Advice Needed: Naming conventions and the use of illegal characters in research titles

Hey gang!

So I have hit on a small but frustrating quirk with DT3 and looking for advice around it.

DT automatically removes illegal characters from filenames, which I understand is a feature advocated to retain and ensure the purity of a filename for scripting purposes.

But when I break down books I am researching and create markdown notes per chapter, or if the title of my note is a question posed, DT automatically replaces the ? with a -

This then breaks the connections I have created with wiki-links in external editors.

For example, a note title might be “Chapter 1 - What are the origins of story?” or “How are myths similar to religious texts?”

macOS finder allows illegal characters in filenames, and creating notes in any external text editor (Obsidian, IA Writer etc) also allows this.

So my question. How do you guys work around this, short of removing the punctuation?

DT team, would you consider adding a feature for your users that allows punctuation in filenames? A feature than can be turned on by the user, if required? Similar to how DT handles wiki-links with its multiple options to allow for a less restrictive note-taking and writing environment?

Grateful in advance for the thoughts and advice.

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It’s actually intended to enhance compatibility across platforms.

Development would have to assess this, but I personally am against broadly allowing punctuation in filenames. What will be the recourse when something goes wrong due to illegal characters in filenames?

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Where are illegal characters defined? The only illegal character I’ve been aware of is / which is a path divider for Unix, and I’ve tended to avoid : which (IIRC) was an HFS+ issue and would appear as / in the Finder.

I wouldn’t have considered other punctuation illegal for macOS filenames, especially ?.

We are not thinking only of the Mac. People work in a variety of environments, including cross-platform ones that can involve particular requirements.

And yes, we believe it’s also good to observe naming practices that make automation less troublesome, like avoiding having to escape characters in the shell.

Which excludes spaces, too. Are they also frowned upon in file names?
On one hand, I see your point. On the other, I doubt that there are still filesystems out there without Unicode support (maybe MVS, but that’s probably out of reach for DT customers).
So maybe it’s time to think about relaxing the rules? Afaik, characters outside the ASCII range are already permitted.

Spaces, hyphens, underscores, and dots are all considered fair game (though single dots before an extension are actually preferred).

And we err on the side of caution, just like we try to not invent our own standards or proprietary methods. It is safer to adhere to well-worn paths when there’s no compelling reason not to.

Hey @BLUEFROG, the reason for raising this query and seeking advice… the apps mentioned previously (IA Writer and Obsidian) are both cross-platform (cover all os from Mac, to windows and Linux), and yet they allow ? and function perfectly on all systems.

I’d be grateful if DT could consider this as a user selected option for future updates, that way you retain your stance on punctuation for your desired compatibility across platforms, but also allow users, who don’t require this level of purity in filenames to name files as they wish or require.

As always, appreciate your advice. :smile::metal:

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