The code formatting button gets abused a lot. People use it to emphasize text (example) or highlight tech and product names (examples: 1, 2). You see it both in original posts and in the edit queue.

Can anyone think of a way how people could be informed about the correct use of code formatting? I often leave a comment after correcting the post and usually people take it well. It seems like the problem is that people just don't know that formatting option should be used for code only.

It's hard to detect automatically if the formatting is applied to non-code, but perhaps an unobtrusive "Is that really code?" info box could appear when there are only a-z letters in formatted parts.

As an aside, I wonder if this is a cultural thing, since it seems that people who do this are often from Asia judging by their names. Are there writing systems where monotype is a common way to highlight text?

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    I definitely think it's a cultural thing, but differently: it's that subculture that are fawning for their missing rich text editing options and Comic Sans font option that frivolously render things wrongly. Not just them, however; you'll notice broken English, indeed, broken language, is rife and always has been: those making grave mistakes on typewriters, those carrying archaic conventions from it to today, those making new mistakes on keyboards, and so on and so forth. What you gonna do. Never mind writing, the people don't read. Mar 19, 2013 at 9:04
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    If you disabled backticks as a syntax element and forced them to use <code> instead, maybe that'd have them notice something odd about the semantics.
    – slhck
    Mar 19, 2013 at 9:22
  • just edit if you have more than 2k rep else edit with proper reason and link of meta question so that approver can take right decision and dont reject as too minor. Mar 19, 2013 at 9:48
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    @NullPonyPointer: We shouldn't have to deal with these things in the first place, that's the point. Mar 19, 2013 at 9:50
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    The backticks are too convenient to disable just because of this issue.
    – JJJ
    Mar 19, 2013 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


Can anyone think of a way how people could be informed about the correct use of code formatting?

The case that I see most often is when someone edits an existing post for no other reason than to code format names of classes, files, and other things that could be, but which don't necessarily need to be code formatted. I reject such edits as too minor because they increase the edit count on the post without really improving the post.

I accept edits, of course, when someone makes those same kinds of changes but also makes other useful improvements, such as correcting grammar, properly formatting real code, etc.

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    For your viewing pleasure: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/137755/… Mar 19, 2013 at 9:23
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    I hate you, @BoltClock'saUnicorn.
    – J. Steen
    Mar 19, 2013 at 9:30
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn Love that. Agree Bill the Lizard's comment there, that programming language keywords often need code formatting -- I expect that's why inline code formatting is available in the first place.
    – Caleb
    Mar 19, 2013 at 9:47
  • You describe edits that employ inline code properly to render the display more distinctive, therefore readable, and therefore more productive - a major improvement to most incomprehensible nonsense. I refute your argument thus!. Mar 19, 2013 at 16:43
  • @Mr.Disappointment Every mention of a class name doesn't need to be code formatted. If the OP chooses to do it, I think it's okay -- sometimes I do the same myself out of habit. If an editor does it in the course of improving other aspects of the post, like grammar and spelling, fine. But editing a post merely to code format two or three mentions of a class is not a significant change -- it doesn't make the post more readable, and the edit should therefore be rejected as too minor.
    – Caleb
    Mar 19, 2013 at 17:59

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