This community is doing a great job at moving Markdown forward. However, I’m concerned that the population of this forum is made up mostly (perhaps entirely) of programmers. A project without diversity has the potential to be worse off because it does not benefit from a wider range or perspectives and experiences.
In particular, when discussing the syntax I’ve seen lots of comments about what is easier or safer for the parser. Valid concerns, but these were never the primarily goal of Markdown. Readability was always a priority over ease of programming. In Gruber’s own words, “I had to program the original implementation. Me, the syntax designer, drove me, the programmer, nuts.” We shouldn’t be uncritical of Gruber’s views of course, but in this case I think his comment reflects the philosophy of Markdown. It is primarily for writers, not programmers. So why are primarily programmers discussing the syntax for proposed CommonMark extensions?
To achieve the goal of a beautiful, easy to read, easy to write lightweight markup language (that can be used for a wide range of purposes) we ought to look at the wider community of writers. To achieve this goal, it may not be enough simply to guess what writers want. So I propose that we attempt to get more non-programmers to join in the discussions here. Out of the various Markdown flavours, I particularly like much of what @jgm has done with the syntax found in Pandoc’s Markdown and I suspect much of that comes from his experience writing in academia, rather than as a programmer. It seems likely that other writers would provide valuable proposals and feedback on extension syntax.