Periodically I write docs for or emails to folks who just don't know yet what a decent text editor is. When I do so I want to link to the definitive article that gently introduces and describes the attributes that make up said beast (unlimited undo, advanced search & replace, syntax highlighting, macros, opens huge documents, doesn't barf on binary, yadayadayada) and gives a list of the top half dozen or so with fair representation across all platforms so they can make up their own minds about what to use. I know what's good for me, but I've little interest in pushing that.
Everytime I write something like this I conduct a number of internet searches and am suprised, again, that no such document seems to exist. Perhaps, instead, I should be surprised that my search-fu is so weak that I can't find said "What is a decent text editor?". Again, I'm less interested in particular names, although that information is vital, but rather how can one recognise this creature when encounter it?
Questions asking for text editor recommendations abound on Super User, Stack Overflow, and of course in the wild. Yet none of them, that I've seen, have the "suchness" that I'm looking for. Perhaps my quest is ill conceived and doomed. In any case, I thought it worth dropping in a line and see what bites.
I'm bringing this up on meta because I've come to the conclusion that perhaps this has failed so far because it's just yet another "list of" question that generates answers that is relevant for a month or ten before fading into a back eddy. Maybe what is really needed is a Super User blog post on "attributes of a perfect editor", which would be always relevant, with a conclusion or appendix of carefully crafted live search results from the Q&A site proper.