To bold, you put two asterisks (**) around the block, and to italicize, you put an underscore (_) around the text. There is a problem (bug?) is if you want to bold and underline text.

Common sense would tell you to put both asterisks and underlines around the text, but that doesn't produce the right results (at least on the mobile site):

_**lorem ipsum**_: lorem ipsum (bold only)

**_lorem ipsum_**: lorem ipsum (bold only)

So, is this a bug, or is this Defective by Design (tm)

  • 2
    Seems to be working in your example. What are you seeing if lorem ipsum is not the right results? Feb 12, 2013 at 15:27
  • 1
    that's quite a bump, are you now experiencing it on anything other than a mobile?
    – ocæon
    Apr 13, 2019 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Use three asterisks/underscores:

___foo___ ***bar*** => foo bar

Actually, _ and * are identical. Only the amount matters: 1 = italic, 2 = bold, 3 = both

Combining _ and ** or vice-versa works, too. At least on the non-mobile site.

  • @ColeJohnson: Mediawiki uses a different format. On SE sites we use markdown. Feb 12, 2013 at 15:31
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    @ColeJohnson the point is so we can have pedantic discussions of whether _ or * is the proper way to apply markdown
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 12, 2013 at 15:35
  • 4
    @ColeJohnson NK's storing their nukes in The Tavern? I always knew that place seemed fishy
    – Ben Brocka
    Feb 12, 2013 at 16:27

You put three stars or underscores around the word: italic and bold.

In full-blown posts, you can combine them any way you like:

  • _**still bold italic**_: still bold italic
  • **_still bold italic_**: still bold italic

However, this does not work in comments. In comments, you have to use three stars or three underscores. You cannot mix the styles. The comments parser is a little pickier.

  • Yes! That's what I was getting at! Why is the comments section picky? Why can't the same parser be used?
    – Cole Tobin
    Feb 12, 2013 at 15:37
  • 1
    @ColeJohnson: Because not all of markdown is supported in comments. They don't support bullet points, no quoting, no syntax highlighting of code either. Feb 12, 2013 at 15:38

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