comment previews should reflect markup accurately
Short, concise description of the idea
Comment previews should render HTML in the comment as it is written, not silently correct it.
Full description of the idea
The purpose of a preview is to see how something will look before it is submitted, so the user can make changes and correct errors. The "LJ schemes" silently correct some HTML errors, causing the user to believe that the HTML is correct and will display correctly. The comment preview should render any HTML *either* per the HTML spec *or* in the same way it will be rendered when submitted, apart from scheme-specific decoration.
I made a comment on another user's page (see Request #1107449) including a couple of hyperlinks. The comment preview looked fine, but when I submitted the comment the formatting was wrong. I couldn't figure out why.
It turns out that I had left out the slash in the </a> closing the first hyperlink. mrs260 replied (Answer #4245615), "LiveJournal Support volunteers have confirmed that comments with this error look correct when viewed using LiveJournal's site schemes. This is why the comment looked correct when you previewed it: the comment preview uses your site scheme."
I didn't write the scheme, I chose it from the large list offered by LiveJournal. I assumed it would handle HTML correctly, *and it does*, as far as I know. I'm an end-user -- I didn't know there was a distinction between LiveJournal's own site schemes and other site schemes that LJ offers for download. Now I know: LJ's own schemes can't be trusted for previews.
- Users will be better able to correct HTML errors in their comments. Currently such errors (can) now lead to a sequence of 1: write comment; 2: preview comment, it looks OK; 3: submit comment, it's messed up; 4: revise comment, trying to figure out what secret subtlety of LJ rendering is causing the trouble; 5: repeat 2-4 till you find the error or give up.
- Maybe the back-end engineers can see difficulties in implementing this. I can't see any for us users.