Actually, no-- I enclose each comment's text in a table cell, which would be useless except for it's property of cutting off misformatting due to unbalanced tags.
It would be preferable to add the missing tags needed to balance the nested tags rather than depending on a table cell to contain the damage, which is probably dependent on client implementation and not guaranteed. Also, if this lets you eliminate more table cells from the page, it should render faster, which never hurts.
The problem with PRE is that if you paste in something that has very long lines, and put PRE around it, it stretches the page horizontally rather than breaking lines. This is irritating in the extreme, and thus PRE is no longer allowed.
This is a good point. (Makes you wish the table cell could have a scrollbar, doesn't it?) However, wouldn't it be better to force-wrap long lines within a PRE block than banning the tag altogether? Pick a reasonable width (80 columns being an obvious choice) and insert newlines within PRE blocks to wrap overly-long lines. It would keep this formatting problem from happening, while allowing people to use PRE tags when it would be helpful.
And about the double-linebreak thing. I thought we did that already, if you use "plain text" mode? I'll test it right here... Well, it seems that if you insert a blank line, it should appear in the output as well, provided you post in plain text. Note that we do not mix "plain text" and "html" modes. If you post in text, all html will be escaped on posting.
I know that I very often want to be able to use italics or bold text, for quotations or emphasis. I'd also like the other (available) HTML capabilities to be available on demand. Hence, I never use the "Plain Text" mode. However, it's a nuisance to have to keep adding the <p> tags manually simply to type multiple paragraphs; it interferes with the flow of typing (it's a distraction from the message you're trying to convey), and it is very easy to forget. While I do make a habit of previewing comments before posting them, it's still a hassle, and some mistakes still slip through.
I think the key point to consider is the focus here should not be on HTML formatting, but on communication between people, and it's more useful to facilitate such communication rather than worrying about strict HTML compliance. We're not authoring web pages here, we're posting comments in a discussion context, and to require everyone to pay attention to something as minor as <p> tags (or to forgo all formatting capabilities) actually detracts from the true purpose of this system. That other site allows for HTML markup for formatting, with double-newline functional as a paragraph separator, and it seems to work okay. (But I don't like their translation of single newlines into <br> tags!)
Now, if there was a significant risk of user confusion, or misformatting from people entering strict HTML and expecting something different, I wouldn't be asking. However, how often do you imagine someone would enter multiple newlines at a place where they don't want a paragraph break? Single newlines, yes. But multiple? (And for the few people who might trip over it, they could remove extra newlines after previewing the posting.) (Having a truly strict HTML could be a third option also, but it wouldn't need to be the default.)
The other thing that would be helpful would be adding new tags for convenience, much as Advogato has its <person> tag, which isn't strict HTML. In particular, a <cite>...</cite> tag (which would translate into <blockquote type="cite">...</blockquote>) would make quoting much easier...
P.S. Any good reason tags like <center> and <hr> aren't allowed?
"Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible." - Alan Kay
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