The similar case was discussed here: inconsistency rendering ** in markdown.

Though quick help on formatting proposes to use _italic_ and **bold**, in fact you can use *italic* and __bold__ with the same effect. But when double asterisk is used inside the word, one pair of asterisks (or underscores) is not converted to formatting, but is kept as is: it_a_lic, italic, b__ol__d, bold.

If I understand correctly the double-asterisk bold highlighting doesn't work inside words to make simpler programming_style_underscore_usage.

Actually my question is because of my post on RussianSE, where I tried to indicate difference in stress between two words:

preview rendering,

but after posting I've got:

after posting.

So, I have two questions here:

  1. On programming-related sites - why underscore-protection should influence asterisks as well?
  2. Can this feature be disabled on non-programming-related sites?
  • 1
    The intra-word emphasis disabling shouldn't exist anyway, just use_code_formatting
    – Doorknob
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:08
  • He doesn't want code formatting, @Doorknob. It is not code, it is a word. The proper workaround is to use the HTML tags. Aug 12, 2013 at 12:12
  • @CodyGray I've seen the post about the workaround, but the inconsistensy between cyrillic and latin letters still exists.
    – Artemix
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:14
  • @CodyGray That decision was made before SE 2.0, I don't think it's an unreasonable request to disable it on non-programming sites.
    – Stijn
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:15
  • 3
    Agreed. That is very strange. I had to test it out for myself, but sure enough you're telling the truth. :-) I suppose it's another bug related to the fact that we use a different parser for the preview window. Aug 12, 2013 at 12:15
  • 4
    @Cody I meant that (IMHO) the intra-word emphasis disable rule shouldn't exist at all because I don't really see a use for it - name one English word with an underscore in it?
    – Doorknob
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:20
  • I don't know, it is tricky to apply the principle of least astonishment here. Emphasis within a word seems like a very unusual case to me, and I wouldn't expect characters typed within a word to have a magical effect. But then again, they work outside of words, so perhaps there is a consistency argument here? Either way, though, the preview needs to be fixed so that you can see the problem and fix the mistake. Aug 12, 2013 at 12:22
  • @Cody **em**phasis? Or maybe you want to point out that a user typed fooTh**r**eBar? Anyway, anything with underscores in it is probably code
    – Doorknob
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:25
  • @Artemix By the way how does that title have anything to do with the question
    – Doorknob
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:25
  • Wait I thought the main question was But why underscore-protection should influence asterisks as well?
    – Doorknob
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:27
  • @Doorknob Initially I was asking about the bug, but while I was writing the question this idea came to my mind and I forgot to write about the bug.
    – Artemix
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:29
  • @CodyGray I changed the title and body to focus on feature-request.
    – Artemix
    Aug 12, 2013 at 12:34
  • 1
    I see. I find the question confusing as it's currently worded. You're jamming 2 or 3 different things all together, and the lack of context doesn't help matters. I was trying to make it clearer. Your choice. Aug 12, 2013 at 12:37
  • 2
    *there is **some** potential ambiguity* concerning ***nested** highlights* Aug 12, 2013 at 12:51
  • 2
    See here for the work around (using <b></b> tags) Aug 12, 2013 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


Implementing different rules for such critical markup between different sites would be confusing as hell.

The HTML fallback will have to suffice.

  • 2
    This makes very horrible experience on sites that uses Japanese, or upcoming sites that uses Chinese characters, which normally doesn't use spaces.
    – nhahtdh
    Sep 10, 2013 at 7:59
  • Maybe help on markdown should describe this behavior? I see that people find this issue on regular basis and only by searching Meta one can find a way to workaroud the problem.
    – Artemix
    Sep 10, 2013 at 8:03
  • 1
    intra-word highlighting in a language without space-separated words is something of a different issue, @nhahtdh, and wouldn't necessarily be fixed by this request anyway: what if you wanted a Japanese programming site? I suspect the parser will need to be enhanced to support these languages at some point, but not at the expense of consistency elsewhere.
    – Shog9
    Sep 10, 2013 at 8:24
  • This request is now essentially status-completed rather than declined.
    – user259867
    May 4, 2015 at 3:46
  • Completed insofar as it works better on every site; still works the same on programming and non-programming sites.
    – Shog9
    Nov 16, 2018 at 0:48

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