I noticed what seemed to be a bug in the way the Stack Overflow editor handles numbered lists. I did a search on meta for this and it didn't come up, but if it is a duplicate, I'll delete the question.

Consider the following code:

Here are some points:

1. One
2. Two
3. Three

Here are some more points which continue the theme:

4. Four
5. Five

When you actually type this into the text editor, this is the result:

Here are some points:

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three

Here are some more points which continue the theme:

  1. Four
  2. Five

In this case, the ordered list resets after the break. This is probably just an edge case (and not necessarily worth fixing), but I ran into the problem today and figured this would be a good place to raise the topic! My workaround was to use back-ticks around the numeral, but then you lose the hanging indent. (i.e. 1. one.)

Might this be worth fixing? Is it expected behavior? Or am I doing it wrong?


5 Answers 5


See this answer; this works now. Another answer I posted earliers has some background information. Long story short, the first item of a numbered list actually counts now.


It looks like there currently isn't any way to distinguish between two separate lists and one list with an un-numbered paragraph in the middle.

Now, if you indent the mid-list paragraph...

  1. test

  2. list

    Indented paragraph.

  3. test

  4. list


I think that it should use whatever number you want to start at and increment from there. How many people have had their "all lists start at 0" crusades thwarted by SO?

  • Why does SO (a programming site) make your lists start at 1 when so many of the most popular languages start counting at 0?
    – a_m0d
    Commented Jul 6, 2009 at 4:47
  • 1
    Languages don't start counting at 0, they start counting at 1. They start indexing at 0. There's a very big difference! Signed, The Grammar Police.
    – Eric
    Commented Jul 6, 2009 at 5:11

This is actually a "feature" of Markdown.

Be sure to test things in the babelfish Markdown parser engine


  • The link is (effectively) broken (redirects to https://www.dropcatch.com/domain/bobtfish.net). "BobtFish.net. Expired and dropped on May 4, 2021" Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 12:08
  • thanks @P.Mort.-forgotClayShirky_q I've edited the post Commented Dec 5, 2021 at 3:22

The numbered list button is screwed up beyond belief. Also, what shows up in the editor isn't what shows up in the preview.

My biggest complaint is that I can't create a list, highlight it, and then click the numbered list. That's how just about everybody creates numbered lists.


(each appears on a different line in the editor) Select the above and hit the numbered list button and this is what you get:

  1. first second third

Not quite the expected behavior. Turns out the only way to do it is to click the numbered list on every single line you wish to be part of the numbered list. This sucks, and should be fixed.

  • read meta.stackoverflow.com/editing-help -- add 2 spaces at end of line for <br>. It's linked from the [?] button in the toolbar, and on the sidebar of every edit page. Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 16:48
  • Jeff, notice something about my post? Something having to do with 2 spaces at the end of the line? See it? I'll give you a hint--it starts with "first" and ens with "third" and spans three lines. If you follow exactly what I said in my answer, you'll get exactly the results. That does mean adding two spaces after each line to get that magic &lt;br/>. The problem is that it still doesn't work.
    – user1228
    Commented Jul 16, 2009 at 18:26

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