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On Cognitive Science we expect answers to include a full list of references on which the answer was based at the bottom of the question. There are a few ways in which to format this list and we haven't decided on a preferred format yet.

One of the ideas is to wrap the list of references in <sub> tags as it "deemphasizes the reference section rather than emphasizing it".

This looks as follows:

Neher, A. (1991). Maslow's theory of motivation: A critique. Journal of Humanistic Psycholgoy, 31, 3. FREE PDF
Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory (1976), or a free pdf scan here

In order to place the second reference on a new line, two spaces need to be added at the end of the first reference. Using (the more logical) return breaks markdown! Adding a first return only adds a space. Everything after a second return isn't subscript anymore.

Neher, A. (1991). Maslow's theory of motivation: A critique. Journal of Humanistic Psycholgoy, 31, 3. FREE PDF

Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory (1976), or a free pdf scan here

Is this a bug?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

When you separate the items using two line breaks, you cause each of them to be put in a separate <p> paragraph tag. According to the HTML standards the <sub> subscript tag is only allowed to be used within paragraphs of next, not surrounding them (though some browsers may support it). This is the same reason that you can't apply a link or bold/italic formatting to multiple paragraphs of text.

[**Bold, subscript or linked,

it won't work properly over multiple paragraphs!**](http://example.com/)

It would be possible for Stack Overflow's markdown parser to automatically generate <sub> subscript tags within each <p> paragraph tag of the output, but that would create different semantics for Markdown than for HTML and only be useful in uncommon situations like this.

I don't think that's likely to happen. I hope they eventually add explicit support for citing scientific literature and make hacky formatting like this unnecessary.

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Thanks, that makes sense. I was also planning to look for/write a similar post as the one you linked to, you saved me some work there. ;p – Steven Jeuris Feb 22 '12 at 12:42
    
Or, @Steven, what about Markdown footnotes instead? – Arjan Feb 28 '12 at 22:13

I seem to discovered a trick that saves time: See After interest rate increases, should one hold or sell short-term bond ETFs?.

Instead of surrounding each paragraph with <sub> and </sub>, it suffices only to place <sub> at the commencement of a paragraph as usual; but then place the same number of </sub> (adjacently) as the number of <sub> tags used, at the end of your entire post, to avoid the trouble of terminating each paragraph with </sub>.

Please advise of further ameliorations or tricks!

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This is a very ugly hack that relies on some rather obscure behavior of the SE Markdown parser. Kudos for discovering it, but honestly, I wouldn't rely on it still working in the future, as the parser evolves. – Ilmari Karonen Sep 14 '15 at 9:05

As Jeremy answered, it's not a bug, but there's an easy workaround:

I see no issues if you use <br /> to separate the references (and that is valid HTML). With one line break:

Neher, A. (1991). Maslow's theory of motivation: A critique. Journal of Humanistic Psycholgoy, 31, 3. [FREE PDF]
Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, [Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory] (1976), or a free pdf scan

With two line breaks:

Neher, A. (1991). Maslow's theory of motivation: A critique. Journal of Humanistic Psycholgoy, 31, 3. [FREE PDF]

Mahmoud A. Wahba, Lawrence G. Bridwell, [Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory] (1976), or a free pdf scan

Link to answer in formatting sandbox

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