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From this question on SU;

Notice the u in chromium isn't italic, as it should be, given the situation. However, you can't do someth*in*g like that (although the prettify box says you can), so do we need something like


to allow such a string to be posted?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Just use the <i> tag: <i>Ch</i>romi<i>u</i>m -> Chromium

Ok, if you really want your blank, use a zero-width space. It's Unicode char 0x200B, and you can use it like this: Chromi&#x200B;*u*&#x200B;m -> Chromi​u​m

(or, like this... Chromi​*u*​m -> Chromi​u​m - though this doesn't make a good demo, since by definition the character doesn't show up!)

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+1 for solving this problem, but it'd still be nice to have a blk tag, or some such thing. – Phoshi Oct 24 '09 at 22:40


markdown.pl (the reference implementation of Markdown) supports intra-word-empasis, without the magical blank character you propose:

$ echo "Ex*amp*le" | perl markdown.pl

This is disabled in the stackoverflow version of markdown because it's annoying more often than not.. You are very few cases where you want my_example_variable to display as myexamplevariable, instead of my_example_variable

If you really want intra-word emphasis, just use the relevant HTML tags as Shog9 suggested:


I really recommend against using the unicode zero-width-space character.. The equivalent &#x200B; escape sequence seems reasonable, although it's less obvious and harder to read than simply using the HTML tags.

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I realise WHY the inter-word stuff was disabled, and certainly wouldn't want it back, but I've seen blank characters used to great effect in many places - more powerful markup is never a bad thing, right? – Phoshi Oct 25 '09 at 0:25
I don't see much benefit for this new bit of syntax.. The cases where you'd need it are pretty obscure, it would further diverging SO's markdown from "the standard", and there is a perfectly good, very readable alternative, which wouldn't require users to remember another bit of syntax (HTML tags, or &#x200B;) – dbr Oct 25 '09 at 13:42

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