Obviously the Markdown specification and reference implementation is pretty well orphaned "upstream". Obviously Jeff knows his stuff on parenting and is one of the major players in the Markdown space; surely one of the most visible ones.

Therefore my question: Should Jeff take a lead to solicit input for a "Markdown 2.0" specification?

  • 7
    Why the double link?
    – juan
    Feb 18, 2010 at 18:11
  • Does Jeff want to take a lead on Markdown 2.0 in the first place? :)
    – Pekka
    Feb 18, 2010 at 20:28
  • @Downvoter: to make two different points; and for style. @Pekka: <airquote>obviously</airquote> not; else he would have put his money where his mouth is. I can totally understand him ranting but not acting, though. Spearheading Markdown 2.0 would probably make no direct impact on the bottom line. Feb 19, 2010 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


If the goal of a new Markdown spec is to be actively developed with strong leadership, then it needs someone with time, motivation, and experience to lead it - with all due respect to Jeff, he has a lot on his plate already; from the sound of things, he's struggled a bit with keeping a hold on the WMD project (no time to update the source / review forks).

  • 2
    Exactly. Jeff's a consumer. He's a high profile consumer though, so him saying he's going to follow X will lend X more credence. X should be George or that other dude who Jeff linked to who actually are interested in it.
    – Tom Ritter
    Feb 18, 2010 at 20:58
  • I know Cletus is re-writing it in Java as an actual lexer and parser. Feb 18, 2010 at 22:57
  • Accepted: sounds reasonable. Also see my comment about my understanding of the business side of this on the question itself. Feb 19, 2010 at 13:36

I've been working with Markdown recently in an effort to bring the Best parts of Stack Overflow to a blog engine I'm working on.

I'd like to see someone pick up the mantle and say 'Markdown is this, or Markdown is that'.

For my part, I'm using Markdown, but want to remove the ability to mix in HTML in markdown. This is just an experiment, but I feel like Markdown shouldn't contain HTML intermixed.

To make some of my comments more permanent:

I can see Markdown needing to take in things like Tables, and here's a possible way to do that (but it'd need to be added to the Markdown Spec):

    TableHeader | TableHeader2 | TableHeader3 
    TableRow    | TableRow2    | TableRow3
    TableRow    | TableRow2    | TableRow3
    TableRow    | TableRow2    | TableRow3
    TableRow    | TableRow2    | TableRow3

Markdown could then transform this into an actual HTML table.

There's an even better implementation that uses dashes and pipes, it's called the Discount Markdown implementation.

     aaa | bbbb

I like the implementation, but I'm not entirely sure you'd need the horizontal dashes, although they'd help in the case of empty fields:

     aaa | bbbb |      |
  • 1
    There are some circumstances where you need to use HTML to work around the standard. If Markdown was designed more like YAML there wouldn't be this problem. Feb 18, 2010 at 19:23
  • @Brad Gilbert What instances are you thinking of? Only one readily comes to mind, and that is links within images. That can be solved with some UI goodness. (adding a checkbox to the dialog for an image). Hit 'Tab', 'Space', and enter and it's fixed. Feb 18, 2010 at 19:29
  • I have found too many cases where html is necessary, due to inherent conflicts in markdown to totally exclude it. Something that comes to mind is tables. Feb 18, 2010 at 19:43
  • 7
    @George - Looks like you just volunteered to head the new Markdown 2.0 Committee! Congratulations! Let us know when you're done with the spec.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 18, 2010 at 20:14
  • The problem with Tables is that they don't really have a place in dialogue, especially not lightweight dialog. I can see instances where it'd be useful, but not in every day conversation. I could see using the | operator to denote columns, and multiple lines would denote the rows. Feb 18, 2010 at 20:23
  • You should look at Discount - what reddit's using for markdown now. It supports tables.
    – Tom Ritter
    Feb 18, 2010 at 20:56
  • @Tom Ritter Thanks for that. I didn't know about that. Feb 18, 2010 at 21:41
  • 2
    The horizontal dashes under table headers do jibe nicely with the horizontal dashes used for normal headers in Markdown.
    – Shog9
    Feb 18, 2010 at 21:53
  • +1 Shog9. THe more I see it the more it grows on me. It's got legs, Man. Feb 19, 2010 at 13:51
  • @George - Please support Anchors <a name="internal_link"/> somehow. Make headings turn into named anchors, for instance. Would help link inside an answer or post for such thinks as FAQ, Glossary, long posts, etc.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 23, 2010 at 17:49

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