From IndieWeb

microsyntax refers to short text conventions for conveying specific semantic meaning, such as an "@" prefix indicating a (user)name, or "#" prefix indicating a hashtag (both conventions popularized by Twitter).


Why author

When writing/authoring, it’s often easier to use a little bit of inline punctuation like an '@' or a '#' as a microsyntax to express some additional meaning rather than adding explicit markup or even markdown.

IndieWeb Examples

Many IndieWeb sites have examples of @-names, #hashtags, etc. See their specific sections for now (though many of those are for features in general, and need some amount of filtering for actual microsytnax examples). We could collect microsyntax-specific examples here, in addition to these links to other IndieWeb Examples sections, until we have enough of each.


Visible — some microsyntaxes are preserved in text and linked.

Processed and hidden — some microsyntaxes are processed from text and replaced, and not usually visible when presented:

  • :auto-emoji — text syntax of ":" (emoji-name) ":" like :smile: for 😄 and other standard Unicode emoji, as well as other custom names for custom emoji in software like Mastodon, and services like Discord and Slack
  • ...

Prior work

Please see previous work:


A place to brainstorm indieweb microsyntax especially for plaintext notes, and POSSEing of specific types of posts to plaintext-like POSSE destinations (e.g. Twitter])

(this overall section could use some gardening and updating, many of these never went anywhere and should likely be archived, and some have been implemented and should be documented with real world examples)

related brainstorming

See the following for brainstorming on other pages related to microsyntaxes:

at-at names

Add to at-names:

at-sign for in-reply-to URL

  • @example.com/some-post => <a href="http://example.com/some-post" class="u-in-reply-to">
    • We need pfefferle and acegiak to clarify their use case. Just adding links to the users domain in your post will send a webmention to the domain, so IMO it is unnecessary to prefix user domains with @ so I'm assuming they meant post urls. —Sandeep Shetty
      • The idea was to generate an easy mardownish way to generate semantic links, not really meant to display to any enduser - Matthias Pfefferle
    • No one does this currently (any real world example?) - feels a bit forced. People already think of "@" as meaning "hey this person". - Tantek 15:54, 21 June 2013 (PDT)
    • -1 agreed, this example is forced and doesn’t reflect real world usage. @mentions succeeded because they were a paved cowpath, it defeats the object to try to repurpose them --Waterpigs.co.uk 16:07, 21 June 2013 (PDT)
    • "we wanted a way to mark which one was the reply-to without needing to edit the html because we want the plugins to be accessible to non-technical wordpress users - plus, adding the html manually would be tiresome, so we're trying to work out a way to make it quick and easy" -acegiak
    • Seems OK to me but I've settled on re: http://example.com/some-post in my personal logs & recently on my site (e.g.1, e.g.2; just using as minimal reply context for now as I'm pretty sure others do). I've been only using it at the start of an entry but I think you could safely use it anywhere. Colintedford.com 21:11, 7 January 2015 (PST)

heart for like

  • <3 - ASCII heart, used as substitute for “love”
  • <3 example.com =><a href="http://example.com" class="u-like">

paren Y for thumbs up

Some research:

  • (Y) - Used for the thumbs up emoticon on Skype, Facebook

metrics and exercise

Various metrics could use emoji, i.e. when POSSEing to text-like destinations like Twitter

  • 🌜Slept 8 hours
  • 🚲 Evening Ride
  • 🚙 Drove 3.2 miles in 25 minutes
  • 🏃 Ran 3.2 miles in 25 minutes
  • 🚶 Walked 3.2 miles in 50 minutes
  • 💪 Did 13pushups
  • 👣 Weighed 153.3lbs


A minimal plaintext syntax for posting quotations which an auto-linker/formatter could use to style it properly.

“the personal blog, yourname•com, where you control everything and get to do whatever the hell pleases you” http://avc.com/2014/08/the-personal-blog/ #indieweb


“I miss being able to engage other people online in discussions that are actually productive.” @espiers http://elizabethspiers.com/2014/08/25/here-i-go-again-on-my-own/ #indieweb


"I wanted to reply to that comment, but could not for the life of me, log into WordPress to leave it. So I’ll blog about it instead." http://avc.com/2014/08/the-personal-blog/


These examples consist of the following components:

  • quoted text wrapped in standard or curly quotes ("" or “”)
  • source URL
  • optional author name
  • optional hashtags

hat for footnotes

Like "^1", see:

See also:

microsyntax spec replace markdown

Tantek Çelik: document the spectrum between microsyntax and markdown and consider a microsyntax spec that would be a building block for a larger replacement for markdown.

See Also