Block Quotes are Cool April 22, 2011 7:09 AM   Subscribe

How about a blockquote tag button on the comment box, so that it's quicker and easier to put proper blockquotes around extended, quoted passages of text? Some snazzy CSS could even make quoted content stand out in a visually interesting (but not tacky) way.

I really love the bold, italic and link tag buttons on the comment box. They make it a lot quicker/easier to use those tags. I realize there's probably a lot of value in limiting the number of html tags that are included as buttons in the comment input box formatting tool (for instance, there's no need for the blink tag), and I realize keeping special formatting to a minimum is a big part of MeFi's appeal as a text-driven community forum--but I think the blockquote tag is useful and elegant enough it would make a good addition. Thoughts?
posted by saulgoodman to Feature Requests at 7:09 AM (126 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

"No."
posted by Deathalicious at 7:13 AM on April 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like how articulately we express opinions around here.
posted by wheelieman at 7:15 AM on April 22, 2011


I'd just like to take this opportunity to say I'm so glad MeFi allows normal HTML tags instead of that horrendous kludge of markup that sites like, say, reddit, force me to use. I have to pull up the formatting help every time I make a link over there. So pointlessly annoying.
posted by BeerFilter at 7:19 AM on April 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

I'm
sure
nobody
would
ever
abuse
such
a
button.
posted by zennie at 7:20 AM on April 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you don't like block quotes, you wouldn't have to use them. People will continue to use them or not, as they see fit regardless. But most style guides do recommend block- quoting extended passages of quoted text. And if styled properly, block quotes don't necessarily interrupt the flow of a page. For instance, they don't have to be indented; they just have to visually set quoted text apart, and quotation marks can be inserted as part of the CSS style, or italics or other typographical formatting could set the text apart). It's just a thought. If there's no support for it, then so be it.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:21 AM on April 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Could it be done with greasemonkey?
posted by zennie at 7:22 AM on April 22, 2011


Having an array of user-selectable HTML buttons available in our profile settings is something that would be very useful. I don't get the whole "but it would be abused" thing. Sure, but people abuse things anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:23 AM on April 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's a good point, zennie... Hadn't thought of that. That might be a better approach.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:23 AM on April 22, 2011


I don't actually think it would be abused. Except by me.
posted by zennie at 7:24 AM on April 22, 2011


Yes please.
posted by desjardins at 7:31 AM on April 22, 2011


In all seriousness, I sometimes find blockquote useful, but I would hesitate to promote its use. I don't like things that facilitate people talking directly to each other over the crowd because I feel that such things increase bickering just a tiny bit. I like that people to have to do some work to talk specifically to each other. (Plus on smartphones, a couple of blockquote insets makes for long, skinny columnar paragraphs that are weird.)
posted by zennie at 7:38 AM on April 22, 2011


Personally, I prefer not to have it be a pushbutton affair. It's one of those things that's fine in the small doses in which it currently appears, but I'd be annoyed if there was a lot more of it flying around because it would go from occasionally bit of effective, visually distinct offset to lots and lots of things muddling off to the right of the margin.

A greasemonkey type solution would be I think a great compromise here: it still takes a little bit of work on the part of the user who wants the convenience, which means we won't have lots of people just poking that button to see what happens; but for the folks who have gotten as far as making a little bit of "I really want this button" effort, they've got the convenience of not having to type it out on those occasions where it is a considered, purposeful thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:49 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not in favor, but understand why others might find it useful. I'm not keen on long extended quotes in comments. I'd rather see a short quote with a link to the original source if it's to a non-MeFi source, and if it's a few people back and forth in comments, zennie's point is well-taken.
posted by immlass at 7:50 AM on April 22, 2011

How lazy can a person be ? Any fool can write [blockquote] [/blockquote] with angle brackets -- instead of the box brackets that one has to use here so that they are visible for an example -- and write them on Notepad and save it in your desktop for later use. You can type it. You can save it. You can cut and paste it. Click on View, click on Source and see. You can do it with this comment right now. As I believe quonsar once said somewhere, Source is your friend. You don't need a button to do it.
posted by y2karl at 7:56 AM on April 22, 2011


> How lazy can a person be ?

Well, it's nice that you can call people lazy, but since there are already a three HTML buttons the notion that there could be a few more commonly used tags available isn't that much of a stretch.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:02 AM on April 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


How lazy can a person be ? Any fool can write [blockquote] [/blockquote] with angle brackets

That person would be me, but I would rather call myself ignorant, computer illiterate, slowed by creeping age etc.
posted by francesca too at 8:03 AM on April 22, 2011


Blinking or nothing
posted by From Bklyn at 8:04 AM on April 22, 2011


zennie: “I don't actually think it would be abused. Except by me.”

Well, it seems like it would be pretty easy to prevent abuse by automatically killing more than one or two levels of block-quoting. I know there are things we already strip out of the text field, so I'm just guessing that wouldn't be difficult.

y2karl: “How lazy can a person be ? Any fool can write [blockquote] [/blockquote] with angle brackets -- instead of the box brackets that one has to use here so that they are visible for an example... ”

How lazy can a person be? Any fool can write &lt;blockquote&gt; &lt;/blockquote&gt; so that it looks like <blockquote> </blockquote> – you don't need box brackets for that example at all.
posted by koeselitz at 8:16 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not everybody knows HTML. I've been using the Italics button to quote people... should i not be doing that?

I'd love a proper quote botton.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:18 AM on April 22, 2011


Yeah, blockquotes are cool.
But so are fezes.
And bowties.
But they are bigger on the inside.
And don't require you to pay for the extra tier on Charter Cable to get BBC America.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:18 AM on April 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: “I'd love a proper quote botton.”

mathowie and pb actually got around to implementing this a few years ago, and I find it really handy; I use it in many of my comments. You can find the quote button right next to the "Enter" key; you may, however, have to hold down "Shift" in order to get the double-quotes that seem very hip these days.
posted by koeselitz at 8:21 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


LiB: There is no fixed convention for quoting here on MetaFilter, and I've seen (and used) all kinds of methods for quoting. Personally, I use blockquote when I'm pulling more than a couple of lines from an article, and italics for nearly everything else. If I'm quoting more than an line or two of another person from the comment stream, I tend to think I'm quoting too much and try to find a way to either link back to the comment or make my quote smaller.

But that's just me. YMMV.
posted by hippybear at 8:22 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Non-snarkily: I'm pretty sure there's a really good Greasemonkey script that makes quoting really easy; I think it adds a 'proper quote button.' Somebody else can probably help more on this... is it Plutor's script that does that?)
posted by koeselitz at 8:22 AM on April 22, 2011


koeselitz: (Non-snarkily: I'm pretty sure there's a really good Greasemonkey script that makes quoting really easy; I think it adds a 'proper quote button.' Somebody else can probably help more on this... is it Plutor's script that does that?)

Indeed.
posted by gman at 8:23 AM on April 22, 2011


How lazy can a person be?

I think this is an important question, meriting serious research. I'd get right on it, if I could be arsed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:23 AM on April 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would love this - I'm a big blockquoter.

There might not be any fixed conventions, but it seems like there are dominant ones. I use italics for quoting another user in the same thread, and I am realizing I also use italics for quoting from something in an FPP or a link inthread (that's not a very clear way to indicate the source, is it?) but blockquotes for quoting anything longer than a couple of lines from an outside-the-thread source.

In all seriousness, I sometimes find blockquote useful, but I would hesitate to promote its use. I don't like things that facilitate people talking directly to each other over the crowd because I feel that such things increase bickering just a tiny bit.


I'm not sure I follow how blockquotes don't facilitate talking to each other. I think they help you talk to other people.
posted by Miko at 8:30 AM on April 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I use italics to quote other commenters and block quotes to quote off-mefi material (with a link).

But then again, I never use the HTML buttons - I type all my tags out.
posted by muddgirl at 8:30 AM on April 22, 2011


Off-topic: Has anyone else noticed that the closing "a" tag is sometimes eating terminating periods on preview?

Like I typed a period at the end of this sentence.
posted by muddgirl at 8:32 AM on April 22, 2011


I actually really like our italics-for-quoting-other-comments house convention, and am disinclined to support anything that would muddy the waters.
posted by penduluum at 8:34 AM on April 22, 2011


Oh yeah, I like it too. I find it very clear. I would be happy to see a "italics for inthread, blockquotes for out" convention as a fixed one, but I know we don't really do fixed conventions.

Instead, we use shame, snobbery and humiliation. It was good enough for my grandaddy and it's good enough for me.
posted by Miko at 8:35 AM on April 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I see a period at the end of that sentence, muddgirl.
posted by Miko at 8:36 AM on April 22, 2011


muddgirl: "But then again, I never use the HTML buttons - I type all my tags out."

HTML hipsters.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:37 AM on April 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Off-topic: Has anyone else noticed that the closing "a" tag is sometimes eating terminating periods on preview?

I'm pretty sure that was discussed in this thread.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:40 AM on April 22, 2011


I see a period at the end of that sentence, muddgirl.

Spoooooky. Must be a local firefox thing then.

I'm pretty sure that was discussed in this thread.

I don't see it, but apparantly I don't see a lot of things, like lone periods after a closing "a" tag.
posted by muddgirl at 8:42 AM on April 22, 2011


I don't like things that facilitate people talking directly to each other over the crowd because I feel that such things increase bickering just a tiny bit.

I'm not sure I follow how blockquotes don't facilitate talking to each other. I think they help you talk to other people.


Re-read cortex's comment. He said he doesn't like things that do facilitate people talking to each other.

Of course, people currently use italics to do this, and there is an italics button. So that seems like an odd reason not to have a blockquote button.
posted by John Cohen at 8:48 AM on April 22, 2011


I prefer center instead of blockquote.
It's shorter to type and
really pisses off
designers.

posted by ryanrs at 8:48 AM on April 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think the world would be a better place if everybody could just learn to communicate a little less.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Re-read cortex's comment.

I was talking about zennie's comment.
posted by Miko at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2011


Woops, I mistakenly thought that was cortex's comment since they were making a similar point. Well, OK, re-read zennie's comment!
posted by John Cohen at 8:51 AM on April 22, 2011


Where's the button that makes all comments seem like they're dialog from a Hal Hartley movie? I could've sworn we were promised this years ago.
posted by item at 8:59 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, one other advantage I'd see to implementing this on MeFi (as opposed to doing it on the client-side with a Greasemonkey script) is that it would give the MeFi cabal some control over the CSS styling of quoted material as seen by other readers--whether it's a long quote or a short quote, the text could be styled in a way that makes quoting easier and gives quotes a common look-and-feek (avoiding those few extra-keystrokes for quotation marks--I know, I know, it's lazy, but it's also more efficient).

Though I can see where you're coming from, too, cortex.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:12 AM on April 22, 2011


Arguments about abusing HTML tags are moot as long as the blink tag still works.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:14 AM on April 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


So when can we get pretty pictures back?
posted by oddman at 9:15 AM on April 22, 2011


I thought I was going to miss images. But I don't.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:17 AM on April 22, 2011


HTML hipsters.

I enter my html via punchcards. It's just the purest code, and it really makes a difference if you sit down and appreciate it.
posted by inigo2 at 9:23 AM on April 22, 2011 [3 favorites]



How lazy can a person be ? Any fool can write [blockquote] [/blockquote] with angle brackets

Yes, but we in the majority still ought to pay attention to the needs of the few remaining Mefites who aren't fools.
posted by jamjam at 9:24 AM on April 22, 2011


I bought a first edition e-book of Naked Lunch and construct all my comments by cutting and pasting from that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:24 AM on April 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


I dictate all my comments to my manservant.
posted by desjardins at 9:27 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I bought a first edition e-book of Naked Lunch and construct all my comments by cutting and pasting from that.

I think this may indeed be the apotheosis of the entire internet. It's all downhill from here.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blockquote button would be nice.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:32 AM on April 22, 2011


I know that that HTML buttons are there, but I like to type out all of my html by hand because it is literally the only coding that I can do. It makes me feel like I belong with you people.
posted by Think_Long at 9:43 AM on April 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I do it because if in the time it takes to move my hands from the keyboard to the mouse, select the text, and click the button, someone could upstage my precious and unique comment!

So not hipster so much as asshole.
posted by muddgirl at 9:44 AM on April 22, 2011


I say we do all quotes in 3D. I think it would add some much needed dimension to some of discussions around here.
posted by philip-random at 9:48 AM on April 22, 2011


I do all my quotes in 1D. It's really the best way to make a point.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:50 AM on April 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


And before somebody else drops ina line about 2D quotes, let me just say: 4D quotes: When you absolutely, positively have to get the very last word.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:52 AM on April 22, 2011


According to Minkowski, 5D quotes contain all possible iterations and combinations of 4D quotes so use that when you want to be sure.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 AM on April 22, 2011


My brain is permanently warped from trying to visualize reading in 1D.
posted by zennie at 10:02 AM on April 22, 2011


Morse code is 1D!
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:04 AM on April 22, 2011


I'd say more like 1.5.
posted by ryanrs at 10:05 AM on April 22, 2011


I like stylistic variation and freedom of expression. I also like consistency and convention. In sum, I am tortured by this proposition.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:21 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh ... a blockquote button might be nice when you're trying to comment via your smartphone, or anywhere that requires use of a crippled keyboard. But, I'm already super-impressed by the special smartphone comment interface that we already have.

I have a question, though. When we press the "I" button, it creates an "em" tag instead of an "i" tag. Why is that? Why not just make it an "i" tag?
posted by jabberjaw at 10:21 AM on April 22, 2011


This ain't BB Code, son.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:24 AM on April 22, 2011


By this preposition, tortured am I.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:25 AM on April 22, 2011


But the "i" tag works just fine!
posted by jabberjaw at 10:32 AM on April 22, 2011


Huh. The more you know....
posted by Burhanistan at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2011


I like stylistic variation and freedom of expression. I also like consistency and convention. In sum, I am tortured by this proposition.

This is pretty much how I feel about everything on Metafilter all the time.

I'd say more like 1.5.

In print, maybe. In broadcast, it's variation on one dimension. Though over time, so technically it's 2D, but nobody ever includes the temporal dimension in casual discussion of spatial dimension so fie on that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:43 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan writes "Having an array of user-selectable HTML buttons available in our profile settings is something that would be very useful. I don't get the whole 'but it would be abused' thing. Sure, but people abuse things anyway."

That would be cool but I'm guessing a double no considering the previous stance resisting additional options in profile pages.

jabberjaw writes "When we press the 'I' button, it creates an 'em' tag instead of an 'i' tag. Why is that? Why not just make it an 'i' tag?"

<i> is on it's way to being deprecated.
posted by Mitheral at 10:54 AM on April 22, 2011

Blinking or nothing
I'm in favor of a blockquote button (and bringing back inline images)
posted by MikeMc at 10:55 AM on April 22, 2011


Here's a quick Safari extension to give you whiners a blockquote button. Click that link, click "Install", and reload this page.

(I added a little CSS to make the blockquotes themselves nicer, but I'm no designer, feel free to suggest improvements.)
posted by nicwolff at 10:57 AM on April 22, 2011


I promise that extension does not triangulate your current location and send it to Apple.
posted by nicwolff at 10:59 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


jabberjaw: "I have a question, though. When we press the "I" button, it creates an "em" tag instead of an "i" tag. Why is that? Why not just make it an "i" tag?"

Helps the visually impaired. Text to speech applications can interpret the [em] (emphasis) and [strong] tags better than italics and bold.
posted by I am the Walrus at 11:01 AM on April 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Will overuse cause Mathowie to banish the blink tag?
posted by Cranberry at 11:05 AM on April 22, 2011


I think we need a button to tag rhetorical questions.
posted by maudlin at 11:14 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not only do oppose adding a blockquote button, I support taking away the bold, italic, and link buttons!
posted by Justinian at 11:19 AM on April 22, 2011

I support taking away the bold, italic, and link buttons!
That's a bold position to take.
posted by MikeMc at 11:38 AM on April 22, 2011


Will overuse cause Mathowie to banish the blink tag?
posted by Cranberry at 11:05 AM on April 22 [+] [!] No other comments.


Nope, just you.
posted by special-k at 11:50 AM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm illiterate in broadcast.
posted by zennie at 11:52 AM on April 22, 2011


I dictate all my comments to my manservant.

HAVE READ LATEST PONY REQUEST STOP I SAY IT SMACKS OF BOLSHEVISM STOP BUT WOODHOUSE HERE IS STRONGLY IN FAVOR OF IT STOP
posted by Rock Steady at 11:54 AM on April 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


As a big quote monger I say yes! I've been informed the best style is a link and then the body of my quoted blocked off.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:31 PM on April 22, 2011


But then again, I never use the HTML buttons - I type all my tags out.

Think of them as Artisan-Crafted.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:04 PM on April 22, 2011


It's Earth Day, so I'm only using recycled tags.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:06 PM on April 22, 2011


You'd think twice about that if you saw where my tags have been.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:07 PM on April 22, 2011


I think the blockquote tag is useful and elegant enough it would make a good addition. Thoughts?

I agree, and I think suggesting Greasemonkey is not a good solution, because it requires a specific choice of browser to get to that solution, which is not ideal for all users.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 PM on April 22, 2011


jabberjaw: "I have a question, though. When we press the "I" button, it creates an "em" tag instead of an "i" tag. Why is that? Why not just make it an "i" tag?"

Em is the new i.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:15 PM on April 22, 2011


It's Earth Day, so I'm only using recycled tags.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson


It's Earth Day so I'm recycling IRFH's comment.
posted by special-k at 1:25 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon: I agree, and I think suggesting Greasemonkey is not a good solution, because it requires a specific choice of browser to get to that solution, which is not ideal for all users.

I have a bookmarklet that generates the block above. I can't remember where i got it.
posted by klarck at 1:41 PM on April 22, 2011


How about a "distracting and annoying" button
  1. that j
  2. ust does all
    1. sorts o
      f random fucked up formatting on your tex
  3. t?

posted by idiopath at 2:48 PM on April 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


In all seriousness this would be lovely, especially for mobile users.

In less seriousness, I would also like to request a Zalgo button.
posted by jtron at 3:07 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree, and I think suggesting Greasemonkey is not a good solution

Is there something wrong with typing the word BLOCKQUOTE and the word /BLOCKQUOTE and putting symbols around them? It seems easy enough.
posted by Justinian at 3:16 PM on April 22, 2011


There is research, and evidence point(!)ing to an idea that brains either better "remember", or better "capture" things that are "difficult" to read (messy fonts, zalgo-ism, sloppy pensive-ship, constant zooming in and out on etexts on ipads &c.).
I forget specifics; I was reading it in verdana. On looking, this is a popular news outlet article about it; so, a zalgo, or random formatting option could help answer the question, "Is our fish learning best, and how can we promote literal-sea!?".
posted by infinite intimation at 3:51 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there something wrong with typing the word BLOCKQUOTE and the word /BLOCKQUOTE and putting symbols around them? It seems easy enough.

I don't know why we aren't using carrier pigeons for posting messages on the Internetrola. It seems easy enough.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:59 PM on April 22, 2011


The carrier pigeons were eaten. I'm not saying by who. But they were eaten.
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on April 22, 2011


And they were del-... I mean, "What a tragedy!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:17 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to take this opportunity to say I'm so glad MeFi allows normal HTML tags instead of that horrendous kludge of markup that sites like, say, reddit, force me to use. I have to pull up the formatting help every time I make a link over there. So pointlessly annoying.

Whoa whoa whoa. I was with you when I thought you were going to mentioned BBCode or something. But Markdown is *great*! Most of my plain text documents are in it, and the many of the conventions were pretty close to what I was doing before I learned about markdown anyhow. With the right extensions to the markup and tools you can almost even replace some of the simplest TeX usage if you will it.
posted by floam at 4:33 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


How lazy can a person be? Any fool can write &lt;blockquote&gt; &lt;/blockquote&gt; so that it looks like <blockquote> </blockquote> – you don't need box brackets for that example at all.

You know, that doesn't make it through cut and pasting. I actually had to View Source to figure it out.

That person would be me, but I would rather call myself ignorant, computer illiterate, slowed by creeping age etc.

Hey, whippernsnapper, get off my lawn -- how to write blockquotes and title tags are about all the HTML I know. ( So. there, Koeslitz! ) And if I can do it, anyone can.

And I am sorry I was so peevish earlier but, jeez... Like we really need as many buttons as a 1958 Edsel with a Teletouch transmission.
posted by y2karl at 4:33 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd use blockquotes for actually quoting people here, but I really don't dig how they're presenting it. Why not font-style: italics; and maybe even a border-left: 2px solid #999; or something?
posted by floam at 4:37 PM on April 22, 2011


floam, no problem specifically with Markdown. I'd never heard of it till you linked it. I just am unhappy with straight html tags not working on reddit, 'cause that's how my fingers have become wired over the years. It would be nice to have that as an input option there.

When the i tag goes, can we grandfather it in here?
posted by BeerFilter at 5:18 PM on April 22, 2011


I would cite the hell out of this pony.

I'd prefer it if block quotes weren't so ugly in the current mefi stylesheet though. They use a lot of space and do.... hrm, unexepected things with trailing hard returns. They're fairly fiddly to use at the moment.
posted by bonehead at 6:08 PM on April 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lots of Markdown implementations handle mixed-in HTML quite nicely — the library I use ignores HTML well enough (knows when to not try to render in an HTML block, but I can mix things where you would expect it to work) that I actually do my website content (and any websites I stick up for people who pay me) mostly as Markdown in my tiny jerry-rigged CMS. I don't know why reddit doesn't let simple tags work.
posted by floam at 6:38 PM on April 22, 2011


If we're going to go on about buttons... why are bold and italics options, but not underline?

Meanwhile, while the 3D was a special occaision, there are many 1D comments.
posted by maryr at 7:06 PM on April 22, 2011


Got to chime in with the others who'd like to see mefi's stylesheet handle the blockquote tag a little better. Personally, I like floam's imagining of the concept.
posted by WCityMike at 7:07 PM on April 22, 2011


Screw blockquote, we need a Ź̫̗̗̠̯ͯ͝ͅa̛̖̰̐̿́̈́̋ͩ̅̚͡l̳̼͊̔̋́͆̆g̨ͤ̈́ͩ̀̒̈́ͨͦͤ͏̸̘͉̖ͅo̙̎̉̌̌̓͗ button (or maybe blockquotes should be in Ź̫̗̗̠̯ͯ͝ͅa̛̖̰̐̿́̈́̋ͩ̅̚͡l̳̼͊̔̋́͆̆g̨ͤ̈́ͩ̀̒̈́ͨͦͤ͏̸̘͉̖ͅo̙̎̉̌̌̓͗)
posted by daniel_charms at 9:27 PM on April 22, 2011


floam writes "Whoa whoa whoa. I was with you when I thought you were going to mentioned BBCode or something. But Markdown is *great*! Most of my plain text documents are in it, and the many of the conventions were pretty close to what I was doing before I learned about markdown anyhow. With the right extensions to the markup and tools you can almost even replace some of the simplest TeX usage if you will it."

The problem with any alternative mark up language, no matter how spiffy, is the need to:
  • Learn Yet Another Markup Language. One that isn't used for comment boxes anywhere else on the web that I've seen to boot.
  • Remember what subset of that language Metafilter supports
  • Figure out how to escape the formatting when you don't want it.
  • Remember to escape it when you don't want it in the first place. HTML is good for this because it is fairly difficult to accidentally enter markup. Markdown seems like it would be especially bad for this because it uses single common characters (IE: the * and >) to generate formatting.
The very limited HTML markup allowed in comments here is not difficult to type and with the exception of needing to remember what doesn't work it avoids the above problems.

Besides Markdown uses that goofy link syntax that wikis use which I find very difficult to parse and write.
posted by Mitheral at 10:47 PM on April 22, 2011


The very limited HTML markup allowed in comments here is not difficult to type and with the exception of needing to remember what doesn't work it avoids the above problems.

With the live preview and the preview button, it's not like you even have to remember too much what doesn't work. You'll have instant feedback if any HTML you type isn't accepted by MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 11:16 PM on April 22, 2011

"You'll have instant feedback if any HTML you type isn't accepted by MetaFilter."
but the <big> tag is a tease
posted by idiopath at 11:21 PM on April 22, 2011


To actually contribute something to this thread, rather than just post silly jokes, I think that the main argument agains a separate quoting button is that while it does facilitate people talking to each other, which is a good thing, it also facilitates people talking about each other, which is something Mefi is trying to avoid (case in point: countless Meta threads about threaded comments).

Also, IMO, <blockquote> is something that should be reserved for quotes from an article/book/blog post/another website, rather than a previous comment, since blockquoting something implies that it's not a natural part of this text, that it's a foreign object embedded in the text, that it clearly belongs to somewhere outside this text, whereas a Mefi thread could be construed as a single text, a single conversation, rather than a collection of short passages that, other than being on the same page, are unrelated to each other.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:29 AM on April 23, 2011


I agree daniel_charms, <blockquote> isn't the perfect tag for such a thing. However... it's more semantically good than just a crazy mess of emphasis tags and whatnot. The argument in favor of site-specific tags is that the actual HTML tags used is completely under the control of the developers. So if the user types out:

[quote]you smell bad[/quote]
I do not!

or perhaps:
> You smell bad.
I do not!


And the developer can decide if that should get rendered in the end as a emphasis tag (perhaps with a special "quoting" class or something, or a blockquote, or whatever works.) And you can easily change your mind later and keep a handle on all the crap. You certainly could even keep HTML and abstract it away somehow, but that starts to get kinda complicated when you're sorta polluting the same namespace.

Overall, a lot of the HTML used on Metafilter (overall really, mostly outside of comments, just from peeking at the rendered HTML) is a hodpgodge of really good stuff and kinda wrong-looking stuff. I see lots of <br>s that should probably not have to exist, overused <spans>, onmouseover, onclick events, style= attributes, in addition to a number of missed opportunities to use more meaningful elements. I don't really have a point here, but there's a little OCD thing in my brain that doesn't love it. It might be hurting things bandwidth-wise on the longer threads, but mostly the net would be slightly nicer if there was more attention given to semantic markup.
posted by floam at 12:54 AM on April 23, 2011


In all seriousness this would be lovely, especially for mobile users.

Block quotes make for very narrow columns of text on my Android device, especially since I tend to zoom the text to a larger size for better legibility.

I prefer to use italics for quoted text.
posted by SteveInMaine at 4:44 AM on April 23, 2011




Oops, that laid an egg.
posted by y2karl at 10:33 AM on April 23, 2011


Tools like Textexpander on the Mac or Texter on Windows are handy for this sort of stuff - I just type ,bq and the blockquote tags appear with the cursor inbetween them (,ah for a link and ,em for emphasis, &c.).
posted by jack_mo at 11:15 AM on April 23, 2011


hippybear: "With the live preview and the preview button, it's not like you even have to remember too much what doesn't work. You'll have instant feedback if any HTML you type isn't accepted by MetaFilter."

Unless it renders in live preview but doesn't in reality -- which is a common occurrence, although if you alert pb when it happens, he'll eliminate each edge case as it's discovered.
posted by WCityMike at 9:08 AM on April 24, 2011


Double.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:24 PM on April 24, 2011


Nice, an 11 year old callout. I like the cut of your jib, sir.
posted by Justinian at 2:48 PM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Blockquotes and quoting comments are really two different things anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:50 PM on April 24, 2011


I'd like it if Metafilter was more like Minecraft.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:36 AM on April 25, 2011

Any fool can write [blockquote] [/blockquote] with angle brackets.
Indeed I can. I can also type blokcquote, blockqoute, and a number of other variations. It used to be that adding type=cite (which, oddly, I have much less trouble typing) also added the blue "quote bar" to the left margin, but that seems to have vanished in one of the redesigns.

I hesitate to use italics alone for quoting, because I also use it for emphasis.

I suppose it's a fortunate thing that the majority of mefites are better typists than I am.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:35 AM on April 25, 2011


I hesitate to use italics alone for quoting, because I also use it for emphasis.

I use "i" tags for quoting and "em" for emphasis. Too anal? Yeah, probably.
posted by muddgirl at 7:03 AM on April 25, 2011


Or I try to, so please don't out-picky me and go back through all my comments to check the source code!
posted by muddgirl at 7:14 AM on April 25, 2011


The site makes all em tags into i tags anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:39 AM on April 25, 2011


The site makes all em tags into i tags anyway.

Checking the source code, "i" and "em" are preserved. Most visual browsers interpret them the same way. CSS can be used to make them look different. I have heard that many audio browers treat them differently.
posted by muddgirl at 9:49 AM on April 25, 2011


Don't i and em have the same effect?

Test of i tag

Test of em tag

Looks the same to me. I broke my brain this weekend, so there is probably something I'm not getting.
posted by desjardins at 12:08 PM on April 25, 2011


Most visual browsers interpret them the same way.

See, I told you, I broke my brain. Never mind my comment.
posted by desjardins at 12:09 PM on April 25, 2011


> I broke my brain.

You gonna eat that?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:13 PM on April 25, 2011


Astro Zombie has dibs.
posted by desjardins at 12:37 PM on April 25, 2011


Remember, brains are like cookies - the broken ones have no calories!
posted by Karmakaze at 1:40 PM on April 25, 2011


« Older Kids Gloves On   |   Should offensive language be allowed through the... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments