Have you tried using the slash command /code? That should maintain all formatting of the text that follows.
And just in case you haven't seen it, here's a good breakdown of all the available formatting commands and options for HipChat:
Hope that helps!
I do know about the /code trick. However, how do I get back to text so I can mix text and code?
To me it feels like the /code thing is reinventing the wheel in an inferior way as far as code and other markup is concerned. I hate to say it, but you are behind the curve on this one.
Sadly I'm not affiliated with Atlassian directly, so I can't really help you get this implemented. I do agree with you that this functionality would be super useful to a lot of people.
If you'd like to submit a feature suggestion, (which I recommend), you may do so here:
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