Like, not so much the existence of word processors but their mass, often sole availability for professional work was a massive mistake that has led to incredible waste in time and effort. The assumption that people without training or knowledge of typesetting would somehow handle typesetting if they were handed the tools turned out to be disastrously wrong.

Markup is the obvious answer, separating content from formatting, but tbh I'm at a loss to say what a good alternative would be. LaTeX is too complex, and Markdown is too limited in its original form and fragmented/complex in advanced forms. AsciiDoc(tor) and Org Mode get more complex with advanced features, too. It's possible you can get most non-technical people to do headers, italics, bolding and mayyybe lists with markup, but once you get into tables and footnotes it's pretty hard to ask them to do this complex formatting without seeing what they're doing.

@ljwrites the right answer is then perhaps to be able to switch between WYSIWYG and actual... code... so people can learn!

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@ljwrites i feel like that goes into a vein that i very frequently complain about: cathode.church/@meena/10733273

if you don't empower users to become operators with agency who are able meaningfully skill up, and instead steadily degrade them to consumers and finally content creators for a (specific) platform, then we shouldn't be surprised when CS Majors know shit about fuck.

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Cathode Church

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