Support Markdown Annotations à la iA Writer 7

Use case or problem

Alongside their release of iA Writer 7, the developers make an argument for clearly delineating pasted text (in this case, ChatGPT output) from original text via an open source format they’re calling Markdown Annotations, which greys out the pasted text and allows the user to indicate (via contextual menu) its source.

Proposed solution

Incorporate this “Markdown Annotation” format into Obsidian both by instructing the Editor to render text differently based on the relevant annotation and including support for “Markdown Annotation” authorship blocks at the ends of files.

Like YAML frontmatter, “Markdown Annotation” consists of changing the presentation of text based on information stored in an endmatter block, as demonstrated in this example from the post linked above:

Markdown Annotations embed authorship in text while preserving its readability and portability.

Annotations: 0,95 SHA-256 1132bf5e376a605f5beed4b204456114  
@Human: 0,20 33,4 45,6 62,4  
&AI: 20,13 37,8 51,11 66,29  

Current workaround (optional)

Currently, users distinguish between their own text and AI/pasted text using a myriad of means including callouts, block quotes, highlights, and simple Markdown formatting, which works just fine.

The folks over at iA Writer appear interested in introducing (and collaborating on) a standard for plaintext users, and it would be great if Obsidian helped to spearhead that effort. Who doesn’t want an Obsidian-tipped spear?


Note also that the spec allows you to mark multiple human authors, for cases of more traditional collaboration.


+1 from me. This would greatly help with collaborative writing as well as the AI stuff. Although Obsidian is my primary notetaking app, I frequently write long form in IA Writer because of the focus and excellent UX. interoperability would be great. Also, Obsidian has a big audience now and this would help establish the standard.


Another vote from me. I would love to have something explicitly for indicating material that came from somewhere else. I use a mix of things now, from special folders with individual notes that. I embed to callouts for shorter bits of text, but I love the idea of something that explicitly marks text as coming from another source, and identifies that source.


I’ve been doing something similar with %% and some common syntax. This is a great idea. +1

Came here to suggest the same thing. I love iA Writer… and there are a lot of Obsidian features I rely on. This would simplify moving back and forth.

Niiiiice. :raised_hand:

1 Like

Can you say more about how you use both Obsidian and iA Writer?

I also switch back and forth daily. I truthfully prefer iA, but there are many features in Obsidian I rely on. It’s mostly seamless for me via iCloud, but I’d love to hear about other setups.

I think it’s better you open a separate thread for that discussion maybe in share and showcase or on discord.

Yeah, I’ll message him directly.

+1 vote for me, I’m using Co-pilot generated summaries of meeting notes and chat/email content from others more often now and being able to annotate authorship other than manual text blocks and links would be a better solution.

Be sure to watch the video on it Writer’s page to appreciate the implementation. Very well done it looks.

This is an easy +1. I use AI a lot, and I’m currently not pasting anything into Obsidian because I’m too scared I’ll forget what I wrote and what still needs to be double-checked. I think this is a necessary feature for academic integrity, and a step towards multiplayer mode besides.


I love this idea. My Javascript coding skills aren’t up to being the implementor, but I will provide help.

Fascinating. This would be great in obsidian. Downloading IA Writer right now.

Plus one here. Quick visual way to distinguish source of pasted material would be most welcome.

Given that support for Critic Markup is a long-standing request, I’d much rather see that implemented first. But having both would be great. Support Critic markup

If you’d said “given that Critic Markup is a more useful request” and given reasons, I might be more inclined to agree. But it seems that this thread in 9 days has already exceeded the interest the other thread has received in 2.5 years. I read through the spec and the other support thread, and I can’t see myself ever using Critic Markup, but I can see myself using these Markdown Annotations every day.

On the CriticMarkup GitHub there’s an issue where someone is/was doing a plugin but found they need an extension to the CriticMarkup syntax for it to work.

Personally, I’d think a wider value would depend on the other programs using it and I don’t think CriticMarkup has hit any critical mass. Quite a few users do also use iAWriter.

Though whether that’s worth extending the accepted markdown syntax even further idk. There are many requests for useful extensions which have quite a few users in the wide markdown community which haven’t been acted on. But that would never be any issue if it were a plugin,

Okay, here’s why CriticMarkup is more important:

People complain about the dominance of Word and .docx, but for markdown to ever have a prayer of being adopted more in business, education, and government, there needs to be a way to for multiple users to add comments and track/accept/reject changes as you can in Word, and CriticMarkup is the only option I’m aware of for that.

It would also be very useful for solo users such as longform writers to make notes to themselves and make tentative edits on working drafts. (That’s why Scrivener offers similar features.)

Obsidian already has comments, but they’re closer to iA Writer’s implementation of annotations than to CriticMarkup’s functionality.

So the addition of CriticMarkup would close a bigger gap in Obsidian’s current feature set than iA’s version of annotations would.

1 Like

Any app that supports MultiMarkdown supports CriticMarkup.

As far as I’m aware, MultiMarkdown is the most feature-complete of the various markdown flavors, and it’s a general-purpose spec, rather than being designed for a narrow and specific use case like GFM.