The full site contains the following CSS:


But on the mobile site, strong and em are styled, while b and i are not. Why does this matter? Because of a long-standing bug, the markdown engine doesn't handle bold and italics correctly with Japanese, so we often insert HTML tags as a workaround. But while Markdown turns stars into <em> and <strong>, our community almost always inserts <i> and <b>!

As a result, everything seems fine, but if you look at the mobile site, bold and italics seem to disappear at random. This can be rather confusing if, for example, a question or answer refers to the "bolded text". (What bolded text?, the reader might ask.)

I've formatted this question to demonstrate the problem; click back and forth between full site and mobile site to see the difference:

  • * starred italics - <i> tag italics
  • ** starred bold - <b> tag bold
  • I'm using iPad chrome browser, both * and <i> are rendered as bolded italic text, making them undistinguishable from ***.
    – Yang Muye
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 6:26
  • It's not the browser, but the version of the site you're looking at. Click the mobile link at the bottom of the page to view the mobile version of the site. Click full site at the bottom to return to normal.
    – user1478
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 6:35
  • wow, I didn't know there's a mobile site. Tag i and b disappear completely. * still looks like ***, which might be my browser's problem.
    – Yang Muye
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 6:47

1 Answer 1


Since this was a more general problem affecting SE sites other than Japanese, after six months had passed I posted a bug report on Meta Stack Exchange.

Soon after, the bug was fixed.

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