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This is an example of a revolutionary new document
format called "Plain Text". Some of the features of this format are:

* supported by every editor!
* requires no internet connection!
* editable on any device, from your phone to your TV!
* simple to backup and restore!
* compare documents with "diff"!
* search documents with "grep"!
* can be modified programaticaly using "sed" and "awk"!
* Plain-text supports every version control system out there!

Try plain-text today!

@roar

My only personal extra is the plain text benefit of Markdown.

Still plain text, but easy to accomplish effective fancy RTF through a tool like Pandoc.

Give them a try and see what you think.

@Algot @roar markdown requires that you know all the special meanings of the special characters of the markdown flavor you are using. If you don't you get unexpected formatting. No thanks.

@teleclimber @Algot
Agreed, markdown is a disaster and I hate it, but there's not a lot of other good options.

@teleclimber @Algot @roar It's not THAT hard is it? Even if you just remember headings and lists that's usually sufficient.

@drkmttr @roar @teleclimber

I'm a fan of markdown.
It seemed the most useful of the formats to use so UNPROCESSED text was still very legible.

Passed through a translator like Pandoc, I can get many useful complex formats without significant extra work.

I think the question was whether plain text was the best choice for raw documentation of a project like Mastodon instead of a strict requirement for a particular toolchain.

@Algot @drkmttr @teleclimber

The question had nothing to do with Mastodon. It was just a rant in relation to having to jump hurdles to use Confluence without using their crappy interface.

I write in markdown (well, multimarkdown mostly) because it's currently the best option, but it's not great (and no, I'm not capable of doing better).

@drkmttr @teleclimber @Algot

no, it's not hard, I don't think anyone ever said it was. it is terrible, however, as explained here:
undeadly.org/cgi?action=articl

@roar @teleclimber @Algot You're right, "hard" was the wrong word to use. However, I feel that there are only so many ways to structure text while still being productive. Sure, md lacks in in functionality compared to LaTeX and the like but its also easier to adopt and understand immediately which is why it's so widely used. At the end of the day, use whatever floats your boat. ☺️

@roar @drkmttr @Algot Good link! The author breaks down all the flaws with MD in a way I was never able to express.

@drkmttr @Algot @roar Knowing headings and lists is sufficient? Precisely not! A fundamental flaw of markdown is that if you don't know the entire set of special character combinations by heart you will end up with unexpected results.

I once tried documenting code in md. My vars are snake_case so I ended up with subscripts everywhere. Awesome.

To compound the problem there are 47 flavors of MD, each slightly different, so yeah, no.

@teleclimber @Algot @roar Fair enough, I will agree that the variations of md have gotten out of hand but that's not a problem unique to md. What's your proposed solution for dealing with underscores? Did you try escaping them with a backslash?

@drkmttr @Algot @roar Yes but having to think about escape characters defeats the purpose of something like MD to me. It should to be easy to write. MD makes me think too much. I end up "markdowning" (fiddling with special chars) instead of "documenting".

So I just write things in plain *unprocessed* text (yes, with * for emphasis). If I need more structure or visual expressiveness I go to HTML.

@teleclimber @Algot @roar If that makes more sense to you than all the more power to you. I agree that you should use what you prefer and makes you more productive. If people people want to be involved with your projects then they will have to learn your documentation methodology. Simple as that.

@roar I like how there's even version incompatibilities for people who like that sort of thing. CR/LF vs just LF. Who says you can't please everyone? :D

@roar

caveat:
- your encoding settings might make the format unreadable on other devices
- depending if you are \r\n or \n the format might be annoying on other devices
- tabs and spaces might be fucked up in transit by third parties like gmail

@mulander true, but when have you ever seen vendors mentioning the downsides of their product?

@roar That sounds far too good to be true, there has to be a catch in there somewhere. 😀

@roar I'm sorry but if I can't set my typeface I don't want to say it.

@roar you missed the most important selling point:

* supports emoji

@roar you forgot emoji support! *that* will sell it to the young demographic!!

@roar saying it's supported by every editor... Clearly you haven't had to deal with issues with line endings, different text encodings or even big endian vs little endian. I've had plenty of incompatible editors over the years.

@Ash yes, I've had to deal with issues over the years, and most were easily solved with standard tools. You can't say that about proprietary formats that lock your data up in a magical cloud database.

Anyway, it was just a dumb post to vent my grumpiness at confluence, I wasn't aiming for accuracy

@roar this format seems awesome, but *what if you're one of the billions of people that use an alphabet with letters not in the lower 127 ASCII* <blank stare>

@roar and a grep/diff/sed/awk that also support Unicode. And then not *every* system or editor supports it.

I get your point. Let's just not pretend that plain ASCII is an awesome versatile format, unless you imply that only English-speaking computer-literate people matter.

<<speaking as an English-speaking computer-literate person that can't use French accents in plain text C code comments, because somewhere, somehow, it borks some tools>>

@roar and so, text plain is easy to compress, it's ecological =)
I see one problem: you need to learn a syntax for structured data. It's not instinctive

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