more harmful

bowerbird bowerbird at
Fri Nov 22 18:05:03 EST 2013

dennis said:

> As a newcomer to this list,

> I must have missed what the message is about.

you missed nothing, dennis. absolutely nothing.

the message is about nothing. sheer nothing.
nothing piled on nothing heaped over nothing.
nothing done by countless individuals here,
so let us not forget to thank them for the
nothing which they so generously contributed.

there are archives going back for years.
if you read them, you will find nothing.
nothing, and then much ado about nothing.
post after post after post, about nothing.
amounting to nothing. then more nothing.

i wish there was something. i really do.

there is nothing. nothing but nothing.

> Thanks for the great read.

you're welcome, dennis.


jason said:

> Not sure what your point is or can be, ultimately,

> beyond 'oh look, 15 competing standards'

15 different "competing" standards is one thing...

15 different flavors, all called by the same name?
that's quite another thing. at least in my opinion.

> certainly not a call to action

it wasn't a call to action. just a friendly advisory. :+)

> If Gruber had decided to develop markdown further,

> he would be stuck on a mailing list debating

> fine points about double spaces at the end of line

> to produce an extra bit of whitespace,

> or annoying people by refusing to export to LaTeX

> and there's a guy who's written a script that

> does it but Gruber just broke it fixing

> the problem with footnotes attached to links

> so the entire community is up in arms

> all 177 of them and the rest of the world is

> using that broken version

> ohmygodhowdotheycope and Gruber is up late,

> and some of the markdown afficianados are annoyed

> because someone is wrong on the internet

> and daringfireball would have been fun,

> shame he stopped it because he was doing markdown,

> how is that going, what version is it at?

> Oh 5,cool, and he's talking about

> scripts to check dates automatically now

> but he's running very low on plain syntax

> so he's thinking of using unicode symbols

> but there's a row because even though you can

> get them easily on iPhones, you can't on Android

> so the fanbois of the word 'fanboi' are offended

> and also ...

this made me laugh. seriously. because it's true!

i might criticize gruber for staying out of all this,
but i don't _blame_ him for taking such a course.

it's damn hard to wrangle a community, especially
one with such diverse, even contradictory, needs.

gruber gave an example on terpstra's podcast that
his workflow includes one author who's completely
trusted, so he'd never have to sanitize his input,
while github's workflow has tons of contributors,
none of whom can be trusted enough that it could
safely skip the need to sanitize all of their input.
makes perfect sense they must operate differently.

but there are several contentious issues which
_could_ be resolved to the satisfaction of all
-- coordination-type issues, where it doesn't
matter which way something is done, as long as
everyone agrees they'll do it the same way --
if only there was someone to decide which way.

gruber was the only such "someone" that all of
the parties could agree on as decision-maker,
but he decided instead to opt out of that role.

to put it another way, nobody expected that
gruber would be a "great man of the people".
they didn't even _want_ that. they wanted
a _dictator_ who made benevolent decisions
that would benefit their markdown ecosystem.

no one could _force_ him to take such a role.

but since gruber shows _no_reluctance_ to
take credit for markdown, i believe people
had a right to expect that he would accept
the responsibilities concomitant with that.

moreover, i would think _he_ should see
that -- if he doesn't perform that job --
his baby will fail to achieve its full potential.

and, following that same train of thought,
i would think that the markdown developers
-- after fully recognizing that gruber has
opted out -- would take it upon themselves
to resolve their differences, and swiftly,
because the time will definitely come when
they all hang separately at the same time.

but they haven't made it happen. nothing!

so i am now reluctantly shifting focus to
warn the end-users that danger lies ahead.
jump in the quicksand if you want, friends,
but make sure that you take a rope with you.

right here, though, going back to your funny
recounting of "how things might have gone",
we should remind ourselves that it is ironic
that mr. gruber has been spending much time
-- by his own admission -- on a notes app.

and while i think we could legitimately ask
whether all that time might have been spent
more usefully solving issues with markdown,
we'll also need to quickly acknowledge that
his time is his, to do whatever he likes, plus
his notes app has made him lots more money
than any markdown work would've paid him.
so society's message to him seems _clear_.

> I like Gruber on daringfireball, personally.

> I suspect he does too.

so do i. it keeps him out of trouble. ;+)

> Yeah, true. <deletes email>

truth is a fantastic destination to arrive at.


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