What's your favorite formatting option for writing long posts in text editor a when writing stuff online?

(If you can, this for a wider audience!)

I should have added this as a caveat: "Especially on mobile or a variety of devices with non-traditional keyboards." Markdown is clearly the go-to for most people on keyboards these days, but it's hard to use on (especially) an iPhone keyboard without hardcore markdown autocompletion in an app.

Also to clarify: by "writing stuff online" I meant "composing text in a browser" as opposed to "writing content for the web"

Markdown is my choice but there are certain things about that bug me a lot

@venko Yeah, that's kinda my feeling about it, too. I'm partial to BBCode because of its flexibility, but Markdown is way easier. But even then I feel like WYSIWYG is the only one that works anywhere close to "easy" on mobile...

@Alamantus All Markdown all the time. Novels, stories, and blogs.

@Alamantus A surprising amount of the time I find myself just straight up writing HTML (usually document fragments, rather than whole pages). Since I'm publishing to the web, sometimes the mismatch between other formatting options and the actual capabilities of the web platform are annoying to deal with.

But for simpler stuff, I'm ok with WYSIWYG. Nowadays it usually doesn't generate as terrible of HTML code as it used to.

@Alamantus voted Markdown, but if I need more complexity, I prefer AsciiDoc instead.

@Alamantus WYSIWYG overtop of Markdown, with a very obvious option to switch to editing the Markdown directly. (Voted for WYSIWYG.)


I do not like how Slack broke markdown in the client/webapp.

@Alamantus For my blog, which I have written a web editor for, I actually use gemtext. It's surprisingly simple to use on my phone since the special characters are few and far between uses. The thing I actually find the most frustrating typing on a phone as opposed to a computer is whenever I need to copy-paste text. Especially links and or from one app to another. Highlighting the correct block is an effort prone to failure and mis-taps.

@Alamantus I voted markdown but on mobile I would prefer plaintext

@Alamantus I dunno what people do on Android, but on iPhone there's a ton of editing apps like Drafts, Editorial, Ulysses, for writing Markdown, and then you can copy-paste those into forms. You should never write anything long directly in a mobile web form, you'll lose your text and it's miserable.

@mdhughes Hey I just checked out Drafts, and it has the potential to completely change my life on iOS, so thanks a ton for this suggestion!

@Alamantus I picked WISIWIG but LaTeX is what I'm most comfortable with

@Alamantus Either plain text or Markdown, probably. /Anything/ but WYSIWYG, because I like knowing what's in my post.

Markdown is cumbersome when doing *actions* but those probably won't show up in long-form writing all that much (not that we do much long-form writing really), while the increased expressiveness of having rich text can be useful at times, even though it's totally possible to do emphasis and such in plain text too.

@Alamantus I'm still experimenting.

For now, I'm using Google Notes on my phone to make notes on books being read (esp. non-fiction). After I finish the book, I copy and paste the text into a proper editor for final editing before posting a review.

@Alamantus Because I grew up with it, BBCode. I never really remember how Markdown works and WYSIWYG often breaks in my (older) browser. Plain Text is a fallback for me.

@Alamantus Plain text. Maybe Gemtext.

I'll use the features available; if Markdown is available, I'll choose it; I don't want my posts to "stand out" for the wrong reasons. A certain degree of cohesion/conformity is good.

But if we're not talking about what I'd personally do but what I should feel comfortable normalizing to: I like how Gemtext limits authors to one semantic meaning per line. It actually helps with an article's flow and navigation. It does take some getting used to if you haven't un-learned your Web habits, though.

@Alamantus ideally wysiwyg but that usually implies all sorts of tiny annoying technical issues one way or another - laggy web interface, document format issues, gotta send a large file separately, etc.

so plain text

@Alamantus and if i need to format anything like that, html

but that's mostly because almost all my long-form writing outside of work is on ao3 or dreamwidth

@Alamantus unfortunately there's not a “none of the above” option, because the correct one is, obviously, ReStructuredText.

@Alamantus Plain text for relatively unstructured things like gopher docs, LaTeX for things that will become PDFs, and org-mode for everything else. Almost all of my writing is in org files; imo it's the cleanest and most useful markup around, regardless of text editor.

@Alamantus tbf, org-mode, but otherwise markdown, and I consider it a mere markdown flavor as the principle is the same. Else... Go full 80 column ASCII art.

@Alamantus on mobile its gotta be plain text: editor buttons are too small and rich editing usually runs slow on my weak phone. i'd rather minimise time on touch keyboard and skip formatting altogether (perhaps touch up on laptop)

@Alamantus Used to write HTML directly, now more frequently use RST, sometimes #OrgMode . Of the four options listed, I picked plain-text.


@Alamantus Discord has gotten me used to markdown so it's my go-to (and I even "use" it in plain text), but when I'm writing something longer like a blog post (e.g. on WordPress, the only blog platform I've really used) I usually use 90% WYSIWYG and then 10% manually fixing up the HTML. When I write pages for my own website I just write the HTML directly but that's with a proper text editor.

I'm not used to BBCode but I can handle it, it's basically HTML with a syntax change.

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