Data loss issue: Adjacent List Types

Seumas Mac Uilleachan seumas at
Mon Jun 6 21:50:37 EDT 2011

On 06/06/11 02:26 PM, Alan Hogan wrote:

> Quoth _Lasar:


>> while I agree that this is technically an issue, I don't think it

>> is an often seen issue in actual human-written text. Markdown is

>> plain text formatted by and for humans. I don't think there are

>> many cases where you would want to put two lists after each other

>> without an introduction of sorts.

> I must of course agree that it is not an exceedingly common case, or a

> terribly sensible decision to make.


> That said:


> * Consider a student quickly taking notes, or a liveblogger

> publishing quickly. They may not have time to write an intro for

> each list, or realize that they skipped it…

> * I personally have experienced this issue, so it does happen.

> * Even if a small fraction of users run into this issue — half a

> percent, say — if I am providing a service to two hundred

> thousand of users (and I do), that’s a thousand people affected.



I have also come across this on occasion (certainly enough to be annoyed
by it). I solve by adding an extra blank line but always after the fact
as never remember this when writing.

>> And on a side note: Gruber notes in the markdown spec that the

>> actual numbers used in a numbered list are ignored. So data loss

>> is already occuring here.


> Now that is true.


> However:


> * Existing data loss doesn’t mean we should be okay with more data

> loss.

> * The numbers couldn’t really be always matched in output given

> how HTML works, anyway…

> * I personally made a mistake by starting a paragraph with “1999.”

> today, so this too can cause problems. (At least it’s part of

> the Markdown spec though.)

> * I am personally disappointed that the `start` attribute (?)

> isn’t used, based off the first number in the list; this would

> also help catch mistakes.



> Given that I still struggle to see a downside to making my proposed

> change, I’m really hoping we can achieve a rough consensus here.

The "data loss" is only the list numbers, NOT the entire ordered list
structure itself. It is not so much data loss as data replacement. The
expectation is that no matter what number you use to start your ordered
list it will when rendered start with 1.

Therefore, mark me as +1 for this as well.

I also remember copy-pasting some info from the web that had a sentence
starting with 1999. (or similar) as there was a hard return in the line
before it. It took me ages to figure out where that list was coming from
in the middle of the paragraph. Eventually found the hard return and
deleted it.
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