Screwing up the "less than" symbol April 19, 2008 4:37 PM   Subscribe

or the nth time just now, I used the 'less than' symbol to mean 'less than', not as the start of some HTML. The preview shows < as < but in the posted comment, it is treated as HTML and just screws up the post. Preview here also shows < as < The < in this post so far have been entered as & l t ; but here is a sample: 15 days <18 days and using the dread symbol itself 15 days <18 days Let's see what we get. I just noticed that on the preview page here, all the & l t ; in the Description: box were changed to <
posted by hexatron to Bugs at 4:37 PM (48 comments total)

And now with line breaks:



For the nth time just now, I used the 'less than' symbol to mean 'less than', not as the start of some HTML.

The preview shows < as < but in the posted comment, it is treated as HTML and just screws up the post. Preview here also shows < as <



The < in this post so far have been entered as & l t ; but here is a sample:

15 days <18 days

and using the dread symbol itself

15 days <1>


Let's see what we get.



I just noticed that on the preview page here, all the & l t ; in the Description: box were changed to <

posted by hexatron at 4:40 PM on April 19, 2008


Let me accent the problem:

In the preview:

15 days <18 days

In the post:

15 days <1>
posted by hexatron at 4:44 PM on April 19, 2008


Here's the deal. If you type a less-than symbol it will vanish. If you type the amp-lt; thing, it will turn into a <. If you then PREVIEW this, it will then be a less-than symbol, which will vanish. This is suboptimal, I agree.

I have to say that I just not realized that lt and gt are greater than/less than. I had always thought it was "left" and "something meaning right starting with g"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:44 PM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


&lt; works if you don't use the Preview button. If you use the preview button, it eats whatever you throw at it and unless you go back through the comment and re-type all the symbols it'll come out gobbeldy-gook.
(To get &lt; to display properly, I have to type out &amp;lt; of course...)
posted by carsonb at 4:46 PM on April 19, 2008


I wonder if all the oddities that effect html upon posting, such as this and the linebreaks in the PRE tag, could be coded into the live preview? That might be nicer (though it might be a huge pain in the ass/introduce all kinds of new problems as well, I know).
posted by Artw at 4:48 PM on April 19, 2008


what linebreaks 
in the <pre> tag?
Oh.
posted by carsonb at 4:49 PM on April 19, 2008


The FAQ for this issue could maybe be updated to reflect the Preview button glitch. Right now it says, If you are wondering if your HTML code will display properly, please use the Preview button before your post, which doesn't reflect the issues brought up here.
posted by carsonb at 5:23 PM on April 19, 2008


You can still preview. Just select and copy what's in the text box first. If everything looks good on preview, paste it back in and hit post.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:27 PM on April 19, 2008


It would be awesome if we had some way to post comments (code, particularly) that doesn't require hand-writing and troubleshooting HTML entities.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:21 PM on April 19, 2008


I updated the FAQ entry somewhat. If anyone has better wording suggestions, feel free to suggest them. I always use something like pasta for code snippets but it's not something that everyone knows about, certainly.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:26 PM on April 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


jessamyn, with that pasta you linked to, when using that do you just hit preview and then cut and paste into here? if that's too obvious, well bust my chops. I've had the same question as OP but was too ashamed to ask it.)
posted by dawson at 6:48 PM on April 19, 2008


I'd've suggested specific wording, but I have a terrible time with restating what I'm typing all over again and my sentence construction skills are old skool 4th grade homeskillet. Reflect, yo.
posted by carsonb at 8:34 PM on April 19, 2008


The irony is that live-preview works fine, but if you want to make sure you've formatted something right (i.e. you don't have HTML that will be stripped out) you can get burned.
posted by delmoi at 9:00 PM on April 19, 2008


8734;
9775;
9774;
posted by dawson at 9:12 PM on April 19, 2008


just like that.
posted by dawson at 9:13 PM on April 19, 2008


Wouldn't it make more sense to just FIX the preview button once and for all?
posted by Khalad at 9:14 PM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't get the pasta thing either. Are you saying to create the page with pasta, then link that in the comment here of posting code inline? Or that there is a way to cut and paste something into the comment here?
posted by ctmf at 9:30 PM on April 19, 2008


Hm. Someone figured out a while ago how to actually fix the preview button. Aha, here's a comment I made about it two and a half years ago. This is an incredibly simple fix.
posted by zsazsa at 11:09 PM on April 19, 2008


Note that the above linked comment was made during the area when MetaFilter didn't like Unicode, but the fix for preview still stands. Quoting sbutler: Every ampersand -- regardless of context -- should be replaced with &. This is always correct. That's all! What a wonderfully small fix!
posted by zsazsa at 11:12 PM on April 19, 2008


Ok, let's try that quote again, fo' realz this time: Every ampersand -- regardless of context -- should be replaced with &amp;. This is always correct. That's all! What a wonderfully small fix!

Note that this bug has been recognized, with a fix known, since 2002.
posted by zsazsa at 11:17 PM on April 19, 2008


Every ampersand -- regardless of context -- should be replaced with &amp;

Wouldn't that get a little recursive?
posted by dersins at 11:27 PM on April 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


dersins, it wouldn't. When the user presses preview and the server turns all ampersands into &amp;s in the HTML source, they get turned back into a plain bare ampersands in the comment textbox by the web browser.
posted by zsazsa at 11:38 PM on April 19, 2008


Here's a proof of concept I whipped up. Whack on that Submit button repeatedly and see how the ampersand-for-&amp;-replacing box behaves perfectly while the other doesn't.
posted by zsazsa at 12:12 AM on April 20, 2008


Note that this bug has been recognized, with a fix known, since 2002.

Can't you tell that this is an incredibly pressing problem then?
posted by Dave Faris at 3:33 AM on April 20, 2008


It's been a non-pressing problem for so long that it's become a bit of a MeTa in-joke. #1 allegedly dislikes in-jokes. Which I guess makes it a meta MeTa in-joke, or something.

Personally, I just do the Preview, Back-button, Post dance.
posted by flabdablet at 3:57 AM on April 20, 2008


I have to say that I just realized that lt and gt are greater than/less than.

Holy crap. I don't know how many hundreds of times I've typed those (forgetting half the time which one was which) and never realized that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:19 AM on April 20, 2008


jessamyn: I have to say that I just not realized that lt and gt are greater than/less than. I had always thought it was "left" and "something meaning right starting with g"

(and upon preview, similar sentiments espoused by others)

*blink* graphospastic? sorry!

But then again, you may have known everything about gendered ordinal indicators, whose existence I just discovered after your comment inspired me to browse the symbol list here to see if there were any abbreviations I personally found confusing or subtle.

1º We live in our respective happy-spaces.
2ª We note they center on what we care about.
3º We find conversation occasionally encourages intersection.

posted by johnjoe at 6:45 AM on April 20, 2008


your mama.
oh hey, I've never noticed that pre tag before! that's pretty neat!
posted by shmegegge at 6:58 AM on April 20, 2008


realized that lt and gt are greater than/less than.

Programming for english majors.
posted by Dave Faris at 7:12 AM on April 20, 2008


Programming for english majors.

Socializing for misanthropes.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:14 AM on April 20, 2008


SPRINGTIMING FOR HITLERS.

There's a part of my brain that really, really wants the entity names to be lt and rt—for "left than" and "right than". I don't really know what to do about that other than drink.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:21 AM on April 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Socializing for misanthropes.

That's a much better tagline that "community weblog."
posted by Dave Faris at 7:56 AM on April 20, 2008


Nice to see how this thread has collapsed.

So, is # a pound, sharp, or octothorpe?

Would you like Microsoft better if they called the programming language C# 'cocktothorp"?

Should phone menus say 'Press the asterisk key' or 'Pound the sharp key' or 'Your call is important to us machines."

And which damn language needs ÿ?
posted by hexatron at 10:19 AM on April 20, 2008 [3 favorites]


To me it's a hash sign, which confuses the hell out of anyone I work with.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on April 20, 2008


I don't really know what to do about that other than drink.

Okay, but try not to drink any amount right than you can handle.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:37 AM on April 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hash sign? So C# should be read as 'cash'. It figures.

I have a whole page full of odd html stuff that has something that might actually be useful--the XMP tag.
Stuff enclosed in XMP tags is supposed to NOT be interpreted as html. I'll try it here:
Can <br> You <i>See</i> my tags &amp; html
It works in the live preview. Now I'll post it...
posted by hexatron at 10:57 AM on April 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


And which damn language needs ├┐?

French, at least every now and again.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:07 AM on April 20, 2008


This is a test, do not adjust your monitors:
Sample.find_by_id(params[:sample][:id]).users <>Looks good in preview. Cross your fingers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 PM on April 20, 2008


Argh. Fuck it, I give up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 PM on April 20, 2008


English. How else would we say Queensr├┐che?
posted by matthewr at 1:18 PM on April 20, 2008


Test:
Can <br> You <i>See</i> my tags &amp; html
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:56 PM on April 20, 2008


For a fleeting moment
I thought that hexatron had delivered me
Unto Mefi code snippet posting nirvana.

The XMP tag
preserves indents like PRE does<br> and multiple spaces like PRE does<br> without double-spacing like PRE<br> or requiring a multitude of &nbsp; entities like CODE
It would be fine
if only
I always wrote code
whose every line ended with <br>

O Metafilter
why dost thou despise my code snippets?
Thou hast found ways to frustrate
mine every attempt
to post them without jumping through hoops of insanity.

I am beyond enragement
I am beyond the railing and the shrieking and the rending of garments
I am numb
I sit
I type
I dumbly follow thine arbitrary and capricious rules of formatting
I accept that they will never never never be fixed
For they are holy mysteries.

Still and all
They are teh suck.
posted by flabdablet at 6:52 PM on April 20, 2008


This is a test of two &lt; entities <><br> <xmp>This is a second test of two &lt; entities &lt;&lt;
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:43 PM on April 20, 2008


Nope. Still broken.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:43 PM on April 20, 2008


and I still am confused by the pasta link. may I add tomato sauce, oregano and a bit of garlic? or can someone explain?
posted by dawson at 11:33 PM on April 20, 2008


sorry to be vague dawson, it's just a place that you can paste code and then link to it here but at least know what it's going to look like before you put it in a comment.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:01 AM on April 21, 2008


So, is # a pound, sharp, or octothorpe?

It's a pound. A sharp is a kind of needle which could be used for heroin, and an Octothorpe is a creature from the Dungeon Dimenson who's only purpose is to smash it's way onto our plane of reality and devour everything.

Interestingly, but apropos of nothing, these are most commonly seen after using a sharp.
posted by quin at 7:39 AM on April 21, 2008


I's rather use a blunt than a sharp, when speaking of hash.
posted by Dr. Curare at 5:13 PM on April 21, 2008


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