Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Oct 23, 2009 4:13pm

comments and markdown

The comments on Jeff Atwood's complaint about how site commenters don't read instructions are pretty interesting. Basic gist is that Jeff thinks users are dumb for not understanding how to format their comments according to Markdown rules, while his readers think Jeff is dumb for introducing new rules to a simple text box.

I poked around in the CSS2 spec and found a simple answer, "white-space: pre-wrap;".

This value prevents user agents from collapsing sequences of white space. Lines are broken at newlines in the source, at occurrences of "\A" in generated content, and as necessary to fill line boxes.

That one thing on output plus automatic conversion of URLs into links should make prety much all of Markdown and other similar text-flavoring tricks unnecessary. Indentation, line-breaks, ASCII lists, all that stuff is simply preserved just like it's been in plain old email for a million years. I converted the comments on this page to use it, curious to see if it does the thing.

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