Starting, idk, a few weeks ago, Slack made a disastrous decision.
A game-changer, honestly. This could be curtains for the hot startup productivity/chat tool, which has skyrocketed in popularity over the last year, and seemingly is doing just great. But with this massive and colossal misjudgement, the entire company stands at the precipice of a mass revolt.
They changed the function of ~tildes~ (which are ~clearly~ intended for ironic emphasis) so that now when you place them on either side of a word it creates a strikethrough.
Slack has made some confusing comments about it in the past...
Apparently, Slack thinks strikethrough is "funnier" than tildes. Which, um, NO.
Everyone knows that on the internet, enclosing words in tildes has ~meaning~.
Especially on Twitter, when a short character limit means you need to be inventive to indicate tone. The tildes often signal irony, ambivalence, or just plain emphasis. The best way I can describe tilde use is that it works when you need to say something that's just ~squiggly~.
If Slack is doing this to appease coders, I REJECT THAT.
Ok, so this is almost certainly due to the influence of Github Flavored Markdown. In that, putting tildes around a word makes it appear as strikethrough text. That makes some sense, I ~guess~, since many of Slack's clients use it for coding and other technical purposes.
But what about the rest of us? Those of us who don't know shit about Markdown or coding or who John Gruber is or ~whatever~ man? What about the people who NEED our tildes back so we can actually communicate with each other in the language that is ~native~ to online discussion???? WHAT ABOUT US???????
THE PEOPLE ARE DEMANDING IT:
Everyone agrees, it's universally reviled.
Yes, and I'll cry if they don't.No, I prefer tildes being strikethrough.WTF is Slack?
vote votesYes, and I'll cry if they don't.
vote votesNo, I prefer tildes being strikethrough.
vote votesWTF is Slack?
A previous version of this post accused Markdown of being the culprit for the tildecide. The tildes-as-strikethrough is a convention in Github Flavored Markdown, which is different. In fact, there is no strikethrough command in Markdown purposefully, because it's simply not very useful. John Gruber, who created Markdown explains in a post on Daring Fireball:
There is no strikethrough syntax in Markdown. Go ahead and look at the official syntax. Tildes have no meaning, and are passed through as-is by any good Markdown processor. If Slack didn’t have their heads up their asses and actually used Markdown-style formatting syntax, there’d be no problem. (And we’d get italics instead of bold when we did *this*, as we should.)
We apologize to the innocent Markdown, and put the blame squarely back on Slack for ruining our fun.
Katie Notopoulos is a senior editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.
Contact Katie Notopoulos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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