Formatting LBRY comments

It is not immediately obvious, but comments on LBRY videos can be styled just like YouTube videos can be styled (bold, italics, and links).

Styling can make a comment easier to read and easier look to at at a glance (skimming).

Bold and italics

Bold and italics in LBRY comments works similarly to how Markdown works:

An LBRY comment can be styled in *both italics* and **bold**.

Result:

An LBRY comment can be styled in both italics and bold.

Bold and italics do work at the same time, but bold is so nondistinct that it is difficult to see the difference. In fact, bold is almost worthless.

Indentation

Unlike on YouTube, space does not work for indentation (this is like in raw HTML). Instead, use HTML non-breaking space:

     This is *indented* text.

Result:

     This is indented text.

For a second indented line to a time stamp in a comment, e.g. after a line with “30:41 : XYZ”, use 12 non-breaking spaces. The number may depend on the font and on the zoom level in the web browser.

Alternative: Use Markdown (unordered) lists. It works in at least two levels and thus is suitable for comments with timestamps (as the content of those are usually in headline form, not full paragraphs). The second list level provides some indentation to set each timestamp apart (easier to read). A drawback is that the text width can not be controlled as everything in a sub item must be in a single long line / paragraph (longer items may not be that easy to read). But it allows longer comments as space is not taken up by the non-breaking spaces ( ).

Note 1: On 2020-10-24 the formatting of comments with space indent changed (but using ‘nbsp’, as described here, works fine). It now seems to format it as code if there are over a certain number of spaces.

Note 2: LBRY now fights any attempt to use empty lines. It is currently not known how this can be defeated.

Links

Links work in LBRY comments like in Markdown:

Douglas Crockford says *"[No more tabs!](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBWAP_8zxaM&t=9m37s)"*.

Result:

Douglas Crockford says No more tabs!.

Note that https:// is required. Otherwise, it will not render as a link.

Code formatting

Like in Markdown, backticks (`) works for code formatting. But in contrast to Markdown, <pre></pre> does not work.

Example:

In Bash, the environment variable `PS1` controls the prompt.

Result:

In Bash, the environment variable PS1 controls the prompt.

Empty lines

It does not seem possible to have an empty line in a comment, for example, to make (real) paragraphs. A hard line break will result in the text starting to the left on the next line, but not empty lines, even if inputting 10 empty lines in the Markdown source.

But it can be defeated. On an empty line, use a normal space followed by an HTML non-breaking space, &nbsp;. None of two works in isolation (as one may imagine), but they do when combined!

Historical note: In a previous version of LBRY, a hard newline would result not just in the following text starting on a new line, but an empty line! Thus the Markdown-like source would not look like the output. For example, an empty line in the source would result in two empty lines…

Limitations

There seems to be a limit of 2,000 characters per comment (much lower than on YouTube). This is quite a severe limit if trying to provide annotated timestamps for a video.

There isn’t any warning either. The content after 2,000 characters is silently discarded and thus lost forever if precautions, like saving it elsewhere, are not taken.

The workaround is to reply to your own comment and split the comment up that way. For example, leading with “cont’ -” at the start of each section/comment.

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