Many new users post questions that lacks proper formatting, and it's mostly because they do not know how to use Markdown.

Could we have a feature that suggests them to try out a dummy question with basic formatting options? This should save a lot of time for other users cleaning up pages.

I do have a faint recollection that Markdown features were suggested to me when I started out here, but it doesn't force you to use any of the Markdown features as far as I remember.

If we force them to use some of the basic features like:

  • Line breaks
  • Bullet points
  • Hyper-linking
  • Code blocks

and then reward them with a shiny badge our sites would be much cleaner.

And we can probably also prompt them to answer the same question and mark it as accepted making them actually see that they benefit from accepting answers.

  • 4
    Markdown Editing Help is available if you click the ? then "advanced help" above the answer text box, but I like the idea of giving a badge for correctly completing a guided tutorial. Aug 18, 2014 at 14:46
  • 2
    One could always point users to the Formatting Sandbox. Aug 18, 2014 at 15:27
  • 3
    What would really help is a style-and-taste guide. There are far too many new posts with ugly backticks being misused for non-code when italic would look much better. Same with bold.
    – tchrist
    Aug 18, 2014 at 15:49
  • @tchrist Very true. Likewise it's probably a cultural barrier that keeps most people from using the properly formatted 1. instead of 1). Not to mention manual linebreaks that you should rarely ever use in free text at all. Aug 18, 2014 at 15:59
  • 1
    @ChristianRau I think they are thinking that a linebreak is a paragraph break. I edit thousands of posts into something legible. There are a lot of these little things that come up so often I just expect it now. Virtually every first posting, and usually the first dozen or more postings, of a new user always need editing for formatting alone.
    – tchrist
    Aug 18, 2014 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Perhaps there could just be a "View format of a sample question" where when clicked it showed a question which was properly titled, with formatting examples in it, and the correct set of tags for the question.

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The example could be shown in place and push down the question asking space. It could contain an interactive example of an already well formatted and grammatically correct question.

enter image description here

  • Red: Link to hide the sample question exposed after "View format of a sample question" was clicked.
  • Green: Sample question with formatting shown in the editor, proper title and tags setup. Interactive as well so the user can see a sort of sand box for the editor. Completely unattached to the user's actual question space.
  • Blue: The user's question space for their actual question. Still blank, ready for them to setup.

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