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Markdown feedback, bugs, and suggestions

I will use this thread for feedback related to ThinkLab flavored markdown (TLFM).

Smart Punctuation

Many markdown parsers have implemented smart punctuation, which includes en and em dashes, curly quotes, and ellipsis. Here are a few examples:

Hopefully, this can also apply to titles where I have been using lots of en dashes.

Smart Punctuation does not appear to be something Discourse, Stackoverflow, or GitHub have implemented. Perhaps there's a reason they haven't? Jeff Atwood seems to think its better to only use it in titles. But on the other hand that might screw up something like this.

  • Daniel Himmelstein: The counterargument that "git checkout –" should be git checkout – is convincing to me. GitHub markdown has additional limitations, such as no formulas, that are not present in TLFM.

  • Daniel Himmelstein: I start from the premise that TLFM should be capable of publication quality output. This is likely not the case for Discourse, Stackoverflow, or GitHub.

  • Jesse Spaulding: Good points. I think we'll start with doing something with the titles and then go from there.

  • Jesse Spaulding: @dhimmel Two dashes -- and three dashes --- now both automatically convert to em-dashes (—) in markdown and discussion titles. Additionally, quotes in discussion titles convert to curly quotes.

  • Daniel Himmelstein: Why doesn't -- convert to an en-dash (–)?

  • Jesse Spaulding: Because people commonly use -- in place of an em-dash. If we do what you suggest they will be getting en-dashes when they mean to get em-dashes! It seems strange to expect people to type 3 dashes to get an em-dash. I've never seen that.

  • Daniel Himmelstein: I think that most users will expect -- to return an en-dash. Latex and other markdown extensions use -- for en and --- for em. Personally, I frequently use en-dashes for numerical ranges.

  • Jesse Spaulding: Okay, what I've done is the following:

    1. --- and (space)--(space) convert to em-dash
    2. -- converts to en-dash

    This should then work as expected in most scenarios. Let me know if you see a problem.

Status: Completed
  Discussion System   Feature Suggestion
Referenced by
Cite this as
Daniel Himmelstein, Jesse Spaulding (2015) Markdown feedback, bugs, and suggestions. Thinklab. doi:10.15363/thinklab.d32

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