New link syntax

european bob bob at
Wed Mar 31 14:42:40 EST 2004

On Wed, 2004-03-31 at 20:16, Lou Quillio wrote:
> Understand.  What if a user *intends* for the duplicate link text to 
> point to the same link target?

If they intended that, they wouldn't redefine the link target. The thing
I thought Markdown should catch was the double target definition, not
the re-use of a link target (which is definitely useful). If it points
to two difference places, then it's ambiguous: as far as I'm aware, the
Markdown syntax doesn't take into account locality. So, given this

        Go look at the [first test run] I did (there are also some
        [more examples] of the test)
        [more examples]: "My initial
        So, the [final examples] show the result quite clearly, although
        are a few that [run contrary][more examples]
        [more examples]: "The final test

.. are you defending this output?

        <p>Go look at the [first test run] I did (there are also some
        <a href="" title="The final test
        run">more examples</a> of the test)</p>
        <p>.. and then 1273 lines later I write:</p>
        <p>So, the [final examples] show the result quite clearly,
        there are a few that <a href=""
        title="My initial examples">run contrary</a></p>

To me, that's wrong, and (worse) silently wrong. But I don't see how
that output is less defensible than your position. (If you want to argue
a "nearest definition" argument, think about it hard, there's another
silently incorrect rendering permissible ;)

> My point is that the concept of "error" 
> exists in the user's mind, which is a better place for it than in 
> Markdown's mind.  imo, it's better that Markdown not even have a mind.

Well, yes and no. But, as far as I'm concerned the example I gave is
unfailingly wrong - and more obviously wrong to the software than it
would be to the human. I don't particularly want Markdown to be
ambiguous, because I'm going to question what the system will output
when I'm writing it. I then start getting into Edit-> Preview-> Edit->
Preview etc., which is a pain.

> Sure, we know it has programmatics, but it's really just a text filter. 

Of course. But the link target stuff allows you to shift information
around unnaturally. You're separating the link from the text, whereas in
HTML the two are inseparable. The benefit of separating them is
readability for someone viewing the text. I don't think manageability
should be an opportunity cost; it's a needless casualty. You simply get
Markdown to say "Oi Bob, you redefined the 'More Examples' link on line
1285". At that point I hit my forehead, say "D'oh" and correct the


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