I would like the bold and italic button to be removed from the ask question window.

The reason is, that these features can easily be abused by unexperienced, amateur users lacking the knowledge of how to layout texts correctly.

This is subject of concern to many of the better, more experienced SO users. As for evidence, look here:

SO feature request concerning colors

Here, a feature request for adding a color picker got a voting of -14. Some user writes:

Having colors would enable people to abuse them.

and gives some very nice of example of how colors can destroy the visual appearance of a text.

The same user does not seem to object bold and italics, possibly because the abuse of these features does not happen that often (as another user writes). But as to my own question, linked here - My feature request - a user clearly dislikes my use of bold in the question text (only used at two wimpy places), and after giving it some thought I think he is absolutely right.

From this evidence it gets clear:
text emphasizes peril the visual appearance of texts as much as colours, even if used moderately. How many ugly looking questions may there float around in SO, hurting the eye?

Secondly: stupid users prevented from using their beloved Facebook colors will the more be tempted to use emphasizes as a mean of expressing their (very mediocre) thoughts.

So, the danger of low level users abusing things like text emphasizes must be removed - stop things getting wrong right from the start.

  • 5
    Everything can be abused. What about lists? Hyperlinks? What you actually suggest is to let new users have only plain text. Better let them make mistakes then point it out to them and have them learn. Oct 22 '12 at 12:31
  • 4
    "stupid users prevented from using their beloved Facebook colors will the more be tempted to use emphasizes as a mean of expressing their (very mediocre) thoughts."...you might want to strike a somewhat different tone.
    – Bart
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:31
  • Bart, I thought at least you would defend me... Oct 22 '12 at 12:33
  • 5
    I will never ever defend anyone calling users stupid or their thoughts mediocre. No matter my views on the abuse of bold or italics.
    – Bart
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:35
  • Well, there you are. You are not wrong. At least I can say I haven´t insulted anyone personally. Oct 22 '12 at 12:38
  • News flash: people are upset that other people are abusing formatting. Oct 22 '12 at 12:40
  • is this a joke?
    – prusswan
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:42
  • 2
    @prusswan if it is, then it's a bad one.
    – yannis
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:42

MANY TYPES of formatting ABUSE CAN be far WORSE THAN bold and ITALIC TEXT.

  • This one is at least uniform, pick a better example!
    – prusswan
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:48
  • 1
    @prusswan: Better?
    – Dennis
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:49
  • ¡ʍou ɹǝʇʇǝq ɥɔnɯ
    – prusswan
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:53

wHô ÑêΣD$ ╒δΓma┬┬îñg tö bé äßú$î√ê ªπD ä∩Ѻÿi∩G?


This isn't such a good idea. While I agree with you that abusing formatting is somewhat common (any formatting, not just bold and italic) removing a useful feature that most people use correctly would be counterproductive.

Your request for a color picker wasn't shot down just because it would be prone to abuse, the main reason is that neither you nor any of the people who previously asked similar features convinced the community that the feature would be actually useful. We can certainly live with a few people abusing an otherwise useful feature, but not with a feature that is both encouraging crappy formatting and isn't really useful to anyone.

  • Yannis, my request was closed, pointing to a similar request where as much as everyone disagreed because a color picker can be abused. But thanks for your information. Oct 22 '12 at 13:08
  • 1
    @AGuyCalledGerald Hm? The request you were pointed at also has a highly upvoted answer that argues there wouldn't be much use for such a feature. Abuse is a problem, but it's not the main problem, the main problem is that your feature would be largely useless.
    – yannis
    Oct 22 '12 at 13:12
  • I must agree with you that the requests lack really convincing arguments. Of course I could show concrete examples. But I still feel the fear abuse will be so dominant that all arguments have no real chance. However, I will keep this in mind for the next request. Oct 22 '12 at 13:34

Emphasis is useful, making a sentence or a word bold can be effectively used to draw attention. It can of course be also misused, but that is no reason to completely remove it.

But we don't need even more different ways to emphasize, bold and italic should be enough. That is the reason for the negative reaction to the color picker. Adding an unnecessary option that can be abused is different than having a very useful option that can be abused.

  • 1
    +1 that is exactly my thought as well. I can think of no situation, other than syntax highlighting (which we do) where colour formatting would be necessary or would be an improvement over what is already in place.
    – Bart
    Oct 22 '12 at 12:46

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