asterisks as bold or italic? (another push)

Timothy Binder lists at
Tue Mar 30 17:06:06 EST 2004

On Mar 30, 2004, at 4:38 PM, european bob wrote:

> I think the argument for replacing */** with _/* is a stronger argument
> that replacing it with _/*/**. More that two tags doesn't fit HTML 
> well,
> and as Markdown is a language for writing to the web I don't really
> think it's much of a starter. I'm not hugely convinced of _==emphasis
> myself, so I disagree with both the current implementation (_==*) and
> your proposal (_==*,*==**) anyway ;)

If I mistakenly suggested a three level emphasis model, that was not my 
intent. I am arguing for "_/*" over "*/**". However, given 
reStructuredText's existing usage of "*/**", I'm not going to continue 
pushing this argument. (Now there's the conflicting historical usage 
vs. common other usage. *sigh*) Whatever John decides. (He may just 
decide that enough is enough -- that he's not even going to reconsider 
his position. _C'est la vie._)

> _/* I guess wins in terms of Huffman, but */** is more natural in terms
> of levels of emphasis to my mind. I also think _/* are closer (in terms
> of difference of emphasis) than */**, so having _/* as synonyms seems a
> good idea. But then, I don't really know what you're arguing in favour
> of with respect to **/__ - would you just dump them?

"**/__" would fit in as a natural method of escaping the characters, 
much as Markdown is currently using "``". (I know backslash is _the_ 
common escaping character. However, it doesn't make the text as 
readable as a double character, IMHO. I wouldn't discard it -- just 
keep it as an alternative -- the escape anything character.)

BTW, I don't think that the distinction can be wholly made between 
semantic and presentation, unless we introduce a whole 'nother level of 
markup for at least italics, since most style guides call for titles, 
etc., to appear either in quotes or italics, depending upon the type of 
work. Words in a foreign language are italicized. These are marks of 
semantic differences.

I will admit that I am happy with making the assumption that <em>, _in 
general_, will be rendered as italic. Should I or the end user choose 
to change that default, it is by conscious decision, whether in using 
CSS or using a non-visual browser. I wouldn't want to add another type 
of markup for italics -- this violates KISS.

Timothy Binder                                Director, President-Elect
Philadelphia Science Fiction Society             <>
      Upcoming Guests: Warren Lapine, James Morrow, John Passarella

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