A quick tech note on HTML in comments—UPDATED

Posted by The_Elves

Just realized there's a tech update we've been meaning to post for a few days, but have kept forgetting about.

We THINK that we've figured out a way to solve the problems with HTML code (bold, italics, blockquote formatting) not working consistently in the comments.

instead of the normal angle brackets < >

Thus, the code for bold text would be as follows:

[b] text you want in bold [/b]

We'll keep any eye on how this works. Hopefully it will solve the bizarre problem. Feel free to send us links if comments continue to have HTML problems.

It seems that while the square brackets work more consistently for formatting (bold, italic, blockquote, and strikethrough...), the angle brackets work best for LINKS (anchors) when posting a URL.

(Note that the software does automatically format URLs for you. So if your link is short, you can just enter in the address in your comment, e.g. http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/ . I simply pasted in the address there without any code. The software did the formatting.)

However for long links, we prefer if you would add the anchor link coding. Here's what that looks like:
<a href="http://www....">name of the link</a>
Note: the quotation marks around the URL address are essential. Without them the code does not work.

Feel free to use this comment thread for tests. And do keep us posted as to any further examples of problems with HTML in the comments.



This elf thinks she might go insane. Angle brackets seem to work "ok" for short links. But if you've got a longer more complex links with spaces or "arguments" (i.e. like a search result for a Bible passage or something), they don't work.

One of our fabulous commenters, Patti, discovered the SOLUTION, which she explains below in the comments. Use what's known as "Bulletin Board" code.

here's how Bulletin Board code works for links. It's actually easier than HTML.

[url= the link ] the name [/url]

thus for T19 it looks like this:

We'll update the comment format help section when we get a chance to reflect this new information.

Filed under: * Admin

Posted June 26, 2007 at 5:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. samh wrote:

seems to be working pretty well.

June 26, 6:28 pm | [comment link]
2. Words Matter wrote:

That’s all well and good, but do I still have to do whatever formatting correctly?  What a bummer!  heheheh

June 26, 6:29 pm | [comment link]
3. Words Matter wrote:

as good a <strikethrough>place</strikethrough> to try this as any.

June 26, 6:30 pm | [comment link]
4. The_Elves wrote:

Words:  we think the code you want is simply “strike”


for this effect: text

June 26, 6:47 pm | [comment link]
5. the snarkster wrote:

test  test  test


seems to work

June 26, 6:56 pm | [comment link]
6. The_Elves wrote:

We’ve changed the “formatting help” instructions in the comment window from angle brackets to square brackets.  That should help remind folks, including this elf!, to use the square brackets. 

I confess after 4 years of blogging, I’m finding it hard to make the switch LOL!

June 26, 7:00 pm | [comment link]
7. Don R wrote:

How about anchors with short links or longer ones with arguments?  Anchors seem to work if you use ‘+’ instead of ‘’%20’’ (or just plain spaces) for spaces in their arguments.

Square brackets don’t seem to work with either anchor though:
[a href=“http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19”]short links[/a]
[a href=“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=titus+1:9&version=47”]longer ones with arguments[/a]

June 26, 7:01 pm | [comment link]
8. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

The formatting help above he comment block is much appreciated.
Thanks, Elves!

June 26, 7:11 pm | [comment link]
9. The_Elves wrote:

Don, hmmm.  We got square brackets to work for a link a few minutes ago and over the past few days as we’ve been trying to test this out.

Did you try “preview” before you hit submit on your comment?  Oddly enough, hitting preview sometimes seems to affect the outcome badly.  I’ve had code (i.e. the desired formatting) show up correctly in preview and then incorrectly (as code) after I hit submit.  Truly frustrating!

Links had been generally a bit less problematic, especially since the software WILL automatically format an unformatted link.  I.E. in the line below, I’m just pasting the T19 URL without any code:


Perhaps angle brackets are better for the links.  We’ll keep experimenting here.  And we’ll keep trying to see what works best for links with embedded spaces in the address.

June 26, 7:11 pm | [comment link]
10. The_Elves wrote:

#8 Br_er, we can’t take credit for that.  It’s been here all along. 

Greg G. is the one to thank. He set it up. (It’s over in the Stand Firm comments box too.) We just added the line about square brackets working better, and switched the code to show the square brackets instead of the angle brackets that had been there.

June 26, 7:15 pm | [comment link]
11. The_Elves wrote:

Testing the code for a long link with argument:

1. No formatting, just paste in the URL:

2. Angle brackets:

3. Square brackets:
[a href=“http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=titus+1:9&version=47”]Titus1:9[/a]

Not hitting preview and hoping I got my code right the first time around! wink

June 26, 7:19 pm | [comment link]
12. The_Elves wrote:

Ok, based on the above several comments, I’ll change the post to note that angle brackets should still be used for anchor links.  Square brackets have worked a few times for me, but angle brackets seem better for links.

June 26, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
13. Don R wrote:

Hi, Elves.  I did preview my stuff for comment #7, and in the process, noted that things would change in the box after I clicked the “Preview” button.  Mostly it was stuff like HTML code getting changed to its character equivalent (e.g., percent-20 changed to a space character).  It seems like it probably makes a round-trip to the server and back, translating some things in the process before displaying the formatted comment and rediplaying the text in the edit box.  It also wouldn’t surprise me if different browsers see different behavior (I generally use Firefox).  Isn’t the world of HTML wunnerful?

June 26, 8:02 pm | [comment link]
14. The_Elves wrote:

Don, yes the comment preview window is its own template and so does do the round trip to the server you mentioned. 

It will be interesting to see if we have the same problem with square brackets for formatting even when folks hit preview.  Let’s give it a try.

I’m bolding this with square brackets
I’m bolding this with angle brackets

blockquote with square brackets:

It also wouldn’t surprise me if different browsers see different behavior (I generally use Firefox).  Isn’t the world of HTML “wunnerful?”

blockquote with angle brackets:

It also wouldn’t surprise me if different browsers see different behavior (I generally use Firefox).  Isn’t the world of HTML “wunnerful?”

Ok, and hitting preview…

All looks very good in preview.  (and yes, we’re using Firefox too).
How will it work when I hit submit?

June 26, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
15. Patti wrote:

I wonder if the code the blog wants is BB (bulletin board) code, rather than html. 

BB code for an anchored link: Tiger’s baby
OR, html for an anchred link:
Tiger’s baby

June 26, 8:40 pm | [comment link]
16. Patti wrote:

ooo, they both worked… BB uses the square brackets [ ] instead of parentheses (url=url.youwant)text(/url).  It’s a little simpler overall than html.  A BB code primer can be found here.

June 26, 8:43 pm | [comment link]
17. Words Matter wrote:

Ok, let’s try it:

Words Matter is a <strike>do-do head at html</strike> genuis

June 26, 9:04 pm | [comment link]
18. Words Matter wrote:

Interminably cool. And the preview works too! If I can remember to use it, maybe I won’t post so many coding errors. 

And the smileys are still the best!  cool grin

June 26, 9:05 pm | [comment link]
19. Larry Morse wrote:

I made a suggestion to the elves a while ago but I haven’t heard from them so I put it to you. I often can’t remember which entry I commented on so I suggested to them that each headline have a click-on thingamabob that will simply list who has made an entry. This way you can check quickly whether you commented or not and can see which blogs to avoid because the speakers you earnestly wish to avoid are there. Larry
Don’t you think this would be useful?

June 27, 1:28 am | [comment link]
20. Don R wrote:

Larry, if you click on the “Your Account” link up by the welcome text (upper right), you can look at your account information.  One of the links there shows which posts you’ve subscribed to, which could be a good proxy for which you’ve commented on.

June 27, 9:14 am | [comment link]
21. The_Elves wrote:

Larry, we have not figured out any way to do something like what you’re asking for.  And there have been other more urgent priorities.
As Don mentions, you can choose to subscribe to various comment threads and receive e-mails whenever someone else comments.  But that can lead to a lot of e-mail in a hurry.

In the meantime, may we suggest you get in the habit of viewing the recent comments page:

And using your browser’s search feature (explained here)  to search for your screen name (Larry Morse) you will then quickly be able to find each thread you’ve commented on and click on the link to the article to view any more recent comments.

One other idea:  get in the habit of bookmarking threads you want to reread.  Right click on the title of the article (or the link button in the gray box that says how many comments there are) and choose “Add to Favorites” or “Bookmark this Link”  (the menu choices will depend on what web browser you are using.)  You can then go to your favorites window in your web browser and see a list of the T19 articles you are wanting to revisit to follow any new comments.

For now that’s all we can offer, I’m afraid.

June 27, 9:28 am | [comment link]
22. Larry Morse wrote:

Thank’ee. ladies of enlightenment.  The Lar

June 28, 11:18 am | [comment link]
23. libraryjim wrote:

Is there a primer on emoticons? sometimes they work, sometimes not, but there seem to be a lot used that I don’t know how to do! (#18, for example).

June 29, 6:45 pm | [comment link]
24. The_Elves wrote:

#23, jim, see the little “smileys” link in the comment box (below the HTML help section and above the comment text box)?

Click on it and a pop-up window will appear giving you 30 or 40 smilies to choose from

June 29, 6:55 pm | [comment link]
25. libraryjim wrote:

cool smile cool… thanks.

June 29, 11:47 pm | [comment link]
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