Markdown development

Aristotle Pagaltzis pagaltzis at
Sat Mar 6 11:56:36 EST 2010

* Fletcher T. Penney <fletcher at> [2010-03-06 00:00]:

> The point is that each of these variant forms of Markdown

> evolved to scratch someone's particular itch.

As indeed did Markdown himself. Once it scratched John’s own
itch well enough, he lost the compulsion to improve it. Which
I can relate to very well – a lot of my personal projects end up
this way.

The problem we are having is that by virtue of being the
principal designer of Markdown, he is also the only one with the
authority to set a direction and have all implementations
unilaterally follow it. Michel Fortin is probably the only one in
an at all comparable position.

Personally I find most extensions to Markdown lacking in that
ineffable spirit that ties Markdown together. But I’m pretty
sure that the designers of these extensions disagree, and would
in turn find my proposals lacking.

And if that is the case, then I’d be even less likely to want
anything that any likely committee would cook up.

This is why the fact that Gruber himself no longer participates
causes a problem for everyone else who is invested in Markdown:
there is no longer a central voice.

But Gruber created what he did, and shared it, and he marketed it
(and very successfully, as we all are proof of) for what it was.
That no one else has had the same success in pushing their own
evolution of the format does not oblige Gruber to anything.

If Markdown is to evolve, this is the problem that needs to be
solved: it needs a principal designer with a good enough sense
for its spirit and enough of a voice to gain the authority to
have his or her mandates followed.

Aristotle Pagaltzis // <>

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