asterisks as bold or italic? (another push)
gruber at fedora.net
Tue Mar 30 18:47:25 EST 2004
Timothy Binder <lists at cyberthorn.net> wrote on 03/30/04 at 2:54p:
> This, to me, shows a long-standing one-to-one correspondence between
> italics and underlining.
Sure. And there are other existing structured plain text formats
that do emphasis just like this. But I think everyone needs to
acknowledge that there is precedent for both this:
- => em
* => strong
* => em
** => strong
But while there are numerous precedents for both, they are,
obviously, mutually exclusive. Pointing one more precedent doesn't
really change things.
> I also feel that *emphasis* is stronger than _emphasis_. Just on a
> visual basis, "*" is larger & stronger than "_".
That's totally subjective. I agree, and it's the reason that I never personally use underscores for emphasis. I only use asterisks.
And so in fact, the only thing I'd consider doing different is
dropping underscores entirely, and *only* allowing asterisks for
emphasis. That's my personal style, and in my heart, I believe it's
the One True Way.
But while I never use underscores-for-emphasis in my writing, and
believe that style to be wrong, it was obvious that Markdown could
easily accomodate people who want to use `_` for em. So I did it,
because it was just so easy to support, and I know that there are
lots of people who use `_` like that already.
But note that I never even considered using one `*` for strong.
> Alternately, if you decide to allow alternate syntax, as previously
> discussed, I would suggest allowing a way to indicate syntax choice in
> the body of the text, rather than just at the command line. The
> reasoning behind this: you wouldn't have to change gears to post on
> various Markdown sites -- just include the appropriate tag. Of course,
> this somewhat defeats the purpose of removing tags, but should still be
I know it's tempting. I've been tempted. But I firmly believe this
is the path to madness.
> I want to be clear that I really appreciate your work. If it wasn't of
> value, I wouldn't be taking my time to make these comments.
That's quite all right. I appreciate it. I'm sure most people here
on this list disagree with at least one my of decisions about
Markdown's syntax. That's inherent in making something "small" and
mostly option/config-free like Markdown -- most feature wishes
aren't going to be accommodated.
The hope is that even though I'm going to say "no" to everyone's pet
request, the simplicity of the end result -- will be enough to make
everyone happy overall. And the whole reason Markdown will remain
simple is that I'm going to say "no" to 90+ percent of the requests.
This (the idea of using `*` for strong, perhaps as an option) just
happens to be an idea on the "no" side of the 90/10 line.
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