cites for blockquotes

John Gruber gruber at
Fri Mar 19 10:38:12 EST 2004

Jason Clark <jason at> wrote on 03/18/04 at 10:58p:

> I'd like to see somthing like this:
>  > They that can give up essential libery to obtain a little
>  > temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety
>  >
>  > --Benjamin Franklin
> Generate something like this:
>      <blockquote>
>          <p>They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
>          temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.</p>
>          <p>--<cite>Benjamin Franklin</cite></p>
>      </blockquote>

Honest question: why?

I've never really seen the point of the `<cite>` tag.

Now a `cite` attribute for a blockquote, *that* I understand. That's
metadata which reveals the source of the quote. Potentially very

But `<cite>` is one of those tags that just didn't seem worth adding
support in Markdown for. Not that there's anything wrong with it,
but IMO it falls under the "if you want to use this tag, just use
the HTML" rule. Just like `<ins>` and `<del>`, for example.

Let text be text, let markup be markup. To me `<cite>` is very much
markup, not text.

Now you might say, "What's the harm in adding `<cite>` in the above
example, because it doesn't require any new special punctuation

But my problem is, what if you *don't* want Ben Franklin's name
wrapped in `<cite>`? What if you just want:

      <p>--Benjamin Franklin</p>

I'd rather have Markdown do too few things automatically than do to
many. The canonical example is MS Word, where text that looks like a
URL or email addressis automatically turned blue and underlined. I
know that it's possible to turn this off, but 99 percent of people
don't know how to do it, and sometimes they don't want their email
address blue and underlined, but they're stuck with it.


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