I recently got this message when trying to post a question:

Oops! Your question couldn't be submitted because:

Your post appears to contain code that is not properly formatted as code.

Although I agree that the automatic detection mechanism at work here serves a useful purpose, sometimes it creates a real usability problem. I'm not the first person that this has tripped up.

There are two good options for improving the experience:

     1. Add the first occurrence of the offending code to the tooltip (fairly easy)
     2. Highlight the line and character position of the offending code in the edit window (not as easy)

These are much better alternatives than, say:

     3. Changing the message to a warning rather than an error (bad)
     4. Automagically changing the offending content to code (usually wrong and counter-productive)

There may be other options, but those are my top four.

  • This is really a great suggestion, I think. I hope you don't mind that I've made a couple of changes to the presentation of your question. I don't intend to change the meaning. Definitely an upvote from me. Naturally, my favorite idea is also the one that is the most work: highlighting the problematic lines. Jul 20, 2013 at 9:00
  • @CodyGray That's great. I strongly feel that the ideal situation is for experienced users to revise and reword any good questions submitted buy site newbies. You of course have much more UI experience on the site and (like here) might have much better writing skills when dealing with the Q&A format. Thanks.
    – DHorse
    Jul 22, 2013 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


I disagree. Making it a warning instead of an error would be good design, as it is a heuristic that can fail. It specifically says so. So, if the heuristic fails, there needs to be a way to override it. Anytime a heuristic can fail, there should be some form of override.

Users seeing the message which specifically says "may include" will assume they can continue and be able to override it. Which, if you haven't guessed by my response to an old question (as I search for a resolution), is exactly the situation I am in.

And, no, I won't get into the specifics here.

  • You may be interested in meta.stackexchange.com/a/179230/230261, noting also that this feature is continuously improving, and has improved significantly in the 4 years since this FR was made. If you were prompted to post this because you ran into a bug in the detector, it would be helpful if you posted a bug report so that it could continue to be improved (thus making FR's like this unnecessary).
    – Jason C
    May 2, 2017 at 23:46
  • It's less than useful, since it's been shut down because apparently the person was wrong to ask in the first place. I can point out flaws with the accepted answer in the comments and recommend a way around it, but the fact it has been closed suggests that no one will listen. And closing meta stuff makes me less likely to want to submit a bug report.
    – trlkly
    May 3, 2017 at 0:33
  • It seems you have the wrong impression of too many things for me to even begin to describe here. In any case, if you find a bug, yes, post a bug report.
    – Jason C
    May 3, 2017 at 1:31

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