Comment formatting options


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  • #88586 Reply
    Fred Dagg
    Guest

    [ — Blog comment relocated from the BTL comments section to the ‘Site technical issues and feedback’ Forum — ]

    Mods:

    How does one access formatting options on this website? In the case of this post where a large chunk was a quote from a previous one, your efforts were almost spot-on, but it would be great if I could insert bullets, etc. myself to avoid confusion. I tried contacting you via the support forum but got the following reply: “Error: your topic cannot be empty”. It wasn’t empty. Hence this…

    #88591 Reply
    mods-cm-org
    Guest

    Thanks for your enquiry, Fred Dagg.

    Formatting blog comments: A formatting command bar with list functionality (see below) appears in the discussion forums when javascript is enabled; but unfortunately it is not available in the comments section of the main blog. Instead the guidance above the new comment textbox at the end of each blog article states:

    Allowed HTML– you can use:

    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

    Remember to close each tag properly with a forward slash: e.g. </b>, </a>, </strong>, etc.

    Blockquotes: Blockquoting supports multiple levels of indentation, although we usually discourage its use. Many contributors who attempt multi-level quotations forget to close the tags properly, resulting in a garish mess that needs to be deleted and reposted, or in some cases tidied up by the moderators (where feasible).

    Unfortunately the blockquote formatting defined for this site isn’t fit for purpose: the font is much too large; everything is italicised (so quoted emphasis is lost); and spaces between paragraphs are omitted entirely, meaning that long quotations can be difficult to read because they seem to be compressed into one huge paragraph. The styling seems to be intended for the type of succinct attention-grabbing ‘pull quotes’ that commonly feature in magazine layouts, and it was being misused by some commenters to highlight or emphasise their comments. To remedy this, the blockquote CSS would need to be recoded for a more conventional inline quotation style, and unfortunately that is beyond the powers of moderators. A suggestion to amend the underlying CSS styling has been posted to the site admin, but authorisation can ultimately be granted only by the blog owner. The moderators are not involved in configuring the site beyond making the initial request.

    Much of the formatting rendered in the comments section and in the forums is coded manually by moderators as a courtesy to contributors. We have direct access to the comment text and can therefore deploy more advanced formatting code without it being stripped out by the filters which apply when the comments are originally posted. [Update: As of 18/10/22 moderators no longer have this ability, as any inserted code is now stripped out by the same filters.]

    Indents: Multiple character spaces can’t be used to indent lines because they are ignored entirely at the beginning of a line; between words, they are rendered as single spaces only. Similarly, tab characters have no effect on the layout.

    When quoting lengthy excerpts – including your own previous comments – please mark any embedded quotations clearly with double quotation marks and ensure you provide a link to the source text. It should be clearly evident to all readers, as moderators can no longer apply indents or other paragraph formatting.

    Lists: Unfortunately the formatting tags for bulleted and numbered lists are not recognised and will not be accepted as valid input. The comment will be stored with those tags stripped out, so they will be lost entirely and moderators will see only the bare text with nothing to indicate list markers.

    The normal protocol for posting lists in comments is that bulleted lists are entered with an asterisk instead of a bullet character (although you can alternatively paste a bullet character from another word processor or text editor instead), while numbered lists are entered by preceding each list item with a number followed by a full stop character and a space (“e.g. “1. “, “2. “. etc.).

    Formatting in the forums: In the discussion forums, however, a command bar is available – as long as javascript is enabled for the craigmurrary.org.uk domain, if not by default for all sites.

    The buttons are: ‘B’ (for bold); ‘i’ (for italics); ‘LINK’ (for hyperlinking a URL); ‘B-QUOTE’ (for blockquotes); ‘DEL’ (for strikeouts); ‘IMG’ (for embedding an image); ‘UL’ (for an unordered – i.e. bulleted – list); ‘OL’ (for an ordered – i.e. numbered – list); ‘CODE’ (to render monospaced computer instruction code); and ‘CLOSE TAGS’ (to tidy up any of the formatting tags that remain open).

    If those commands don’t appear above the textbox, then something is interfering with your javascript functionality. If your security settings are set to anything more restrictive than standard browser defaults, then you’ll need to either update them for the browser or create an exception for the craigmurray.org.uk domain.

    Although you can type in some basic HTML formatting tags directly – e.g. <strong>, <i> – you may not get the results you expect, because the formatting engine is different from the one in the BTL comments section. Any tags other than the most elementary will not be interpreted as tags and will instead be displayed as characters.

    Posting new topics: Creating a new topic in the forum also requires full javascript functionality, so please adjust the security settings accordingly before attempting to start a new thread in the discussion forums.

    Thank you.

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    #88655 Reply
    Fred Dagg
    Guest

    Many thanks for the feedback.

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