A while ago this year I answered the following question:

What are the current dutch tax brackets?

Valid question, accepted answer with some upvotes (we don't get massive numbers on expats.SE) - and the answer is simply a table. In fact, there cannot be a valid answer to such a question which is table-less. (Ok, you could "spell out" the contents of a table as plain text, but that's still a table in disguise).

I believe this example illustrates why it is inconsistent for Stack Exchange not to offer table rendering in answers.

What are the reasons that such support has not yet been made available? Even if there had been some technical issues at the outset - after nearly a decade since Stack Overflow got started, surely that's not what's holding this feature back...?

Related questions:

... But note that I've not asked about markdown specifically - whatever arrangement for rendering tables is better than none. Also note this is not a feature request, it's a request for information regarding why this feature has not been introduced despite requests by others.

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    @rene: That answer is voted -5, while a comment voted +18 says: "So how is it that everyone else who supports tables via a Markdown extension accomplishes it?" – einpoklum Dec 9 '17 at 11:59
  • I suggest SE hires the 18 voters then so they can implement what the SE staff deems too brittle to touch. – rene Dec 9 '17 at 12:14
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    @rene: Do you actually have any reference to a cogent argument regarding why it's supposedly infeasible to implement tables on SX? That sounds quite preposterous, unless there's something I'm missing. – einpoklum Dec 9 '17 at 12:30
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    No, I have not. I do find that users that argue that whatever feature they dream up should be easy to implement without having seen the code base or know how prioritization in the company works have lost touch with reality. But I have already accepted that I'm a minority with that point of view and I'll endure yet another meta discussion on this topic in disgust. – rene Dec 9 '17 at 12:56
  • There were tables in documentation, so why not make them available in questions and answers? – Donald Duck Dec 9 '17 at 14:23
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    The update to CommonMark (and the inclusion of tables) for Q&A is currently planned for 2018, but that's really all we have at the moment. "Do this in 2018." – animuson Dec 9 '17 at 14:34
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    @animuson: That sounds like half of an answer. – einpoklum Dec 9 '17 at 14:56
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    What's wrong with using one of the online table generators? See Format Text as a Table for a web utility that will help you to create a nice data table you can paste into your question. – DavidPostill Dec 9 '17 at 16:54
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    @DavidPostill: This question is about how you generate a textual table, it's about rendering a proper table rather than resorting to ASCII art. – einpoklum Dec 9 '17 at 17:23
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    @DavidPostill: That's not SO rendering tables, that's us using monospaced text to look like a table. Which, by the way, is what my linked-to answer does. But it's a pain. And the "format text as table" solutions only work for simple cases, unlike the one I present at the link. – einpoklum Dec 9 '17 at 17:28
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    @einpoklum shrug it was intended as a workaround while the 6-8 weeks passes ... – DavidPostill Dec 9 '17 at 17:30
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    @DavidPostill: Ah, an optimist... saying something will happen in 2018 is like saying that by the end of December 2018, some action will have been taken which may or may not lead to something visible to the user the year later :-P – einpoklum Dec 9 '17 at 17:31
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    @einpoklum It's an improvement over the past. The upgrade to CommonMark adds it, and we've already implemented it via Documentation. It's just a matter of making it work with Q&A (the editor, etc) and making sure it doesn't horribly break anything. Prior to ~September 2017 there was no plan to do anything with the Markdown of Q&A. – animuson Dec 9 '17 at 17:43

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