3

If for instance you look at the help page

To learn about formatting your post on Stack Exchange:

Read our formatting help Read How do I format my code blocks? Experiment for yourself in the formatting sandbox

Current Sandbox

That Sandbox is not suitable for novices or being used as a sandbox

  • It is protected due to low quality answers !
  • It has morphed into a resource of examples of high quality and advanced formatting
  • In any event true novices have limited powers/privileges anyhow and so would it be better to have somewhere where they were less restricted.
  • At the very least I consider
    • Someone needs to modify that faq, and any equivalents elsewhere within stackexchange.
    • A new question should be set up for Novices to use.
    • The original "sandbox" question needs cross linking to any new sandbox. (Partly because other questions are linked to it already) Update YES posted question does have more than two hyperlinks displaying

I think I limited to two hyperlinks per although at least in preview I now have three usable links within this Question. (So does that faq need updating ? )

Surely it would be useful for novices to have some sandbox area to try out formatting.

Spamming Risk

I appreciate that there could easily be a spamming issue, but I am sure there are workarounds possible. For instance would it be possible to remove any limit on the number of added hyperlinks, within the sandbox, but restrict the links used to some approved and listed safe set maybe: example.com and stack exchange.com for instance,

Conclusion

I also appreciate that we have a good tutorial https://stackoverflow.com/editing-help and that will be more than sufficient for superuser or stackoverflow.
However I also note there are sections on Life/Arts & Culture/Recreation such users may well want to see more detailed tutorials &/or a hands on sandbox. A new sandbox would very much like the original create good examples.

I could even see the advantage in two sandboxes or questions one for advanced users and one for novices. Some of your faqs make a point that good presentation is helpful, and that may be improved by formatting. Helping novices with that improves their satisfaction and the likelihood they will continue to interact with stack exchange.

There are probably two groups needing help with formatting, the older ones, many of which may be inexperienced or technology averse, and the younger ones that have grown up with technology but don't normally see or use markup, because its all motion detectors & gestures on touchscreens these days.

Digressing of slightly: I also wonder if the text formatting options would benefit from being more prominent or obviously clickable. I am not too sure how discoverable they are. Certainly I think those options would benefit if they had a tutorial or cross linked faq of some sort, after all almost all users should be able to suitably format questions and answers without even resorting to markup.
Possibly the advanced help https://meta.stackexchange.com/editing-help should be prefixed with a note linking to use of the icons and drop down menus newbies and novices may well find that helpful.

  • To address your side question - the link limit is specifically for external links. Internal links don't count. – psubsee2003 Jan 3 '15 at 15:57
  • @psubsee2003 That makes sense as internal links should be safe. – John99 Jan 4 '15 at 0:26

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