Metadata syntax (was Universal syntax for Markdown)

David Sanson dsanson at
Mon Sep 19 23:22:26 EDT 2011

On Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 10:59 PM, Richard Caldwell <nrc at> wrote:

> Here is what I believe to be the appropriate solution for Markdown metadata.


> * Metadata is specified at the top of the document similar to RFC822 headers.  The keys and values may be arbitrary.

>  Multiple lines may be folded as in RFC822.

The gap between this and John's proposal to use reStructuredText field
lists is quite small. As I mentioned above, one could explicitly allow
the leading colon to be dropped for metadata at the beginning of the
file (despite the Hamlet concern, which I think is a serious one).
Even if that is not allowed, the gap is just a matter of the leading
colons. The additional flexibility that comes from allowing metadata
to occur at other places in the document is, to my mind, quite large.
And there is the matter of paragraph breaks. Is such a small gap a
reason to be disheartened? :-)

> Many of the proposals that I'm seeing try to solve problems that go far beyond the scope of what Markdown is or should ever be.

I'm not sure what the scope of Markdown is or should be. I don't think
it is, or should be, nothing more than an easy way to write HTML, if
only because it also happens to already be an easy way to write LaTeX,
OpenOffice documents, ePub books, etc. To my mind, it is an easy way
to write *texts*, and as far as I can see, there is no reason at all
that these texts can't be standalone documents, publishable as is. So
I guess I am struggling to see how any of the proposals made go
against what markdown is or should be, unless you mean that what it is
and should be is just an easy way to write HTML.


More information about the Markdown-Discuss mailing list