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Typing Literal Tab Characters

I do not know how feasible this is, for the developers, but I do believe, that at least on this site, it may make more sense to stop expanding tabs into four spaces.

If the browser side code can be made to render tabs as four spaces, this issue is moot. Some code golf answers (or input samples) require a literal tab in the source and there should be a way to indicate that.

I am not a web developer, so I may be clueless, but I will put this up for a feature request and take any flak downvotes.


This is not intended to incite any tabs versus space wars.


Wow! This post seems to have garnered a significant community consensus. As such, I have put this up for a network wide feature request here!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Code golf or not, whitespace is significant in some languages (notably Python), and replacing tabs with spaces could.break the code. If we can get a site-specific exception for this, it should apply to all control characters (with the obvious exception of NUL). \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Sep 7 '16 at 23:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, this is a fantastic idea! I also am not a Web Dev, but dear SE, can we please see unprintable characters too? \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Sep 8 '16 at 0:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ this would probably be a fairly easy userscript to write, i can look into it later if i'm not busy. it would replace any set of four continuous spaces though, which would break at least one of my answers on this site, but the spaces/tabs issue is far more pressing \$\endgroup\$ – undergroundmonorail Sep 8 '16 at 0:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ AFAIK this can be quite a problem for Python answers which mix tabs and spaces for saving bytes \$\endgroup\$ – Downgoat Sep 8 '16 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dennis Why not NUL? \$\endgroup\$ – jimmy23013 Sep 8 '16 at 2:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jimmy23013 A literal NUL is a parse error, but I'm not sure about escapes. It can create problems for copy-pasting though. \$\endgroup\$ – Dennis Sep 8 '16 at 2:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Given the Python requirements, it seems like this might be an issue for Code Review as well. I see this thread discussing a bookmarklet workaround, but my minimal searching hasn't yielded anything else. \$\endgroup\$ – AdmBorkBork Sep 8 '16 at 12:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @undergroundmonorail I'm afraid there is no userscript which can be made, because the tabs are gone server-side :( \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Sep 9 '16 at 11:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @undergroundmonorail Poor Whitespace... \$\endgroup\$ – Erik the Outgolfer Sep 9 '16 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ We could always scrape the post source... \$\endgroup\$ – wizzwizz4 Sep 14 '16 at 16:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Could we please get an official response on this? Is there a protocol to directly reach out to a community dev and get this either approved or rejected? \$\endgroup\$ – Rohan Jhunjhunwala Sep 14 '16 at 22:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RohanJhunjhunwala Unfortunately there is not. You could post a feature request on meta.se and link them back here. \$\endgroup\$ – DJMcMayhem Sep 15 '16 at 2:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @wizzwizz4 I'm pretty sure that tabs and other unprintables are never even stored server-side. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Ender Sep 16 '16 at 7:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps should we ask for an "upload" button so we can send the code via a file and have it displayed. \$\endgroup\$ – Emmanuel Sep 16 '16 at 13:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DJMcMayhem I will attempt that if this continues for a bit more with no official response. The more upvotes I show when I take to mother meta, the better. Conversely if there is some dissent to this idea, I wish to give an opportunity for someone to downvote and/or commentabout why this is not a good idea. \$\endgroup\$ – Rohan Jhunjhunwala Sep 16 '16 at 20:16
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As per this feature request: Stop expanding tabs into four spaces

	

Note that this only works if you put the code within a <pre><code> block, which means you also have to escape < with &lt; (and & with &amp; in certain cases), so it's still annoying, but if you do a find/replace on your code, you can make it work.

If you really need to display tabs correctly, this workaround helps.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It has been decided that this workaround will be the only way because the feature request was declined. \$\endgroup\$ – User that is not a user Apr 15 '18 at 0:39

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