I love that SE sites let us use the simply elegant Markdown syntax to write questions and answers, but I would love to get some Markdown Extras love.

Markdown Extras adds a few little extras to the Markdown syntax, most notably abbreviations and footnotes.

* I linked to the Markdown Extras PHP page because it seems to be the best documented. Rumor has it that there are similar libraries available for other languages if SE is based on Ruby/Rails or something instead of PHP

  • They tend not to implement site-specific things unless they're imperative (like equations on math), and I don't see this kind of thing being imperative on a writing site. I wouldn't get your hopes up.
    – StrixVaria
    Nov 22, 2010 at 22:54
  • That stinks, but makes sense from an administration perspective. OTOH, this isn't the only SE site where I think extras would be very useful...maybe I should head over to meta.stackexchange.com and mention the idea there.
    – HedgeMage
    Nov 22, 2010 at 23:01
  • you'll want meta.stackoverflow.com for that.
    – justkt
    Nov 23, 2010 at 0:42

4 Answers 4


I am not seeing a convincing case made that we need footnotes or abbreviations -- whereas the Math (Physics, etc) folks need math notation support to talk about their subject.

  • It's certainly a would be nice not a need. Currently, we can not use acronyms (sucks for search indexing), use acronyms and confuse some people (not very nice), or use acronyms with lots of parenthetical explanations (like this) which gets annoying (like this). The same goes for footnotes and other types of explanation. As stated earlier, I'd love to see extras on all SE sites.
    – HedgeMage
    Nov 29, 2010 at 15:13
  • Uh oh. Does it seem to you inauspicious when a site of writers requests extra tools because we could use a little boost for communicating answers concisely and clearly?
    – Dawn
    Dec 13, 2010 at 3:39
  • @dawn you clearly need fancy paper and expensive pencils! :) Dec 13, 2010 at 4:45

Mathematicians got their TEX marking, why won't we? But firstly there should be a real problem that could not be implemented good in current markup. I think we will not get to this problem.


I don't see what of Markdown Extra features would be helpful here; are there any particular ones you think would be useful here? If so, you could present a convincing case on meta.so that features [foo] would be needed here. (As @justkt indicated.)


Your best bet at getting this kind of feature would be to either push for Markdown Extra features to be incorporated into the main Markdown code, or to push for Markdown Extra to be incorporated into the global stackexchange system. It seems doubtful that anything lower down the food chain would be looked upon too kindly.

Unfortunately, John Gruber doesn't seem all that motivated to improve upon Markdown... maybe someday stackexchange will fork their own version?

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