In my experiance, the bullet character is used as the first choice to mark list items. That applies to MS Word, MS Power Point and all major browsers.
It doesn’t matter if we like them or not. But, I think it is safe to say that these applications dominate our IT World.
Even the commonmark spec section 5.2 says
A bullet list marker is a -, +, or * character.
I would like to emphasis the bullet list part. That is the name of the baby. So what is more natural to use the bullet character for a bullet list? This fact alone proves how intuitive the bullet character is for a “bullet list”.
My original argument at the beginning of the topic still stands: If the bullet is not included into the list of markers, markdown converts a perfect plain text bulleted list into something wrong. Let me copy that part:
• Hello• World!
In my opinion, this is pretty bad. I would like to quote the original Philosophy of markdown as formulated by John Gruber:
Markdown is intended to be as easy-to-read and easy-to-write as is feasible.
Readability, however, is emphasized above all else. A Markdown-formatted
document should be publishable as-is, as plain text, without looking
like it’s been marked up with tags or formatting instructions.
Now, if markdown or commonmark basically turns a simple, correct bulleted list into the rubbish I have shown above, than this is clearly against the philosophy.
After reading so many arguments against the bullet in the bullet list, I gain the impression that we are more concerned about the simplicity for programmers than the simplicity for the end users. I believe, implementing the bullet triggers the alarm bells for some programmers, that they would have to deal with unicode. I know it is not that easy to implement unicode. I believe, that this the undelying reason of the opposition.
But I would like to remind that there is no such thing as “plain text”. You always have to specify the encoding. Is it windows-xyz, EUC or UTF-8? Without that information, the risk that your application shows rubbish is high. In the world wide web, UTF-8 has become the de-facto standard.
So please, remember the philosophy of markdown and think of the users first!