# Editor Mini-Guide

Here is a brief overview of what you can do in the ed­i­tor on LessWrong. This will change a great deal over time, so I’ll keep a note here of when the lat­est up­date was: Fri­day 5th July, 2019.

# Three things you need to know

• High­light text in the ed­i­tor to get a popup menu.

• What­ever you make in the ed­i­tor will look ex­actly the same when you post it.

• The ed­i­tor sup­ports mark­down and LaTex.

## Ex­tra details

• If you’re on your phone/​tablet the ed­i­tor will be trans­formed into mark­down. If you want an only-mark­down ed­i­tor on desk­top, go to your set­tings to turn it on.

• There are ex­ten­sive on­line re­sources for ba­sic mark­down on the in­ter­net, if you want to find some­thing do use google.

• You can use a lot of mark­down in the nor­mal ed­i­tor. En­ter the mark­down com­mand, press en­ter (with your cur­sor at the end of the com­mand), and the ed­i­tor will ren­der it in real time.

• WYSIWYG means what you see is what you get. The ed­i­tor au­to­mat­i­cally turns a lot of mark­down into the finished product, so what you can see when you hit sub­mit, is ex­actly what the com­ment or post will look like af­ter you hit sub­mit. If it looks wrong when you’re edit­ing it, it will look wrong when you hit pub­lish.

• Use Ctrl-4 to open the LaTex prompt (or Cmd-4 if you’re on a Mac). Open a cen­tred LaTex popup us­ing Ctrl-M (aka Cmd-M). If you’ve writ­ten some maths in nor­mal writ­ing and want to turn it into LaTex, if you high­light the text and then hit the LaTex ed­i­tor but­ton it will turn straight into LaTex.

• f_i(x) = y_i be­comes .

• (how cool does that look?)

• There are ex­ten­sive re­sources for us­ing LaTex on the in­ter­net, so again, use google to figure out how to write things like this:

## Images, videos, and footnotes

Images

Un­for­tu­nately, you can’t yet up­load your images to the web­site. To in­clude an image in a post, you’ll first need to add it to an image host­ing site like Drop­box, Google Drive and Cloud­i­nary. Then you can use the na­tive image-adding but­ton that ap­pears when you high­light text. Click on the image to see a menu that lets you move it the left/​right/​cen­tre.

Videos

Videos can’t be used in posts at the minute.

There is a mark­down hack you can do in­stead, that lets you in­clude a snap­shot of the video.

Here’s the text that will cre­ate a snap­shot image.

![](http://​​img.youtube.com/​​vi/​​YOUTUBE_VIDEO_ID_HERE/​​0.jpg)

NB: you shouldn’t copy in the whole URL, just the youtube video ID. You need the /​0.jpg at the end, and the img.youtube.com/​​vi/​​ at the beg­gin­ing.

This will look like this:

Footnotes

The ed­i­tor does not cur­rently sup­port foot­notes. How­ever, if you re­ally want/​need foot­notes, the mark­down ed­i­tor does sup­port them. Turn the mark­down ed­i­tor on in your user set­tings.

Use the fol­low­ing com­mands to cre­ate foot­notes in mark­down (full de­tails are on this page):

Here is a foot­note refer­ence, [^1] and an­other.[^long­note]
[^1]: Here is the foot­note.
[^long­note]: Long­notes can be mul­ti­ple para­graphs.
Sub­se­quent para­graphs are in­dented to be­long to the pre­vi­ous foot­note.

See what this text looks like in this com­ment. You will ac­tu­ally need to add a bunch of spaces in front of the line be­gin­ning ‘Sub­se­quent para­graphs...’ in or­der for it to be in­cluded in the foot­note.

## Spoilers!

If you’re talk­ing about some­thing that has spoilers, like the solu­tion to a math prob­lem, or a plot twist in a piece of fic­tion, you should hide it to make sure peo­ple don’t read it by ac­ci­dent! Hover nearby this text:

Here is some hid­den text.

To make this, use the sym­bols >! and then hit en­ter.

## Troubleshooting

This is a list of things that might go wrong; it also con­tains com­mon bugs (which will be re­moved when the dev team fixes them).

• If your ed­i­tor has not au­to­mat­i­cally turned some mark­down into the finished product, bring your cur­sor to the end of the rele­vant mark­down and hit the space­bar key. If that hasn’t worked, then our ed­i­tor doesn’t sup­port whichever spe­cific mark­down func­tion you used.

• Bug: If you try to delete a sec­tion sep­a­ra­tor like the one be­low, it will in­stead delete the para­graph of text be­low it. To solve this, make a new line af­ter the sep­a­ra­tor, and then delete twice. The first delete will delete the new line, the sec­ond will delete the sep­a­ra­tor.

• If you have a prob­lem not cov­ered, you can let us know! Mes­sage us in the in­ter­com (bot­tom right cor­ner of your screen) or leave a com­ment here.

• Com­mand 4 does not work on safari....:(

• Which ver­sion of Sa­fari? (seems to work on v11)

• I dont know but Ctrl-Cmd-4 did work

• ...huh

• Nei­ther Cmd-4 nor Ctrl-4 works here: Chrome 65.0.3325.181, Mac. Ctrl-M to open a LaTeX popup also doesn’t work (nor, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, does Cmd-M).

• Hmm. Those both ap­pear to work us­ing the browser­stack em­u­la­tor (I’m not 100% about the ”.0.3325″ part of the ver­sion num­ber but just tried on chome 65 for both Sierra and High Sierra. Which OS are you on? Also dou­blecheck­ing that you’re in the rich text ed­i­tor? The mark­down one is not ex­pected to work)

• Mine was in the text ed­i­tor. Even in the text ed­i­tor, Cmd 4 sends me to my 4th tab in the win­dow, in­stead of en­ter­ing la­tex.

• Ah, in that case this looks like an is­sue where it’s just hard to ac­count for ev­ery browser’s hotkeys (we had gone through a few other plau­si­ble hotkeys for LaTeX that were in use by chrome). So in this case ctrl-cmd-M works be­cause it’s an over­ride over Sa­fari’s hotkeys.

We could list this par­tic­u­lar is­sue/​solu­tion in the helper-text, but I’m not sure it’s prac­ti­cal as a gen­eral policy to ac­count for all pos­si­ble browser hotkey over­rides.

• Also dou­blecheck­ing that you’re in the rich text ed­i­tor? The mark­down one is not ex­pected to work

Oh! Well, never mind, then.

• Yeah – in prin­ci­ple prob­a­bly it can work but it gets much more com­pli­cated (try­ing to in­te­grate mark­down with LaTeX is one of the things that re­sulted in ex­tremely long word­counts).

• No. Though they’re im­por­tant so we will get them in the fu­ture.

• Is there a way of get­ting “pure mark­down” (no wysiwyg at all) in­clud­ing La­tex? Alter­na­tively, a hotkey-less ver­sion of the ed­i­tor (give me but­tons/​menus for all func­tion­al­ity)?

I’m ask­ing be­cause my browser (chromium) eats the hotkeys, and la­tex (test­ing: $\Sigma$ ) ap­pears not to be parsed from mark­down. I would be happy with any syn­tax you choose. For ex­am­ple \Sigma; al­ter­na­tively the github clas­sic of us­ing back­ticks ap­pears still un­used here.

edit: huh, back­ticks are in use and html-tags gets eaten.

• How do I do things like ta­bles us­ing the WYSIWYG in­ter­face? There doesn’t seem to be any way to in­sert mark­down in that in­ter­face. And once you’ve already been us­ing WYSIWYG on an ar­ti­cle, you can’t re­ally switch to mark­down—I tried, and it was a com­plete mess.

• Stan­dard Mark­down does not sup­port ta­bles (there are ex­ten­sions to Mark­down that add ta­bles sup­port, but I don’t think Less Wrong uses one of such).

• Here is a foot­note refer­ence, [1] and an­other.[2]

1. Here is the foot­note. ↩︎

2. Here’s one with mul­ti­ple blocks.

Sub­se­quent para­graphs are in­dented to be­long to the pre­vi­ous foot­note. ↩︎

• Oh I see the in­dex on the left is con­structed automatically

Okay so how did you make that in­dex on the left side of the page? :p

• So, um, I was writ­ing a post and I left the tab open for a few hours and the post seems to have just dis­ap­peared? While it’s not im­pos­si­ble I ac­ci­den­tally clicked re­fresh or some­thing, as best I can tell it was just gone when I got back, with the tab not hav­ing been touched in over an hour.

• What’s up with images?
I stum­bled on ad­vanced image fea­tures. I don’t mean badly dis­cov­er­able, but re­ally clearly a UI bug. The fea­tures let me re­size them and choose be­tween left- and right-jus­tifi­ca­tion (and text flow­ing around them?) and it’s a pity that they’re not widely available. Speci­fi­cally, I made this com­ment. First I switched my ac­count to mark­down (is there a way to switch a sin­gle com­ment?). I made the com­ment with the image. I switched my ac­count to wysiwyg. I ed­ited the com­ment and ac­cepted the op­tion to switch the com­ment to wysiwyg. At this point I had the re­siz­ing abil­ity, but only for the old mark­down image and not for new images I added in wysiwyg, ei­ther that com­ment or a com­ment that started as wysiwyg (the test com­ment be­low).

I repli­cated this pro­ce­dure with this com­ment. It started as mark­down and I can re­size this image:

but not this one:

• The differ­ence is that the first image is a block-lay­out image, and the sec­ond is in­line.

• Thanks, but that doesn’t mean any­thing to me. Is this doc­u­mented any­where? Is this page the best doc­u­men­ta­tion for the ed­i­tor?

Is your com­ment even in­tended for users, or is it a hint for de­bug­ging?

• My apolo­gies; I some­times lose track of what sorts of tech­ni­cal knowl­edge is com­mon among the Less Wrong crowd.

“In­line” and “block” are the two types (lay­out-wise) of el­e­ments in HTML (and many other sys­tems). More or less, this means:

• An “in­line” el­e­ment ap­pears in the flow of text (a hy­per­link, for ex­am­ple, is an in­line el­e­ment)

• A “block” el­e­ment is like its own para­graph (i.e., it’s like a block of text)

All of this is not spe­cific to Less Wrong’s ed­i­tor, or to any ed­i­tor or web­site or any­thing; it’s just how HTML works.

So an in­line image will be in­serted right into the mid­dle of a para­graph. A block image will be, ba­si­cally, its own para­graph.

In a Mark­down ed­i­tor (whether LW’s or GW’s), whether an image is in­line or block de­pends on whether the image syn­tax is in the mid­dle of some other text, or whether it’s on a line by it­self.

In Less Wrong’s draft.js ed­i­tor… well, see this com­ment by habryka.

I hope that helps. Feel free to ask me to ex­plain fur­ther if any­thing’s not clear!

• There are two ways to in­sert images, which I agree should be bet­ter doc­u­mented some­where.

To in­sert block-level images, you can se­lect a piece of text and press the “image” but­ton, these images will not be re­siz­able.

To in­sert in­line-images you use the mark­down syn­tax of the form (clos­ing paren­the­sis omit­ted be­cause oth­er­wise it would get parsed as an image):

![Image text](ImageLink <Clos­ing Paren­the­sis>

We are work­ing on an ed­i­tor re­work that will make this all less con­fus­ing, as well as an ed­i­tor guide that will doc­u­ment be­hav­iors like this bet­ter. Sorry for the con­fu­sion.

• I think that you mixed them up. When I use the mark­down syn­tax, I get full-width, pre­sum­ably in­line images, not block. Whereas when I fol­low your other in­struc­tions...I can’t fol­low them. When I se­lect text, I don’t get an image but­ton, just (Bold, Italic, Un­der­line, Link | Ti­tle, Block­quote). Is image sup­posed to be on that list? If so, that’s a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion of the bug.

• Yes, you’re right. I mixed that up. Fixed.

Re the rest: This was ad­vice for the post-ed­i­tor. For the com­ment ed­i­tor we in­ten­tion­ally don’t make it su­per easy to at­tach images, since that makes it too easy to dis­pro­por­tionately get more at­ten­tion than seems good.

We didn’t de­ac­ti­vate images to make it eas­ier for us on the back­end and al­low ar­bi­trary con­tent-trans­fer be­tween posts and com­ments, but that’s why you don’t see that but­ton (you would see it on the post-ed­i­tor).

• This com­ment is a test! I pre­fer the plain-Mark­down ed­i­tor, but I want to try us­ing LaTeX for one com­ment, so I tem­porar­ily swapped my user set­tings to the “rich” ed­i­tor so that I could try out the LaTeX ed­i­tor here. Then af­ter sub­mit­ting this com­ment, I’ll switch my set­tings _back_ to Mark­down, and edit this com­ment to see what the syn­tax is for us­ing LaTeX from that ed­i­tor (wrap it in $s, maybe?), which didn’t seem to be ex­plained in the post above? I would be pretty dis­ap­pointed if it were to turn out that there’s no way to do LaTeX from the Mark­down ed­i­tor, but I would also be some­what sur­prised. Edit: even af­ter switch­ing my set­tings back, edit­ing this com­ment gives me the rich ed­i­tor? So … I guess in­di­vi­d­ual com­ments are saved on a per-ed­i­tor ba­sis, with no trans­la­tion? I’ll con­cede that that makes sense from a tech­ni­cal stand­point, but it’s some­what dis­ap­point­ing. • LaTeX test Added: sub­script test, <em>x<sub>1</​sub></​em>. • Note that on GreaterWrong, you can always edit any com­ment in Mark­down (be­cause there’s just the one ed­i­tor); and also, if you click the ‘$’ but­ton on the edit­ing toolbar, it’ll in­sert the markup for a LaTeX for­mula for you.

• The LaTeX syn­tax for com­ments is in­deed to wrap it in \$ .

You might have to re­fresh for the ed­i­tor change to take effect. The cor­rect be­hav­ior should be that it dis­plays you a small warn­ing at the top, with the op­tion of switch­ing the ed­i­tor to your preferred ed­i­tor and do­ing some data con­ver­sions in the pro­cess (though those data con­ver­sions don’t prop­erly pro­cess LaTeX, so that ex­per­i­ment wouldn’t have helped you figure out the mark­down LaTeX syn­tax).

• Is there a way to make drafts available to spe­cific peo­ple, for re­view?

• Looks like there is, but they must be LessWrong mem­bers.

• We used to have an op­tion to make a post “un­listed” rather than just “draft” which would al­low ar­bi­trary peo­ple to look at it. Get­ting the UI right for it was a bit tricky and peo­ple kept find­ing ways to find un­listed posts that they hadn’t been meant to get ac­cess to so we made it ad­min-only for now. But we do in­tend to re­store that even­tu­ally.