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I'm definitely being influenced by books, and I'm not sure whether it's a good thing or not.

You know how sometimes in technical books there'll be a sidebar, or a little inset bit of text or something similar, indicating either "This may be interesting but not crucial" or "This is absolutely fundamental" depending on any icons that go next to it? Usually they have a different background colour, so clarify their bounds.

Well, for the first time I've found myself doing it on SO. In this answer about floating point a comment indicated somewhere that I wasn't being entirely clear — or at least he brought up a somewhat separate point.

I wanted to address that point, but without losing the main train of thought... so I (ab)used quoting to get the same sort of effect I'd try to achieve in a book.

So, my question is: should I actually introduce it in a completely separate section, and not try to turn SO into a book? Or is this a handy way to use markdown? I'm certainly not quoting anyone, so in those semantic terms it's wrong....

I care a fair amount about the presentation of my answers, so I'd be very grateful to get feedback on alternative approaches before I go too far down the road and start getting used to them.

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Was the downvote because it was a silly idea, or for some other reason? – Jon Skeet Jul 6 '09 at 21:18
I would down vote for the usage of a smiley. Lucky for you I am out of votes for today. – GEOCHET Jul 6 '09 at 21:34
Upvoted because i had the issue too, multiple times. I would like to have a sort of "collapsible panel" with this little [+] before them, just displaying one line of "title". In your case, it would say "[+] Dealing with the problem of finite representations". Users could expand it or not, on their discretion. This would also be useful for other things, like code golf answers "[+] Explanation of that Code" – Johannes Schaub - litb Jul 6 '09 at 22:12

In my editing experience, I would have used a horizontal rule and a header like I did in this post.


blah blah blah blah

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Would you have done that below the whole body of the text, or in the place where my current text is? – Jon Skeet Jul 6 '09 at 21:12
Usually below the text. It is rare that the note needs to be in the middle of the text. If it was you could call it out. – GEOCHET Jul 6 '09 at 21:15
So pretty much like Tom's footnote, just not referenced directly in the text. In this case I think I'd go with the footnote, but I can see the merits of both for different scenarios. – Jon Skeet Jul 6 '09 at 21:19
@Jon: As an example, I edited your answer. Roll back if you wish, but at least it makes my point clear. – GEOCHET Jul 6 '09 at 21:21
I should note that I don't find your initial post bad at all. I likely would not edit it if I was just rolling past it. I am simply pointing out how I would format it if I wrote it. – GEOCHET Jul 6 '09 at 21:22
No, I think I prefer what you've done with it. Next decision... to delete this question or not. It's probably not useful for anyone else... – Jon Skeet Jul 6 '09 at 21:34
@Jon: I would leave it honestly. I think it is a fine reference. – GEOCHET Jul 6 '09 at 21:35

Personally, I would either add it as a comment to your answer, or use a footnote (1) in the body of the text and refer to it at the bottom of your post.

(1) Like this!

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've now taken to doing footnotes with the <sup> tag1 which works pretty well.

1 It's a pain if it's next to numbers, but otherwise it's okay.

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