text/markdown effort in IETF (invite)

Sean Leonard dev+ietf at seantek.com
Wed Jul 9 16:00:21 EDT 2014

On 7/9/2014 12:06 PM, Michel Fortin wrote:
> Le 9-juil.-2014 à 11:49, Sean Leonard <dev+ietf at seantek.com> a écrit :
>> Hi markdown-discuss Folks:
>> I am working on a Markdown effort in the Internet Engineering Task Force, to standardize on "text/markdown" as the Internet media type for all variations of Markdown content. You can read my draft here: <http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-seantek-text-markdown-media-type-00>.
>> The proposal is already getting traction. Is there anyone on this list that is interested in participating or helping this effort? In particular we need to better understand and document what versions of Markdown exist, so that either Markdown as a family of informal syntaxes will start to converge, or if not, that Markdown variations have an easy way to be distinguished from one another. (See the "flavor" parameter discussed in the draft.)
> The "flavor" parameter is a good idea in theory. I'm not sure it'll be very useful in general though. Nobody is going to annotate their file with the right flavor unless there's a tangible benefit, and I don't see what the benefit could be. Software that could do something useful with markdown-identified content will likely ignore the flavor part when parsing because no one wants to see "incompatible flavor" errors, especially when commonly used parts of the syntax are compatible anyway.
> Markdown is in the spot where HTML was before HTML5 with each implementation doing its own thing. I don't know if Markdown will get out of there anytime soon. I'll point out however that HTML never got anything like a "flavor" parameter in its MIME type, and even if it did it'd not have helped clear the mess in any way.

Ok so here is where I really want to focus and learn some stuff from the 
Markdown community. I am a fairly heavy Markdown user, but not a 
Markdown developer or maintainer [yet].

 From what I have gathered of Markdown history as an observer, getting 
this into one standardized syntax is like herding cats. Someone 
complains about how _ and * interact, or how to do tables such-and-such 
a way, and then they go off and write a different tool that does it 
differently. Ultimately it's as much about style (which is very 
personal) as functionality. To make matters worse, Gruber isn't 
providing leadership, so anyone can write "Son of Markdown" and before 
you know it we'll have 50 different standards. <http://xkcd.com/927/>

If someone else manages to write a formal specification, I am happy to 
refer to that normatively in the (proposed) IETF work. If the community 
manages to coalesce around that spec, I am also happy to refer to that 
spec as the exclusive normative reference. But...you may as well boil 
the ocean. So I'm not going to attempt that. I just want to call the 
ocean for what it is, and it's not text/plain. :)


More information about the Markdown-Discuss mailing list