Recently I read this meta question, which explains how to embed a in your text.
What tips and tricks do you use to make your questions and answers pleasing to the eye?
Use non-ASCII characters
Oh, sure, if you type “1/2” for one half, “*” for multiplication, and “/” for division, most people will understand you. But if you type
If you don’t want to look up the HTML character names, type your post in a text processor like Microsoft Word, and then copy and paste into Super User. For example, if you type
Preparing posts in Microsoft Word is a mini-trick in itself, insomuch as it checks your spelling and grammar.
Formatting pre-formatted text
Here's a "trick" I sometimes use to clarify commands. Usually, the four-space-indent code formatting doesn't allow you to format the code within:
However, if the command consists of options that the user will have to fill with their own variables, it often helps to differentiate between these. Also, a link to an appropriate manpage is nice to have.
You can do that with
The source for this would be simple HTML:
Of course, only do that if you have time and if it pays off for what you're trying to explain.
The trick lies not in how you use your formatting, but what you write.
If you're going to write a whole story, your question or answer won't please me as I'll get bored soon enough. If you get straight to the point about what your problem is and then provide more details after that, I'll be happy to attempt to give an answer. It doesn't have to be pleasing to the eye, it needs to be pleasing to my mind.
Any word or formatting that doesn't explain the problem or serve as a detail, is too much; I'll cut it.
Formatting code and comments
I use a trick similar to the one presented by slhck, but mine allows not only HTML markup in a gray block, but also variable-width characters. I use the > (which is markdown for
is produced by
>_(prompt)_><code> **cd /**</code> _//_ `cd `_is short for “change directory”._ > `WWWWWWWWiiiiiiii`&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;_// Compare the widths of the characters._☆☆ WWWWWWWWiiiiiiii
where ‘☆’ represents a space (two spaces at the end of a line inside a
It’s sometimes tricky figuring out when you can use markup and when you can use markdown.
For example, anything you type between back-ticks (`…`) is displayed literally, where as text between
<edit>D’oh! I just realized
that I could have said
Beware: The markdown processors in SU and MSU might not be identical.