the future of markdown, according to whom?

Bowerbird at Bowerbird at
Fri Oct 26 13:30:26 EDT 2012

i am waiting to hear about "the future of markdown"
according to john gruber, because as far as i can see,
he's the only person who can determine that future...

sadly, however, i think i _did_ hear about it from him,
in that "i'm not gonna fuck with it" post from last week.

i know i'm certainly not _expecting_ any more from him.
he's met his one-post-every-two-years quota for now...

besides, i'm not sure anyone _can_ update markdown,
not at this point, not even the mighty gruber himself.

there are so many renegade developers who are now
using the label "markdown" to mean "i will automate
your italics markup, but _little_else_" that the term is
next-to-meaningless in any kind of structured form.
those kids ain't gonna march in strict compliance with
any new rules and regulations that you might require.

as for a new name -- be it "rockdown" or whatever --
that's just gonna fragment things even _more_ badly.

i mean, it will help you to isolate those rebel kids, but
at the same time, you might be surprised to learn that
they constitute _much_ of the "uptake" gruber admires,
so if your main intent is to draft on his success so far,
you will find yourself with less oomph than you hoped.

(by the way, in case it isn't clear, i'd say that gruber is
overestimating the value of markdown's uptake so far,
given that so much of it does indeed reside in those
half-assed -- or quarter-assed -- implementations.
if such trivialities are what "markdown" really means,
then you can have it. of course, for his blog anyway,
trivialities are how gruber uses markdown, if he does.
have you done a view-source on daring fireball lately?
john is using definition-list tags for his blog entries!
hey, i've never been one to argue for "semantic purity",
so i don't care, but who wants to use that as a model?)

in other words, i think it's too late to "unify" markdown.

and that's even assuming that y'all are able to _agree_
how to resolve the inconsistencies, which is doubtful...

which means that it's _really_ too late. far too late.

and that's even more true if the effort is led by people
like atwood and/or greenspan. they are highly skilled,
to be sure, and deserve kudos for calling out the need,
but this kind of thing needs to be headed by someone
like john macfarlane (who knows the issues down cold)
or fletcher penny (who has built the better mousetrap).
nobody else has the _gravitas,_ in my humble opinion.

but seriously, even with that, i still think it's too late.

and even if it's not, there is some question (in my mind)
whether markdown even _deserves_ to be saved. really.

markdown is a sloppy implementation (by john gruber)
of a great idea (which predates gruber by many years)...
i think you can do much better. i think i've done better.
take the key objectives, and make them even _sharper_.

maybe i'll write up some specific advice for you later.

or maybe i won't. (since some of you seem to dislike it,
quite intensely, whenever i do that. which might just be
a good reason why i actually _should_ do it, let me see.)

but whatever i do, _you_ should seriously reconsider it
when anyone says they "just want to get back to gruber
had in mind at the outset". because you can do better.

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