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grumbling about text formatting 

Plain text is a great format because it trivially adapts to the formatting the reader chooses.

Hard wrapping lines to 72/80/100/120/n characters actively goes against that. Now your text wastes space on larger displays *and* requires horizontal scrolling on smaller ones.

Please stop doing that.

grumbling about text formatting 

Or it wraps anyway and you get unreadable trash.

re: grumbling about text formatting 

@emily still mad that nothing that converts emails into discussion-forum posts (github, gitlab, discourse, etc) wraps format=flowed text.

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily Double wrapped is so horrible 🤮

grumbling about text formatting 

@LovesTha yes it
is

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily Having your local client do it is bad, having it done to source data is horrific. Seeing a giant email chain where some clients apply it to multiply indented quotes, well the quoted text is not worth keeping in the chain.

(resisting formatting this message as an example of it)

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily
Of course, this example COULD be re-wrapped at display time, assuming \n\n represents a paragraph break.

@TerryHancock @emily Is there any standard command that does it for you?

@phel@toot.cafe @TerryHancock@mastodon.art @emily@sparkly.uni.horse writing this off the top of my head so I'm just gonna hope it works

perl -pe 's/(?<=.)\n/ /g' <<< "poorly formatted text. piping it in should also work if you don't want to use redirection."

re: grumbling about text formatting 

@emily Or, viewed from another perspective:

Typography is surprisingly complex in all manner of ways.

Even when you're dealing with plain text and hard linebreaks.

I'd argue that tools which know they're likely to receive this should perhaps either ignore single linebreaks or offer to reflow paragraphs individually -- there could always be significant linebreaks as with:

poetry.
lists
print( "Or code blocks.\n")

re: grumbling about text formatting 

@dredmorbius @TerryHancock (I think you're saying approximately the same thing)

I mean, sure, the client could hack around it and try to guess what was meant, or we could just stop throwing random control characters in the middle of our sentences.

re: grumbling about text formatting 

@emily If only there were a bit to distinguish random and non-random control characters.

And an interface to prevent people from using one in place of the other...

Typography is hard.

There's a fair argument to be made for there being a formal and indpendent role of typesetters. As well as printing onto static media in which the type and the print are themselves independent artefacts.

The Web / digital comms is however not that world.

@TerryHancock

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily I hear what you’re saying and I don’t disagree about double wrapping etc but I still use 80-character terminals and viewports calibrated like that for my own preferences, and I like stuff like man pages and carefully formatted text files.

Apart from source code, though, I think I could get behind your viewpoint. For me it would be an easy sell if text was always markdown and the viewers always grokked it.

grumbling about text formatting 

@dlek and that's fine! If you have a window that is actually 80 characters wide then the text should be reflowed to 80 characters wide. (GNU?) man actually gets this right - manpages are rendered at the terminal width, whatever that may be.

Expecting *the entire world* to reformat their text files for your preference is what isn't fine.

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily No, man pages are most definitely NOT gnu, which tries to make everybody use info pages. Don’t get me started on that.

grumbling about text formatting 

@dlek huh, I assumed they also provided /bin/man, but nope, that's gitlab.com/cjwatson/man-db . TIL.

(also I just googled "gnu man" and got pictures of Richard Stallman, lol)

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily @dlek nah, GNU provides half-assed man pages and use their own texinfo markup format for writing complete information about their tools.

Check the man page of cp, for example, and then check info '(coreutils) cp invocation'.

Yeah, lol.

Oh, you may like mandoc over man-db. I like it because it has noticeably lower latency when opening man pages although it might not be noticeable to everyone.

grumbling about text formatting 

@ayushnix @dlek I do know about this. I'm just surprised they went as far as not implementing /bin/man itself.

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily huh, I didn't realize this would be an issue on smaller screens.

I remember considering using soft wrap in (neo)vim but gave up on that idea for some reason. I just tried again and realized that I've been hard wrapping my documents because (neo)vim doesn't properly support soft wrapping at a specific column number. It can soft wrap text at the edge of the window but can't really soft wrap it on a specific column number.

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily looks like Emacs supports soft wrapping at a specific column.

Hmm, I don't think I'll switch to Emacs because of this issue, at least not yet.

grumbling about text formatting 

@ayushnix of course it does, emacs supports most things :)

(I really want to like emacs, but every time I've tried it it's been just barely too annoying in some way to continue using.)

grumbling about text formatting 

@emily I've been considering using Emacs again after more than 6 years (this time with evil mode) but there's only so much editor customization and personalization I can bother with. I'm already trying to get into the Lua ecosystem of plugin development. I don't think I'll get into Emacs Lisp anytime soon.

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