I'm creating a website that is similar to reddit that focus on storytelling, art & literature, and having so much trouble choosing a text editor. I want some basic text editing (bold, italic, underline) and the ability to insert image/video into the content (because they will want to display their work). My users are of course not technical expert and probably won't spend too much time learning HTML.

What I have found so far:

They're great, but from what I have read here and on stackoverflow they are open to security risks, not to mention that they are not "sturdy", meaning user with no HTML knowledge might accidentally mess up their own content and doesn't know how to revert back.

There is no front end library that provide real time intuitive preview of the content. I don't think I have enough time to write one myself :(

This is too hard for an average user without programming knowledge. Not to mention a lot of user will want to post poems. If I implement Markdown I'll probably have to put this poem at the front page:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
2 spaces to end line

2 enters for new paragraph.

I searched here and found WYMeditor. Personally I would definitely use this if I were an user, but my 'real' user probably won't understand the difference between p and h1 h2 h3 or li, so I suppose exposing html tags name to them doesn't really help.

So what kind of text editor would you choose for a reddit-like website? Or do you have any suggestion to solve the troubles I'm having with the above options?

  • 2
    This should be migrated to the superuser stackexchange
    – Mervin
    Dec 20, 2013 at 16:28
  • 11
    I disagree - text editors is one of the biggest usability issues we face when designing applications that require users to do anything with formatted text. The question is "What is the best way for non-technical users to enter formatted text". The OP isn't asking WHICH markdown or WYSIWYG editor to use, they're asking which approach to the use case is best. Dec 20, 2013 at 17:05
  • 1
    Agree with @CharlesWesley - IMHO a good question that is also related to UX. Which text editor is capable of solving the requirements described and providing a good balance of usability but also security at the same time? Dec 20, 2013 at 23:47
  • I'm having trouble seeing how Markdown is any more difficult than let's say BBCode? I would say it's a lot more intuitive. (Other than the links.)
    – Neikos
    Dec 22, 2013 at 17:09
  • @Neikos: I'm implementing MarkDown right now on my prototype. I agree that it does feel more intuitive when learning, but: 1. many people are used to bbCode from vbulletin forums, while foreign to MarkDown, 2. I can't find a way to solve the "poem" problem, how do I tell my user to use 2 trailing spaces at the end of the line to make a line break?
    – AVAVT
    Dec 23, 2013 at 3:17

4 Answers 4


What about GitHub-flavored Markdown? It leaves embedded newlines as line breaks, with no need to insert two spaces. See https://help.github.com/articles/github-flavored-markdown#newlines.


For a very lightweight, easily customisable option, I would recommend the Scribe editor.


Markdown support, along with an optional toolbar (or at least a button prominently displayed to show formatting help) seems a reasonable approach. Showing a preview of the content is also an excellent idea.


If you have a solid handling of security in your assumed database driven website, a WYSIWYG editor is probably the best choice. By that I mean you need to handle all edits through stored procedures and never ever use "INSERT INTO..." in managed compiled or (worse) scripted code.

Say yes to the question "I use stored procedures everywhere" and you're most certainly safe. We all know that anything connected to the internet is never safe, thus the statement "most certainly", but your site objective shouldn't. Be wort hacking since all they can get is accounts and possibly e-mail addresses.

When we consider ourselves comfortable with security issues, we focus on User Experience. And WHYSIWIG editors are your best in class if you want stuff produced and published rapidly. It's far from perfect (as democracy) but it's the best we have if the target audience is "everyone connected to the internet".

I may be wrong, but from your question, this is what I can answer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.