I searched for this first and couldn't find it already suggested.

I'm finding I'm coming across posts (often from new users) where an ordered list is included but is not formatted properly, because they've used brackets rather than periods.

1) Here is an example 2) of what they do

  1. When really
  2. They wanted it to look like this

It can be fixed with a quick edit, but not all users do this (or know how). I was wondering whether the markdown parser could be extended to also recognise this alternative notation?


1 Answer 1


The current parser is unlikely to get any incremental new features like paren-delimited list numbering. Rather than updating the current parser to add a new feature here or there and risking repeatedly breaking things, SE is planning to switch to the CommonMark standard all at once, eventually:

Regarding the question "will it break too many posts?", what Adam Davis says is correct. So when we switch (and at this point I'm fairly certain that it's "when", not "if"), the most important thing to know is that this won't suddenly change old posts.

Making sure the switchover doesn't break anything too horribly is part of why the change is “eventually” rather than sooner.

Notably, CommonMark supports parens in ordered list markup. I'm looking forward to the switchover, so I can stop “correcting” well-meaning users who use parens for numbered lists!

  • 1
    Oh, that's great! I'm all for moves in the direction of common standards, particularly because I keep forgetting the differences when switching between SE, MediaWiki and GitLab. ;) Thanks for answering.
    – Tim Malone
    May 28, 2016 at 4:36

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