13

To indicate in questions and answers that keystrokes are being typed in normal mode or insert mode, should <kbd> be the convention?

Or should we use backticks?

Also, should we lead off ex commands to by typed in normal mode with the colon? :%!uniq or %!uniq? Or :%!uniq (hopefully not).

  • It is up to the personal preference and taste of the user writing the post. I don't think there is a single "best way". – Martin Tournoij Feb 3 '15 at 17:25
  • 1
    @Carpetsmoker you should add that as an answer. (Not that I agree with it, but it's definitely an answer to this question.) – derobert Feb 3 '15 at 17:27
6

It is up to the personal preference and taste of the user writing the post. I don't think there is a single "best way". As long as the post is reasonably readable I would consider it to be fine.

One obvious downside of <kbd> is that it's awkward to type; so especially in long posts or posts with lots of examples backticks would be better (as in, lots easier to write).

  • 2
    Another obvious downside is that it's extremely ugly. (Counts as "personal preference" tho.) – yo' Feb 3 '15 at 18:14
4
  • To indicate keystrokes such as /, <kbd> is clear and natural

    • In case of longer sequences such as V}x}}p where typing out <kbd> for each character would be inconvenient, backticks are acceptable
  • For Ex commands to be typed in normal mode, a leading colon as in :%!uniq is clear and natural

    • Using backticks to format these commands is clear and natural
3

I think we should let the authors of the posts do what they feel is most readable, and make edits to improve clarity if necessary.

Trying to establish a convention for "this sort of markup means insert mode, that sort of markup means normal mode," seems like a lost cause. It will be difficult/tedious to enforce, and it won't be terribly obvious to new users coming across the site.

3

As a supporter of semantics, I don't mind sticking my neck out there: I think <kbd> should be used. <code> (backtics) is for code, <kbd> is for specifically for user input. As such, I think any typed commands should use <kbd>.

However, an issue is that <kbd> is sort of a "hidden feature". I don't think it's worth making edits just to make the swap, but I'd like to see it as the site preference.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .