Recently we see edit suggestions that mainly format text with a lot of markup that to my opinion do not always increase but sometimes reduce the clarity of a post.

People do have a different view on how much formatting is of benefit (I myself like to use it rather often) but there is a certain limit above of which a text will be too spotted.

When too much of markup is added by an edit suggestion we may also be faced with people refusing this edit just because of this and thus we may lose otherwise helpful other improvements.

When we format we do so to HIGHLIGHT all parts of the text or make other parts small or float above all.

Is this

really needed?



When would adding markup be worth to justify an edit?


3 Answers 3


Hmm, I've usually seen this going the other way. Some new users splatter their whole post with random formatting and there's an edit to strip it back down.

The simple answer is only very little formatting is really required. Emphasis (italic or bold) can usually be replaced by cutting down the verbosity of a post, or breaking it down with logical whitespace.

The big ticket items that are globally acceptable:

  • Wrapping things in code blocks
  • Fixing images and links and lists with proper markdown

If somebody is adding something else, I'd really question the justification for it.

If they're making it look like your example, I'd be voting against it and probably talking to moderators to report vandalism. Of course there's an invisible line for what's aceptable. Use your discretion to decide whether it's okay, needs further improvement or needs reporting.

  • I we are quoting and can't reasonably use ellipsis, is ti acceptable to boldface emphasized things and add [emphasis mine] to it?
    – nanofarad
    Nov 27, 2012 at 12:28
  • @ObsessiveSSOℲ Yes, I believe that's acceptable, so long as you use ** ** instead of <h1> </h1>. :) The key is to use discretion. Dec 6, 2012 at 5:59

In my opinion, there is a very simple "Ask Ubuntu's Razor" here: if it's more clear and easy to read after the edit, approve it. Otherwise, reject it.

It's as simple as that. Clearer? Accept. Not clearer? Reject. No need to make it more complicated than that.


I agree that too much bold and italic type has been used for some suggested edits, and that the resulting question or answer is harder to read. I think it is better that we spend time to improve the quality of the posts, and not just dress them up by simply highlighting words.

Even though I usually reject edits with too much markup, I have decided now that if I come across an otherwise legitimate edit spotted with markup, I will simply edit it out and then confirm the edit. However, if the edit has too much markup and is too minor anyway, it should still be rejected.

In cases where there was too much markup in a suggested edit, we can leave a note saying why we have 're-edited' it to remove some of that decoration. Then we won't lose valuable contributions and if the user who proposed the edit looks at the edit history, he will understand.

This is not to say we are the final arbiters of style; it is a subjective thing, but rough style guides do already exist across the network. See, for example,

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