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This is the first time I come to Chinese SE, and here's my first answer, I am just wondering, is there something official for how to write good formatted answers? For example, when to use strong, emphasis or block quote.

I often edit people's answers like "例子" to 例子. Is that correct?

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As far as I know, we have no standards here, so your question would be opinion-base to some extent. I think there're two points with which we may be concerned:

  1. Correctness of the semantics of the formatting tags.
  2. Aesthetic sense.

For point 1, there are tips in the help center for the usage of the formatting tags. As the back-ticks are supposed to be used to pre-formatted text, the edit from "例子" to 例子 doesn't meet the motive. Thus, in my opinion, it is not necessary to do so, and such edit would probably be rejected by the "too minor modification" reason.

"So in the sense of the tag's semantics, when should we use the back ticks?" You may ask.

The so-called pre-formatted text produced by back ticks or space indents is actually rendered in monospaced fonts with shadowed background. Because programmers prefer to use monospaced fonts to display codes (of course!), we then use back ticks or text indented by spaces to refer to codes.

You might have noticed that, there're two major differences in function between the "pre-formatted environment" and the "block-quote environment":

  1. To keep the original format of the text, unlike the block-quote environment, the pre-formatted environment won't break lines automatically.

    (Pre-formatted environment) Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, dolor rhoncus at fermentum vestibulum viverra aliquet, at duis magna neque etiam id vestibulum.
    

    (Block-quote environment) Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, dolor rhoncus at fermentum vestibulum viverra aliquet, at duis magna neque etiam id vestibulum.

  2. The formatting tags inside the pre-formatted environment will also keep their literal text.

     (Pre-formatted environment) <b>Nothing happens here</b>!
    

    (Block-quote environment) Nothing happens here?

For point 2, it's rather a personal sense. As both of the back ticks or block quotes can highlight the text, they are often used to distinguish some text from the main body. So, it is OK to use 例子 to highlight it, but it is not a necessity -- and if you overuse the pre-formatted environment, it will probably cause visual fatigue.

In conclusion, I think the readability is the most important criterion for using formatting tags. We don't have to set a standard for them :)

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