Slightly off-topic, but this did came up...

Can someone manage to type \\ in a comment?

  • $\begingroup$ In what context? I type $$\left\\{\mbox{a set}\right\\}$$ and get $$\left\\{\mbox{a set}\right\\}$$ so apparently not. But $$\left\{\mbox{a set}\right\}$$ gives $$\left\{\mbox{a set}\right\}$$ On the other hand, $\left(\begin{array}{cc}1&0\\0&1\end{array}\right)$ gives $\left(\begin{array}{cc}1&0\\0&1\end{array}\right)$. $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Mar 14 '11 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Arturo: I mean I wanted to type backtick-backslash-backslash-backtick, so as to have a "code-style" rendition of a double-backslash in the middle of a suggestion about how to type $\TeX$. I tried, for exampme, to type backtick-backslash-backslash-backslash-backslash-backtick and a few other variations, but I did manage to get past escaping. $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Mar 14 '11 at 3:12
  • $\begingroup$ Try putting a space after the second backslash: \\ ; this was backtick-double backslash-space-backtick. But it does produce the unwanted space. So there is some rendering problem in the comments. $\endgroup$ – Arturo Magidin Mar 14 '11 at 3:13
  • $\begingroup$ Ahh. That works. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Mar 14 '11 at 3:19

Yes, we can! Until recently, Arturo's advice to type `\\ ` was the only decent workaround, but a few weeks ago, double backticks have been enabled in comments. Thus, in a comment you can type ``\\`` to obtain \\. For more details have a look here: How do I mark inline code?

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    $\begingroup$ How is it possible that such changes happen without ever notifying the user? Is it reasonable to expect users to be watching two or three meta sites? If half the time spent talking about community were spent actually communicating to the community! $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Mar 14 '11 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Mariano: How right you are! That's why I made my question Can we please have a place where changes to the markdown syntax are documented? a feature-request. Alas, to no avail. See also my comment to this answer on meta.SO. $\endgroup$ – Hendrik Vogt Mar 14 '11 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ @mariano well, if we notified everyone of every tiny thing we did, they would be bored to tears in short order. It is impossible to predict exactly which features are "worthy" of notifying others about. And besides, this change is documented right here, as you can plainly see. :) $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Jun 17 '11 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Jeff: The only problem is that sometimes it's quite difficult to find some documentation. I've made the experience that you'll only get documentation if you ask a question on a meta site. So while you're right that notifications would be boring for most users, some kind of changelog would be most helpful. (And don't say we have it; many changes need several days to make it to that page.) $\endgroup$ – Hendrik Vogt Jun 17 '11 at 7:48
  • $\begingroup$ Hendrik: On a related note: Do you know how I escape a backtick in a comment? Suppose I want a code block containing exactly one backtick. How do I achieve that? The obvious modifications of your code don't seem to work: `` ` ``, ` ` ` $\endgroup$ – t.b. Jul 5 '11 at 22:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Theo: (I see they already confused you - you could have used @Hendrik without it being stripped. Why? There are more than 2 people involved here.) As for the backtick, you've got to escape it with a backslash: `\`` gives `. (This is the reason why you need double backticks if your inline code ends with a backslash!) $\endgroup$ – Hendrik Vogt Jul 6 '11 at 6:14
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting: Why doesn't this work when I surround \` with blanks (that's what I tried): double backtick blank backslash backtick blank double backticks gives `` ` `` - same with single backtick instead of the doubles: ` ` ` but with further erractic behavior. Thanks for the notifications update, I think I just left the @ out because I didn't see the need as it was your answer. I know I'm doing that inconsistently - though I shouldn't have when writing to the ping-master... :) $\endgroup$ – t.b. Jul 6 '11 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Theo: In comments, you mustn't start or end your inline code with spaces, see the comments here. (You got me laughing at the end of your last comment :-)) $\endgroup$ – Hendrik Vogt Jul 6 '11 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ heh! that was the point... Thanks I think I got it now (but I find this utterly confusing). $\endgroup$ – t.b. Jul 6 '11 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Theo: Confusing indeed, but I realized that only when writing the above comments. Parts can be explained historically: backslash escaping of backticks has been around for a long time, and it had the consequence that comments couldn't end with a backslash. People (including me) complained about this, and then they introduced double backticks in comments. I'm not sure, however, why they started forbidding spaces as start or end characters in inline code; this is only in comments. $\endgroup$ – Hendrik Vogt Jul 6 '11 at 7:00

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