Posting Quirks

  1. Sometimes, I bump something that centers all my text (when composing a post). How do I undo this? Note: Crtl-Z (undo) does not work. What am I bumping and how do I undo this?

  2. I posted an itemized list using “1) 2) 3)…”, but in the preview screen (on the right side), the list appeared as “1. 2. 3…” What is going on? When I posted, it appeared as “1. 2. 3)…” because of a small typo, as I recall. Ultimately, I ask why doesn’t the numbering appear exactly as I typed?

  1. No idea. I looked up markdown for centering text, and apparently it doesn’t have it.

  2. Markdown considers #. or #) where # is any number, just code for “make a numbered list”. I made this one using 1) and 4), but it still shows 1. and 2.

  1. Here I switched to . instead of ) and markdown took it as a hint I didn’t want to keep the same numbering.

  2. And this is the result of 4.

I have no idea on your centering problem.

As @Naita said, Discourse’s formatting system (called “Markdown”) has a feature to auto-number paragraphs if you trigger it. Which also means that if you don’t want auto-numbering, you need to avoid triggering it. How do you do those things on demand?

The easy way to DO autonumbering is simply to start each paragraph with a “1”, a “.”, and a space, then your body text. Put as many such paragraphs together all starting with 1 and Discourse will autonumber them. The advantage to letting autonumbering do its thing is you can rearrange your paragraphs in any order without worrying about repairing the numbers. Like this:

  1. this is the first para
  2. this is the second para
  3. this is the third para

If you really insist on numbering them manually or using visible punctuation other than a “.” after the number, you need to actively avoid triggering Discourse’s autonumbering. SO how do you NOT do autonumbering?

Just start each paragraph with something other than a number followed immediately by a “.” or “)”. Like this:

1 ) This is the first para using digit space paren space.
2). This is the second para using digit paren period space.
3.) This is the third para using digit period paren space.
4 This is the fourth para using digit space space space space.

Any or all of the above “fool” Discourse into doing it your way.

To see how I did this, quote my post by clicking the small Reply link at the lower right of this post, then clicking the light gray voice balloon icon at the top of the reply box. That will transfer all my post including the formatting magic, into your post draft where you can look at it. Then cancel the reply when you understand what’s going on. do NOT select the text of my post and click the "Quote thingy that pops up. That will show you the result of what I did, not what I did to deliver that result.

Notice also that Discourse auto-indents the paragraphs it auto-numbers. But you can’t indent paragraphs you manually number. Or at least you can’t without more formatting mumbo jumbo I’m not going to explain right now. What you definitely CANNOT do is try to start each paragraph with a few spaces to push them to the right; that’ll trigger yet another automatic Markdown formatting feature you don’t want.

If you want to learn more about more complex formatting of numbered paragraphs, let us know and we’ll write chapter two…

Thanks, all! I will have to go read up on the features of Discourse.(and “Markdown”). Just one more thing on my to-do list! :roll_eyes:

I’ll try asking about this here, in this smaller thread–I’ve gone through the 400+ “Tips and Tricks” thread and didn’t see my problem (though it’s possible I missed it).

The issue: my links nearly always result in a GINORMOUS image, instead of the nice thumbnail images I see in other people’s links. What am I doing wrong?

I researched this not only in this sub-forum but on sites that discuss Discourse. For example, this 2015 discussion implies that I’m “clicking on the image” or some such thing (but I’m NOT clicking on the image):

Again, I am NOT clicking on any images. When I post a link I save the link in what I assume is the usual way (by left-clicking the URL in the address bar, then pasting it in my SDMB post).

Any ideas? I hate the way those massive images distort my posts!

ETA: this link has a nice thumbnail, instead of having the graphic be 1200 pixels across. But I didn’t do anything other than what I usually do when posting a link! ???

Are you posting a link to a page that contains an image or a link directly to an image? There’s a gigantic difference in the result.

The former will result in Discourse reading that page, then synthesizing a neat box containing a site name, a clickable headline, some body text, and some thumbnail image it selects. All of the is done by Discourse, not by the site you linked to. Naturally, it only “recognizes” the format of certain popular sites and can only create one of these boxes for the sites it recognizes. For any other site, it just displays http://whatever as a clickable link. Your reference to the Discourse Meta site is an example of a site Discourse understands well enough to synthesize such a box.

Conversely, if you link directly to an image, Discourse simply puts that link into the results of your post and then the reader’s browser fetches that image from wherever the link points to. Be that image small or ginourmous.

Discourse recognizes a url ending in “.gif”, “,jpg”, “.png” as an image. Any other link, even if it does return an image, is not considered an “image link”. There might be other extensions it recognizes as images. But those are the big 3.

Bottom line: if you want a thumbnail-sized image to appear as an image all by itself, you need to ensure whatever you link to is already thumbnail-sized. That may require that you download a copy of a large image, resize it using some tool, then posting the shrunken image somewhere else, than linking to that somewhere else. While being mindful of any copyright concerns.

Late add:
Here’s an example of a popular comic site Discourse recognizes and constructs a box for:

And here’s a not-so-popular one it does not recognize:
https://www.commitstrip.com/en/2020/10/21/weird-bots/?


In both cases I simply posted the page url verbatim on a line by itself. Discourse did all the rest.

Thanks for your posts, LSLGuy. The quoted bit is what I’m doing (and not at any time linking to an image).

In other words, none of the URLs I’m pasting into my post end in the ‘picture’ suffixes you mention (gif or img or png).

I can see that when ‘Discourse recognizes the site’ a largish pic, presumably one that’s “featured” in some way on the page linked to, will show up in the post. When Discourse doesn’t recognize the site, no pic (apparently).

The thing is, I see people linking to well-known sites–the Washington Post, Politico, CNN, etc.–and getting a thumbnail; but when I link to a page on the same site, I get the giganto-pic. What am I doing that the other people posting are not (or vice versa?) Again, we are posting links to pages on the same sites. (Does Discourse “recognize” some pages on CNN.com but not others? Is that the source of difference?)

To sum up:

  1. I’m not linking to images; I’m quoting the URL at the top of the page I’m trying to link.
  2. I’m linking to sites that other people link to and get thumbnails, but I’m getting gigantic images (so it doesn’t seem to be a ‘Discourse recognizes the site’ issue).

… I guess if everyone else who looks at my posts sees thumbnails, and only I see the giganto-image, then I can live with that. But maybe everyone sees the gigantos.

An example: I’ll paste, here, a URL I posted some days back, just straight:

In the preview to the right, there’s a thumbnail. There usually IS a thumbnail in the preview. But now I’ll hit Reply and see if the usual issue arises–that is, that the thumbnail has now expanded. …

ETA: Yep, giganto-image!!!
ETA more: Okay, that’s weird: when I did the edit, the image went back to being a thumbnail. So perhaps if I hit edit on every one of my posts that contain links, that will solve the problem…I’ll try that for a while.

FWIW, in your link I see the thumbnail on the left inside the “onebox”, not a giganto image.

Since I substantially never manage to post a post without going back to edit it, if there was some weirdness in some unedited posts I’d almost never see it.

I do know that while writing a post before clicking submit the first time, the various links, previews, and oneboxes often reformat themselves a couple times in the preview pane for no apparent reason. YouTubes seem especially prone to this.

I also know that Discourse also has some flakiness in how it figures out the various formatting commands. With the result that if it gets confused earlier in a paragraph, formatting commands later in the same paragraph are mangled. Stuffing an extra blank line or two in between the good part and the confused part seems to reset the parser and all is well. Sometimes you can then go back and remove the extra blanks and it stays correct, and sometimes the wonkiness returns.

If you’re getting the wrong result for a url directly below a paragraph with any magic formatting, even just italics, try dropping an extra [Enter] just above the url and see if maybe a miracle occurs.

Unlike vBulletin, extra blank lines between paragraphs in your text don’t end up in the display.

Yes; I’ve taken to putting periods (one per line) to make spacing between replies to different people within the same post.

Thanks for those additional suggestions. I’ve been doing the ‘edit tactic’ after posting any URL for a page that has a photo, and it’s been working fine to shrink the gigantos to thumbnail size.

It’s kind of annoying, but then vBulletin had its issues, too.

I do something similar both between people and when I switch gears in a multi-point post that shifts gears or POV or whatever; I see it a sort of a visible chapter break. I don’t know how much anyone else notices what I do, but I feel better doing it.

The “.” on a line by itself is an easy technique, but leaves visible evidence. If you’re nerdly enough to care you can do better.

HTML provides a gizmo that triggers a blank line. It’s <br/> which stands for “break” as in “paragraph break”.



There are 4 sets of <br/> between the period of the last sentence and the “There” of this one, with no [Enters] at all.

Typically I simply drop the <br/> on a line by itself between the two [Enter]s that form normal paragraph spacing. Discourse seems to get confused about formatting sometimes, and 2 successive [Enter]s seems to be the “clear confusion and start decoding formatting from a clean slate” command.

So just above after “command.” there’s an [Enter] to end the first paragraph, a <br/> [Enter] to make the first blank line, another [Enter] to make the second blank line, then the “So just …” start of this paragraph. This gives me the extra blank line I want and also preserves the “start with a clean slate” feature of two successive [Enter]'s immediately before the second paragraph.

General formatting tip: you can click the small Reply button to someone’s post, then click the cartoon voice balloon button just to the left of the B for bold button and that will import the post verbatim including any fancy formatting codes they used into your edit box for you to examine. Just swiping the text and clicking the "Quote pop-up won’t do that; that copies the result of the formatting, not the codes to make the formatting.

…Except, of course, if the post I’m replying to is the last one in the thread. Then Discourse assumes I don’t NEED to quote, and won’t let me unless I do an edit inside that quote. (As has been discussed!)

Anyway–great tips, all; thank you!

Sort of true.

My point was you pull somebody else’s post into your edit box to learn how they did whatever fancy formatting they did that you’re interested in. Not to repost their words, but to learn their formatting technique.

You totally CAN pull in the last post of a thread and learn from it that way.

As you say, you CANNOT then post your verbatim quote of it because Discourse will eat it. But that wasn’t your purpose in the first place.

Sorry if I was unclear.

Oh, sure. Yes, I’ve been learning HTML that way for many years–such tips and tricks as I’ve learned have mainly been from hitting ‘reply’ and looking at what shows up.