it back. But the problem remains. Either I'm not doing it the right way, (and I missed a theoretically obvious right way), or the nature of angle brackets is not obvious.

What can we do to fix this? How can we make this site easier to use, and not lead people astray.

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3 Answers 3

The reformatting the editors applied is indeed preferred, it makes text messages more readable. You can still format the code portion for readability inside the blockquote by using backticks ` on the keyboard around the relevant section. When I type

> This is using `<brackets>` in a blockquote.

The output is below.

This is using <brackets> in a blockquote.

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Why is backticks inside a quote block better than just backticks on the whole thing? This gives different fonts for the whole message. –  McKay Dec 30 '11 at 23:12
    
Readability. Natural flowing line breaks. Text is not code, an error message is not code. Blockquotes are simply more natural for the text being displayed, and it is usually less work for you (you have to do the line breaks in code blocks yourself. –  Anthony Pegram Dec 31 '11 at 0:00
    
Precisely my point. In my particular case, I don't want to change the font. It's all in the same font. I want to keep it all in the same font. –  McKay Jun 22 '12 at 16:40

It is enough you use the back ticks before and after the characters that should not be otherwise shown, as in the following line:

This is <a sample of> the error message

The code that renders the posts thinks that <a sample of> is an HTML tag, and (as it is not one of the allowed tags) it removes it.

The line I used before contains the following Markdown:

> This is `<a sample of>` the error message 
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Why is backticks inside a quote block better than just backticks on the whole thing? This gives different fonts for the whole message. –  McKay Dec 30 '11 at 23:11

You can get in-text angle brackets without using inline code snippets (which might be desirable in this case, given that the quoted text snippet contains some code) using the HTML entities &lt; and &gt; as follows:

The call is ambiguous between the following methods or properties:
'Overloaded.ComplexOverloadResolution(params string[])' and
'Overloaded.ComplexOverloadResolution<string>(string)'

which is, in Markdown/HTML:

> The call is ambiguous between the following methods or properties:  
> 'Overloaded.ComplexOverloadResolution(params string[])' and  
> 'Overloaded.ComplexOverloadResolution&lt;string&gt;(string)'
       (note HTML entities here) ----> ^^^^      ^^^^ 

It's unfortunate that you didn't notice this had happened on your initial submission. However, the software allows some HTML, which requires that invalid HTML tags be dealt with somehow. Currently, they're silently stripped; perhaps this could be improved with a warning above the preview or on submission?

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1  
I like the warning message idea. Silently stripped is basically the problem. –  McKay Dec 30 '11 at 23:10

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