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How do comments work?

I just tried to add a comment to a question I had posed. I could not get the formatting right. To start a new line I thought I was supposed to end the line by pressing the space bar twice and then follow that by pressing the "return" key (using MacBook). That didn't work. Then I tried two spaces followed by shift-return. That appeared to work but it didn't. My comment (two or three paragraphs) was formatted as a single line of text.

Perhaps you set up a practice box somewhere, so those of us who have difficulty editing could keep trying until we get the formatting right.

PS I couldn't find a submit or post button for the comment (once written). Did I miss it?

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marked as duplicate by Mat, Pops, Arjan, Manishearth, Mark Trapp Jul 10 '12 at 21:17

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Use ctrl+enter. –  Somnath Muluk Jul 5 '12 at 6:44
4  
There's a formatting sandbox here, but I don't think you can insert line breaks into comments at all. –  jonsca Jul 5 '12 at 6:55

1 Answer 1

Use the Formatting Sandbox

Shift-Enter inserts a \n in the comment plaintext--unfortunately, this isn't displayed.

On sites with MathJax on, you can force a linebreak with $$%$$.

But really, why would you need a linebreak in a comment? Comments are for asking for clarification/improvement, and they're ephermal.

Comments are not meant to be permanent content displayed to visitors in the future. Thus, we need not care about formatting them properly. Once a comment has been used to improve a post, it is no longer necessary.

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to ManishEarth: The link "Formatting Sandbox" did not help. I could not understand the phrase "You can use this question as a formatting sandbox". I was hoping to see a box to enter text, accompanied by a button, which when pressed, would show me what my comment would look like when displayed on the stackoverflow site. Comments may be ephemeral, but some stick around for days. And even if a comment is there for a day, I want it to look inviting. Thank you, RP –  Roger Purves Jul 5 '12 at 18:45
    
@roger post a comment on an answer there. Also, allowing linebreaks can lead to all kinds of abuse-I can fill it with tons of linebreaks and flood the page. You shouldn't even be using such long comments that they need linebreaks, actually--there's very little use for that. As a workaround, I suggest using two comments. –  Manishearth Jul 6 '12 at 0:53
    
to ManishEarth: Your comments bring up too many issues for me to handle in this context. I will stop. RP –  Roger Purves Jul 6 '12 at 20:05

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