asterisks as bold or italic?

Jason Clark jason at
Mon Mar 15 21:41:58 EST 2004

On Mar 15, 2004, at 9:11 PM, John Gruber wrote:
> In short, you're sort of screwed, because that's how I write, and
> it's how I've written since around 1992.
'Nuff Said.  Hackers hack to scratch an itch.  Your itch - you choose 
how to scratch.

> I also searched through an awful lot of my email, and what I found
> is that both _underscores_ and *asterisks* are in wide use, but both
> styles tend to be used to imply normal word emphasis. E.g., if you
> stop thinking about "italics" and "bold", and think instead of
> "emphasis" and "strong emphasis", I think it's very fair to say that
> _this_ and *this* both imply normal emphasis.
Probably a good point.  The only reason I care is that to me, bold and 
italic have different... i dunno... feel.  I choose what I put in 
italic vs. bold based on what *feels* correct for the usage, not the 
degree of emphasis.  As long as I can select etiher, I'm good.

> Now, of course, the other route would be to make these emphasis
> sequences configurable. Or, at least, to offer a few preset
> variations on how to interpret them.
> The advantage would be that most people could get Markdown to treat
> word emphasis exactly how they prefer. That'd be good.
> The downside would be that Markdown's format would no longer be the
> same everywhere. If there's just once consistent style, Markdown
> should work exactly the same everywhere.
I think consistancy is much more important than configurability here.  
After all, anyone who really, _really_ cares is free to change the 

Jason Clark <jason at>

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