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Tips for formatting your posts

There are a lot of ways to use this forum, but it's helpful to know all the tips and tricks, especially with formatting. I know many of you know some or all of this, but there may be posters who do not, so I thought I would post this here. It includes links that the Webmaster has created. For future reference, the referenced posts are available by going to the "Get Started" link under the Travel Forum link in the left hand column.

Using the Travel Forum gives you a general overview of how to use the forum, including ways to frame your questions to get better responses, and how to get notifications of responses to your created posts.

Understanding Markdown explains how to format your posts if you desire (Markdown is a markup language RS uses to add formatting to plain text). As many of you know, you can use the icons directly above the comment/reply boxes for formatting. For example, the capital "B" makes words bold, the "I" italicizes them, the globe allows you to insert a weblink into a particular word or phrase, and the quotation marks allow you to use block quotes (such as quoting a phrase or sentence from a prior comment).

To the right of them are icons for using

  1. numbered headings

and

  • bullet points

Next to the bullet points is a:

Large Heading Icon

That said, this formatting can be done manually as well. For example, to make a word BOLD you can highlight the word and key
Command+B (on a Mac) or Control+B on a PC. OR you can add 2 asterisks before the word and 2 after, like this: *word*.

I almost always do the bullet points manually since I think clicking the icon is somewhat cumbersome to use. It's easier to just manually create them by using asterisks, + signs or hyphens. Here is the "how-to" from the Understanding Markdown page:

Bulleted lists: use asterisks, pluses, and hyphens (*, +, and -) as list markers. For example, if you write:

*Candy

*Gum

*Booze

OR

- Candy

- Gum

- Booze

This would appear in your published post.

  • Candy.
  • Gum.
  • Booze.

OR

  • Candy.
  • Gum.
  • Booze.

In other words, any of those characters - the asterisk, the hyphen or the + sign will insert a bullet point in there.

One last tip - if you forget what the icons above the box are for, just hover your cursor above one and it will tell you what it is. Also, if you want to test out formatting, just try some of it in a test post or reply box. You can see what everything will look like in the grey box below.

Posted by
3821 posts

Thank you for these very important tips, many times when a post is presented in a big block of words sans any attempt at formatting I just pass on it, just not worth the eyestrain.

Posted by
6327 posts

Do you know how to change the overall type size for the forum posts? A couple of weeks ago, for no reason I understood, the font for post texts became much smaller. This changed happened only to the post texts themselves, not to the headings or the "cover page" listing forum categories and topics. And there was no change in text size elsewhere on the RS website (tours, tips, etc.).

Maybe this is just my computer acting weird, but maybe someone has a suggestion to restore the type size on forum posts?

Posted by
9325 posts

James !!!!!

You rotten scoundrel

Thank you Mardee. I am like Carlos !

Posted by
6891 posts

Thankyou, Mardee! I never noticed those choices above the reply box, previously!

Posted by
5912 posts

Dick, I have no idea about that. Nothing changed on my laptop or iPad and as far as I know, there is no way to change font size. I’m wondering if it’s something on your end. How do you access this site? In a laptop browser? You might want to try clearing your cache and seeing if that helps.

Posted by
5912 posts

James, I’m not sure why he would change it back to “normal” and I’m not sure exactly what you’re talking about. Regardless, why would he? If he didn’t want people to use Markdown or the icons, they would be gone.

Posted by
3782 posts

My favorite Markdown feature is a double tilde to strike through text.

I like James E Mister E.

Posted by
2581 posts

Thanks Mardee! When all else fails, read the directions. Obviously I didn’t. So glad you did!

Posted by
7179 posts

Mardee, I hadn’t been aware of the purpose of the Globe icon. Thanks!

Posted by
5912 posts

You’re welcome! I wish that would promote the help page better on the website, though. Or maybe put a pinned post at the top of General Europe, or something like that so that members of the forum, especially those who are new, would notice it.

Posted by
2599 posts

Mardee, I applaud your determination, but you’re fighting a losing battle. The younger generations are just not as concerned with things like formatting and spelling (another criticism I see all the time here—Edinburg is in Texas, Edinburgh is in Scotland). I find these posts, as well meaning as they might be, to be very off-putting. Many people are busy and do not have the time to format in a way that is deemed proper by some. They’re typing out a quick question on their phone when they have a few minutes. They don’t have the time or energy to worry about paragraphs and bullet points.

Standards in writing have really changed in recent years. I work for a legal publishing company and 20 years ago we used to have hours long debates over the proper placement of commas. Today, the company has attorneys in other countries and AI doing a lot of my work. Quality is the lowest priority. So, I’m not sure it’s fair to expect people on a travel forum to take the time to format in a way that is visually appealing to some. My advice is this: If you don’t like the look of someone’s post, skip over it.

I fear that this type of criticism, and yes, that’s what some perceive it to be, is going to keep new members away. I think we should be welcoming to new members. And of the way that they post their questions. No paragraphs or bullets and spelling errors and all. 😊

Posted by
32241 posts

No paragraphs or bullets and spelling errors and all.

I'd rather an ordered list. This website claims to do ordered lists but it is better at bulletpoints. Bah

Posted by
2678 posts

I found this post very helpful. I cannot explain why I have never noticed all those symbols above the reply box, let alone used them. And I am someone who is kind of geeky about formatting, fonts, etc. So thank you, Marlee, for posting this.

As to people ignoring it and not caring about how their posts look, that is their prerogative. If they think it doesn’t matter, that’s fine. But I maintain you will get the most and best responses if your post is clear and easy to read.

I skip right over posts with no punctuation, endless paragraphs, etc. I’m fine with grammar errors and misspellings, but if the poster isn’t willing to make the effort to communicate clearly, I’m not going to take the time to decipher what they are trying to say.

Posted by
5912 posts

Carrie, thanks for your thoughts. But I would like to point out that this was in no way intended to be any type of criticism, nor was it intended to be anything but a look at the formatting available on this forum. The only reason I posted it was because I noticed that a new poster was trying to quote something from a previous comment and obviously didn’t know how. I wanted to post this so that people knew it was available if they want to use it. If people don’t want to use it, that’s fine. I understand that some people aren’t comfortable with formatting or can’t be bothered. But if you don’t know it’s there, you will never use it.

Posted by
3724 posts

I never even noticed the icons above the reply box. I’m going to play around with it.
Thank you

Posted by
821 posts

This was a very helpful post. I never noticed the icons either!

Posted by
13636 posts

Thank you Mardee! I knew how to use the * to italicize but I always forget how to do bullet points, lol.

I have the most issues with people who are on their phones and don't/can't use paragraphs. I just can't read a whole block of text.