The question about Formatting two adjacent footnote indicators in the body of the footnoted text saved my day back in January this year, and I am disappointed it's still closed.

It has had a massive 12k views in 6 years, meaning others have very likely benefited from it too.

Please consider reopening it.

  • 2
    I've given this question a +1 because it's definitely worth asking (and I've provided an answer), but the upvote shouldn't be seen as an endorsement of your proposal. My answer explains why I oppose reopening. Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 6:43
  • If it is answered in a way that helped you, why does it need to be reopened? I could understand reopening it if the answers weren't helpful but it seems that there is no reason to continue to solicit new answers for it.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 19:12
  • @ColleenV no specific reason, just that it may get added to and improved over time if it were open. That's it really.
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 0:36
  • 12k views in 6 years is not massive, it's just 2k views per year. And how many of these just landed by accident or immediately moved on because it was not what they were looking for? Appealing for the Q to be reopened using that figure doesn't convince me (someone who votes to keep open Qs)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 5:32
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA you may be right and it's hard to know without seeing more information, e.g how long each user was on the page and which part of it they viewed, whether they continued searching after their visit etc. But even if 10% benfited, 1200 people's lives made better is a wonderful achievement, not to be downplayed. I am one of those people, I was grateful enough to have commented and created this meta question. I doubt all the beneficiaries had SE accounts. It's the top google result for a searches like "how should multiple superscript footnote numbers be separated", meaning Google approves
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 5:35
  • I think the argument is still weak, I would search for open questions that discuss style and/or problems of formatting and inquire what makes this Q different from the others. I see questions about whether to put the period inside or outside parentheses, whether inverted commas (speech marks) should be curly or not and those posts aren't closed... at least I don't think so.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 5:45

2 Answers 2


This question was correctly closed as off-topic and should not be re-opened. It has nothing to do with English language or usage: the same problem exists if you're writing in Spanish.

However, Stack Exchange does have a site where this kind of question would be on-topic: Writing.SE. The site's Help Centre says that "Questions about specialized writing tools" are welcome. While there has been some debate on that site about whether to accept such questions, the deliberate linking of the help topic with the "writing tools" question on their Meta site is no doubt intended to make it abundantly clear that such questions should be accepted.

One option would be to put it to our EL&U moderators that the question should be migrated to Writing.SE rather than remaining on our site. There are many complexities involved in mods using their special migration powers, but there's no harm in asking for them to consider it.

Failing that, you could go to the Writing.SE site yourself, do a search to see if someone has already asked a similar question, and if you can't find one, ask the question yourself. To save reinventing the wheel, you could even copy the text of the EL&U question and paste it as the body of your question on Writing.SE, provided you acknowledged the source (e.g. hyperlinking to the EL&U question).

  • Thanks for the response (+1) Irrespective of the software the OP was using, isn't it on topic to ask about how to correctly separate multiple superscript numbers that refer to footnotes? Because that's how I interpret the question/answers, and it was very useful when I needed it (and noting I don't use the same software as the OP, I needed it for a stack overflow question, nothing to do with Word, but the same general problem)
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 6:45
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    @stevec How to format footnotes is absolutely on-topic at Writing.SE, and utterly off-topic on EL&U. It's not about whether you found the answers useful, any more than if I found an answer on how to identify different kinds of marsupials useful: it's about whether the question was asked on the correct site. Questions about formatting simply don't belong here. In fact, you'll find that almost all questions about punctuation end up getting closed here, nearly always because there's no "correct" answer: punctuation is largely a matter of style. Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 6:52
  • 1
    Fair enough. In that case I second your proposal to migrate to Writing.SE.
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 6:55

As Chappo answered, it's not a question for ELU: it's not about English. But as asked, it's not for Writers either: it's a question about how to get MS Word to behave sensibly.

Writers' questions about formatting of footnotes refer to how to format the citation itself (in MLA format, for example). Questions about how to get MS Word to behave sensibly are off-topic there too.

The question is more on-topic on Superuser.

You have said you've found it useful, but that's not a reason to re-open a question if it's off-topic. It is a reason to migrate it. However, there is already a question about this on SU, so it's likely to be closed as a duplicate.

While migration will leave a stub here, even if one or other of the SU questions is closed as a duplicate, I don't think there's any real harm in leaving it here as a closed off-topic question.

[Note other moderators may disagree and can move it unilaterally. While doing that may be right, I'm finding I'm becoming more pragmatic/phlegmatic as I grow old.]

  • I think it's important to note that the value in the question may not be anything to do with any technology or software, but solely in the correct way to format superscript numbers that correspond to references at the bottom of a page or end of a chapter. (or, in my case, at the end of a stack overflow question).
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 7:26
  • Well, whether one uses <sup>1,2</sup> or <sup>1, 2</sup> or <sup>[1][2]</sup> or <sup>[1] [2]</sup> or <sup>[1],[2]</sup> or any style is purely a matter of style and that's off-topic too (as opinion-based). [And yes, I could have used real superscript characters to get round the comment-formatting restrictions...]
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 7:36
  • but "or any style is purely a matter of style" is itself an answer. I was wondering what the "correct" way was, and the question was where I found it. I (can't know for sure but) suspect the value in the question is around how exactly it should be represented (not how to do it in a technical sense e.g. with some software, html or whatever, but just what it should look like - e.g. should there be commas, spaces after the commas as with standard English, etc etc.)
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 7:38
  • Well, it may be an answer, but an opinion-based question is off-topic anyway and will be closed as such. There isn't a single "correct" way: every publication will have their own style, which may or may not work well with particular software.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 7:41

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