Last modified: 2012-11-06 07:25:19 UTC

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Bug 1894 - New wiki syntax for sup & sub tags
New wiki syntax for sup & sub tags
Status: RESOLVED WONTFIX
Product: MediaWiki
Classification: Unclassified
Parser (Other open bugs)
unspecified
All All
: Lowest enhancement with 6 votes (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody - You can work on this!
:
: 3080 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Blocks:
  Show dependency treegraph
 
Reported: 2005-04-15 04:45 UTC by Colin Burnett
Modified: 2012-11-06 07:25 UTC (History)
2 users (show)

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Attachments

Description Colin Burnett 2005-04-15 04:45:31 UTC
Just thought I'd see about getting some new wiki syntax for the sup and sub
tags.  Perhaps copying the bold and italics tags and go with 4^^th^^ and
x^^^1^^^ for sup and sub respectively?  Or maybe 4\\th\\ and x//1// ?
Comment 1 Zigger 2005-08-09 13:14:59 UTC
*** Bug 3080 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 2 Zigger 2005-08-09 13:17:10 UTC
Bug 3080 comment 0 suggests another syntax.
Comment 3 Omegatron 2005-08-10 14:34:03 UTC
(In reply to comment #2)
> Bug 3080 comment 0 suggests another syntax.

The other syntax is 

x^{2} for x<sup>2</sup>
O_{2} for O<sub>2</sub>

like TeX.
Comment 4 Michael Zajac 2006-05-17 16:25:06 UTC
Another formatting option, as used by Textile:

  x^2^  for x<sup>2</sup>
  O~2~ for O<sub>2</sub>

Reference: <http://www.textism.com/tools/
textile/>.
Comment 5 Brion Vibber 2006-05-17 18:07:23 UTC
This simply seems unnecessary when we already have perfectly good 
<sub> and <sup>.

Going to close as WONTFIX.
Comment 6 Omegatron 2006-05-17 18:08:46 UTC
(In reply to comment #5)
> This simply seems unnecessary when we already have perfectly good 
> <sub> and <sup>.

Those are HTML, not wiki markup.
Comment 7 Brion Vibber 2006-05-17 18:17:03 UTC
Some of our wiki markup strongly resembles a subset of HTML.
Comment 8 Colin Burnett 2006-05-17 18:19:14 UTC
(In reply to comment #5)
> This simply seems unnecessary when we already have perfectly good 
> <sub> and <sup>.
> 
> Going to close as WONTFIX.

By that argument we should remove '' and ''' from the syntax since we have <B>
and <I>!  Heck, might as well get rid of =, ==, etc. since we have <H1>, <h2>,
etc.  Oh and ---- as <HR> and {| as <TABLE>.  I mean, I could go on and on.
Comment 9 Brion Vibber 2006-05-17 18:50:58 UTC
Adding new syntax for rarely used elements isn't terribly 
productive, neat as it might be.
Comment 10 Colin Burnett 2006-05-17 19:05:29 UTC
(In reply to comment #9)
> Adding new syntax for rarely used elements isn't terribly 
> productive, neat as it might be.

Are you ***kidding*** me?  "Rarely used"?

Any page that uses math is bound to have a sup or sub tag.  Chemistry,
probability distributions, etc.  One of my reasons to convert equations to TeX
is because it's extremely tedious to use sup and sub tags (not to mention is
distracting when reading the code).  I use sup & sub a whole heck of a lot more
than <HR> but its got ----

I made the request because I use it and using html tags is tedious.  I beg you
to not place presumed editing behavior on users, because I am one such user you
are classifying incorrectly.  Omegatron is another (though I'll certainly let
him speak for himself).  Or anyone else I've done probability distributions with.

First you don't understand HTML tags from wiki syntax and now you make a gross
blanket statement about users.

Are you going to tell me next that the sky is purple and grass is purple red? 
I'm not making a personal attack here but that's how far off your presumption is
on editor behavior.  Maybe **you** don't use sup & sub tags, but I never made
you my spokesperson.

/sigh
Comment 11 Andrew Culver 2006-05-17 19:08:22 UTC
And any wiki that uses math is bound to have TeX...
Comment 12 Colin Burnett 2006-05-17 19:19:31 UTC
(In reply to comment #11)
> And any wiki that uses math is bound to have TeX...

By extension then: any wiki has HTML so why bother having wiki syntax that
replaces HTML at all?

Why create syntax when something else can do it (e.g., Tex, HTML).  Why?  To
save time.  That's all it's there for.  There's no reason we couldn't get rid of
= and go to <h2>See also</h2> but ==See also== is much easier and faster.  1^st^
would be much faster than 1<sup>st</sup>.  Using sup tag is slow enough that the
bulk of such uses are not superscripted at all.

Nevermind the long standing argument against using TeX: style mismatching. 
Different font, different size: pretty much different all around.
Comment 13 Omegatron 2006-05-17 19:55:57 UTC
(In reply to comment #11)
> And any wiki that uses math is bound to have TeX...

Chemical formulas are not math.
Comment 14 Omegatron 2006-05-17 20:45:26 UTC
See also: [[Template:Super]], [[Template:Sub]]
Comment 15 Colin Burnett 2006-05-17 21:31:46 UTC
Sorry, this closing and opening is getting ridiculous.  Brion, why don't you
offer some sound input on your position.  You've both misunderstood that HTML is
not wiki syntax and you've incorrectly assumed the behavior of editors. 
Continuing to close the bug without providing sound input or retorting the other
side makes your actions speak in bad faith.  How is it any different than vandalism?
Comment 16 Brion Vibber 2006-05-17 21:41:23 UTC
I'm sorry that you misunderstand how the wiki works, but the 
limited HTML-style tags *are* part of our wiki syntax. That is 
incontrovertible fact; we even use our own tags such as 
<nowiki>, <math>, <ref>, etc.

Coming up with new and exciting illegible symbols simply 
complicates the software, both making it buggier and harder to 
maintain, and less consistent and harder to use for users.

"There's more than one way to do it" might work great for Perl, 
but it makes things harder for anyone who has to read that Perl 
code.

Wiki text is meant to be re-read and re-edited by many people 
over its lifetime, and additional inconsistencies are 
unnecessary and counterproductive.

There is little or no benefit to adding yet more syntax, when 
we already have perfectly good and compact syntax for it. 
<sup>blah</sup> is not much larger than ^^blah^^, and it's 
legible and understandable.

Where we have multiple syntaxes this is usually a result of 
inheriting them from our predecessor software; they are kept 
for compatibility.

The table syntax exists because HTML tables are extremely 
verbose, and a more minimal syntax (at least in theory) helps 
with readability and making fewer errors of missing/misplaced 
close tags. This doesn't apply similarly to superscripts and 
subscripts.

Superscripts and subscripts are:
1) already reasonably compact
2) already reasonably mnemonic
3) already exist in the syntax
4) generally restricted in use to certain technical subjects, 
which while important are:
a) a tiny subset of the total set of pages
b) inhabited by smart people who can probably type "<sup>"

Please understand that adding complexity to the system, as you 
have requested, is not a light request. It has consequences of 
permanently complicating both the software and the user 
experience. If there is little or no benefit to this, it is 
unlikely to be done.

Please also understand that constantly reopening a rejected 
request in anger is *exactly* like vandalism.
Comment 17 Colin Burnett 2006-05-17 22:25:12 UTC
(In reply to comment #16)
> I'm sorry that you misunderstand how the wiki works

Hooray for inflammatory comments and flaimbaiting by pretending you understand
someone else's thoughts.  Just like how you continually presume to know how
editors think and act.

> Coming up with new and exciting illegible symbols simply 
> complicates the software, both making it buggier and harder to 
> maintain, and less consistent and harder to use for users.

And "{|" and "||colspan='4'|" are legible?  You're only kidding yourself if you
think everyone understands all of the syntax.

> "There's more than one way to do it" might work great for Perl, 
> but it makes things harder for anyone who has to read that Perl 
> code.

So then get rid of "----" for "<HR>" and "==" for "<H2>" and .... because those
are all more than one way to do it.  So a giant search and replace and we can
all go back to the days of pure HTML.

> There is little or no benefit to adding yet more syntax, when 
> we already have perfectly good and compact syntax for it. 
> <sup>blah</sup> is not much larger than ^^blah^^, and it's 
> legible and understandable.

Like I said, you obviously don't edit articles with heavy usage of sup & sub.

C~~6~~ H~~4~~ (OCOCH~~3~~) COOH

is much more readable than

C<sub>6</sub>H<sub>4<sub>(OCOCH<sub>3</sub>)COOH

and that's just subscripts.

> Superscripts and subscripts are:
> 1) already reasonably compact
> 2) already reasonably mnemonic
> 3) already exist in the syntax
> 4) generally restricted in use to certain technical subjects, 
> which while important are:
> a) a tiny subset of the total set of pages
> b) inhabited by smart people who can probably type "<sup>"

1) ^^x^^ and ~~x~~ are more compact
2) I'm open to suggestions: shown in (1) is pretty reasonable but you can't take
suggestions on a closed ticket
3) It's HTML so of course it exists
4) Math == technical?  At least use the right word.
4b) and who can also understand x^^2^^ just fine

> Please understand that adding complexity to the system, as you 
> have requested, is not a light request. It has consequences of 
> permanently complicating both the software and the user 
> experience. If there is little or no benefit to this, it is 
> unlikely to be done.

It's a request for discussion and consideration.  You coming down like god and
saying "no" does extremely little for discussion.

Again, you are making rash assumptions about editors.  I am not alone in saying
you are wrong.  So far there are 6 votes for the ticket; there's at least 6
people whom bother to look at bugzilla and agree you are wrong.  The benefits
are brevity and legibility.

The point of wiki syntax is to make editting easier and extending HTML.  This is
demonstrated and admitted by you regarding table syntax.  And it's self-evident
for many others.

> Please also understand that constantly reopening a rejected 
> request in anger is *exactly* like vandalism.

Furthermore, you coming down, saying "no", and repeatedly closing the ticket
without further explanation goes even farther to kill discussion.  Now we must
discuss the discussion.

And I didn't reopen them out of anger.  I reopened them because you were being a
poor debater and saying "I win" without leaving comment.  Over and over.  That's
about as close of a definition of arrogance as I can think of.  Maybe
"unprofessional" is a better and less inflammatory way to put it (but your
actions and works spark of inflammatory so I'll leave them).


In the end, we are both in disagreement with each other's position so how are
you not being the stubborn child by saying "I'm right, you're wrong, ticket is
closed, and discussion is over"?

I've done nothing except act in good faith to request a feature *I* (and others)
would find quite useful.
Comment 18 Omegatron 2006-05-17 22:57:40 UTC
(In reply to comment #16)
> Coming up with new and exciting illegible symbols simply 
> complicates the software, both making it buggier and harder to 
> maintain, and less consistent and harder to use for users.

This would make it easier for users, and wikis are supposed to be easy to edit.
 That's more important than ease of development.  The more we can use wiki
markup instead of HTML, the better.

If it's too complicated to add now, fine, but leave it open so it can be added
later.  Maybe there will be a syntax parser overhaul someday and it won't make
it any more complicated at that time to add these.
Comment 19 Colin Burnett 2006-05-17 23:00:45 UTC
(In reply to comment #18)
> If it's too complicated to add now, fine, but leave it open so it can be added
> later.  Maybe there will be a syntax parser overhaul someday and it won't make
> it any more complicated at that time to add these.

For the record, I have absolutely no problems leaving it open and left undone to
be reevaluated later.
Comment 20 Brion Vibber 2006-05-17 23:19:24 UTC
Ok, let's leave this for later. We can fight again when the 
parser's been rewritten cleanly. :)
Comment 21 Daniel Friesen 2012-11-06 07:25:19 UTC
I think I'm going to swoop in and boldly declare this old bug WONTFIX.

- The proposed syntaxes are liable to cause existing articles to break by changing the definition of the syntax they are written in.
- We have some great VisualEditor work going on. Pretty soon editors won't even be typing <sup>...</sup>. They'll hit a button / press a key, and poof, trivial markup will be inserted without them knowing what it is.
- The arguments in favor of these syntaxes seem not based around using it in normal content but instead using it in special use cases like chemistry formulas which already have other standard ways of representing them that are much nicer than any syntax we make simply for sup/sub. Things like chemical formulas are better suited to something like <chem>...</chem> which takes readable plaintext formats as input and then converts them to the formatted HTML. This is even more true now that we are starting to embed Lua into templates and without even implementing an extension a wiki can add a {{chem|...}} template with fully featured complex plaintext syntax -> formatted markup transformation.

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