on the philosophical aspects of a specification

Joseph Lorenzo Hall joehall at gmail.com
Fri Mar 7 01:18:31 EST 2008

On Thu, Mar 6, 2008 at 12:22 PM, <Bowerbird at aol.com> wrote:


> the situation that's troubling is where one set of input is clear,

> while another set of similar-but-not-identical input leads to

> an interpretation that is _different_ yet still _equally-clear_,

> but you can't easily write routines to differentiate the two, so

> you have the spec disallow one of 'em because that's an easy

> "solution", even though it disenfranchises one of the users...

Srsly, talk of disenfranchisement seems heated rhetoric given that no
one will be prevented from writing a markdown document.

On a constructive tip: What we're trying to do is design a
perspective, by specifying what markdown does now, from which
implementations of markdown can consistently interpret the same input.
The first stage has always been to just write down some rules, etc.
about what markdown is doing now. (Of course, the second stage is
"???" and the third is "profit". If only we were underpants gnomes.)

Joseph Lorenzo Hall
UC Berkeley School of Information

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