Recently someone edited one of my posts (OK, maybe not that recently), and mentioned (as the reason for the edit) that it is not appropriate to use Fixed Width to highlight text in posts.

I haven't seen this mentioned in any FAQ or Meta post. Is this really true?

I have searched, and I can't seem to find the post that was edited (I can't remember if it was a Question or an Answer). It could have easily been on another SE site, but I have done some searching around and I still can't find it.

I suppose it could have actually been a Suggested-edit that was later rejected by a moderator, which would explain why I can't find it, but it's just a guess, and I have no way to know that.

Also, while I'm asking, is there a way to see a list of all the Questions and Answers that have been edited (edits and suggested edits) by others?

  • 4
  • Formatting is mostly a personal preference, and suggested edits with only minor formatting changes are usually rejected as too minor. Objective criteria which is best could be readability concerns (in this case) and how the corresponding HTML elements are defined and usually interpreted.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Apr 25, 2013 at 7:22
  • It's quite possible that it was me who made that edit. Apr 25, 2013 at 10:34
  • @OliverSalzburg - It could be, but I looked on both SU and SO, and I don't see the question/answer in my profile under Responses. On SU I see only 4 Revisions but none for that reason. At the time I saw the edit, I let it stand. Since it is now gone, I can only guess that it was a Suggested-edit from someone with less than 2000 Rep, which was then rejected by the system or someone else. Apr 29, 2013 at 5:18

1 Answer 1


The backticks (`) are a Markdown shortcut for what will later be rendered as <code> in HTML. Needless to say that this tag should be used to highlight actual code (or commands), not arbitrary words.

To highlight keywords, the <em> tag should be used. This again will often be displayed as italics, so you get the same result by wrapping text with <i> tags.

From the Chicago Manual of Style (chapter 7.47):

Use italics for emphasis only as an occasional adjunct to efficient sentence structure. Overused, italics quickly lose their force. Seldom should as much as a sentence be italicized for emphasis, and never a whole passage.

This is just general advice. Briefly looking over your posts, I don't even think that's relevant for you—but it might be for others. There's a certain trend where people use code for highlighting everything that could be remotely important.

See also: Inline Code Spans should not be used for emphasis, right?

  • Thanks, I try to reserve its use for highlighting things like variable names, menu choices, tab choices, "thangs to click on" while describing how to navigate through various screens on software, and actual code. Apr 29, 2013 at 5:34

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