On Fri, Feb 12, 2010 at 10:12 PM, Timothy S. Nelson
> There's a school of thought, common among printing/publishing types, that
>> insists that underline was intended solely to replace italics when they
>> couldn't be represented (i.e. no fonts, as with ASCII terminals and
>> printers). Thus Markdown's use of _italic_. (See also nroff.)
> I'm aware of that idea, and don't use underlining myself for that
> reason. But since /italic/ looks like italic, and _underline_ looks like
> underline, why are we using the thing that looks like underline for italics?
> I mean, sure, I'm happy to get rid of _underline_ if that's what people
> want, but using _ for italic is just ... well, I don't see any sense in it.
If I recall correctly, this was a limitation of typewriters. Typewriters
were incapable of displaying italics so underlining was taught as a
replacement, though italics are/were considered the professional format. I
somehow doubt that Markdown chose the _ for italics for that reason, though
I will say that wayland's suggestion just makes more sense.
-Jason "s1n" Switzer