Talk:2109: Invisible Formatting

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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This reminds me of the person who used l (lower-case "L") instead of 1 for data entry at some business. Amazingly, the computer accepted it (BAD programming!) and it wasn't found out until the end of the tax year, when all heck broke loose! 14:50, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

Some programming puzzles are often solved with stuff like this: AΑ Fabian42 (talk) 15:19, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
"l" (lower-case "L") is a valid suffix to integer literals in C and derived languages. It indicates the number is of the "long int" type as opposed to a plain "int". Because C automatically upconverts the "int" type into "long int" when needed, the "l" suffix is rarely used. The result: "long int a = 1;" and "long int a = 1l;" mean exactly the same thing, and both statements are perfectly standard and won't raise any warning from compilers. "ll" (double el) is also a valid suffix, this time for the "long long int" type. GuB (talk) 15:39, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
Typing lowercase L instead of 1 is a common thing for people of a certain age. Old manual typewriters usually don't have a "1" key, so people learned to use lowercase L instead -- and sometimes slip back into that habit on newer technology. --Aaron of Mpls (talk) 02:03, 9 February 2019 (UTC) Tha's exactly what happened in my example. I blame the programmer, though, for allowing a letter where a numeral was required or possibly converting the l to a 1 if the programmer knew such a thing ever happened. In either case, it shouldn't have allowed the l to just sit there like a bomb waiting to blow apart the post-tax-year processing. 15:22, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

I went to this page, expecting it to be self-referential. Was not disappointed. Fabian42 (talk) 15:19, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

Some markup conversion tools don't handle hidden bold spaces correctly. This HTML to Markdown converter is an example: It converts <b>a </b> to **a ** instead of **a** . 15:40, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

Hah, this comment is not mine! Somehow I have your IP now. 17:47, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

Were the periods in the beginning there for a specific reason? Netherin5 (talk) 17:42, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

The user thought it was a good idea for some reason. Glad you fixed it. I finished the job 17:46, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

I've had this happen when writing papers. Bold. Unbold. Later backspace into the hidden bold space and everything typed after gets put in bold. If a professor gives you a page count instead of a word count, you can make the punctuation in your paper bold (or increase the font) to add some extra padding that might go unnoticed. Don't actually do this if you can't convey your thesis in fewer words. 18:11, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

I hated when Microsoft Word took over and lacked a real "Reveal Codes" like WordPerfect used to have. I'm kind of like Randall, I think about those behind-the-scenes things that lots of companies like to try to hide from the user, and I like the power to do something about them. -boB (talk) 18:58, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

When I saw the strip, I immediately thought of Word Perfect because its brain dead way of inserting formatting as special codes inline with the text. Hit "reveal codes" and it would reveal a string of bold on / bold off codes because it wasn't clever enough to optimise them away. I assume Word does it differently, perhaps with attributed strings and so doesn't need the reveal codes function so you can manually fix the mess the program has a made.

In Microsoft Word, where the majority of people would have experience with selecting and bolding text, the cursor appears as an "I-beam" when positioned over text and not as the "mouse pointer arrow" shown by Randall. Also, in Word double-clicking a word does select the following space(s), but when bold is applied it is applied only to the selected word, NOT to the trailing space (even though the space was selected when the bold was applied). So selecting just the word and un-bolding would not leave a bolded space behind, since the space was never bolded. Clearly Randall's example is in some editor other than Word. Since Word is where most people have familiarity with selecting and bolding text, something should be added to the explanation noting this and speculating on which text editor Randall is actually showing. - 20:35, 8 February 2019 (UTC)

Agreed. Most text editors do not select the trailing space when double-clicking. Microsoft Word is one of the few that does it. But in that case, the space is not formatted as bold. But in most word processors including Word, if you do select the word with the trailing space and apply the bold formatting, the space retains the formatting even if the word is un-bolded. So the first sentence of the explanation is incorrect.
Do they not? Notepad does it. Notepad++ does it. Your browser does it. Where is the wealth of programs that don't? I reckon this is the default system-wide behavior for double-clicking in Windows, regardless of program. 11:46, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
It seems to be indeed Windows issue, as everything I tried did highlight extra space (except Notepad++), but nothing I tried on Linux did. 13:59, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

Hidden formatting annoys translators greatly. Sometimes, the formatting of the word processor used and the formatting recognized by the CAT program (such as SDL Trados Studio or MemoQ) do not line up very well, which causes the formatting to appear as tags within the text (purple colored in the most widely used CAT software, Trados). If there is sloppy or hidden formatting all through the document, this turns into what most people call a "wall of purple", with tags everywhere within the document. Since tags need to be accounted for (otherwise the document does not save properly), and the formatting capability of most CAT tools is a lot more limited compared to any word processors, this is a colossal waste of time for any translator to wade through. Thus, if you leave any hidden formatting in a document and you know it will be translated somewhere down the line, you know there is a translator out there that curses the day you were born. (A note though - PDF conversion is responsible for a lot more wall of purple incidents than sloppy formatting. Seriously - if you expect a document to be translated at some point, never bring it anywhere close to the PDF format. That format is evil, I tell you. Pure evil.) 05:47, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

In WordPerfect for DOS, the codes were [BOLD] to turn bold on and [bold] to turn it off again. -- 11:30, 9 February 2019 (UTC)

The whole idea of invisible formatting is being used by some websites, including Facebook, to make it much harder for ad blockers to block ads. For example, Of course, the same can also be used to defeat swear filters on forums, as well (which, for some words like "bastard sword," *the moderators* themselves suggest doing). Draco18s (talk) 19:43, 9 February 2019 (UTC)