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Markdown (and what do you do when a community outgrows your contribution)

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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.
-40hz (September 05, 2014, 04:05 PM)
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Personally, I think it would have been nice for this standardization process to be allowed to use the name Markdown.

However, Markdown was created by Gruber and the Markdown project belongs to him. He therefore has the right to decide how the name for that project should be used.  I think this 'fork' should simply use a different name.  I have no doubt it will become successful (since it'll be used on StackExchange, Github, and Reddit).  And it appears that this is the tack that they've taken - the fork is now called CommonMark.

I actually think that in the long run, Gruber's Markdown will largely become a note in the history of CommonMark.  But that doesn't give them the right to the project name.
-mwb1100 (September 05, 2014, 07:12 PM)
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While what you say is true- which is the reason for my split feelings on the subject- it's still very petty and small to both hold on to something and prohibit growth.  Especially when there are several things using the markdown name that Gruber neither has given permission to, nor endorsed.  Look at his scathing comments on MultiMarkdown to see that.  He really, I think, objected to the word Standard.  Which when replaced with Pedantic in his reply really shows his true colors, IMO, i.e.

Edit: after a long and thoughtful email from John Gruber – which is greatly appreciated – he indicated that no form of the word "Markdown" is acceptable to him in this case. We are now using the name CommonMark.

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Oh... and another quote that shows why a standard was needed... my example was only a bit pessimistic.

It isn't a specialized dialect.

It's a deep introspection on supporting exactly what Markdown was intended to do, but failed to specify with enough accuracy, leaving us to the current situation where this...

--- ---# Hello there

This is a paragraph.

- one
- two
- three
- four

1. pirate
2. ninja
3. zombie

… renders out as 15 different outputs from 22 different Markdown parsers.

In fact, one of the design goals was to render "most" Markdown as close to the original intent of the authors as possible.

--- End quote ---

On that note... when will we get md code formatting? ;)

They seem to be bending over backwards to respect the wishes of Gruber, and naming it "CommonMark" seems like a nice thing to do.

I do think, as an outsider, this episode would be sufficient for me to decide to move to CommonMark and to completely switch away from any other form of markdown other than CommonMark.  By nature I begin by deferring to the original authors (in this case Gruber) in terms of who I think should get the benefit of deference when it comes to establishing a standard.  And if this was a case of COMPETING standards, I would no doubt line up behind Gruber in terms of opposing the efforts of other groups to establish an alternative standard using the name "Markdown".

But if the choice is between two well-meaning groups, one attempting to define a standard to solve the very real problem of incompatible and inconsistent variants and the lack of a specification and standard, and the other resisting such efforts -- I'm going to line up behind those trying to establish a standard.

CommonMark looks pretty good. The specification uses LOTS of examples. Oh god, is that refreshing to see! Far, far too often specs have some kind of rule that is never demonstrated. They really make the specification a lot easier to read and understand with the countless examples.

"Example 441"  :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup:

For anyone that has ever implemented any part of an RFC or standard, that just makes life so much easier. All too often rules have some bit of ambiguity, and examples help clarify the intent.

As for the standard there, I only glossed over it, but it seems consistent. They took 2 years to create it, so I'm pretty certain that they've got it down right. High marks for that. ;)

As for picking standards, I suppose that I'm in favour of whatever standard is open, unencumbered, works, and well-supported or in common usage. This looks like it would fit that.

Wow! I'm a big Markdown fan myself. Didn't know about this dispute though. Would be interesting to know what goes on inside Gruber's head. Seems like he missed the chance to be part of something important. I'm actually surprised how much effort the team behind CommonMark put into getting him on board. With the attitude he demonstrates, I think I would have just ignore him much sooner.


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