In a question/answer, the Bold tags are 2x asterisks:


And Italics is a single asterisk:


However, in the comment fields, why are they different?

Sorry. I previously had single asterisks below. Infact, it should have been double.

Double asterisk for Bold:


And underscore for Italics.


I sometimes get confused and commenting and/or writing a question/answer.

EDIT: So, I got this info from the 'help' buttons. In the question/answer help icon, it automatically used asterisks only.

However, in the 'help' of the comments, it states to use underscore:

Screenshot of 'help' in comments.

I have just always followed the 'help' buttons.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm just testing something. Because I'd never noticed this before. ...yeah, that first sentence is *like this* and the second is **like this**. Not sure what you're talking about here. \$\endgroup\$
    – hairboat
    Dec 31, 2013 at 14:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ So @AbbyT.Miller Do you know what I'm talking about now? I got this info from the 'help' buttons. Maybe they aren't that helpful after all. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBking
    Jan 10, 2014 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see what you're saying, but I'm not sure what you're asking for. What's written in the help text for commenting works, does it not? **Bold** and _italics_ written thusly are mini-markdown convention. Having it also work *this way* for italics is just a bonus, I think. \$\endgroup\$
    – hairboat
    Jan 10, 2014 at 18:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I didn't ask "Why does it work?", I asked why is it different. Now, of course, it has been answered we know that either cases work. Remember, you made this comment before it was answered. I thought the help info was set in stone, but now I know it's not. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBking
    Jan 13, 2014 at 2:42

1 Answer 1


That's not the case. Stack Exchange follows the normal Markdown syntax in both cases:


Markdown treats asterisks (*) and underscores (_) as indicators of
emphasis. Text wrapped with one * or _ will be wrapped with an HTML
<em> tag; double *’s or _’s will be wrapped with an HTML <strong>

E.g., this input:

*single asterisks*

_single underscores_

**double asterisks**

__double underscores__

will produce:

<em>single asterisks</em>

<em>single underscores</em>

<strong>double asterisks</strong>

<strong>double underscores</strong>

You can use whichever style you prefer; the lone restriction is that
the same character must be used to open and close an emphasis span.

Basically, double of either character is bold, and single of either character is italics.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ And in comments: double of either character is bold, and single of either character is italics. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Jan 1, 2014 at 18:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. Thanks. I've always just followed the help info. I've updated my answer because I can't add photos in comments. Also, I've never tested double or single of anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBking
    Jan 1, 2014 at 23:38

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