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Since comments gained the ability of some very limited formatting that's also a source of frustration involved. The syntax is, while similar to the main post syntax, still different enough that you stumble over the discrepancies every now and then.

Something like *foo*-bar works in normal posts but not in comments.

Case in point here: How the hell does the parser work?

Or rather: What do I need to do to the string to work? Adding a space after the interior * does work. But that's sort of a non-solution. Adding U+200B in there does not work (would have been too easy, I presume).

ETA: Ok, in the comments I've been doing some testing. It appears that everything that's a space seems to work (suggests \s is used somewhere). Since the zero-width space isn't a space it doesn't work. While I used foo-bar as a test string I also sometimes wanted to emphasize part of a non-hyphenated word, something like *un*foo (which works in Markdown, even though it doesn't appear to work in the JS preview. However, I would have expected the hyphen-minus at least to count as a delimiter. Looks like the hair space is the best option so far.

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foo -bar U+2008 (too long) – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 4:32
foo -bar U+2009 (noticeable, but might be ok for most people) – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 4:33
foo -bar U+200A (nigh-invisible; well, it's a hair space after all; might be that it only seem to work for italic, though) – foo -bar, foo bar (no, seems ok; code formatting adds space anyway) – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 4:33
*foo*​-bar U+200B (would have been nice) – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 4:35
*foo*‌-bar U+200C (not the right tool for the job, but maybe ... nope) – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 4:36
*foo*‍-bar U+200D (still not the right tool, but one can hope ... nope) – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 4:36
Related:… – Jon Seigel Apr 4 '10 at 4:43
Jon: not exactly, though. The question is about showing the features that are avilable in comments. I think a full-page explanation on why comment markup is inconsistent with the normal markup (even with the parts that look similar) might be too much. – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 5:00
@Johannes: I'm just saying that if the MarkDown behaviour for comments is fully documented somewhere, it would cut down on a lot of confusion about issues that come up over and over again. – Jon Seigel Apr 4 '10 at 5:08
@Jon: an, true that. It's not Markdown, though, as the backslashes-are-markup-suddenly-too issue doesn't exist in the normal post syntax (which uses Markdown). It's more like an extended subset. Akin to browser CSS support or so :-) – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 5:15

Intra word styling is not supported in comments.

Your workarounds using thin word separators work, and is likely to be the only thing you can do to get the effect.

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Is there something like an official list of functional differences between Markdown and the sorta-like-Markdown-but-totally-different comment formatting? Not a list of features vs. features but differences between similar-looking features. Like that backslashes are markup too now and stuff like that. – Joey Apr 4 '10 at 5:07

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