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- Markdown is intended to be as easy-to-read and easy-to-write as is feasible.
- Readability, however, is emphasized above all else. A Markdown-formatted document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions. While Markdown’s syntax has been influenced by several existing text-to-HTML filters — including SeText, atx, Textile, ReStructuredText, Grutatext, and EtText? — the single biggest source of inspiration for Markdown’s syntax is the format of plain text email.
- To this end, Markdown’s syntax is comprised entirely of punctuation characters, which punctuation characters have been carefully chosen so as to look like what they mean. E.g., asterisks around a word actually look like emphasis. Markdown lists look like, well, lists. Even blockquotes look like quoted passages of text, assuming you’ve ever used email.