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Add parenthesis to period as an accepted list delimiter

When editing other people's posts to correct some formatting issues, I've often run into people assuming that the following format would work for numbered lists:

1) Item 1
2) Item 2
3) Item 3

The result, however, is less than pleasing:

1) Item 1 2) Item 2 3) Item 3

It seems like a pretty common way of formatting lists in plaintext, so I'd like to ask if it'd be possible to extend the markdown syntax to allow for this?

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marked as duplicate by random Jun 17 '11 at 14:48

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4  
If people don't know how to format, that's their issue. Markdown is Markdown and I don't think there's a benefit from extending its syntax. It only causes confusion because you lose consistency. –  slhck Jun 17 '11 at 14:42
2  
+1. Can you believe @Random closed my original as "too localized?" Abuse of mod powers! –  Won't Jun 17 '11 at 15:05
    
At the time "Not constructive" wasn't an option. @won –  random Jun 17 '11 at 15:11
2  
@random: Not constructive? Not constructive?? NOT CONSTRUCTIVE??? I'll have you note that JA said it was "not a bad idea." So there nyah. –  Won't Jun 17 '11 at 15:15
1  
Why do people not look at the preview when they are asking a question? Don't they realize their markdown syntax is wrong? Do they even look at the question after it's posted? –  Rocket Hazmat Jun 17 '11 at 15:36
    
@Rocket: What the <b>hell</b> is Markdown? ;) –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 17 '11 at 17:04
    
@BoltClock: <marquee><blink>HTML FTW</blink></marquee> –  Rocket Hazmat Jun 17 '11 at 17:35

3 Answers 3

Aside from having to change those to a space and a period, what benefit is gained?

We should let people get away with stuff when the rules are broadly posted?

Can we do that at the golf course? Can I just knock a divot out and then walk away from it? Can I do that on the green too?

I understand your frustration, but either they care (like you do) or they don't.

I vote no


I had to experiment

periods

  1. this is a list
  2. this is a list
  3. this is a list

    1. this is a list
    2. this is a list
    3. this is a list

and now parens

1) this is a list 2) this is a list 3) this is a list

1) this is a list 2) this is a list 3) this is a list

I had to experiment

##periods

1. this is a list
2. this is a list
3. this is a list

 1. this is a list
 2. this is a list
 3. this is a list

##and now parens

1) this is a list
2) this is a list
3) this is a list

 1) this is a list
 2) this is a list
 3) this is a list
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2  
Er...really? The benefit is a common list format works and life gets a little easier for editors –  Michael Mrozek Jun 17 '11 at 14:47
    
@Michael Yes, but only here. The point of using Markdown is using it in the way it was meant to be used and not stacking things on top of it only to make life easier for people who don't care about properly formatting. –  slhck Jun 17 '11 at 14:49
    
Also see this answer. –  slhck Jun 17 '11 at 14:50

Use two spaces at the end of each line to force a newline [note that ' ' has been replaced with '_' to view whitespace]:

1)_Item_1__
2)_Item_2__
3)_Item_3__

produces:

1) Item 1
2) Item 2
3) Item 3

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1  
This isn't the same as actually producing a numbered list –  Michael Mrozek Jun 17 '11 at 14:46
    
True @Michael, but it does give a rendering that renders like a list should. I read the question as asking for the text to look like a list, not that Markdown had to know it was such. –  yhw42 Jun 17 '11 at 14:51
2  
The question was intended for the Markdown parser to recognize that format in the same way it recognizes "1. ..." lists, to allow for things to Just Work™ for new users. Having to know that you need two spaces at the end of each line defeats the point in that. :) –  Sebastian Paaske Tørholm Jun 17 '11 at 14:54

I don't think that the point of the syntax is that it be intuitive—"this should work because it is natural that it do so"—but rather that it is simple and well-defined. The syntax that exists now for numbered lists works well. If the only reason for changing it is that it's a "common way" to format them, then that's not a good enough reason. The syntax now has already been engrained in current users' minds, and introducing a second acceptable syntax for the same result is just superfluous and could even lead to confusion. Besides, a uniform way of displaying them (with the . instead of the )) is just prettier.

Furthermore, SE has already been working hard to make it easier for new users to understand Markdown. A "preview" section has long existed that shows users exactly how their posts will appear. And, for newbies who have no idea how to format it by hand, there are WYSIWYG editor controls right above the text box. How could it be any easier?

Unfortunately, even if the site were to adopt a new syntax, it wouldn't solve the problem, since you can chalk almost all formatting errors up to laziness.

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