Word processors kinda suck

I learned to write on the web (in large part on forums, back in the day). I’m compelled to use a word processor maybe once every six months, and it has been like that for most of my life. Lately I’ve had to create documents and send them to people as PDFs, so for the first time I am writing text and formatting them in that type of creation software (LibreOffice Writer, FYI).

I have to say, it is suddenly making a lot of sense about why people have what I’ve always thought were absurd ideas of typography and formatting. “Responsive design” is a buzz term to me, because the web has always been responsive, but our range of devices were mostly desktop web browsers. Not every website I’ve built would look great on a mobile screen, but it would be readable, all the way back into the 90’s. My point is, I’ve never had the real restraints of margins and page width, and when I did it was in the creation of vector documents that would be printed.

While I now better understand why people try to format their documents the way they do, it still doesn’t make as much sense to me. We can’t completely separate content from presentation, but to communicate we are required to consider them as separate layers of information. Of course we have an intuitive sense and don’t think about it most of the time, which is why I have an endless stream of enjoyment as people mis/ab-use quotations and the word “literally”. But if you are creating a message you have the time to think about it, and the better messages have this level of consideration.

Given that, I would presume that folks would find tools besides word processors as more appropriate or flexible.

I should note I’ve never created a document using LaTeX. I think for most folks it would easier to learn Markdown and some HTML; that would easily meet all my document creation needs. Why do you use a word processor?