Ever since I've updated from Firefox 3.6 to Firefox 4, I love how many of the big text input blocks can be resized. Adding comments doesn't have to feel so cramped and editor windows could be widened a bit more if necessary (it could already be resized vertically). I know Chrome has this too, don't know about other browsers.

Unfortunately, everything else that which could be viewed easier if only they could be bigger, have a fixed size. Sometimes it's easier to read large blocks (even if wordwrapped) if I can view them in a wider view. Blocks that have very wide content which ends up having horizontal scrollbars can be annoying to read through. Or maybe, you're just not interested in seeing the block at all and want to resize it down so you can no longer see the contents. It can be a lifesaver reading super detailed questions or answers that have the obligatory large blocks of content that gets in the way.

quote (>) and spoiler (>!) blocks

# indented code blocks
<pre> blocks </pre>


Would it be technically possible to make blocks such as these resizable too in the same way?
If so, can it be done? (pretty please)
If not, don't worry about it. (unless you guys wouldn't mind making it happen in other ways)

That way posts with wide blocks can be made wider for those with browsers that support it. If you guys decide to go a step further and make it work for all browsers, even better.

  • For examples, I know I've seen a good amount of long answers that has large blocks of code though I can't find them now at the moment. But I do have some questions and answers that have some somewhat large blocks of content. May 21, 2011 at 12:32

2 Answers 2


As I understand it, you're talking about making the content of posts expandable, in addition to the text entry fields that are automatically resizable using magic built into your browser (FF 4, Chrome, Safari,...).

If that's indeed the case, I disagree. While this feature might be helpful for some people, I would very much prefer that people learn to format their posts so that code blocks do not scroll.

Remember that code blocks are the only sections that can possibly be displayed with horizontal scrollbars. Regular body text and blockquotes are automatically word-wrapped.

I try to be attentive to this in my own answers, and I frequently edit other peoples' answers to split up particularly long lines because I think this facilitates readability for all browsers and all users. It's fairly well-known that it's easier to read blocks of text with smaller horizontal widths. That's why word wrapping is enabled by default, and why the content blocks have a fixed width significantly smaller than the entire size of the page. Code is, of course, no exception to this rule.

And code blocks posted on Stack Overflow should be as short as possible anyway! I don't want any feature that might encourage people to post huge walls of poorly-formatted code.

If you'd prefer to see this feature enabled when browsing the site, you might consider implementing it client-side using this Greasemonkey script.

  • No not the whole entire post, just blocks that are specifically displayed differently in the post. The blocks. (I don't know what else to call them) May 21, 2011 at 10:58
  • @Jeff: Code blocks are the only sections that can have horizontal scrollbars applied to them. Blockquote sections automatically word-wrap. May 21, 2011 at 11:00
  • p.s., You do have a point about the encouragement, definitely don't want that. But ideally, this would only apply when reading the questions, not composing them. May 21, 2011 at 11:27
  • @Jeff: If the question is vaguely readable after it gets posted, then I think this this still encourages the bad behavior. May 21, 2011 at 11:28
  • we do make code block fonts slightly smaller on codegolf.stackexchange.com and codereview.stackexchange.com because we expect more code to be posted there May 21, 2011 at 11:41

I posted a similar question plus some suggestions here.

The Greasemonkey script mentioned in the other answer does not exist anymore.

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