I asked a question Did US president Theodore Roosevelt call Democrats "prison vermin"? on Skeptics SE and noticed on the mobile version it displays as:

enter image description here

Is Stack Exchange programmed to mis-hyphenate the word this way? Or would it be my phone's software?

  • 12
    I suspect its a function of your phone's resolution and screensize rather than intentional political bias of any sort Nov 18, 2023 at 20:35
  • 5
    It wasn't designed much at all - see this past complaint from the time it was rolled out. From the comments there, this is causing issues on the German Language site, as in German the rules for hyphenation are more stringent. Nov 18, 2023 at 20:36
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog but aren't all those examples correctly hyphenated? Hyphenation is supposed to be between symbols.
    – DavePhD
    Nov 18, 2023 at 20:38
  • @JourneymanGeek but is it the phone deciding where to break the word (against proper English) or is it Stack Exchange deciding?
    – DavePhD
    Nov 18, 2023 at 20:40
  • 14
    I suspect it's probably your browser. I tried resizing my browser window and I was unable to get the word "Democrats" to hyphenate - it'd just wrap to the next line. Nov 18, 2023 at 20:57
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog thanks, my browser is Safari and there are many titles with hyphenated words, but only Democrats is incorrectly hyphenated.
    – DavePhD
    Nov 18, 2023 at 21:06
  • 1
    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog FYI, I just tried the same thing with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. The behavior is the same as what you reported, i.e., the word "Democrats" is always kept together as one word, either on the first or second lines depending on the width. Nov 18, 2023 at 21:08
  • 6
    @DavePhD Perhaps Safari is programmed to mis-hyphenate "Democrats" in that way :-) ? Nov 18, 2023 at 21:09
  • 4
    @JohnOmielan Apple does a lot of weird, accidentally political things... Nov 18, 2023 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


After some digging, I found it's done by pure CSS, adding hyphens: auto; to the CSS code.

This means it's up to the browser to render the text as it see fit, and it's 100% the browser's "fault" when words break in the middle in odd ways.

You can read more about it here.


Viewing the page source, I see (edited for clarity)

<h3 class="s-post-summary--content-title">
 <a href="/questions/56352" class="s-link">
  Did US president Theodore Roosevelt call Democrats &quot;prison vermin&quot;?

Stack Exchange would have had to replace Democrats with Democ&shy;rats to intentionally result in the goofy hyphenation you saw. Note the &shy; -- short for "soft hyphen". A viewer / browser will take the soft hyphen as having precedent over its own hyphenation rules if hyphenation is needed.

Note that while Stack Exchange did substitute your " with &quot;, it did not insert a &shy; in the middle of Democrats. It's your viewer / browser that created the goofy hyphenation.

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