CriticMarkup is a new toolkit for editors to mark-up documents. It’s syntax appears to be quite simple. There are five types of Critic marks:

  • Addition {++ ++}, e.g., App{++les++}
  • Deletion {-- --}, e.g., Orange{--s--}
  • Substitution {~~ ~> ~~}, e.g., {~~Tomato~>Tomatoes~~}
  • Comment {>> <<}, e.g., {>>Is a CriticMarkup’ed document going to be readable?<<}
  • Highlight & Comment_ {== ==}_, e.g., {==Will a CriticMarkup’ed document look like goobledygook?==}{>>Depends on what tool you’re going to view it with.<<}

The Gitosphere is already responding by integrating CriticMarkup into popular text-editors, such as MultiMarkdown Composer.

In contrast to CriticMarkup, Aza Raskin’s Bracket Notation is an even more elegant and simple method, which makes a lot of sense and doesn’t require jazz-trumpet Vimeo tutorials to fully appreciate. The only deviation I make from Raskin’s method is, as suggested by Koralatov, to use curly brackets instead of square brackets which ensures it doesn't conflict with Markdown's link syntax..

“The solution is simply three sets of square brackets and some customs: the first set of brackets denotes deletion, the second set denotes addition, and the third set denotes a comment. Apparently, a similar model is used to keep track of edits in the United Nations.”

Examples of Bracket Notation:

  • Delete {}, e.g., I like green {oranges}. becomes I like green.
  • Add {}{}, e.g., I like green {}{apples}. becomes I like green apples. (because nothing is deleted and apples is added).
  • Substitute (Delete & Add) {}{}, e.g., I like green {oranges}{apples}. becomes I like green apples. (because “oranges” is deleted and “apples” is added).
  • Editorial Comment {}{}{}, e.g., Cats are evil. {}{}{Ed - You are a mean and likely unattractive cat-hater.} (no changes are made but the editor has been offended by the author and left an unconstructive comment in response).
  • Substitution with Editorial Comment {}{}{}, e.g., I like green {oranges}{steak}.{Paleo sense is tingling. Need more fresh meat.} becomes I like green steak. (with an editors comment about paleo).

Not to knock CriticMarkup too hard (I do think it’s neat and visually arresting), the beautiful, mathematic simplicity of bracket notation is hard to beat. As Raskin concludes:

“It’s a simple solution to a possibly complex problem. It shows that sometimes the solution to an interface problem doesn’t involve inventing something brand new, but reusing something old.”

AuthorI.B. Simpson
CategoriesTech, Writing