I’ve seen a lot of tutorials, lots of effort to push the masses to markdown. I’ve done it too where everyone in my immediate online social circle has a curmudgeon’s affinity for bbcode simply because it is what they are used to.
The basic gist my mind has compiled from all the various responses I got when trying to introduce markdown boils down to “This is IT stuff for coding geeks? Then I don’t want to learn, it’s probably complicated.”
Every. Single. Response.
While it was not outright explicit as mentioned above, all made reference in some way overall to my background as a “coding geek” (air quotes), web developer and system administrator.
“I, with my superiority to all that is efficient, think that you, the web pleb and consumer, should use this system for max efficiency for my systems and my fellow admins and developers.”
This air is something I see every time I try to introduce something from the world of IT and power web-users into the ‘mundane’ circles. Markdown is no different. GitHub was worse.
I used to do a lot of ALLCAPS for emphasis. I have to when I roleplay on a MU* (an offshoot of telnet and dial-in BBS). However when I did that I noticed others saw it as ‘melodramatic’, especially when it came down to creative writing (i.e. roleplay). Bold or italicized writing does the same thing but allows the reader’s mind to process it in a different way. I liken it to some kind of instinctual context. A sense of eloquence like reading a book all neatly presented versus the screaming of some preteen and they HATE EVERYTHING I JUST WISH THEY WOULD STOP. GOD! It is a context that is nigh instinctual even though Humans weren’t born to enjoy the extra padding and presence of a bold word phrase versus SOMETHING BIGGER BUT MAYBE NOT. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing about but I can say for certain formatted text online shows that the person writing has a sense of integrity in a (online) world where there’s an uneasy sense of ‘should I care how I present myself here?’
It’s the exact same reason writers of all stripes don’t use ALLCAPS. It’s writing 101, especially from the likes of Elements of Style and nearly every other writing book and grammar guide out there.
ALLCAPS is not the best solution to the problem of needing emphasis, unless if one does not care what their readers think of them.
(Bonus: some of us ended up using markdown in MU* roleplay. While it may have looked odd in a telnet environment it did however show up when loading the .txt logs into a markdown-compatible browser or viewer. The writing lit up with wonderful formatting. It beats having the client output everything in messy HTML. )
That is the nugget of wisdom from your entire response. One can’t go against Human Nature. Work with it, exploit it if need be for these benevolent means.
A person learns by doing it In natura and with a cerebral reward to push conditioning. I know when I always click the heart to register a ‘like’ on a Discourse site I get a positive mental response by just seeing the heart ‘beat’. When my mind got some positive feedback then it was easier for me to understand why it’s important to use Discourse’s likes and everything went from there.
The one thing I noticed that works in similar ways to a like’s ‘heartbeat’ is to have a markdown-compatible text area format the text as the user formatted it with correct markdown. It is a hybrid of WYSIWYG and markdown. It is immediate and instant gratification. I noticed some of those I tried teaching also hated the ‘two pane’ view as seen here on Discourse’s composer drawer and Ghost’s backend. But I also saw that the person I was teaching took well to StackEdit. To a point she was actually having a bit of fun. I noticed that she was using the styling more with markdown. The thing was that 1. she didn’t need to use the two-pane work+preview that she hated and 2. she got immediate gratification for her correct markdown because StackEdit’s ui styles the text in a way that showed her she was correct. I think it was the first time I ‘got through’ to someone who otherwise was really resisting my efforts earlier.
MarkdownPad does this too, much to my pleasure. But StackEdit does it where it has more ‘style’ and more weight. It looks nice, it makes someone feel good. That’s what is desired.
Because I believe the only way to learn is to do it ‘in the wild’ and condition a user to enjoy using it I won’t submit a tutorial for this contest, even though that keyboard is calling my name. But I still wanted to contribute in some way so I decided to take the plunge, sign in and offer my input and observation based on past efforts.