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Dim the lights, turn on the music and pour …

June 13, 2007

… a glass of soda pop. The music is AC / DC, blaring through my headphones since it’s just after one in the morning. This post won’t have anything to do with bipolar disorder, but rather with a couple tips for formatting comments in blogs (an earlier comment in here expressed some degree of difficulty with links) hosted by WordPress or Blogger. Since these services don’t offer buttons for making links, italics, etc, but do allow HTML tags in comment fields, the formatting is achieved through typing in the tags. I’m not an expert on this, but a few tricks I do know, and I won’t bore you with hours of HTML history or standards, either.

First, links. There are two ways to do this – the simple, yet not-so-pretty way is to just type the URL. Blogger and WordPress will automatically hyper-link the URL so other readers only need to click on it. The disadvantage to this is that some URL’s are really long. The way around it is to hyperlink a single word or a couple of words, like WordPress, or a really cool blog about bipolar disorder ;-) The above links would be typed into a comment like this:

<a href=”http://wordpress.com/”>WordPress</a&gt;
<a href=”https://cerebraldiscordia.wordpress.com/”>a really cool blog about bipolar disorder</a>

If you hover your mouse pointer over either of the above links, you’ll notice a little title comes up. That’s achieved by adding a title attribute to your anchor tag (the <a></a> you use to make links):

<a href=”http://wordpress.com/&#8221; title=”WordPress”>WordPress</a>

Another fun trick in commenting is using the indented quote. The tag for that is:

<blockquote>Quoted text</blockquote>

Italics, bold, underline and strikethrough text are rendered with the following tags:

<i>Italics</i>
<b>Bold</b>
<u>Underline</u>
<strike>Strikethrough</strike>

It should be noted that for italics and bold, <em>emphasis</em> and <strong>strong emphasis</strong> are used in XHTML; but the older tags listed above are what Blogger asks for, and WordPress automatically converts the tags, so for the purposes of commenting in blogs, I don’t think it will make much of a difference.

Two other fun tags for the science-minded among us:

Superscript<sup>2</sup>
Subscript<sub>3</sub>

Using tags in combination isn’t that complicated, it’s a process called nesting, and it has one basic rule: that you keep the opening and closing tags in order. If your first opened tag is <blockquote>, then </blockquote> must be your last closing tag. Let’s say you wanted to quote and emphasize a hyperlinked word or phrase:

Cerebral Discordia

The phrase would be achieved by nesting the tags in the following order:

<blockquote>
<em>
<a href=”https://cerebraldiscordia.wordpress.com/&#8221; title=”Life with Bipolar Disorder”>
Cerebral Discordia
</a>
</em>
</blockquote>

You’ll notice that the basic, nested tag order is maintained …

<blockquote><em><a>text</a></em></blockquote>
<1><2><3>text</3></2></1>

…it’s as easy as that, if you’d like to challenge yourself, try the following:

Cerebral Discordia2 = Li2CO3

There are plenty of other tags, but these are the ones that I use most often when commenting in blogs … if you’re interested in learning more about HTML tags, I’d recommend searching around for HTML cheat sheets.

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29 comments

  1. Thanks for this lesson. I imagine it was me that triggered your giving us this lesson as I commented on my problems with embedding links. I’ve copied and pasted your directions into and email draft for easy access. The sad truth is that someone else has already tried to give me these directions and I’ve failed to use them successfully. (something like dyslexia??) In any case I intend to give it my best shot next time it is called for.


  2. Your comment was the catalyst for this post, but I’ve been thinking about something like this for a while :-) A lot of the sites I found online that give information on HTML and XHTML tags seem oriented toward hardcore web-monkeys, which excludes a lot of people – I thought it would make sense to offer a quick list for the kinds of things that help dress up comments.

    “In any case I intend to give it my best shot next time it is called for.”

    Using this stuff is definitely the easiest way to learn it – since you have your own blog, you can always practice by commenting to yourself, since you have the power to delete your practice comments :-)


  3. I got kicked by the spambot :-(


  4. Sorry ’bout that – the spambot here is pretty trigger-happy … but look on the bright side, this blog isn’t plastered with spam ads about viagara :-)


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