What does * {margin:0; padding:0} solve?

I’ve always disliked reset stylesheets. They are often overkill – making the webpage look like plain text, they slow down the loading of the page and overall simply reset too much.

Now while many other professional developers agree with the above sentiment, there seems to be a consensus that you need some kind of minimum reset stylesheet, that contains at least

*{margin:0; padding:0}

and I can’t help but wonder why.. What does this solve? What are the cross-browser compatibility issues that need this for a solution?

This makes paragraphs lose their margins, unless you add those back in. And it isn’t necessary in the first place, because all browsers use the same margin for paragraphs, without exception. You don’t iron out any differences using this. Ditto for headers. And it ruins lists, squishes tables, wrecks forms and inputs, etc. Unless you add the margins and the paddings back in, effectively undoing the damage you did.

So why use it in the first place? What is it good for?


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Pim is a programmer who programs programs.

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