But you don't! Any Joe Random User will understand what
means. There's rarely a lot more markup in POD and the spec is very simple - even if it changes in the future, the basic syntax (=FOO) is not going to change. The fact that the tools in existence are written in Perl is a red herring. In their absence, less works just as well. Of course the format is so simple you can easily write parsers in another language. I've used sed once.
I did mix up the "two decades" thing - code and docs were wrapped before Perl5 too, but I forgot the Perl4 way of doing that was *roff.
Makeshifts last the longest.