Questions regarding mining through the earth

I have a few questions regarding mining – not the ores or anything, but rather how I can carve out the earth. I’m having trouble carving out terrain the way I’d like, but I’m not sure if I’m maybe not doing it properly.

Question 1: Mining stairs up cliffs

I’ve tried mining stairs up cliffs, but the hearthlings always get stuck and are unable to mine the ground above them i.e.

Is there some way to mine stairs up cliffs, or should I be traversing them with something else?

Question 2: How is multi-block mining supposed to work?

When mining multiple blocks at once, the box comes out towards the camera instead of towards the tunnel/etc I’m digging:
http://i.imgur.com/Kmq4Afo.png

I imagine I’m not using it correctly, as this seems the opposite of what’d be useful. What is the correct way to use this?

Question 1: You can’t mine up. You have to mine down. Unfortunately, that’s all we got right now.

Question 2: It’s finicky. Move your mouse towards the earth, like, up your screen. Yeah it’s weird.

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As a work-around I put a ladder next to where I want to mine out the stairs and dig down from the top, 3 wide and 9 long usually is my standard. I order it in sets of 3, i.e. 3x9,8,7 - and when those are finished, I go back over and continue with 3x6,5,4, and so on.

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the way you mine tunnels with the block mining tool is you first toggle the “landscape” slice, and THEN use the mining tool.

without the “landscape slice” tool mining tunnels is basically impossible