The inability (or unwillingness?) of some participants here to learn how to use the quote tags - or worse, to edit
quoted text - or, worse again, to learn the difference between the Reply
and the Add Reply
buttons - has been a long-standing problem. Several people have made several efforts to address the problem (without much success, perhaps because those who should
read this type of thread don't
read this type of thread - hence my rather hysterical title).
posted a brief, straightforward tutorial on the subject back in September of '04: Using the Quote/Multiquote Features, A step-by-step guide
- which has been bumped repeatedly since. So, if you're unsure about quote tags in general (and we all
were at some point in our lives), it would be best to start with Jaime
The worse and worse again problems, however, aren't covered in the tutorial. And, to me, there's little here that's more infuriating than scrolling through 1200 lines of quoted text to arrive at an unrelated, two-sentence, off-topic snark. Hell, it's infuriating even when it's a pithy, salient point that directly addresses the questions for debate. And by the time I've scrolled through the dozen lengthy nested quotes that I just read
earlier in the thread and get to your
measly paragraph at the bottom, you know what? I don't give a damn what
you've got to say. I just want you to go away until you've learned how to use the freakin' quote function.
Okay, I'll get down off my high horse now and try to be constructive.
If you are replying to the topic in general - or to another participant's overall opinion, there is no need to quote any text at all
. The best way to avoid quoting unnecessary text is to use the blue Add Reply
button at the bottom of the page. It's just below the last (most recent) post to the thread next to a button labeled New Topic
. This loads a blank reply window - a clean slate, as it were - and you can start entering you brilliant prose without someone else's shoddy opinion prefacing it.
Sadly, there is a smaller red Reply
button at the end of each individual post (next to the significantly more useful Quote
button). And, for unknown reasons, some
people here select that button every time they frame a response to a thread.
One should ONLY
use the red Reply
one feels it is absolutely essential
to quote all or part of someone else's response in order to reply specifically and directly to the quoted portion. If you wish to address your remarks to another contributor, you don't
have to quote their entire response - you can simply address them by user name at the start of your
response. They'll probably remember what their opinion was - or can scroll back up and read it, if necessary. The same goes for the rest of us.
So, in addition to commentary, I'll add a suggestion here:
SUGGESTION: If possible, get rid of the Reply button. Delete it. Scrap it. Write it out of the code. If people want to quote a post, they can click on the Quote button, then click on the Add Reply button. Simple. This would eliminate people wantonly quoting entire posts every time they frame a response. (Though I'll bet you that there would be a few angry PMs saying "Hey - you took away my right to Reply!" )
Okay, those of us who knew how and when to use the Reply button would find ourselves having to click two buttons instead of one, but Good God Almighty would it make scrolling through the threads here a hell of a lot easier!
Now back to the "comment" portion of the post. Often, it is
necessary to quote previous responses - for clarity, if nothing else. But if you are replying to a single paragraph or a single sentence in another participant's post, there is no need to quote anything more than that one
paragraph or that one
And this is where editing comes into play. People approach quote editing in different ways. Some copy and paste portions of previous responses into their reply window and merely add quotation marks or simply the other participant's user name. As it can be difficult to tell where such quotes begin and end, that's also pretty irritating.
Others copy and paste portions of previous responses into their reply window and enter the quote tags manually. That's better - unless they fail to add the user name to the quote tag. Then that's also irritating because you have to search through the thread to find out who is being addressed.
I find it best (and easiest) to use the Quote
button because it automatically adds the name and timecode for the quoted text and
provides a handy link back to each quoted post. Editing within quote tags is pretty easy: just highlight every portion of the quoted text that is not required for your response to make sense and hit the delete button on your keyboard. That's it: highlight and delete. The same thing you'd do in any other text editing program like Word or Write or your email program.
The only difficulty that can
arise while deleting portions of quoted text is if all or part of a quote tag is deleted (or if a nested quote is deleted, but its tags are left in place). In that case, your blockquotes won't display and you'll end up with a bunch of tag text strewn throughout a relatively unintelligible post. I will admit that this can be a bit tricky - especially if one is replying to several quoted responses or even one response with several nested quotes. That's why we have a preview function. Those errors are easy to correct. Just look through your post: every [quote]
tag should have an accompanying [/quote]
tag. When you find one that's missing, just type it back in. For lengthier quotes, especially those with several nested quotes, I just do a search on the word "quote" in my entry field and count
them: "quote, unquote; quote, unquote; quote, quote, unquote, unquote; etc." If I come across a "quote" without an "unquote", there's my problem - and its solution. (To search for a word in your reply window, just use the "find" function - Ctrl+f on PC, probably an "apple" key+something on a Mac - or E
dit / F
ind on your browser's tool bar.)
Granted, some people find that process a bit of a challenge or just a bit tedious, so pasting text and adding quote tags manually (or using the "Wrap in quote tags" button) can be a bit simpler - so long as attribution is attached
. And that, too, is pretty easy: just add an equal sign after the word "quote" and type in the user name. Like this: change [quote]
. The [/quote]
tag at the end can remain unchanged. You can
also add the timecode manually, but that's another story - and if you're going to all that
trouble, why not just use the Quote
If anyone is confused about using quote tags, editing quoted material, or why one should never, under any circumstances, use the red Reply
button (unless it is essential to quote an entire response or you plan on editing it)
, feel free to post questions here. I'll do my best to answer them - unless others get there ahead of me. I know
there are many here who find this annoying and who would do anything in their power to eliminate useless blocks of quote.
We also have a sort of sandbox
here if you want to experiment with quote tags and quote editing. But if you're going to reply to this
post, use the blue Add Reply button at the bottom of the page.
Unless you have serious reason to believe that it is somehow necessary
to quote all of the above verbiage in order to reply with something like "Thanks for the link to Jaime's tutorial!"...
DO NOT USE THIS BUTTON!