Code blocks, the colon and French

John Gruber gruber at
Thu Mar 18 21:48:37 EST 2004

Michel Fortin <michel.fortin at> wrote on 03/18/04 at 9:08a:

> You're right, copy-paste could put indentation to code that should not 
> be treated as code block. Someone could also indent the first line of a 
> paragraph for cosmetic reasons and that would result in the paragraph 
> displayed as code. Example:
>       This is a paragraph that has a first-line indent of four spaces. 
> Since the paragraph will word-wrap, it achieve the writer's desired 
> I'm not sure of the importance of this one, but it's just another 
> reason why indentation alone may not be appropriate for code blocks.

It's a good point, but I'm not too worried about it. It's already
the case that you can't use freeform indentation in Markdown.
Indentation has meaning, and normal paragraphs shouldn't be indented.
There have to be rules, and this is one of them.

But it's also worth noting that it's never been my intention to
idiot-proof Markdown's syntax. I think that a plain text syntax
intended for use by idiots should probably forbid raw HTML.
Actually, to be truthful, I don't think it's possible to devise a
usable plain text-to-HTML syntax for idiots.

I'd rather make small set of clearly defined rules, and expect
Markdown users to follow them, than to waste a lot of time trying to
write code that guesses which ways people will accidently break the
rules because they never bothered to learn them.

> But you could also do some usability testing.

That's a fine idea, but I'm afraid it's well beyond the scope of my
available time. I think everyone's doing a good job (on and off this
list) sending me feedback on where the rough edges are currently.


More information about the Markdown-discuss mailing list