Microsoft built an entire industry based on the proposition that, in the absence of an industry standard, any standard is better than none.
Microsoft provided a missing standard for the personal computer desktop (not a good
standard - just a missing
one) and went onto unbelievable success and industry dominance.
The wild and woolly frontier is fine as long as it's still a frontier. But once you have towns and cities, and people trying to collaborate and share, standards become desirable for pragmatic reasons if nothing else.
Trying to avoid a standard when it becomes obvious one is both wanted and needed
by a large number of users makes zero sense. And I can't follow what Gruber's argument or point seems to be - other than him saying "this is my
child - leave it as it is."
In many respects his behavior reminds me of Aesop's "dog in the hayloft." The people who want to extend and standardize markdown seem to be bending over backwards to acknowledge and show respect for Gruber's contribution when they could have just as easily forked and been done with it. But they very much wanted to keep "markdown" in the name and involve Mr.Gruber in the process. However, for some reason, Mr. Gruber seems to be highly offended by their overtures.
Dunno...guess you had to be there or something. I just don't get it.