Ordered list syntax.

Daniel Axelrod markdown at danonline.net
Tue Mar 23 23:37:57 EST 2004

On Tuesday, December 30, 2003, at 12:00  PM, John Gruber wrote:
> The downside, however, is that in rare circumstances,
> it's conceivable that someone could make a list inadvertantly. E.g.:
>     1984. That was a good year.

> The other thing I might be able to do is only start an ordered list
> if there are two or more consecutive looking-like-a-list-item
> paragraphs. That'd probably solve all these problems and make this
> entire message moot.

The solution of disallowing one-item numeric lists is exactly what I 
thought of when I read that example in the Markdown documentation.

The problem with the current behavior is that if my Markdown message is 
hard-wrapped and happens to have a number and a period at the beginning 
of a line, it will be misinterpreted. I don't want to worry about hard 
wrapping, and (I think) Markdown pretty much guarantees hard-wrapping 
won't affect the output in any other cases.

"Don't create a one-item numbered list" is also a much easier rule to 
describe, remember, and follow than "Make sure your text doesn't wrap 
such that a line happens to start with a number, a period, and then a 

If you don't intend to implement this programmatically, you might 
consider at least forbidding one-item lists in the documentation for 
Markdown 1.0. That way, you can avoid breaking anything if when you 

1. Add this feature later *or*
2. Decide you want to keep single-item numbered lists as they are and 
simply relax the restriction.

Obligatory Raving

Markdown freakin' *rules*! What sold me was the Readme for SmartyPants. 
When the Readme talks about Markdown integration, it just happens to 
mention that the Readme is formatted in Markdown. I honestly had no 
idea the file was Markdown until I read that sentence. Then I realized 
just how powerful the concept of a human-readable markup language could 
be. Thank you for creating it.

-Daniel Axelrod

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