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I just read this blog post which explains that Markdown support has been added to all Wordpress.com blogs as a feature.

I administer my own WordPress installation and am currently running (as far as I know) the latest version of WordPress, 3.8.X, I believe. Is Markdown support built into WordPress standalone? I'm in the midst of migration so it's not so easy to check.

Will I be able to write, edit, and allow my users to comment using Markdown fairly seamlessly? Being able to compose posts in Markdown will greatly encourage me to start writing more :)

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No, and I'm not aware of any plans to introduce it into WordPress core. That functionality has been added by WordPress.com.

There are numerous plug-ins which add this feature, to name but a few:

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