markdown conversions

Seumas Mac Uilleachan seumas at
Sat Jun 25 17:14:26 EDT 2011

On 06/25/2011 03:10 PM, Bowerbird at wrote:

> richard said:

> > This seems like a bad idea to me.


> it still seems like a great idea to me, richard... ;+)

Well, it was your idea :b


> (i'm responding just for the sake of discussion,

> not because i consider any of this to be "vital".

> so understand that this is all very lighthearted.)

Same reason I'm responding



> > in the mission of Markdown


> i was talking about my own system,

> which doesn't give a stinky fart about

> "the mission of markdown", thank you. :+)



> > that the content comes first and

> > it should never be dictated or

> > impacted by the markup.


> except the markup is the whole purpose of markdown.


> how can the purpose and the mission be inconsistent?


> (that's a rhetorical question. just for the discussion.)

Umm, no. The purpose of markdown is intuitive markup that does not get
in the way when you write but still allows simple html elements to be
added to enhance the text. If we were only worried about markup we'd
just use html, or maybe restuctured text, or (if truly masochistic)
docbook. Or wikitext with '''''5 single quotes all over the place'''''


> > Requiring unique headers is much more intrusive

> > than somewhat ugly markup.


> maybe, but the unique headers allow anyone at all

> -- even someone looking at a printout -- to know

> what the unique i.d. for a given header _will_ be...


> with certainty.


> i think that's worth it.


> besides, forcing headers to be unique gives the reader

> better navigational aid when they're inside the e-book.

> (and remember that e-books are the focus of my work.)

> a repeated header just causes confusion about location.

> it's better to elaborate on the header so it gets specific.


> so, in the long run, this isn't just about links at all...

> it's about making a book with a transparent structure.

Which is one of the goals of zml but not markdown. I don't really see an
advantage to unique headers myself. That's something that can be handled
as a post-process for generating tables of content or whatever.



> > Markdown extra makes a common mistake among

> > extensions - it sacrifices readability of the plain text

> > to ensure a unique element and simplify parsing.


> it's clear that duplicated text in the file just junks it up.

> so, in the abstract, i agree... plus z.m.l.'s readability is

> far better than markdown's.

Personally I got distracted with all the multiple blank lines so I'd
have to disagree there.

> but, again for discussion,

> i say "readability of the plain text" is highly over-rated.


> simply because nobody's gonna read the markdown file.

I do all the time, that's why I use markdown. Probably the main reason.


> the only reason you added the markdown cruft is so that

> the content can be turned into .html. so read that .html.

> why should the reader "imagine" big bold headers when

> s/he can view rendered headers that _are_ big and bold?

Not the ONLY reason, no. It also provides visual clues to the source
when read. I can easily distinguish headers and lists in the source
text. If I was only reading the rendered pages I wouldn't be so worried
about the readability of the source.


> the reason light-markup is cool is not better readability,

> but better _edit-ability_. markup of any kind is obtrusive.

> and intrusive. it's an obstacle, one that gums up editing.

> put the focus where it belongs -- on editing, not reading.

I agree that too much markup gums up the editing - and especially the
composing. Less is more. In general light markup is "cool" because it
allows "cool" writing and editing without using html for those who can't
be bothered. It's not why I use markdown and I don't really care if it's
cool or not. I don't have a blog that I use a light markup for. I don't
have a public website that I keep updated using a light markup for
content. I just organize my own personal offline information using it.
And in general, except for tables I find vanilla markdown just right.
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