The blockquote tag is awesome! Let me show you how to use it. May 21, 2012 12:57 PM   Subscribe

Quoting more then a sentence or two from a user or article? Let me introduce you to the blockquote tag to use in place of italics.

I'm not going to ask that the community as a whole do this. I'm well aware I can't make all Mefites everywhere follow this suggestion. Instead I just wanted to enlighten those that aren't aware that Metafilter supports the blockquote tag.
What is the Blockquote tag used for?
The BLOCKQUOTE tag designates quoted text - generally long quotations where a paragraph break is appropriate.
So, it's perfect for those times when you're quoting an article to answer a question on AskMe. It's also great for when you're replying to a long comment another Mefite and want to quote them in your reply.



But what about Italics?

I totally understand where you're coming from. I mean, they are the gold standard way of quoting here at Metafilter. Change is hard to implement sometimes. After all, tried and true methods are what we always lean back on. Would it help if I tried to define why italics exist for websites?

Italics are one way to draw attention to text, but it makes text harder to read.

As a matter of fact, if you highlight a word and press the I button under the textbox, you will see those words get wrapped in "em" tags. Em stands for emphasis.

Have you ever been confronted with paragraphs and paragraphs of italicized text? I don't know about you, but it makes me not want to read it. Imagine if you had poor eyesight or a reading disability.



How do I use the blockquote tag?

Simple! Follow my example below:

<blockquote>
The text you are quoting goes here.
</blockquote>

That's it! I know it's a couple of letters to type out, but now quoted words will stand out without being difficult to read.

Thanks for listening to this service announcement. Brought to you by someone who wears glasses and finds as she gets older that she really wants to read what you quote but struggles with the italics.
posted by royalsong to Etiquette/Policy at 12:57 PM (131 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I still like Mefiquote.
posted by roll truck roll at 1:02 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


does it support the type='cite' method ?
cite?
Preview says no.
posted by k5.user at 1:04 PM on May 21, 2012


royalsong: "Brought to you by someone who wears glasses and finds as she gets older that she really wants to read what you quote but struggles with the italics."

Interesting choice to put this between some small tags...
posted by Grither at 1:06 PM on May 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


How do you know I don't have my webpages zoomed in/text enlarged? ;)
posted by royalsong at 1:08 PM on May 21, 2012


I wasn't aware that italics was hard for some to read.
I will work to bear it in mind.
Oh, these stack...
...awesome.
posted by Jehan at 1:09 PM on May 21, 2012

I
n
d
e
e
d
posted by griphus at 1:13 PM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


The crazy thing is that people who are young or have good eyesight don't think italics are hard to read because they're not to them. They're also not hard to read in short bursts. I know, I was one of them. I use to pshaw that whole thing and say, italics aren't hard to read! But as I get older..

Heck, I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of italicizing large sums of text here on Mefi myself. Now? I just kind of feel bad for the op when someone answers a question by italicizing an article from a website.
posted by royalsong at 1:14 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, that formatting is making me want to stretch and yawn.
posted by griphus at 1:14 PM on May 21, 2012


Blockquote's still too wonky on this site. Giant gaps abound.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:15 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


But... Mefiquote uses italics! How can I quickly type out an enraged response if I have to type [Blockquote] and [/Blockquote]?
posted by charred husk at 1:20 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's no way I'm doing blockquote tags from a phone without some assistance from PB.
posted by michaelh at 1:22 PM on May 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


charred husk: "
But... Mefiquote uses italics! How can I quickly type out an enraged response if I have to type [Blockquote] and [/Blockquote]?
"

Okay, that didn't work so well...
posted by charred husk at 1:28 PM on May 21, 2012


charred husk:
"But... Mefiquote uses italics! How can I quickly type out an enraged response if I have to type [Blockquote] and [/Blockquote]?"
Better. MefiQuote now conforms to your standards. I don't know if I like it, though.
posted by charred husk at 1:29 PM on May 21, 2012


Can't people who have a hard time reading it just tilt their head a little bit?

PROBLEM SOLVED!
posted by inturnaround at 1:31 PM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


And really the key is to use blockquote AND italics AND quotation marks. That way, there remains little doubt.
posted by Edogy at 1:34 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

charred husk:
"But... Mefiquote uses italics! How can I quickly type out an enraged response if I have to type [Blockquote] and [/Blockquote]?"
Even better, I think. Works better with multiple quotations. Also, as an added bonus...
I know enough scripting to be dangerous.
posted by charred husk at 1:34 PM on May 21, 2012


I wrote a Safari extension that adds a cute little "blockquote" button next to the B I link buttons.
posted by nicwolff at 1:42 PM on May 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Maybe we could tie a blockquote pony to the formatting block next to B, I, and link?
posted by tilde at 1:43 PM on May 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


nicwolff -- thank you! Since I use block quoting extensively, you have just delivered one of my ponies.
posted by ericb at 1:46 PM on May 21, 2012


If only we had nicwolf's 'block quote' button inherent in the MeFi webpage design. I'm not able to add a Safari extension to the mobile version (used on my iPhone and iPad) of MetaFilter.
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on May 21, 2012


I'm older. Bifocalled even. I have no trouble reading italics.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:50 PM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Blockquote is my favorite tag. I bet I have a higher blockquote average than almost anyone.

Or not. But I use it a lot.
posted by pracowity at 1:51 PM on May 21, 2012


I didn't ask for a blockquote pony because pb has the following to say:
This comes up quite a bit in MetaTalk so we know there's a group of people who really want it, but we don't want to complicate things with another button. Typing [it] out is a hassle, but it's not impossible. And we even added some buttons on the mobile side to make it easier to type HTML that we don't provide buttons for when you're on a phone.

We're not against seeing people use blockquote whenever they want to, we just don't feel like it's used enough to build in a shortcut for it.
posted by royalsong at 1:53 PM on May 21, 2012


Blockquote makes a lot of sense in comments and some sense in "more inside", but it's not great for above-the-fold. I agree that more than a sentence or so of italics is hard to read... people using quotes for above the fold could maybe just use quotation marks?
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:53 PM on May 21, 2012


I'm a happy <blockquote>r, but would appreciate not having to type it out each time.

In response to pb's point, we could not add a new button, but include a shortcut like the ctrl-b, ctrl-i, and ctrl-u. That way hard-core users who are aching for efficiency and correctness would have easy access, while casual users would be unaffected.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:58 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Brought to you by someone who wears glasses and finds as she gets older that she really wants to read what you quote but struggles with the italics.

You can adjust the size (and choice!) of fonts across the Metafilter site in your preferences panel, under Display Settings. This isn't an exact solution to your problem, but may help.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:00 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if it's possible to implement completely new tags to use. So something like:

<bq>Barbecue!</bq>

could also work and be easier to type out.
posted by royalsong at 2:02 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, once again a topic where it is relevant for me to post my suggestion that not only do we not add more buttons, but we take away the bold, italic, and link ones already there.
posted by Justinian at 2:04 PM on May 21, 2012


kickquote
blockquote!
punchquote
blockquote!
headbuttquote
blockquote!


God damn that was a dumb joke.
posted by Think_Long at 2:11 PM on May 21, 2012 [21 favorites]


So not only can we not have a new pony but all the old ones are sent to the glue factory? You, sir, are a monster.
posted by elizardbits at 2:13 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

God damn that was a dumb joke.
I talics!

No, *I* talics!

I talics!

No, *I* talics!

I TALICS!

NO, *I* TALICS!
posted by 23skidoo at 2:15 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll do it when there is a button for it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:19 PM on May 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


I love me some blockquote, not least because it more clearly separates the use of italics for emphasis of something the writer is saying and the quotation of text.

But I've long followed what seems to be sort of a MeFi convention that when quoting each other at length from inthread, we quote in italics, and when quoting people at length from offsite, we quote in blockquote.
posted by Miko at 2:22 PM on May 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


I would love the solution.
posted by Miko at 2:23 PM on May 21, 2012


er, heh, the "bq" shorthand solution.
posted by Miko at 2:23 PM on May 21, 2012


You know what's hard to read? Fucking cursive, man. Why do people write like that? So pretentious, as if they think they're 14thC nobility or something. It's not a plumed stylus, it's a Bic, no need to put on airs! Get over it and send an email like everybody else!

Gawd, I just hate people who write things with pens and pencils.

And don't even get me started on paper...
posted by iamkimiam at 2:31 PM on May 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


Cursive is faster. No need to pick up your pen.
posted by maryr at 2:36 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


And recursive gets faster and faster and faster.
posted by maryr at 2:37 PM on May 21, 2012 [9 favorites]


And discursive just goes on and on and on...
posted by iamkimiam at 2:39 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


nicwolff: "I wrote a Safari extension that adds a cute little "blockquote" button next to the B I link buttons."

Ok, this rocks. THANKS!
posted by zarq at 2:41 PM on May 21, 2012


I don't mind block quotes much for lengthy quotes in the FPP, but I find them very jarring in all but the longest comments. I don't like the way they break up the text, and, except for really long quotes, (which I generally don't do, although I can think of an exception or two), they seem kind of stunty to me. So I am really unlikely to use them.

However, even though I am the measure of all things, that's just an opinion.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:46 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for letting me know about this. I'll keep it in mind!
posted by livinglearning at 3:01 PM on May 21, 2012


I got really spaced out and realized that I needed to space it out.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:11 PM on May 21, 2012


Can this be the thread where everybody abuses the blockquote tag to get it out of their systems before the mods add it to the list of auto-html buttons so that new folks who don't know any html can use it too?
posted by Blasdelb at 3:18 PM on May 21, 2012




I'm older. Bifocalled even. I have no trouble reading italics.


Same here. Well, I'm not older, but my eyesight is too bad for LASIK, and I don't struggle with them in the slightest. If they're an issue, though, it would be great to have the little button below to blockquote (I can never remember HTML for the life of me). I have to use IE7 at work so no scripts for me.
posted by mippy at 3:27 PM on May 21, 2012


italics! youtalics! we all blockquote for...ok this shit isn't making any sense.
posted by special-k at 3:35 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


'Then' and 'than' are two different words with distinct meanings! I won't presume to give a lesson here, but you might look it up.
posted by trip and a half at 3:43 PM on May 21, 2012


It must be pointed out -- with the utmost of urgency -- that in The MetaFilter Style Guide That Only Exists in My Head, blockquote is only approved to indicate text excerpted from other websites and/or printed matter. If you're just quoting MetaFilter comments, you should stick to italics or, if that's too eye-hurty, just put it in quotation marks like a normal person might.

And only use Username In Bold Followed Buy A Colon: attribution if the comment being quoted was especially douchey.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:44 PM on May 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


I dunno, I find the humble " " captures any lengthy quoting I wish, well, and I will always italicise other mefites; it's the least I can do for them.
posted by smoke at 3:46 PM on May 21, 2012


Miko: "I've long followed what seems to be sort of a MeFi convention that when quoting each other at length from inthread, we quote in italics, and when quoting people at length from offsite, we quote in blockquote."

I also use this convention. If it isn't a law, then it should be.
posted by dg at 3:47 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't have a strong opinion either way on blockquote vs. italics (I've always used the latter, but suppose I could be swayed).

I just stopped by to point out that I like the kind of request on MeTa that a) is humble, b) explains itself clearly, and c) demonstrates how to do it so that those who don't already know how to aren't humiliated.

This sort of behavior should be encouraged.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:53 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

"... so that those who don't already know ... "
Yay!
posted by de at 4:03 PM on May 21, 2012


<blackletter>𝕷𝖊𝖙 𝖒𝖊 𝖎𝖓𝖙𝖗𝖔𝖉𝖚𝖈𝖊 𝖞𝖔𝖚 𝖙𝖔 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝖇𝖑𝖔𝖈𝖐𝖖𝖚𝖔𝖙𝖊 𝖙𝖆𝖌 𝖙𝖔 𝖚𝖘𝖊 𝖎𝖓 𝖕𝖑𝖆𝖈𝖊 𝖔𝖋 𝖎𝖙𝖆𝖑𝖎𝖈𝖘.</blackletter>

Wait, something's off.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:09 PM on May 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Miko: I've long followed what seems to be sort of a MeFi convention . . .

Me too. Reading this thread and seeing no comments that mentioned it, I was starting to wonder if I'd somehow been doing it wrong all this time. Thanks for bringing it up!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:11 PM on May 21, 2012


Quoting more then a sentence or two from a user or article? Let me introduce you to the blockquote tag to use in place of italics.

Thanks!
posted by Artw at 4:19 PM on May 21, 2012


trip and a half, it is not a lesson I need to learn. I already know it. I just learned the wrong one a long time ago and now find it nearly impossible to unlearn. I usually don't even think when I use the word "then". No more then you would to use for "the" or "is". I don't even catch it when I'm rereading.

I admit defeat to the word "than", I will just never get it.

Since we're talking about my failures at writing out English.. this sentence should read:

"It's also great for when you're replying to a long comment another Mefite made and want to quote them in your reply."


I know they're distantly related, but text formatting and grammar are still two completely different things. ;) I never claimed to know the latter, only how to use the former.
posted by royalsong at 4:32 PM on May 21, 2012


Hell, I'm still trying to find a way to get "please don't use @USERNAME" in replies on MetaFilter; we have a very clear method of how we respond to comments in a thread and it is not difficult to do" psychically beamed into everyone's heads.

</pissy annoyance complaint>
posted by tzikeh at 4:39 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


<bq>Barbecue!</bq>

You just made Baby Berners-Lee cry.
posted by Dano St at 4:51 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


@tzikeh Don't be so sensitive. #netiquette
posted by maryr at 5:01 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The blockquote tag is awesome! Let me show you how to use it.

SARCASM PLUS BOLD IS ALMOST AS RUDE AS ALL CAPS !!!!

Maybe next time you can think about dialing it back a little. Bees, honey, vinegar, etc.
posted by y2karl at 5:08 PM on May 21, 2012


I agree that reading a lot of italics can be a real pain. I learned about blockquoting from Taz who helpfully converted one of my giant italicized posts and it looked much better after.
posted by Danila at 5:12 PM on May 21, 2012


blockparty button needed surely.
posted by arcticseal at 5:21 PM on May 21, 2012


ain't no party like a blockquote party.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:23 PM on May 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


I like blockquote because you're supposed to use italics for emphasis. For me, it's a pain to read something when everything is emphasized.
It's like those kids who highlight the whole page of a textbook.
posted by NoraCharles at 5:31 PM on May 21, 2012


I like blockquotes, but I don't think they're right for citing part of another user's comment at the beginning of your own. If there's not a block of unindented text above it, the blockquote is just floating there, no? Obviously this aesthetic judgement is formed by years of convention, but if the main issue is that italicized text is difficult to read, why not use some CSS/Greasemonkey/whatever to render all the em and i tags in some way you'd prefer?
posted by nobody at 5:46 PM on May 21, 2012

ain't no party like a blockquote party.
Let's
get
it
started
.
posted by byanyothername at 5:49 PM on May 21, 2012


y2karl: Erm. Not sure if you're trying to be funny or not. In case there's some confusion, I was sincere when I wrote that. I do think the blockquote tag is awesome.

I understand though, sometimes MetaTalk has a lot of snark.. and I can see how you took it that way. I did strive to make sure the post was sarcasm free. I didn't want to sound like I was complaining or thought ill of the people who do use italics to quote. I didn't want to call out a specific person or post.

This is just a simple method that I wish everyone used more. But instead of saying: "Hey! You all are doing it wrong, do it this way instead.." Which, from watching the reactions of previous posts that take that route, is never well received. I thought it would be best to teach and let you make the decision on what you want to use.
posted by royalsong at 5:49 PM on May 21, 2012


I am extremely excited by this because it resolves the how-to-quote-from-two-users problem. (I can already hear you rolling your eyes, but, really, I won't abuse it.) Also I refrained from quoting Douglas Adams in a thread just yesterday because I didn't know that this tag existed, much less that MeFi supported it, but there would have been too many quotation marks and it was just a little too long for italics and blah blah blah I am pleased.
posted by gingerest at 5:55 PM on May 21, 2012


From the Wiki: blockquote tag is "not recommended unless you must quote large blocks of text." Personally, I'm a big fan of blockquotes, but I doubt there's a specific standard for block-quoting that would win consensus and that is more specific than "more than a sentence or two" or "large blocks."
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:13 PM on May 21, 2012


Well, in MLA format the threshold for "large block of text" requiring a blockquote is four lines, and that's often about the length where I toggle over here.
posted by Miko at 6:29 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I use blockquote when I'm concerned that someone might mistake something I'm quoting from something I wrote. Which has happened to me on Metafilter before, in an FPP. People apparently don't always pay attention to quotation marks.

I'm less concerned with following style guidelines than I am of being misunderstood.
posted by zarq at 6:35 PM on May 21, 2012


I don't put other people's comments in italics. I put them between <cite></cite> tags. I assume someday in the future there will be a style sheet change and all my citations will magically appear distinct from mere italic emphasis.

I'm also stockpiling pennies for when zinc prices spike.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:49 PM on May 21, 2012

We're not against seeing people use blockquote whenever they want to, we just don't feel like it's used enough to build in a shortcut for it.
You don't think that maybe, just maybe, it isn't used very often because using it is a colossal pain in the ass?

What does the FAQ have to say? Ok, let's find the Q about formatting. Oh wait, there isn't one with "formatting" in the title. Since I've been here for something like six or seven years, I know to do a ctrl-f search for "html," which gets me the right question. But if I'm just looking to format a post, maybe not the first think I'd search for, and as the thirty-second link down from the top, not the easiest to find by reading through, either.

But hey, I'm a smart guy, I got to the right Q somehow, let's see what it has to say:
If you know how to use HTML, you can use an abbreviated list of HTML tags in your posts, including a, b, blockquote, center, em, i, li, ol, pre, small, strike, strong, sub, sup, and ul.
If at this point I'm still a google search away from actually knowing how to create indented text, I don't think that the infrequency of people using this can be pointed to user error. And even at that point, after all that searching and digging and reading, one still has to type out both the blockquote and /blockquote parts, something like 27 keystrokes if I'm counting correctly. (And this is all on my computer; on a phone you'd be unlikely to even find the right section in the FAQ, never mind type out the formatting.)

This place kicks ass, and the staff here kick more ass. But one of the not-kicking-ass things is the interface for even minimal text formatting. I mean, fuck, I've been here for years and years and I still don't know what half the html commands in that list do -- "ol"? "pre"? WTF? I'm supposed to memorize all this? Or do a google search every time I want to do whatever "pre" does?
posted by Forktine at 9:00 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Make that 29 keystrokes. To indent?
posted by Forktine at 9:02 PM on May 21, 2012


  1. The "ol" tag makes Ordered Lists.
  2. Use a "li" tag for each List Item.
  3. I wish it were "nl" for Numbered List.
  4. If I'd used "ul" it would be an Unordered List and these would just be bullet points.
The "pre" tag displays everything fixed-width
It stands for "preformatted" for some reason
I didn't make the rules.
posted by Scientist at 9:24 PM on May 21, 2012


I also have no idea why we got i, b, and blockquote. What, bq wasn't good enough?
posted by Scientist at 9:24 PM on May 21, 2012


EM and STRONG, really, if you want to be proper about it.
posted by Artw at 9:32 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does blockquote differentiate enough in an FPP setting that said text is quoted? How does the formatting change in different screens? I have tried both methods and find that greater clarity in ensuring other's know that its a quote comes from something not dependent on spacing to communicate but visually different. I wear two different types of reading glasses and regular ones for myopia. Please advise.
posted by infini at 10:07 PM on May 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's actually pretty fascinating is that GML, which was a predecessor to SGML and ultimately HTML, actually has a :LQ tag that stands for long quotation:
Processing: Long quotations are set off from the text surrounding them by both right and left indention. They are not surrounded by quotation marks (" "), as are quotations identified by the :Q tag.
Many of the elements in modern day HTML derive their names from GML, such as H0, H1, ... H6, P, TITLE, BODY, OL, UL, LI, DL, DT, DD, ADDRESS, and notably Q which is the the inline quote element for short quotations, as mentioned in the above block. Berners-Lee left all those names unchanged, but changed LQ to BLOCKQUOTE.

It's also a little bit chilling to read about GML, which dates back to the 1960s, and see things that would eventually mutate and transform into the web as we know it today.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:09 PM on May 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


WTF? I'm supposed to memorize all this?

Yes, that's how HTML works. It's a formatting language that you learn like other languages. But you only have to learn what you need. Do you find yourself needing to make lists a lot in your comments here? Then it couldn't hurt to learn how HTML lists work. You could also use asterisks and line breaks to make a bulleted list. You don't need to use HTML formatting of any kind. You can use plain text to contribute here.

There's no requirement to use blockquotes to participate. There's no requirement to use blockquote on your phone. A limited set of HTML is available if you want to use it, but you can always just type text into a textarea. The exception is making links to things, but even links aren't required to make a comment.

So you can learn what you want of HTML. If you don't learn any HTML, that's ok. We're not going to add a button for every potential tag you can use. It'd be confusing, and get in the way more than it would help. We have a list of common tags in the FAQ if you're curious about some of the options available, and yes, the Web is full of tutorials that will explain how these things work. You can find them if you're curious, and if you're not that's fine too.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:11 PM on May 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


pb is a master of diplomacy. Also, I love this comment.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:33 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


because using it is a colossal pain in the ass?

Using blockquote tags is a minor inconvenience; it requires (a) a very basic familiarity with HTML-style tags and (b) the awareness that <blockquote> is one of the tags that exists.

The same goes for just about every one of the tags that the Metafilter comment and post parser permits. That's been the case for a very long time, and the relatively stark and simple posting interface we have here is intentionally so and has worked pretty well as such for well over a decade. We also don't provide buttons for pre, for small, for center, and so on; they're permitted, folks are welcome to use them if they want to put out that small bit of effort involved in learning how, but they're not considered fundamental parts of the discursive toolset here.

And to the extent that we provide buttons for the very minimal toolset of links, bold and italic, we have people who even misuse or overuse those in a visually clumsy or obnoxious fashion. Including them as buttons is a compromise, not in my opinion at least unambiguously a model to be emulated in a larger collection of casual push-buttons formatting options.

With any addition to formatting options, there has to come the question of what happens when people start applying that mode of formatting a lot more casually, and the model I end up looking at there is basically every bloated-comment-featuring forum I've ever encountered, with the longer, less dense, less focused formatting that seems to define somewhat carelessly over-dressed comments. Aggressively encouraging the use of blockquote by canonizing it on the toolbar feels like a move in that direction, toward Metafilter seeming less like Mefi and more like Just Another Forum.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:52 PM on May 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I used blockquote this morning and I liked it! That said, I do not like how on certain parts of the site (and offsite), when the comment gets reproduced, the blockquote falls off formatting and the words look like they're initially attributed as yours. For the most part, this doesn't happen with italics. I tend to actually use quote marks and italics, just to keep the authorship clear. It's a small detail, but makes things easier when reading into a comment out of its original context.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:02 AM on May 22, 2012


Safari users on ios - use keyboard shortcuts for easy access to blockquote tags. Go to Settings, General, Keyboard, Shortcuts.
posted by desjardins at 12:11 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could supported code buttons be a toggled-in-your-profile sort of thing? Sort of like:
Show Advanced Formatting Options: [x] Yes [ ] No.
Like the font and preferences that Brandon Blatcher pointed out. Just have it toggled to No by default. That way the people who don't like change don't have to have it forced on them and those of us who want buttons for better formatting can have them.

I know greasemonkey scripts are kinda the fall back for ponys.. but they make me kind of wary. I don't know what a random person did to make that greasemonkey code. What if it ends up a security risk? And as browsers update, those kinds of things go out of date: correct? Not to mention that addons bog down your browser.

Don't get me wrong, greasemonkey scripts are awesome and most of the time I feel that they are good solutions to options people want.. but this is something the site already supports. I just want some buttons for it.
posted by royalsong at 4:16 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


To quote other commenters I actually use the <q></q> tag which Rhomboid mentions. In most browsers it displays by wrapping curly quotation marks around the text.

So, what I do is paste in the text I'm going to quote, select it, and hit the italics button twice, then type "q"s into the inner begin and end tag. So I get both italics and curly quotes for my trouble.

Also, if this were to become widespread, people with superior browser kung fu could use custom styles to display q elements as indented blocks just like blockquotes, and hence control the Matrix and make things more readable if desired.
posted by XMLicious at 4:26 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wou;d enjoy having blockquote as a tag. Should MeFi need funding, I would pay a couple bucks to have an enhanced toolbar. I use blockquote from time to time, but sometimes forget about it.
posted by theora55 at 4:33 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gimme a button and I'll do it. Type ten characters or more? Who d'you think I am? Tolstoy?
posted by Segundus at 5:12 AM on May 22, 2012

With any addition to formatting options, there has to come the question of what happens when people start applying that mode of formatting a lot more casually, and the model I end up looking at there is basically every bloated-comment-featuring forum I've ever encountered, with the longer, less dense, less focused formatting that seems to define somewhat carelessly over-dressed comments.
So I guess user avatars are out of the question?

Anyway, personally I never use the B and I buttons because it's so much easier to just type in the tags than it is to highlight the text then find the mouse pointer then click on the button then go back to typing. But "blockquote" is cumbersome and annoying to keep having to type out in full, even though blockquoted text is awesome, replicates a standard way of formatting print publications and is apparently much easier for some people to read.

I mean, I can see the benefits of maintaining the status of blockquote as a subtle, coded indicator of refinement. But it would be really nice if it was a bit shorter, like the "bq" that people keep suggesting. I think this would a good pony to have - it could be an unassuming pony that just sits out the back, minding its own business, known only to the few people who really care.

No love for shortened blockquote pony?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 5:41 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


love
posted by infini at 5:48 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aggressively encouraging the use of blockquote by canonizing it on the toolbar feels like a move in that direction, toward Metafilter seeming less like Mefi and more like Just Another Forum.

My point is actually that there's a nice, happy middle ground between having dancing avatars and the current situation where doing even minimal formatting requires significant steps, including finding off-site web tutorials, for a new user.

Is there a need to put a line of buttons for every formatting code below the text box? No, of course not. Would it make sense to have a "formatting help" link there, or a even a clear link in the FAQ to formatting, aimed directly at new users? Yes.

I like the plain text "discursive toolset" that has evolved here as much as anyone; what I don't understand is taking pride in placing barriers in front of users. Right now not adding "ponies," whether in form of buttons or even just replacing "blockquote" with something faster to type like "bq" or whatever, is being justified by the rarity of that tag's use. But that means little, given all the friction that is placed in the way of it being used.
posted by Forktine at 5:55 AM on May 22, 2012


Oh, why couldn't they have left it as LQ? I am constantly typing BLOKCQUOTE or something along those lines. (I'm a lousy typist - always have been.) TYPE=CITE used to work here, and stopped during one of the design updates.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:57 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there a need to put a line of buttons for every formatting code below the text box? No, of course not. Would it make sense to have a "formatting help" link there, or a even a clear link in the FAQ to formatting, aimed directly at new users? Yes.

I'd point out that there is an "HTML help" link just to the left of the textbox, which includes blockquote.

Still, if someone were to make a blockquote button script for a browser other than Safari, I'd install it in a heartbeat.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:00 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd point out that there is an "HTML help" link just to the left of the textbox, which includes blockquote.

I've been here years and years, and had never noticed that link before. Proof that no matter how helpful you try to be, there's no way you can prevent total user failure.
posted by Forktine at 6:11 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


total user failure for the next time I have a spare $5
posted by infini at 6:20 AM on May 22, 2012


No love for shortened blockquote pony?

None here. The "Semantic web" has been a long struggle and is still very much an issue. Introducing non-standard tags is a step backwards on that front. Even if <bq> tags were to go away on page display (e.g. pb handled them on input so that there's no actual non-standard output) we'd still be training people to do something that literally breaks the web. The internet is a collective thing; when individual entities start doing things their own way, it creates chaos in the system no matter how much sense it may make within the context of the entity. Especially an entity as influential as MetaFilter.
posted by Dano St at 6:23 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Previous discussion on blockquotes in comments and posts, in which some fuckery is had with the page formatting.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:23 AM on May 22, 2012


Previous discussion on blockquotes in comments and posts, in which some fuckery is had with the page formatting.

Actually a post ostensibly about small tags from 2004 self-linked here by the person who made it.

I used to use the small tag for quotes because I had a small monitor on which the small tag did not reduce the fonts as much as on a larger monitor.

When I used a larger monitor at work I realized what stavrosthewonderchicken was going on about and switched to blockquotes. People were still complaining about my use of the small tag for quotes for two years after I had abandoned it.

On topic:
Typing in blockquote and /blockquote between two angles is not the hardest thing in the world to do. Having a button for it seems like overkill.
It reminds me of what a niece said when she was 5 years old. I had tripped over one of a toy truck she had left in the middle of their living room floor and said "You know, you could pick up your toys once in a while.''

Her succinct response: ''Too hard.''
posted by y2karl at 7:28 AM on May 22, 2012


Good Lord, I didn't know MeFi supported it. Now I do I will use it incessantly.
posted by Decani at 7:39 AM on May 22, 2012


The internet is a collective thing; when individual entities start doing things their own way, it creates chaos in the system no matter how much sense it may make within the context of the entity. Especially an entity as influential as MetaFilter.

This really isn't true. Using things like custom doctypes or an XML doctype with an XML namespace to add custom tags or custom attributes to tags is pretty standard. It's probably more of a pain in the ass than it would be worth but these markup languages are designed to be extensible and especially in an application like this the worst-case scenario is that you end up with marked up text that isn't styled properly.
posted by XMLicious at 7:43 AM on May 22, 2012


Actually a post ostensibly about small tags from 2004 self-linked here by the person who made it.

Wow, seems like small text really aroused a lot of ire in people.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:53 AM on May 22, 2012


What doesn't?
posted by zarq at 8:02 AM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


having to type blockquote over and over again to use it (I use the b and i links to properly strong and em things, as well as the link shortcut) is hard for some of us. In my heyday I could type over 90wpm, but the two-fingers can't, nor can people who have more achy days.
posted by tilde at 8:10 AM on May 22, 2012


While we're reminiscing about MeTa threads, this one from 2007 is one of my personal favorites. It started out as a plea against the <blink> element but when Gary found an input filtering vulnerability that allowed unrestricted element attributes, it quickly turned into something else altogether.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:11 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rhomboid, that is awesome. Gary smashed a metafilter wall there.
posted by royalsong at 8:18 AM on May 22, 2012


I'm a little bummed that the change a few years relating to automatic conversion of newlines into <br/> in <pre> blocks caused a bunch of old ASCII art comments to break, like the one in that thread. Prior to that change, if you wanted a single spaced <pre> block, you had to write <br/> your self and not put a newline, otherwise you'd get double spaced lines as a newline was converted to <br/> + newline on the server end. Then a few years ago they changed it so that apparently <br/>'s in comments are stripped and the newline converter was modified to do the right thing inside a <pre> context. But that unfortunately makes old <pre>s before the change render as one long line. I recognize that the change was done to make using <pre> easier for users not versed in this subtlety, but I have a history of ASCII art comments that render wrong and make it look like I didn't know what I was doing.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:29 AM on May 22, 2012


Yeah, that thread is a truly glorious thing. Everyone being momentarily surprised before piling on with colored blink tags, mods scrambling to fix shit, Matthowie scolding "Brandon stop it I'm trying to work here" - what a moment to have missed.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:36 AM on May 22, 2012


EM and STRONG, really, if you want to be proper about it.

Deprecated in HTML5, I believe.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:37 AM on May 22, 2012


custom doctypes or an XML doctype with an XML namespace to add custom tags or custom attributes to tags is pretty standard.

Standard as in it adheres to a standard, but not standard at all in terms of how the vast majority of the web is built and not standard to the HTML 4 transitional doctype that this page declares itself to be.

Is there any example of a general purpose site extending HTML in this fashion? We are not talking about adding new functionality, ala <video> in HTML5, but rather renaming existing functionality for simple convenience. A handful of people decide "hamburger" is too many syllables and decide amongst themselves "hmm" means the same thing. It's fine for those people but pretty much fucks communication outside of the group.

How many user scripts could be aff... eh, nevermind. This is pretty pointless as I think there's nil chance of <bq> being implemented on the output side. There's a slightly greater than nil chance of it being accepted as input, and that's more my point: if MF accepts it then it will have repercussions, be they tiny ripples, for every other site that accepts html from users. Mathowie understands bq means, why don't you?
posted by Dano St at 8:38 AM on May 22, 2012


Over the past year or so, whenever I've been tempted to blockquote, or do ordered or unordered lists, instead of the expected formatting these weird zeroes appear in the preview window. As I want formatting, not zeroes, I figure these tags are being modified or rejected somehow, so I back up and use what I know works.
posted by Rash at 8:42 AM on May 22, 2012


...instead of the expected formatting these weird zeroes appear in the preview window.

What browser are you using, Rash? Can you send a screenshot of the zeroes and the code you're trying to use? That shouldn't be happening for you.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:33 AM on May 22, 2012


Deprecated in HTML5, I believe.

Nope, still going strong in HTML5. There was some talk that <b> and <i> should be deprecated but they're still included as well.
posted by pb (staff) at 9:35 AM on May 22, 2012


We are not talking about adding new functionality, ala <video> in HTML5, but rather renaming existing functionality for simple convenience.

Actually, now that I'm looking more closely at what you're talking about doing, I'm pretty sure all that would be necessary would be to define CSS styles for the <bq> tag to make it display the same way as a <blockquote> tag would. Not something that would rend the internet asunder, especially not the parts of the net still using the HTML 4 transitional doctype and not even strictly handling HTML as a type of XML yet. In fact, this probably would have worked in 1995, in Internet Explorer at least which was way ahead of Netscape in implementing CSS and XML-related stuff at the time.

About the worst thing that I can imagine happening is that if you cut and pasted from a MetaFilter web page to something else that didn't retain/import MeFi's style sheets it would lose the formatting but that's pretty obvious anyways. And userscripts that did anything with <blockquote> elements would have to also do the same things to <bq> elements.
posted by XMLicious at 9:57 AM on May 22, 2012

... but we're still cool with <small>, right?
posted by scruss at 10:44 AM on May 22, 2012


I'm still annoyed that lowercase, rather than uppercase, became standard for HTML. I mean, you've already got the shift key held down for the brackets, why not just keep your pinky there?
posted by maryr at 11:10 AM on May 22, 2012


A thing I have learned about myself: I am so strongly inclined to lowercase my html tags that even when I am TYPING AT LENGTH IN ALL CAPS FOR HUMOROUS EFFECT I will stop and toggle off Caps Lock for the tags that I dress the ALL CAPS stuff up with. If I forget or fail to do this, I will go back and fix it. Every time, compulsively.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:29 AM on May 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter:
it creates chaos in the system no matter how much sense it may make within the context of the entity.
Nah, I like the [bq] thing better.
posted by Blue_Villain at 11:50 AM on May 22, 2012


I do the same thing Cortex.
posted by royalsong at 12:16 PM on May 22, 2012


I think italics definitely have their place here, especially when quoting another user. It's so much easier to skim for responses when there's italic text. For those who find italics hard to read, is the font you have set in preferences one with a true italic installed on your computer? Because if it's not, you're probably seeing the much less readable, tilted version of a non-italic font.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:43 PM on May 22, 2012


Why isn't there a button for the ALL CAPS tag?
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on May 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Since italics apparently irritates old people, the next time that some theist tells me that I'm too young to understand why their god is the true god, I will respond in all italics. Well, maybe first a disclaimer in normal text that it is not a quote, then the italicized stuff. So good to know.
posted by Chekhovian at 5:11 PM on May 22, 2012


Why isn't there a button for the ALL CAPS tag?

Am I missing something here? It's right there, next to Bold.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:20 PM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


He said ALLCAPS not LOLCAPs btw...
posted by infini at 5:25 PM on May 22, 2012


For anyone who wants to use Mefiquote to use blockquote tags, it's very easy. Go to your preferences, scroll to the bottom, and change the "Quote format" field in the "MefiQuote settings" box.

You'll probably want something like:
<blockquote><a href="%l">%n</a>: "<i>%q</i>"</blockquote>
but you can obviously tweak it to whatever you want.
posted by Plutor at 11:31 AM on May 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


pb:

Sorry for the delay getting back to you, but the browser I see this on is called konqueror, which comes with Red Hat Linux -- it's the only place I see my problem.
posted by Rash at 1:27 PM on May 23, 2012


Thanks, Rash. We don't see many visits with Konqueror. My guess is that it's a problem with the way that browser handles setting innerHTML via JavaScript. I'm not sure that's something we can fix on our end but I can take a look.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2012


huh, lists in Live Preview are checking out ok for me in Konqueror 4.4.5 on Ubuntu 10.04.3. Maybe it's a problem with the Red Hat version—I don't have a copy of Red Hat set up for testing right now.
posted by pb (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 23, 2012


It almost works as expected, Plutor. However, (I think) since you hardcoded the italic tag into your script, the quote ends up being italic whether I want it to be or not. Specifically, here's my current setting,

<blockquote><a href="%l">%n</a>: "%q"</blockquote>


and its effect:

Plutor: "For anyone who wants to use Mefiquote to use blockquote tags, it's very easy. "
posted by IAmBroom at 2:54 PM on May 23, 2012


Huh. Weird. NOW it's working: no italics.
Plutor: "For anyone who wants to use Mefiquote to use blockquote tags, it's very easy.
Never mind.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:57 PM on May 23, 2012


pb:

Screenshot here. I'd put the blame on the javascript, and an old version of Red Hat.
posted by Rash at 10:46 PM on May 23, 2012


IAmBroom: " Never mind."

Did you have two tabs open, and make the preference change in one and expect it to show up right away when you used the quote button in the other one? I can see that behaving as you experienced.
posted by Plutor at 6:21 AM on May 24, 2012


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