technophilia at radgeek.com
Thu Dec 9 04:47:53 EST 2004
On Thu, 9 Dec 2004 01:01:26 -0500, John Gruber <gruber at fedora.net> wrote:
> Some people have suggested that Markdown should only allow emphasis
> to start and end at the beginning of "words", so that you can use
> underscores mid-word without triggering <em> tags. But I think
> that's too strict, because sometimes you want to emphasis only part
> of a word:
> Maybe there's some additional cleverness we can add, however.
One possibility would be to sacrifice a bit of symmetry and implement
separate rules for emphasis by asterisk and emphasis by underscore. Right
now we have the same rules for all four of these cases:
1. Asterisk word/phrase emphasis: `You *misheard* me.`
2. Underscore word/phrase emphasis: `You _misheard_ me.`
3. Asterisk emphasis within word: `You *mis*heard me.`
4. Underscore emphasis within word: `You _mis_heard me.`
Symmetry is nice, but while (1), (2), and (3) all seem like natural ways
to note an emphasis in plaintext, (4) does *not*; it looks weird, like a
break in the word, *not* the emphasis of a syllable in it. Come to think
of it, I can't say that I've *ever* seen form (4) used in an e-mail. In
any case, I suspect that most users of Markdown are *more* likely to be
using underscores in the middle of a word for expressing a symbol name
than for internal emphasis (which, if you're going to do it, looks much
more natural with asterisks).
Is this a place to put an epicycle on the syntax, and make it so that
unescaped asterisks apply emphasis *anywhere*, but underscores only apply
emphasis if they are at word boundaries? It's a trade-off in consistency,
but how likely is it that the inconsistency is going to cause frustration,
compared to the likelihood that requiring escaping for common token names
is going to cause frustration?
What do y'all think?
Charles Johnson <technophilia at radgeek.com>
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