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I see this happen for the second time now. At first it happened when I edited this question to improve formatting. If you look at the comments you'll see some questions to me I didn't really know how to answer: somehow I significantly changed the code (apparently).

Now it happens again here. To understand that no harm was introduced by the edits one needs to look at the source of the initial revision. Has it always been that some slashes are not displayed on SO in regular text? (and in the first case, it's not only slashes: somehow 2 disappeared as well)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

This is by design.

In most cases, Markdown uses the backslash as an escape character. This is why


gives the following output:


Escaping can be useful in a number of situations. For example, ​\`​ prints a single backtick character: `

However, the Markdown formatting for code (tab or four spaces) takes everything literally. In your case


gives the following output:

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Also note that using backticks fixes things too. It's just that when using <code> one needs to HTML encode stuff manually. Lacking to do so, might make the browser interpret the tags, or might make the security parser thingy even take out unsupported tags. – Arjan Jun 19 '12 at 17:19
I didn't even know I could use <code> (for the better, as I gather). However, in the questions I link to the slashes disappear in plain text, no <code> tags. Is this by design, too? – Lev Levitsky Jun 19 '12 at 17:22
@LevLevitsky: Yes. As I said, it's an escape character. You couldn't write a single backtick, asterisk or underscore without it. – Dennis Jun 19 '12 at 17:24
Yes, @Lev, as </\\2> probably became </\2> and the <\2> tag is not allowed (if it existed). – Arjan Jun 19 '12 at 17:27
Ok then, thanks guys. I didn't notice before how tricky the markdown was. Another reason to use it properly (not only for nice looks). And the feeling that you've just accidentally vandalized a question is quite awkward. Should I retag my question somehow? – Lev Levitsky Jun 19 '12 at 17:30

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