See what happens if you expand the comments on this question, we get this prime example of a math overflow:

enter image description here

Of course, this is due to a \$ problem, but still, it seems to be a flaw in the CSS that this is possible.

Note that the overflowing math does get cut off, eventually, at the edge of the sidebar. Shouldn't the overflow property be set up such that it gets cut off before that happens? The whole comment thread gets reflowed if there is one broken comment.

The same seems to apply to answers, math is allowed to overflow into the far edge of the sidebar.

This happens on Chrome Stable and FF 25.

Remark (added on Oct 4, 2015): This bug report appears to be still pending.

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    $\begingroup$ This has happened for ages. The fix so far has been is not to do it :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 7:09
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    $\begingroup$ Interestingly, I cannot edit that comment because its edit link is under something else (and one cannot get there by tabbing because of the SE fascination with :hover...) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 7:11
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    $\begingroup$ I hid the thing on top using Firebug :-) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 7:17
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    $\begingroup$ Math Overflow? It's not a bug, it's a feature! :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 8:19
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    $\begingroup$ Here is a link to meta.MSE discussion, where Willie Wong suggested a way how to get to edit/delete button in such cases: Comments layout break if Math expression is too long. (Several other discussions about the same problem are linked there.) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 8:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Manishearth: Martin posted a link from MSE to your comment above as "another way" of editing comments when such breakage happens. It is a shame that it is gone! $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ This is a long standing bug that happens with code-formatted markdown in comments too. Just noting that we've seen this, but I'm not sure about a fix. $\endgroup$
    – Tim Post
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


The problem is caused by the fact that if a comment contains many consecutive characters without a space, the Stack Exchange software inserts invisible unicode character (\unicode{x200C}\unicode{x200B} Zero Width Non-Joiner, Zero Width Space). in the comment.

There are several posts on Mathematics Meta with various suggestions what to do when this problem appears to make at least edit or delete button visible. It probably does not make sense to repeat all of them here, let me give links instead:


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