2

See this question:

X, Y, Z — horizontal, vertical and ...? (Original title X Y Z Horizontal Vertical and?)

I want the title to be X, Y, Z - Horizontal, Vertical and ? (note the space before the ?) as I think it sums up my requirement fairly well. The question mark isn't to say this is a question, it's to say what goes here?.

As it is currently, the space before the question mark has been removed and I think the title doesn't scan so well.

Is there any chance this automatic change could be removed here (maybe in general too)?

  • When you end a tile with lastword ? i.e. it gets auto corrected to lastword?. I don't think that is correct in all cases - my desired title is an example. – George Duckett Jan 31 '12 at 12:17
  • Ahh, sorry, I thought you were referring to this question. I could rephrase it, although I think the title with a space sums up what I'm after pretty well and I'd imagine a single-word-request title could often end with the ? being the word asked for. – George Duckett Jan 31 '12 at 12:58
  • @WillHunting: Good point, changed. – George Duckett Jan 31 '12 at 13:02
4

I think you had the right idea in using underscores to create a blank space. Using a question mark as a placeholder for the missing word in a question would look strange and create ambiguity:

Jack and ?

is more confusing than:

Jack and ____?

because in the first case the question mark is playing two separate roles. That said, it would be nice if you could put a space between the ____ and the ? to help emphasize the blank:

Jack and ____ ?
  • It was actually Will's idea so credit goes to him. :) – George Duckett Jan 31 '12 at 15:34
  • If a question must be submitted in the X, Y, Z to H, W and *blank* format, I think this is a good way to do it. Both of your suggestions Jack and ____? and Jack and ____ ? are understandable, and scan reasonably well. – Ellie Kesselman Jan 31 '12 at 15:48
2

Have you tried using U+00A0 NO-BREAK SPACE instead of the regular space?

EDIT

I often have to use the various Unicode spaces on StackExchange to get things to behave properly. For example, here are all the code points that Unicode considers whitespace:

U+0009  CHARACTER TABULATION
U+000A  LINE FEED (LF)
U+000B  LINE TABULATION
U+000C  FORM FEED (FF)
U+000D  CARRIAGE RETURN (CR)
U+0020  SPACE
U+0085  NEXT LINE (NEL)
U+00A0  NO-BREAK SPACE
U+1680  OGHAM SPACE MARK
U+180E  MONGOLIAN VOWEL SEPARATOR
U+2000  EN QUAD
U+2001  EM QUAD
U+2002  EN SPACE
U+2003  EM SPACE
U+2004  THREE-PER-EM SPACE
U+2005  FOUR-PER-EM SPACE
U+2006  SIX-PER-EM SPACE
U+2007  FIGURE SPACE
U+2008  PUNCTUATION SPACE
U+2009  THIN SPACE
U+200A  HAIR SPACE
U+2028  LINE SEPARATOR
U+2029  PARAGRAPH SEPARATOR
U+202F  NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE
U+205F  MEDIUM MATHEMATICAL SPACE
U+3000  IDEOGRAPHIC SPACE

Some of those are more useful than others. You can even use these to control kerning, when a glyph collides with another and needs to be spaced away from it. This wouldn’t normally happen in real typesetting, but browser tech is super primitive. For example, these all suck in unkerned Georgia roman — (jif) f’ f” f] — and are even worse in italic — (jif) f’ f” f] — see how bad that looks?

You can fix those with one of the Unicode thin-ish spaces. So you could for example write ( jif ) using a HAIR SPACE or ( jif ) using a THIN SPACE.

Primitive, but good to know, especially since the same trick will fix your problem, too, which is a much more frequent one than worrying about kerning collisions. Remember there are zero-width and no-breaking spaces too. Sometimes the four joiners and non-joiners come in handy, too, to make it behave the way you want it to.

For the screwups involving fi and such, it’s best to just replace it with compatibility ligature, U+FB01 fi. Yes, this messes up searches, but they should be being run with Unicode casefolding. Under Unicode, the two-character version and the ligature have the same casefold, so would both match. The core StackExchange code isn’t Unicode-savvy though, and doesn’t bother/manage/know to do casefolding correctly. Oh well.

But if they did, then ‘FINE’, ‘fine’, and ‘fine’ would all match case-insensitively, but because StackExchange doesn’t use Unicode rules, this needelessly fails.

Someday maybe they’ll fix the bug to use Unicode rules. Hope springs eternal. They probably should be using NFKD searches, too, but that’s a whole ’nother story. It’s a great way to improve your recall at the cost of some so-small-as-to-be-meaningless amount of precision. That’s what Adobe does, for example.

0

That rule is used in French typography, if I'm not mistaken. If you visit the French SE, question marks and punctuation in general have that space.

But as far as I know, English does not has such a (typographical) rule. It would look odd. But wait for SE Team Members/Mods to confirm this or not.

  • 1
    I'm not saying spaces should always precede a question mark, just that spaces should be allowed to precede a question mark in the title. – George Duckett Jan 31 '12 at 12:19
0

I didn't see the original question as it appeared on the site. However, this was how it was entered initially (based on the log):

X, Y, Z - Horizontal, Vertical and?

Some SE questions are submitted as interrogatives, some are not. But let's say and? formatting were to be allowed. And then let's say the inquiry were submitted as a question:

X, Y, Z - Horizontal, Vertical and? ?

It would be rather confusing, I believe.

  • The original question as typed was X, Y, Z - Horizontal, Vertical and ? (where the ___ is now, I originally typed a ?). My issue is that it was changed automatically and silently to X, Y, Z - Horizontal, Vertical and? (no space). I'm not proposing 2 question marks, simply that a space should be allowed between the last word and the question mark. – George Duckett Jan 31 '12 at 15:25
  • Okay, I understand! Yet in either case, whether auto correct converts and ? to and? or not, it is confusing. X, Y, Z - Horizontal, Vertical and ? looks like something was left out to me. Why not rephrase the question so as to avoid that? It isn't a big deal in this instance. I understand your rationale, and why it could be appropriate. But allowing it sets precedent, and could be confusing if questions were submitted like that in less appropriate cases. – Ellie Kesselman Jan 31 '12 at 15:35

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