spaces and newlines before list markers (was: evolving the spec)

John Fraser john at
Sun Mar 2 13:00:07 EST 2008

On Mar 2, 2008, at 11:56 AM, Joseph Lorenzo Hall wrote:

> Sounds like there are quite a few people who write intuitively by

> placing a space or two before a list marker. Next question: what if

> we only allowed a fixed number of whitespaces before a list marker?

> For example, what if the spec said 0-1 whitespace characters before a

> list marker?


> Is that too rigid?

Tightening up indentation rules is definitely a breaking change, and I
don't see any payoff for users here. If anything, we should be making
indentation rules more lenient.

I made a suggestion about indentation last July: <
> My idea is to consider a list item to be a child of the most
recent list item whose bullet is indented less than its own. If
there's no such parent, then the item is part of a top-level list.
It's harder to parse than a two-space rule, but that's our problem as

Anyway, this whole discussion of spaces and bullets is a good preview
of the spec-writing process: we'll go back and forth for days, and end
up with English-language pseudocode that nobody can follow without pen
and paper.

+1 for something formal-grammar-y.

John Fraser

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