One of my initial suggested changes to this question involved replacing a bolded semicolon with an inline code semicolon, their acceptance resulting in this line as part of the final question:

  • Add a ; to the end of my current line (no matter where the carat was within said line)

Shortly after my suggestions were accepted, a user with editing privileges replaced my ; with a ;, a change I moved to revert because the line references a character rather than a key. After my revision went live, another user, also with editing privileges, replaced my ; with ";" (i.e. a semicolon encapsulated by quotation marks rather than backticks). Neither of them provided an explanation for their changes. Before I make another suggestion to revert once again to ;, the fact that more than one person has contested my styling leads me to the question what is the best way to style this semicolon?

I think that inline code works the best here, because it is designed to make words and characters that are a part of code stand out from the rest of the text. In this case, the question is essentially asking how to insert code into a line in a specific manner. Ergo, the ; should be treated the same as a longer chunk of code would. Surrounding it with quotation marks, a markup I thought to be depreciated thanks to inline code styling, only serves to make things more confusing for the reader—one would have to decide what exactly is supposed to be inserted, ; or ";". An easy decision, no doubt, but one that initiates one more mental thread than is necessary.

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    The question looks fine the way it is right now. This seems like pedantry run amok, to be honest; all these edits, and no time left to grab a beer. But your logic seems sound; I dislike the quotes and the keycap for the same reasons you do, and everyone knows what a semicolon looks like anyway. – Robert Harvey May 22 '13 at 23:48
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    Why wouldn't the text spell out the word, i.e. "Add a semicolon to the end of the current line..."? Or perhaps I'm missing something. – Tim Medora May 23 '13 at 0:03
  • @TimMedora That's... actually something I didn't think of doing. It probably would've cleared up a lot of confusion. – angerson May 23 '13 at 0:31
  • @RobertHarvey I agree; someone else brought back the backticks and fixed a typo of mine. I guess this process is something I should get used to. – angerson May 23 '13 at 0:34
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    @TimMedora: Personally, I like ; rather than spelling out the word "semicolon". It seems more explicit and less subject to confusion -- not so much in this particular case, but for example "braces" and "brackets" can be ambiguous. – Keith Thompson May 23 '13 at 2:34
  • @KeithThompson - I don't disagree on something like braces/brackets. Ideally, the question/answer would show the line of code (or in this case, desired output) illustrating the point so there is no ambiguity. The bigger issue might be that the semicolon was the only thing edited, resulting in multiple, trivial edits which are equally valid (or invalid). – Tim Medora May 23 '13 at 2:56

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