Under review

More Editing/Formatting Functions For Stories

Mehlahphuse 8 years ago updated by Digby (Community Manager) 7 years ago 112 4 duplicates

I was wondering if it would be possible to get more formatting tools for stories. Having something like the toolbar here in these forums would be a god send to us writers. It would be much friendlier if we didn't have to use markdown code to add things like bold text or to alter font or text size but rather have a toolbar to simply click on to apply such changes and additions.

Also this will parrot what a few others have brought up but adding the ability to transfer text from other sites or programs without losing formatting would also be nice.

Duplicates 4

Yes. I was literally just about to post this idea. I use Google Drive mainly for creating my stories, allowing me to share the unfinished versions.

I also upload to other sties using PDF format, and thanks to this site having a text entry box instead of a file upload it means I have to keep re-adding all my paragraphs. Unecessary hassle.

SoFurry, has this exact same method of uploading and is the reason why I don't use it.

Honestly, not quiet sure why this wasn't default. Making a PDF upload is a lot simpler than making a text entry box I would think.


As a writer myself, YES PLEASE!

I tried to submit a poem I wrote here, and FN ignored all my line breaks. It displayed paragraph breaks properly, but normal, single-return line breaks were ignored completely, turning my verses into awkward paragraphs. The work is currently in my "Unlisted" section.

Under review

Regarding the line breaks: that's lame. You should submit that as a separate bug; it shouldn't munge stories like that.

If the toolbar offered the ability to easily add bold and so on (by generating the required markdown), would that be sufficient - or would it need to preview the changes in the editor as well?


A WYSIWYG editor would be nice, yes, in particular one capable of maintaining bolded and underline text. Light HTML/BBcode compatibility would be welcome too. :)


I 100% second this. This is actually what I was coming to suggest. Markdown doesn't have any support for italics, it seems! Plus, I see this comment section has formatting options the story section does not. That seems strange!

A WYSIWYG editor would be particularly helpful because I'm usually copying from a text document and pasting to the editor. As it stands, all my formatting is removed, from indentions to italics to special line breaks. That means I have to go through my story and re-add all that back in, which is a pain when every site I upload to has a different way of dealing with it (markdown on one, bb-code on another, html on a third). None of them keep the formatting. Being able to do that would save me a lot of time when I need to make edits across all three sites.

I republished the poem in my Public story submissions. It appears that the most recent update fixed whatever was causing that. It now displays properly on my end. https://beta.furrynetwork.com/story/529/stockholm/

Please read my related proposal and explanation of the problems with Markdown here: http://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/650-/


That would be sufficient, having easier means to add markdown at the touch of a button.


This is also a big issue for me as well. I've had to start using PDF because of the disparate methods of formatting supports across various sites, and the inability to simply upload as PDF is a big barrier to my being able to effectively utilize FurryNetwork.

FurAffinity only supports BBCode in plain text, rtf, doc, docx, and pdf for their stories

SoFurry has a buggy-at-best text entry box that, if I have to manually copypasta to it, completely eats all of my line breaks and formatting

InkBunny comes close in supporting doc, rtf, and txt with bbcode formatting, but no PDF support.

I don't know anything about Weasyl, mainly because of the complicated and obtuse content rating system as well as the attitudes of the admins on that site, so I've kept it at arm's length.

Really quite a nuisance that there's no consistency for writers. :\ I feel like FurryNetwork is really missing out on a huge opportunity to gain a LOT of prose artists by restricting story uploads to a Markdown-formatted text entry box.

[Edited slightly for more detail where I forgot on the original posting]


Yes, PDF support would be a more than interesting feature.


I'd love these things for anything with text honestly. Markdown is impossible to memorize because it's different on another site. I always accidentally italic everything when I mean to bold... and when I type short 'roleplay speech' it accidentally italics things because I dont remember it does that.

Actually, this editor on the suggestions page is wonderful and exactly what I'd want on the site itself too.

I also have the same issue not being motivated to copypaste any text submissions I've made because I'd have to reformat them from bbcode or html (I like bbcode and html both because they're pretty easy in most cases to just 'search and replace' the [ ] to < >, but markdown is something completely different, you have to take in coinsideration to escape things too.)


Completely agree, especially the google docs part!! I tend to use a decent bit of formatting in my works, and while I'm excited to bring some of my old stuff over here, it's pretty frustrating knowing that I have to go through and add asterisks to each and every single instance of italics.

Honestly, Fimfiction.net has a really nice import from google drive feature - I don't know if this is something google offers to everyone but doing something like this could really help out the writers here!


Markdown doesn't even seem to be working. Plus the default text is way too bright. All text is defaulting to bold.

Another super useful feature would be paragraph spacing. It is very frustrating to have to go back and add a new line in between each paragraph of your story because the site has no option to add space after a paragraph and doesn't do it automatically. Sofurry does this well. FN will never be able to compete with SF until the FN editor allows us to easily make the text readable with these options. Markdown was a terrible idea for story submissions. Markdown is only good for code and documentation.

That's not Markdown's fault. The fault is with the rendering settings and resulting stylesheet.

The problem with my comment is that it was addressing two issues. Markdown's problem is that all of its features are designed for code documentation. Its simply not built for story submission. It doesn't have font size options, only header values. It offers only basic text altering in the form of obtuse symbols that are designed for text submitted from a plaintext file. It isn't built to handle stories that were developed in an advanced word processor like word or scrivener. You have to go through your entire story line by line to add in all sorts of quirky symbols and extra lines in order to try to force markdown to do something it was never meant to do - make a story visually appealing and easy to read.

The lack of end of paragraph spacing, indents, and other formatting options are just compounding problems.

You're wanting fine-tuned word processing tools to display potentially hard-coded font sizes on a medium which has to adapt to multiple screen resolutions, including mobile phones. Even without Markdown, that's an absolute nightmare for readers on mobile--a complaint I raised multiple times on SoFurry in the past.

At most, what would make it better is a set of defined tools and stylesheets using something like BBCode (even though I despise BBCode), or a subset of HTML, allowing for limited rich text capabilities. Giving too much to the writer either makes for a horrible reading experience outside of larger devices, or can make stories unreadable as a whole (see also: many stories on SoFurry).

Another option would be to give full formatting to the writer, then make it so that stories can be reported as "unreadable on mobile" to alert the writer to problems. At that point, it would be all on the writer to make sure their stories are formatted properly for their readers.

As someone who's tried dealing with this exact issue on a web design level, it's not easy making something typed in Word/Scrivener/et. al. readable on a mobile device, especially if it's rendered exactly like it would be on a larger screen. Not without scaling issues that make you pull your hair out.

Typography in a fluid digital medium is a massive pain.


Yes. Yes, yes, yes please. Markdown is absolutely terrible for trying to submit a story, especially when the formatting isn't retained from its original source. It's far too unintuitive to use.

Ah these are all very good points.

Obviously, if it were so simple, writers would not struggle on every new site they try to make their submissions the way they intend.

Would there be some way to have (though this sounds like a lot of trouble, and resources) maybe a custom browser-based word processor that is integrated into the text submission page?

I'm no coder, so please excuse my ignorance to some limitations posed by working in this space.

Please read my related proposal and explanation of the problems with Markdown here: http://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/650-/


Absolutely this! Markdown is a pain in the ass to use and I'd prefer BB Code over it a thousand times!

Thank you, Storm Engineer, for pointing out the numerous flaws of Markdown so detailed and providing adequate solution suggestions!


I prefer BB Code the most. It's easy to understand and remember. It makes it really hard for me to type like I normally do with markdown. It's a super pain in the butt. I use * ALL the time.


If you agree, please Vote for it so it gets some attention sooner.


Markdown is much simpler imo. Although, the thing is that I think markdown is more aimed towards web developers, which I happen to be. I find BBCode a pain in the ass to use, as I shouldn't have to think of codes to use (even if they're simple) to do simple formatting. Multiple lines can typically be accomplished by ending the line in two spaces, although that may be exclusive to GitHub Flavored Markdown.

Markdown is intended for small descriptions such as those on artwork, and I believe it is appropriate. When it comes to stories, I'd agree that another solution would be best. WYSIWYG would be best for stories IMO.


"Multiple lines can typically be accomplished by ending the line in two spaces, although that may be exclusive to GitHub Flavored Markdown."

No, that's part of Gruber's original Markdown spec.


Okay I honestly wasn't sure if Gruber included that originally. I just new it was in GFM.

How about Block quote and Code tags? Do you really think that having to perpend EVERY SINGLE LINE with < or spaces respectively is much simpler than placing one tag in front of the block and one after it?

It works for what Markdown is designed for. As a comment further down the page says, "It was design to be easy and human reliability even in plain text."

Even considering the tediousness of doing so, it makes more sense and looks much better in plain text. Perhaps that won't really matter very much on a site like FN though.


Markdown was never designed to be used for forum posts, comments, info pages and the things we need formatting for on FN.


I'd be inclined to disagree.

"Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML)."



Web writers. How does that qualifies for complex layouts like price sheets, TOSs and other things we possibly need here?

Also, what people whop like Markdown should finally understand that it is NOT easier and prettier for everyone. It is a matter of preference and taste, and as far as I see it is still preferred only by a minority.

But again, I don't care what you format your stuff with as long as I have either HTML or BB Code to use. You can use Markdown, LaTex or smoke signals, it doesn't matter to me but forcing me to use Markdown is bullshit.

But again, you're just going back to bitching about Markdown. You're just hating on something because you don't have what you want.

Price sheets I would definitely agree, however. Markdown is just not meant for them. But if you want a suggestion to be considered, try doing so without writing a freaking blog post worth of why Markdown sucks.


Typically pointing out the flaws with a current system is good way to create a compelling argument for change.


Personally, I prefer Markdown over BBCode for formatting. I just want to write, and offer my stories for people to read on their preferred platform, not typeset. If I wanted to mess with formatting and such, I'd rather just have proper LaTeX support and let people download PDFs, since it's trivial to break the readability on smaller screens using raw HTML+CSS, and easy for people to override my formatting using Stylish or the Dev tools for most browsers.

I wouldn't mind seeing BBCode support, but please don't make it the only option. It's one of the reasons I don't upload to InkBunny. BBCode annoys me to no end, and I'm a web designer.


Nobody said to make it the only option. Did you even read my post?


How about a simple toolbar like the one used here in the support forum, only adjusted to the site's and its user's needs? That way you wouldn't even need to bother with BB Code, Markdown or anything else.

I think having the option is the best... option...

Personally, I prefer to be able to use Markdown for simple thing such as this comment. Having exclusively WYSIWYG isn't the end of the world though. A toolbar like the one on here would probably be a good option for story writers. I could be wrong though.

I don't know that that's a good idea. What would be good is an option like what is available on FA, IB, and (usually) on SF, where you can put the BBCode into the text and it formats it. The problem I have with the toolbar is that you have to insert the raw text and then go through and add the formatting, whereas if you've been adding the formatting as you write - like I do, and a fair number of others I've seen - you have to go through and strip it out and replace it with the formatting you get from the toolbar.

In other words, a massive slowdown, which is not what anybody wants.


I think Markdown is easy, too.

It was design to be easy and human reliability even in plain text.

With BBCode you have more WYSIWYG and a Write-Click-WordLike-GUI.

I agree you can do more with BBCode, but do you really need this?

Now days with the right Markdown-Plugins you can almost do, what you can do with BBCode e.g. Tables.

With Markdown you can type your Content right down without using the Editor.

If you use the BBCode HTML it's more pain and overhead to write.

I'm not sure what produce more (HTML) Footprint, cuz of Mobile, Flatdesign, ...

More important is to disallow HTML+JS to avoid XSS.

But I don't disagree to BBCode, I think both can exist.

If I need to write something simple and quick, I use Markdown, but if I need more complex Content I use BBCode.

That would be great.

But converting between each other would be a bad idea, if BBCode can do more then Markdown and Markdown don't support it.

I think the future would be show what users need and use the most.

For me Markdown is enough.


Saying that BB or HTML requires an editor is nonsense. The tags are easy enough, you can just type them.


Typing them is very tedious, especially on mobile. Most everything in Markdown is one or two characters around your block of text.

Markdown Extra charactersBBCodeExtra characters
> Quote1-2 (varies for multi-line)[quote]Quote[/quote]15

and quote is even worse in html, where it's blockquote


So you say that this:

> Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit,

> sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore

> magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud

> exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo

> consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in

> voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

> Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in

> culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Is easier to use than this:


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit,

sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore

magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud

exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo

consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in

voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in

culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.



You shouldn't quote huge blocks of multiline text really. It's a bad practice. You should only quote relevant pieces instead. And for this, markdown is perfect.

There's an exception of quoting text from somewhere else, that's when multiline quotes actually make sense, but a simple toolbar can solve this.

So if I want to quote my favorite poem that inspired me I shouldn't quote the full poem because that's bad practice?

If I quote from an article something relevant/important and it's longer than a few line, is that bad practice?

Come on... try think out of the box! Quoting someone you reply to is NOT the only use of a quote!!! In fact, it is only one of lots of uses.

I bet you don't quote poems every day. It's an exception. For this exception, HTML/BB works better. For most everyday uses (that is, quoting comments of others), MD is much cleaner.

By the way, if you quote articles, you'll only need one ">" per paragraph, so you'll have to quote a really huge piece of text to make BB shorter than MD (unless the text is preformatted, but you should reformat it before posting then). With the current 1000 character limit, it's close to impossible. :)

YMMV, of course, but I seriously doubt a considerable percetange of users quote poems every day. :)


Don't you think that trying to tell me what should I do, or assume what is common for me, it would be much cleaner to just give me the tools letting me do what the hell I want? Then if I don't need the extra tools I won't use them, I lost nothing, but if I need them and thy are not available, I am at lost.

"In my personal opinion users don't usually do this, so let's not even give them a chance!"
^ This is very bad logic.

You forgot your original post at the very top refers to "minorities" and "majorities" without any proof-links... You're as guilty at baseless claims as I am. :)) By the way, I'm as surprised as you're that this feature request received so many downvotes - maybe your claims are the reason?

But let's talk about reasons for feature requests in general.

Reasons like "I don't need it, but maybe somebody needs it, or maybe I'll need in the future" are bad reasons. And your "quoting poems every day" reason is just this - unless you prove it's actually useful to a considerable number of users, it isn't valid.

Why is this reason bad? From a developer's point of view, you're wasting their resources - intead of working on something which actually benefits lots of users, they spend time on something very few, if any, will need. It makes code more complex - harder to maintain, harder to add new features, easier to miss bugs.

From a designer's point of view, you're making user interface more complex. Complex UI means more confused users, more user mistakes. You're wasting screen space on unnecessary controls.

"When I copy this text from Word into text editor on the site, I get garbage in preview box and need to fix lots of text and formatting" is a valid reason. There's a clear problem, there're multiple ways to solve it, there's actual need, you can see who needs it and why. "Somebody may need to quote poems every day" is not a valid reason. There's no "somebody" in feature requests.

It's just a general advice from somebody who sends bug reports and feature requests pretty frequently. There's a bigger chance to be noticed if you provide reasons and clear examples. Appealing to personal preferences is less reliable. :)

"Reasons like "I don't need it, but maybe somebody needs it, or maybe I'll need in the future" are bad reasons. And your "quoting poems every day" reason is just this"

- Stop misrepresenting my arguments please. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

I've wrote it many times, I'll do it again for you:
- Markdown is completely incapable of the complex formatting I need
- I DO NEED several formatting options BB/HTML can do and Markdown can't. I've mentioned several examples such as complex submission descriptions with various information, and formatting the content on the commission info page where complex ordered data, categories and other things may be placed.

Quote: "if I want to quote my favorite poem". (No facts, just "if".)

Quote: "Don't you (...) assume what is common for me". (No facts, just "don't assume". Most likely the opposite of my assumtion is correct, otherwise you're unlikely to disagree, but... no facts.)

Quote: "if I don't need the extra tools I won't use them, I lost nothing". (No facts, "if" again.)

Lots of "ifs", no "I need to quote poems". I explain why reasons with "ifs" are wrong and provide your poems as an example. You complain about me adding "every day" (or whatever I "misrespresented" — you didn't bother to explain), then explain your overall position, which has nothing to do with it.

I won't give you clever links because you absolutely don't understand what I'm trying to say. The message discusses only one reason and its shortcomings.

P. S. And no, you still haven't provided any examples of formatting which absolutely require BB and MD doesn't support at all. Just checked all you messages. A couple of examples where MD complicates formatting, but nothing about capabilities.

I don't need a toolbar that makes it easier to insert very limited and unintuitive formatting. I want the option to use less limited and more intuitive formatting.

I find your claims that MD is unintuitive funny. If you find yourself in a situation where only text is available, using asterisks and underscores for emphasis is just natural, as well as using asterisks for formatting lists. MD at its core is designed to mimic what people actually use.

Did you miss the whole text e-mail age? Text chats?

BB may feel "natural" in "intuitive" only for someone born during PHPBB rise and fall. BB may also feel this way for web devs with HTML experience, but you don't appear to be a programmer, or you wouldn't make claims about HTML or BB being much more effecient. :)

Did you miss that in the text age as well as today:

  • You emote with asterisk pairs: *slaps you with a herring*
  • It is common practice to use asterisks* to mark footnotes or marginals
    * Note: When you only have one note there is no reason to use numbers. Also this is what they teach us to do in handwriting.
  • We use dashes to mark dialogues, which are totally not lists.
    - Right?
    - Right.

Also, while tags are 100% clear and precise on what should happen where, Markdown requires you to voodoo around with line breaks, spaces etc. to force it do what you want. Also, in most implementation I had the "fortune" having to use it fucks up many things you would normally use for organizing, such as multiple line breaks, non breaking spaces, etc.

P.s.: Do you realize that markdown supports inline HTML by default which was intentionally turned off here for no sane reason other than fucking us up?

1. I agree about emotes, it actually happened to me. However, emotes shoudn't really be used in stories and using submission comments for roleplaying is questionable at best. If you want to RP, you can actaully use MD to your advantage instead of fighting it. You're using asterisks for separating speech from actions, but why not use bold or italic? A roleplay doesn't stop being a roleplay if you construct proper sentences or your emotes are highlighted.

2. Asterisks for footnotes are common, but there're lots of other characters. It's a matter of preference. †, ‡ and § are ignored by MD.

3. Using hyphens for dialogs is wrong. You should use em dashes. En dashes, em dashes and other similar characters aren't processed by MD.

If there're any problems with non-breaking spaces, it's a bug and should be reported. It'd surely annoy me if something happened with non-breaking spaces.

One point I completely agree with you is that non-standartized nature of MD causes issues. But instead of adding BB, I'd rather have a CommonMark-conformant parser. It does support HTML, it seems, so I don't see any reason to disable it here. Is there a ticket about it?

Forget stories already! I've said many times and I say again: These features are needed by EVERYONE and NOT only writers!

Complex formatting can be essential in submission descriptions, info pages (journals) and the commission info page.

You seem to have misplaced your reply (it's not FA here, so I don't think the website is to blame). I don't see how my message and your reply are related. I clearly mention formatting emotes in comments and don't mention writers at all.

Well, just in case you didn't notice, I do understand that formatting applies to many areas, not just stories. It's just that stories, in my opinion, is where problems are apparent and aren't about personal preferences.

Markdown was originally invented to turn text that was "formatted" with plain text elements into actual formatting. It was never designed to replace complex formatting methods that were already designed with processing in mind.


I very much doubt you are replying to huge amounts of things on a mobile where you want to use quotes and links and bold stuff with lots of custom formatting.

Also, if you're too lazy to type BBCode on a computer, you probably don't know how to type to begin with "lik thoz peops ho tipe lyk thi an u cant understan em!". The sollution is to add formatting buttons.


If I'm writing a story to publish on a site, it's not gonna be on mobile. So this argument doesn't apply to story writers who have to suffer Markdown. Leaving a quick comment on a piece of work? Yeah. Writing a shout or quick update? Sure. But any lengthy piece of work is going to be done at a computer, not on a cellphone.

Markdown doesn't work as well for writers as other formatting methods do. For proof of that, just look at this comment thread at all the writers saying "I need things other than Markdown." Not want -- need. Look at all the upvotes on the comments from people asking for other options but Markdown, because it can't meet their formatting needs as well as the alternatives.

The community's spoken. It doesn't matter how many characters you save using Markdown, it's still not as desirable.


"I agree you can do more with BBCode, but do you really need this?"

Yes I do. I want my descriptions and commission info to be formatted properly and elegantly, and not look like a pile of crap. Not only it helps potential customers to read and get the info they need but gives a better impression as well.

Why people downvote my proposal of allowing both Markdown and BB/HTML?

imo this reads a lot more like a rant than a suggestion.

Also your suggestion technically already exists and has been acknowledged by FN here.

No. That ticket asks for a toolbar or editor for Markdown and focuses on writers.
I ask for BB Code and/or HTML as optional alternatives, and I state it is needed by everyone, not only writers.

Apparently some people don't read past the title and think I want Markdown removed. I DO NOT!!! I want it as an option alongside BB and/or HTML...

Since I can't edit this ticket, I made another one with different wording, so lazy people will not downvote it for missing my point. http://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/690-


As a writer, Markdown is absolutely terrible for me. It doesn't offer the proper tools for formatting a story and requires me to go through everything line-by-line and reformat it using a method that's unintuitive for my purposes. Markdown might be good for some applications, but it's awful for something like writing or submitting a story to a site whose partial intention is to give writers a place to publish their work.

Really, Markdown is the main thing keeping me from feeling like I can properly contribute to this site. It's just painful to use.


I feel the same way.

I actually use Markdown for story writing, but something like this would definitely help for those who use things like Word.


I think Markdown is nice for the custom fields in profile, simple descriptions in artworks.

Complex BBCode would be nice for journals and writing.

I don't do writing, how about an extra ticket for writing/format features for writing ?


I agree that Markdown is a poor standard. BBCode and HTML are tried and true. It's also a very good idea to add a GUI formatting bar because not everybody can/wants to learn all those codes. There's a bigger issue about not being able to upload complete story files.

Call me old-fashioned and that browser-based text editors are the latest and greatest, but I've gotten used to composing my writings in my own text editor, and copy-pasting into a browser is a pain. Adding to the pain of writing in a browser window is the risk that at any moment your work will be lost by an accidental navigation away or lapse in connection. I'd like to see the option of uploading complete story files to avoid these. A clever writer can use formatting codes to preemptively format their document, or edit it after. A clever coder can implement support for file types that provide their own formatting.

One last thing I noticed when making a new story: while using a mobile device, there's a big obnoxious ellipsis that tends to hover right in the text field. I understand that its purpose is to edit the document's attributes, but it's really distracting. Is there a way to make it stationary on the page instead of following you like the Eye of Sauron?


This whole Markdown is the most unintuitive thing I have ever encountered. Most of the furries here got used to standard BB-Code which is used mostly everywhere (forums, other furry-websites). This makes FN very unfriendly from the technical point of view, because people cannot set their profiles as easily as they would with BB-Code. It took me over 20 minutes of looking around to find out how to put me and my mate's avatars, and link them to our profiles, in my profile page. I'd totally vote for abandoning Markdown and use codes like BB-Code or something simple with simple syntax.

Not to mention that it would be a real bliss for writers who often have to format their texts.


Funny that while Markdown claims to be for writing, it is the writers here that find it the most unusable for their needs.


The sad fact is that writers think they can format, but they can't. If you let them use Word, they'll use crazy fonts, crazy paragraphs etc. PDFs produced from Word files like this are even worse because you can't fix anything on your side.

If somebody finds that their text got unwanted formatting after being processed by MD parser, there's usually something wrong with formatting already: using incorrect symbols for footnotes and dialog ("*" and "-" instead of "†" and "—"/"–"), formatting with spaces (spaces aren't for indenting) etc. BB forgives this, HTML forgives even incorrectly nested tags in quirks mode. MD makes you think about what you're doing. Garbage in, garbage out.

As for paragraphs, MD forces you to use proper paragraphs. Two line breaks = new paragraph, period. This allows proper formatting, unilke BB which doesn't support creating HTML paragraphs at all, so you can't get 0.66 white space between paragraphs (like in properly formatted web pages) or indent on the first line (like in books).

By the way, judging by your original post, you don't know about a forced line break. If you put two spaces after a line, MD parser will insert a line break without starting a new paragraph. But it's more like a rarely needed hack, you should almost always use paragraphs.

Summary of your post:

"Most people are too stupid to use good tools properly, so let's not give anyone access to any good tools."


"MD forces you to use proper paragraphs. Two line breaks = new paragraph, period."

BULLSHIT. MD forces you to give up hope on any spacing. Also, if you knew typography you would know that the space between paragraphs is NOT two line breaks - it a separate thing and it should always be less than an empty line.

Forcing something on 100% of users, with no ANY WAY to circumvent it, just because it is what works with stupid people is very VERY bad practice.

But since we don't have advanced editing tools, such as setting spacing before and after elements like you can do in a DTP app, we have to resort to using line breaks for spacing - just like I do here to separate my post script from the rest of the post (no idea of it will preserve though, I will only see after I send this).

P.s.: Using asterisk for footnote is 100% correct. Also, since I've never seen a keyboard that has a dash key, I think it's more than acceptable that people use hyphens instead for common things - yes it is incorrect, but we are talking about common people and hobbyist writers using a website (the few who are more serious will use dash but they are a minority).

> it a separate thing and it should always be less than an empty line

Isn't this exactly what I said? Two lines separated by two line breaks in source text produce "A<BR/><BR/>B" in BB and "<P>A</P><P>B</P>" in MD, usually. That means you can get whatever spacing between paragraphs you want in MD (with spacing defined by CSS, which you can't usually adjust though), but in BB, it's always unformattable line breaks. Well, BB parsers which produce paragraphs exist, but it's close to impossible to meet one in the wild.

> no ANY WAY to circumvent it

Didn't I just give you a clear instruction on producing line breaks just like in BB?

> Using asterisk for footnote is 100% correct

The only absolutely correct formatting and relatively common formatting which MD messes up, so far. :)

> but we are talking about common people and hobbyist writers using a website

Now, if we're talking about writers and their stories, it's a complex problem and just adding BB won't solve that much. If there's formatting like bold/italic, it'll be lost after copy-pasting. If formatting is somehow preserved, then crazy fonts may be preserved too. Overall, adding BB solves a few tiny issues with formatting stories, but still leaves most of the problem untouched.

Even SoFurry, which for many years was THE furry story website (not sure about now), has many problems with formatting. MD is a bad solution, but BB isn't much better. We need something else, we need WYSIWIG with HTML, we need tools for improving formatting and fixing typography, we need tools for configuring formating by readers. There's a lot to do, and I'm not convinced that BB is a step in the right direction.

Disabling all formatting and allowing HTML in MD — these I can see as a part of the final solution. It may be future-proof, but I'm not sure yet.


What is your goal with this? We asked for more options because we need it and because Markdown failed us and you are trying to prove us that we don't need more... why? Why can't you just accept, that we DO have a need you don't?

"If formatting is somehow preserved, then crazy fonts may be preserved too."
- This now just proves that you don't know what you are talking about. There are two ways formatting can be preserved:

  1. Text is formatted with tags in the first place. This is my case, and this is the case of several other people who commented here: We ALREADY have our texts formatted with BB and/or HTML, but instead of just copying them, we are forced to rewrite them to MD, in which process lot of formatting gets lost and many things we could do in BB/=HTML cannot be done in MD, or at least requires hours of hair pulling and screaming to figure out.
  2. Formatted text is pasted from rendered HTML, Word or other sources into a WYSIWYG editor - in this case only formatting in the editor's set of tools is preserved. If there are no "crazy" fonts in the editor they won't magically implement themselves.

Besides, your crazy font argument is not an argument at all, just bullshit. Or, more precisely:
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope and https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/bandwagon

Also, one final time: Stop constantly bringing up writers like this all was solely about story submissions. It is NOT. These features are needed for EVERYONE and NOT only writers.

> What is your goal with this?

To discuss various problems and to better understand needs of other users. I want this ticket's discussion to contain all relevant information, including pros and cons of the various solutions you proposed in the original post, that is what and why should and should not be implemented. If this ticket receives attention, I want whoever decides on the implementation to have a complete understanding of the situation.

> We ALREADY have our texts formatted with BB and/or HTML

"And/or" is a bad choice of conjuction because BB and HTML are very different cases. :) If you format in BB and the website gives me BB when downloading a story (see: FurAffinity), it's bad. If you format in HTML, you can apply crazy formatting, and if the website doesn't clean it up (see: SoFurry), it's bad.

Overall, it's not magic. It's complex. There're many things which can go wrong.

By the way, converters from HTML to MD do exist. Converters from BB to HTML exist too, naturally. So going from BB to MD or from HTML to MD should be simple and automatic, not something done manually. Haven't used any of those converters though, so can't say anything about their quality.

If you really have problems with formatting huge blocks of text with MD, you should check it out. If you find something useful and open-source, it may be incorporated into the website.

> Formatted text is pasted from rendered HTML, Word or other sources into a WYSIWYG editor - in this case only formatting in the editor's set of tools is preserved

Nope. When you paste formatted text into the browser's "contenteditable" element, the browser produces a mess of HTML tags which it feels like using. The same applies to formatting done in the browser itself. Then it's website's job to clean up, transform and normalize this mess into something meaningful and acceptable in terms of the website's formatting language of choice. It can go wrong and it does. Lots of websites "supporting" HTML and/or WYSIWYG mess up paragraphs and other tags.

It's not magic. It's complex.

> Besides, your crazy font argument is not an argument at all, just bullshit. Or, more precisely:
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope and https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/bandwagon

Not "slippery scope", because I'm not saying BB or HTML must not be implemented. I'm saying that there're problems which should be accounted for when implementing the eventual solution.

Not "bandwagon", because it's irrelevent.


I've never used crazy fonts or crazy paragraphs in my writing. I'm not sure where you get this idea that all writers are like this, but it's like saying all artists use crazy colors and crazy line thickness -- it's just silly.

The problem with Markdown is that it's not commonly used on sites designed with written work like you'd see on this site or others like it. And when a writer wants to publish their story on multiple sites, having Furry Network as the sole outlier that uses Markdown requires a writer to create a second copy just for this site. It's a needless hassle that can be fixed by giving a better set of tools that would allow for easier cross-site posting.

Especially if a writer likes to do longer stories, like myself. It's a huge pain to have to go through line by line and alter the formatting I already have in place to a new system, especially in a story/chapter with a lot of italic text in it. And when a character is having an internal dialogue with himself, I find that italic text is a better way to show it without constantly injecting "He thought to himself" into the prose.

Indenting in Markdown is also a pain. There's no way to do it as simply as hitting the Tab key; instead, you have to enter a lengthy string of text to basically trick Markdown into creating an indentation. All told, it takes 36 characters to indent a paragraph by six in Markdown -- this isn't intuitive, this isn't convenient, this is a hassle.

There's absolutely no benefit for a writer to use Markdown compared to another format.

As a writer, you should have heard about exaggeration. :P I'm just saying that enough writers mess up formatting to start worrying about it. Crazy colors are a thing of the past (Web of 90s), but Courier New and "pretty" fonts still exist. PDFs which are very hard to read on small screens are commonplace. Pages and PDFs which have uncomfortable line lengths or spacing are everywhere.

MD isn't suited for stories, I agree, but BB doesn't usually have tags for indenting and it collapses whitespace just like HTML, and distilled HTML tends to be very limited too.

It took a week to get my comments approved here, so I don't know when the comment above will be approved (and whether it'll be approved at all), so I'll copy-paste the relevant part here:

Now, if we're talking about writers and their stories, it's a complex problem and just adding BB won't solve that much. If there's formatting like bold/italic, it'll be lost after copy-pasting. If formatting is somehow preserved, then crazy fonts may be preserved too. Overall, adding BB solves a few tiny issues with formatting stories, but still leaves most of the problem untouched.

Even SoFurry, which for many years was THE furry story website (not sure about now), has many problems with formatting. MD is a bad solution, but BB isn't much better. We need something else, we need WYSIWIG with HTML, we need tools for improving formatting and fixing typography, we need tools for configuring formating by readers. There's a lot to do, and I'm not convinced that BB is a step in the right direction.

Disabling all formatting and allowing HTML in MD — these I can see as a part of the final solution. It may be future-proof, but I'm not sure yet.

Considering you're a writer, it'll be interesting to hear your opinion. I'm mostly a reader.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but as somebody who is (by your own admission) not a writer, you don't exactly have a voice in what formatting style is most beneficial or convenient for a writer to use. I don't want to sound elitist or anything, but that's honestly what I think. This discussion isn't about whether Markdown or BBCode or HTML are superior in all ways, it's about whether Markdown is a viable tool for writers to use instead of the alternatives that exist.

To give an example, let's compare Notepad, Word, and Scrivener. You can certainly write a story in Notepad, but it will be far easier to format and edit in Word. Scrivener is even higher above Word in convenience and giving writers tools they need. If you get a job as a professional writer, what would you do if you were told that all your documents had to be submitted in Notepad? You'd be requesting that you can submit them in Word or Scrivener instead, as they're superior, more flexible programs that are better suited to your needs.

By telling writers, as a reader, that they have no reason to request an alternative to Markdown, you're adding an opinion that doesn't exactly apply to the situation. Especially when it seems like the bulk of your argument, and the point that you keep repeating, is "they'll use different fonts" or that the writers who don't know how to format well should be a valid reason to hold back those who do.


I may not be a writer, but I edited and reformatted numerous stories for a couple of websites including mine (grammar, typography, formatting etc.), wrote several articles (both technical and nontechnical) and tons of documentation, generated documents programmatically, all this using BB, MD, HTML+CSS, wiki, HAML, XSLT, WYSIWYG and even a bit of TeX as markup languages. (Before anyone starts insulting my vocabulary and grammar, laughing about me being an editor — English isn't my native language. I guess it should be obvious, but just in case.)

So please, next time you want to say, "You don't understand anything because you've never done it", think twice.

I want information about what and why people actually need, maybe help them understand MD better and find appropriate tools and solutions, but Storm Engineer thinks I just want to prove that MD is the best thing in the world and his ticket is the worst thing, or something like that. Now you too. And nobody bothers to actually read my messages, where I clearly state that I do support adding HTML to MD, and I do support adding a checkbox for disabling all formatting. BB is a more complex case, but anyway...

Try finding a single message where I say that BB must not be supported. Good luck. :)

> what would you do if you were told that all your documents had to be submitted in Notepad

Surely Scrivener can export to various formats, including plain old text files. I have no idea what "submitting in Notepad" is. I'd actually be more surprised if BB support was built-in, but HTML and TXT weren't. :)


Markdown makes me cry and its just awful. Please do this. Or allow uploading from files. Or both. Preferably both.

The issue isn't uploading from files, its the fact that all comment boxes on the site use markdown.


I know there are some people who like markdown, but I don't use it, have never used it, and dislike it intensely. All of the forums I run or participate in use bbcode, and when I post stories, its using that, or uploading a text file/pdf. I'm all for options, but please don't force us to use something that isn't intended to be used by people writing novellas.

Also separate submission categories between 'stories' and 'poetry' would be nice too, but I'll wait for this to get put in before making that ticket, I think.


Everyone: If you want this to get admin attention, please do not forget to vote!


I support all the comments here on formatting issues (lol, this little response window has better formatting tools than the story submitter). But also, please can we have a way to attach an icon and/or cover art? I figured how to embed an image in the story submitter but still don't see a way to make the story appear as an icon on submission feeds. Thanks!


Theres a separate thread for this but it seems to have basically gone by unnoticed. https://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/452-story-icons/

Its kind of irritating to only be able to submit stories as blank thumbnails because they show up in people's feed looking like a 404 error instead of a story, so there that much more likely to just get overlooked. as if it already wasn't hard enough for writers to get noticed.

Even if we cant upload custom thumbnails maybe just give us some basic text we can put in the icon instead. maybe like a big Title bar and a small space we can give a few word description or bullet point the major themes involved. I mean thats what most story thumbnails are anyway, and they make a HUGE difference in people choosing to give a story a chance or just passing it by without even clicking to investigate


Coming in late to the party here, but I would say that the toolbar above the text box is not good for anything other than short responses, a paragraph or two at most. Past that, we need proper formatting tools, or people will be at the process of making a post far longer than they should be.

Markdown is one method of formatting posts, but as other people have noted, it varies from site to site depending on the type that is adopted. It also requires a different sort of memorization in how it is used. Instead of having distinct labels for their use, Markdown resorts to making you memorize how many of one specific character you throw at a line to format it, and if you remember wrong, tough luck, gotta go back and look up how to do it, gotta go back and find out where you put it, and hoping you're putting it in the right way this time.

I can't help but feel that Markdown is insufficient for writing fiction. I have yet to attempt to use it in my profile here, but I can tell that I will have a headache and a half trying to get my various stories converted from bbcode to Markdown, and not all of them CAN be converted, due to the inherent limitations.

I suppose that is the biggest problem. You are asking people to change what they have been working with - what they've been using on other sites for a LONG time - and lose versatility tools in hopes of them learning something new, using it in a way that may or may not match the style that they've had in the past, for a reason I can't really understand. It is going to drive people away eventually; for a site that prides itself on professionalism, as professed by your recent decisions, it is a serious problem when you deny professionals the use of their tools.

For those of you that think the editor toolbar is good enough, it's not. Make what marks you like in a document, but if you format it the way that a lot of authors will, that will add anywhere from five minutes to a half hour to each upload, going through and changing it to what you want. That headache may not seem like much, but it will add up and it will make uploads slow to a trickle as people stop seeing the point of it.

Give us options, ones that are more or less a standard on the internet scene.

When I said "GUI formatting bar", I meant hotbuttons that would insert code FOR the writer. Personally, I'm in support of bbcode. It's a standard that's been around for quite a while and it's short, versatile and stable enough for most stories. HTML support would be okay, but it's more complex and there's potential compatibility/security issues IMO. Another upside to the hotbuttons I think is that they visually teach the writer how to use the code without having to look it up.

I think most of us are in agreement however that Markup is a relatively new standard meant for limited use, and is insufficient for short stories and novellas.

To be clean up some misunderstanding.

Markdown was design to be simple and read simple WITHOUT an IDE/Editor or just plain.

Easy as read and write in plain text.

Markdown is use by a lot of Developers/-Platform such as GitHub, some Wiki, API-Doc, ...

So it is not design for complex writing, it's more for reading the doc. without open your IDE.

With BBCode you always have an WYSIWYG-Editor or an HTML-Renderer,

so you can create tables, paragraphs, formatting by Click and GUI.

There are a lot of markup languages out there: BBCode, Wikitext, LaTex, Markdown, CommonMark, Fountai, reStructuredText

BBCode is the most used one, but one of the oldest and very general.

So what do you need for writing storys/journals: tables? paragraphs? formatting(bold, italic, ...) ? font-size ? heading? WYSIWYG-Editor vs plain ?

I almost don't use the Browser-Texteditor (cz of "Ohh no I press the back-Button and now it's gone"), I use my local Texteditor/IDE to write doc. and later copy/paste into the Browser-Editor.


And you create more misunderstanding...

"With BBCode you always have an WYSIWYG-Editor or an HTML-Renderer"
- NOT true. And you do not need it. Sure it makes things more comfortable but there are several sites and platforms that do not give any WYSIWYG capabilities with BB/HTML code and people use it to great effect regardless.

"So what do you need for writing storys/journals"
- As much as possible. I personally would like to write full HTML with inline CSS... but at least either filtered HTML, or BB code. I personally vote for HTML.

I format with HTML on Weasyl, Picarto and DeviantArt, and with BB Code on Furaffinity. Picarto even allows CSS, and it's great! Weasyl has Markdown but I spent an hour trying to make it do what I want, until I found out you can actually use HTML there, and then I did in 5 minutes what I could not do with Markdown in an hour.

Any kind of editor is a second step, it only makes things easier, but before that you need to make things possible in the first place.


> there are several sites and platforms that do not give any WYSIWYG capabilities with BB/HTML code

What platforms? I don't know any combining WYSIWYG+BB. :) Browsers only support editable HTML (besides editable plain text), so WYSIWYG+HTML is a natural combination. WYSIWYG+BB would require HTML-to-BB conversion, which doesn't seem right to me. BB is often combined with live preview, but it isn't WYSIWYG by definition. I'd expect preview functionality from any editor which isn't WYSIWYG.

> BB Code on Furaffinity

It's actually really annoying when you download a story and get all this [B][/B] noise. Sure, I can read it on FA (I even added User CSS to make reading comfortable), but if I like something, I usually save it, and BB codes distract from reading a story.

"I don't know any combining WYSIWYG+BB. :)"

- So you don't know Drupal and IPB, the top 2 most used content management systems in the World?



Also what you download from FA has nothing to do with BBcode, it only has to do with the shitty coding of FA.


Back when I used forums, there wasn't such a thing. Then forums kinda became irrelevant (which is sad), so I stopped caring.

1. Tried CKEditor + BBCode plugin (which covers IPB too, apparently). Copied text from above the textbox, pasted into box, switched to BB, it lost all line wraps.

2. Tried TinyMCE. Enabled WYS mode, copied text from footer, pasted into box, disabled WYS mode, it produced HTML. Toggling WYS back and forth messed up HTML more every time. No BB whatsoever.

3. Tried WYSBB. Copied text from its docs... long story short, lost all formatting, nothing remained.

4. Tried HotEditor. Copied text from below... long story short, it produced BB with some unconverted HTML tags and even JS attributes.

Okay, I get the idea. Basically, they don't work. :) Just as I expected. Actually, worse than I expected. I thought finding bugs would require some effort. Oh well.

Since you seem to not understand why I write this, let me explain: considering there's no working WYSIWYG+BB editor, just adding them won't be enough. This is something which needs to be consdered by devs if they think WYSIWYG+BB sounds good.

What I download from FA is what the author uploaded, bit to bit. It isn't shitty coding. It's lack of coding. And lack of coding happens on any site, including this. Thus, it's something which needs to be considered and explicitly implemented.


You are not contributing to this issue, all you do is picking on us for asking for something you personally don't feel the need for.


What people should finally understand it's not the question if you like Markdown or not, neither what formatting you personally feel like needing.

What matters is that the ability for complex formatting was taken away from us by disabling HTML which by default is supported by markdown itself. Even if you personally don't want more than Markdwon, why wouldn't you allow it to others?

Making something not possible is not a feature. Making things possible, and giving alternatives, those are features.


I agree with this post entirely! Markdown is inconvinient, requires so much useless escaping and is ultimately so difficult to memorize because it doesn't use any sensible patterns. BB-code and html are much better and they'd also be a huge help when copypasting already formatted text from elsewhere (such as from FA).

I'd really love to start writing better descriptions, posts, stories (well, tutorials in my case) on FN but I've been highly disencouraged by markdown. What most bothers me is forced lists, the use of * which needs to escape and restriction of one line break only (it makes text look badly formatted).

People please vote for this so it gets dev attention - then we can start a proper discussion with the devs instead of arguing amongst ourselves.

Everyone who comments and votes here, please support the other ticket because this one got completely derailed by pointless arguments, and also the title I wrote in an annoyed state and that I could not change later attracts several downvotes. http://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/690-

I hate markdown. I have to use < > just to make a link work instead of simply linking a link like most sites would auto parse into a clickable URL and I have to learn a whole new system just to use it, and I don't like that. We keep moving from one standard to the next, and from what I can tell, markdown has more limitations than bbcode which allows more fine tuning of data within and you can even create new bbcode types with arguments that allow editing the data within in a specific way.

[quote=Vas time=Today Topic=someurl]Just an example[/quote]

Obviously not a functional quote but, similar to stuff I've seen where you get a quote that shows up like;

"Vas said at thistimehere"

Just an example

Where "vas said" is clickable and goes to the original post most usually.

Now, how would you do that with;

> Just an example

Solution? You can't!

> I have to use < > just to make a link work

Even though it violates CommonMark, I'd support adding autolinking to MD too. It does cause issues (separating URLs from trailing punctuation is error-prone), but lots of people are used to it, so requiring additional syntax doesn't make any sense.

> [quote=Vas time=Today Topic=someurl]Just an example[/quote]

Useful for long discussions with flat comments, not so much with threaded comments. And I hope comments here will be threaded eventually. Related: https://support.furrynetwork.com/topics/455-/


Either a WYSIWYG editor or the ability to upload a PDF would be a major asset to writers.

I typically write my stories in LibreOffice and then either copy-paste into a site's WYSIWYG editor or export to a PDF and upload. With Furry Network's current markdown setup, after pasting a document into the editor, I would then have to carefully go through the entire document and re-add my line breaks, italics, and centered text. I write long chapters, so it would be a very time consuming process.


This I can understand for short writing, but especially as writing gets longer, you tend to use less of these, like highlighting emotes like asterisks for stuff like emotes, and using bbcode makes it even harder to do proper formatting. I'm not familiar with using dashes for dialogs. Escape your literals, kids.

Very limited:
I agree with this for the general markdown syntax, but markdown is SUPPOSED to fully support html tags, which resolve many of these problems.

Escape your literals, kids. It's just a simple backslash. \

No tags:
Yes there are, you have your [link](url) *italic* **bold** __underline__ ![image](url). The only things that don't have conventional "escapes" per se are lists and quotes, but those are escaped by a double line break.

Unnecessary escaping:
This shouldn't be necessary. Dialogue in general typically uses quotes for beginning and ending dialogue, so I don't see how that's an issue. Using dashes just makes sense for lists.

New lines/organization:
Double enter does a paragraph break. If you need more, use <br>

Numbers, please? BBcode is probably only popular because it's much older, but markdown adoption has been really fast.

Exsiting work:
Html, SHOULDN'T be an issue. As for bbcode, converting shouldn't be hard to html.

All in all, I think the real probelm is not having proper html support which is in the Markdown spec.


BBCode is limited and takes longer to write the tags compared to Markdown.

I would much prefer Markdown and HTML over BBCode. Markdown is quick for formatting and easy to remember. HTML gives more flexability in how you can format what you write.


Markdown is the worst. I've been having to deal with a related markup language (Textile) on the Kongregate forums for years and detest it. Yes, it uses fewer characters, but sometimes I want these characters to mean something other than bold or italics.

Like code.

Do you people have any idea how hard it is to post code in Markup? Markup only knows how to handle inline code, one line worth or less. Posting a whole function or class is an absolute nightmare.

Yes, I know that we aren't going to be posting code on Furry Network, but I had one more argument against its existence that hadn't been mentioned.


FN is using same kind of Markdown flavour as used on GitHub and posting snippets of code really isn't all that annoying as you make it out to be. Its important to remember that an indent of 4 spaces is a code block or a back tick is used for 1 line of code, or with 3 back ticks starting and ending a code block.

Indent 4 blocks

`backtick code line`


3 Back ticks code block


Its really not that hard you know.

Thank you for that.

I actually tried to search for it before posting my comment (so I didn't look like an idiot), but was unable to locate any information on posting whole blocks of code.

Agreed completely. The support on this site for writers is terrible and needs some serious improvement.


I'll be honest any online editor simply doesn't do much when it comes to formatting. I got lucky with Sofurry understanding Microsoft Word formatting and I have been updating my entire (soon to be novel) web series, that I have been slowly bring here (Finding One's True Self), because of this I'm having to follow industry standards, which at this time is currently .docx format by many publishers.

The FN editor, like every other online editor, completely ignores the tab key for indentation. This is nothing new, and is likely an issue with browsers. But my biggest issue is when I copy paste from within Word, to the FN editor, it completely strips all formatting. This is a huge headache for me, and makes my work look ugly and not easily readable. 

I know I'm not a big name in the fandom, and honestly I'm fine with that, but I don't want to go back to my old style of writing. I've learned to much, and I want my readers (if I have any here) to feel like they are looking at a novel that flows cleanly, even if my writing is still rough around the edges.

Would it be possible to add a document upload that supports and understands .docx formatting, as well as other popular formats that others here use? This way formatting isn't lost.

I would love for this to happen. Right now, we're working on getting a WYSIWYG text editor ready and implemented, and that will definitely be an improvement over Markdown. I would love to support document uploads in the future, as well; just to be realistic, though, that would be a long-term goal rather than something in the near future.