Maybe I see this from a more high-level perspective and consider parsers a technicality to be solved, but for me the most important things are
- The purpose of Markdown is to add semantic structure to a human-readable plain text, and
- CommonMark is a standard based on Unicode.
All these arguments about which editor on which platform uses what special characters is really secondary.
Of course, for someone who writes mostly ASCII text it seems easy to use
* et al, but if you write in Chinese* or Arabic or Klingon and you’re using a wide range of Unicode code points anyway it seems quite natural to use bullets as bullets, doesn’t it?
The only reason why we’re not discussing this in reverse (“do we really need
* et al if Unicode provides us with actual bullets?”) is that John Gruber and most of us are still using a 140 year old keyboard layout, which really is a shitty argument in the greater scheme of things.
Thus, I think CommonMark should support all Unicode bullet characters, just as it supports all whitespace and line-break characters as such.
*) Disclaimer: I have no idea how one writes Chinese on a less-than-table-sized keyboard, but I assume it involves sacrificing the blood of a goat.