Agreeing on "Historical Markdown" (was: Re: text/markdown effort in IETF (invite))

Waylan Limberg waylan.limberg at
Fri Jul 11 22:32:39 EDT 2014

> On Jul 11, 2014, at 7:20 PM, John MacFarlane <jgm at> wrote:
> +++ Sean Leonard [Jul 11 14 01:54 ]:
>> Since we cannot reach consensus on what ought to be "Standard Markdown" today, can the community reach consensus on "Historical Markdown"--of which I propose three working definitions?
> I think the only sensible thing to refer to is John Gruber's Markdown
> syntax description, which is the canonical reference (even if it is very
> incomplete on the details). 1.0.1 and 1.0.2b7 are both
> buggy implementations.  Neither one is faithful to the syntax
> description.

I agree. There is one markdown -- the syntax rules. While there may be many implementations, they are all buggy -- whether intentional or not.

Actually, I might be persuaded that there there is two: the rules, and "extended markdown" -- which would be all intentional deviations from the rules. If your documents are "markdown" then they strictly follow the rules and mostly likely will be parsed by all markdown parsers the same way. However, if your document is "extended markdown", then all bets are off. Such a label is in effect saying; "Hey, this text document represents markdown text, but may not strictly be pure markdown text. Weird things may happen. Consider yourself warned." Beyond that, I see no need to specify anything further.

Waylan Limberg

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