Question/Answer markup and editor

We’ll need to decide what markup flavor will be used and whether we develop our own editor or use an existing one.


We want not only to be able to import posts from Stack Exchange, but also to make it easy for users to migrate. Therefore the markup language needs to be close to the one used on Stack Exchange. It doesn’t have to be 100% identical, but it needs to be sufficiently familiar for users to keep their habits.

The most likely candidate is CommonMark. It’s a flavor of Markdown which is not strictly identical to the one used on Stack Exchange, but close enough for translation to be not too onerous, and more importantly close enough that most users wouldn’t notice the difference. Stack Exchange has been planning to move to CommonMark for a while. Many tools to parse and translate CommonMark exist.

Or we may simply adopt the Stack Exchange markdown flavor. StackEdit is an open source browser widget for SE Markdown.


Please add the possibility to add Markdown Table like GitHub. We are still waiting for it on SE… Is there Markdown to create tables? - Meta Stack Exchange


I think it is consensus, that we should use CommonMark as our markup engine, especially using one of the already existing implementations.

This will be added to the specification, unless someone objects within 36 hours. After that time, this post will be closed.

(Added to MVP list.)

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I was thinking of an editor that supports tables, uses CommonMark and is like medium. I have been working on an editor like that.

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Even if some advanced editor is included, there should always be the option to edit the MarkDown code directly, in a standard text box. For one, it is more compatible with unusual browsers, and it might also help accessibility (there’s a danger that whatever fancy editor code you write will not work with specialized hardware/software for people with disabilities). Also, such editors tend to not honour platform standards. I always hate it if I can’t paste text with a middle mouse click under Linux (which by the way will in general paste different text than Ctrl-V will paste, as the former pastes whatever you selected last, while the latter pastes whatever you copied last with Ctrl-C).


Noted, @celtschk this is a part of development and I have already started some work on it. Have you tried the medium editor? It’s really nice for writing posts with precision. Our editor will be inspired a lot from it


Yes, I know the medium editor. It gets the middle-click thing right.

I remember having used one that didn’t, but I don’t remember which one. I only remember being annoyed by it.

Anyway, I’ve not tried using Medium under Lynx or Links, but I’d guess you cannot edit from there. A standard text box will work there, too (though the preview will be quite limited). If your current problem is to get your graphical system running again and you want to ask a question about it, you’ll be very grateful if posting from a text-only browser is possible.


I’ve used the Medium editor too. It’s pretty simple for basic stuff. (A lot of non-simple stuff you just can’t do at all, like MathJax.) One thing I hate about it, though, is that I cannot just type Markdown or HTML; I have to use the GUI for formatting. Let’s not do that. Offering a GUI for people who want to select and click on “bold” or “add link” or the like is fine; people need that. But don’t hinder power users who can much more efficiently ask and answer if they can just type, darn it.


Absolutely must have direct entry of markdown. I can’t remember all of it, but being able to bold, italics,

  • bullets

etc. without having to take my hands off the keyboard is great for programmers and also great for people who have trouble using mice (shaky hands or other problems).


Another thing, I would prefer if the raw markdown edit doesn’t take over Ctrl-Key combinations. I normally use Ctrl-L to get to the location bar; when in a SE text input, it instead gives me an insert link dialogue.

Since others may have other preferences, this might be configurable per user.


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