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Right now, to make a list, you have to have a format of a number followed by a period:

1.
2.

Anything else, such as 1), or (1), doesn't work. However, particularly on Academia.SE, there are a lot of posters who post lists like that. It's very obvious that it's a list; it begins with a #) or (#), goes on without line breaks, and and the next line continues with another #) or (#).

Improving the parser like this would:

  1. Make answers look more professional
  2. Improve readability
  3. Allow me not to waste time fixing poorly formatted lists.
  4. Allow more lists on the site, which we all know are awesome.

The same thing goes for *) and (*).

So, my request is that we modify the parsing engine to interpret #) and (#) (and *) and (*)), when used at the beginning of a sentence, as a list.

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Eh...this seems like a pretty significant deviation from the Markdown specification, and not something that could be applied in pre/post-processing like other Markdown extensions here. The inline editor help explains the syntax for lists pretty readily, and there's buttons to help people get started...so while I believe that people are frequently not creating lists correctly, I don't fully understand why. –  Tim Stone Jul 26 '12 at 15:02
    
@TimStone - The reason is because they know or care about Markdown, they're just writing an answer. Our job should be to make their work as painless and easy as possible. This is a deviation, but I think it's a justified one, given the scale of our audience. –  eykanal Jul 26 '12 at 15:14
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