This has bothered me for a while... Ever since the bulky padding and gray background were added to
<code> elements, really. But I kept hoping I would get used to it...
...I didn't. It's ugly, it's distracting, it makes me not want to mark inline code and identifiers when I'm answering questions.
Here's what I'm talking about:
Note how the keywords and identifiers pop out of their surrounding text, completely destroying my best efforts to integrate language keywords with the grammar of the sentences referencing them. That's annoying.
But that's not the worst of it. The background shading, coupled with the excessive padding, can lead to something not unlike rivers when code appears on adjacent lines:
This is terribly distracting. What's the point of carefully marking up key parts of text if the result is ugly and distracting?
First, get rid of the padding:
This already helps. The text isn't so broken-up, and you can kinda separate the code on adjacent lines. But it's not enough. That background color still intrudes, tainting what should be clean, white space around the letters. Ditch it, and color the text itself. Maybe increase the weight, if you're really worried about it blending in too much:
There. No gray padding ghetto, no rivers... Much less offensive. At least, I think so. Anyone else?