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From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Date: Mon, 07 May 2012 20:04:58 +0900

Ted Zlatanov writes:

 > Please realize Drew is grandstanding about two extra lines in e-mail
 > messages, *voluntarily* placed there by the author.

Top-posting is also a voluntary act of the author, but we don't
hesitate to criticize that.

I think the right question to ask is whether relaxing the restriction
to plain text for the sake of nicer presentation for org-mode/Gnus
users is good for Emacs.

 > [Y]ou may as well complain about *emphasis*,
 > _underline_, `quote', and such ad-hoc ways to highlight content.

Your point about the definition of "markup" is very well-taken; these
ad-hoc highlights are indeed markup.

However, there is an important difference.  A human being has very
little trouble detecting code injected into the flow of a narrative
text, and authors do format code to look like code, so as to be
readable in plain text MUAs.  Thus, the org-mode code markers are
primarily *presentation* markup for the benefit of programs.

On the contrary, it is often impossible (without markup) for human
beings to determine where emphasis in plain text is, so (like smileys)
such *semantic* markup is for humans, and appropriate in plain text,
just as punctuation, such as colons and quotations marks, is
appropriate in plain text.  Nor is MIME useful for such markup: it can
only provide a container (ie, a text/$MARKUP body part) to pass to the
actual markup interpreter.

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