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Wertz
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).

Notably, Jaime 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's tutorial.

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. mad.gif

Okay, I'll get down off my high horse now and try to be constructive. blush.gif 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 button IF 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!" rolleyes.gif )

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 sentence.

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 Edit / Find 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] to [quote=Wertz]. 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 button?

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. happy.gif

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!

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droop224
QUOTE(Wertz @ Sep 14 2008, 09:48 PM) *
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).

Notably, Jaime 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's tutorial.

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. mad.gif

Okay, I'll get down off my high horse now and try to be constructive. blush.gif 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 button IF 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!" rolleyes.gif )

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 sentence.

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 Edit / Find 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] to [quote=Wertz]. 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 button?

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. happy.gif

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!

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Is it really that big of a deal!?!?!

Sorry I just couldn't resist laugh.gif
Hobbes
Actually, droop, I'm glad you did that. I think it does a great job of highlighting the problem, as Wertz post was (necessarily) quite lengthy, forcing me to, as Wertz indicates, scroll ALL the way down his quote (which I had JUST read!) to get to the comment at the bottom.

Seriously, folks, please read and try to heed Wertz' advice. There's no reason to quote the whole of someone's post just to add a comment at the bottom. If this is being done out of ignorance, I think he does an excellent job of providing instruction on the proper methods to use. If it's being done for any other reason, well, shame on you! That is just shoddy debating at best, and wilful infliction of unnecessary pain on everyone else at worst. As Wertz' indicates, it definitely detracts from whatever point is being made. How much attention should one pay to someone who clearly doesn't know how to post? Not much is the only reasonable answer. Even if I agree wholeheartedly with whatever comment is at the bottom, all I can think is 'shame they don't know how to post'. It completely detracts from the message the poster is trying to convey.

I would add one instructional point that Wertz didn't discuss, namely adding in relevant details to a manually added quote.

Suppose you want to copy a section of someone's post, and use it in yours, without having to delete everything else if you use the Quote button as Wertz describes above. Copy the quote you want, paste it into your post, then either highlight it and hit the 'quote' button (second from one from right), or simply add the quote tags in manually. Then, you can go back inside the opening quote tag, put an '=' after the word quote, and then type in whatever identifying comment you want, usually the original posters username, as follows '[quote=Hobbes]'. This will put whatever you put after the '=' in parentheses at the top of the quote.

I would further add that if you're including more than 1 paragraph in your quote, you probably need to think about refining your response some more. At the very least, delete the unnecessary parts of the quote you're using, and use '...' to indicate where you deleted. In this manner, a several paragraph quote can be whittled down to the couple of sentences you are actually responding to, and still be included within a single quote without making it unnecessarily long.
Doclotus
I agree. Failure to use these features appropriately is incredibly lazy, in my opinion. More often than not, if I see an entire post quoted, I ignore it altogether, not exactly what the author would intend, I would think.

A quote should provide sufficient context (underquoting is bad too, m'kay? mrsparkle.gif ) to the argument, and nothing more.
DaffyGrl
I have to admit I LMAO at Droop's reply! laugh.gif

Funny thing - I don't think I've ever used the red "Reply" button. hmmm.gif
Wertz
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Sep 14 2008, 11:06 PM) *
I would add one instructional point that Wertz didn't discuss, namely adding in relevant details to a manually added quote...

Actually, I did address that briefly (third para from the end) - though I wouldn't be surprised if you'd dozed off by that point. happy.gif I'm glad you reiterated it, though. Not only is it a point worth repeating, but it gave me the chance to provide another illustration: you posted five paragraphs and I was able to edit out all but the one sentence I wanted to address. It took me nearly two seconds. So when Doc noted that the failure to use these features appears incredibly lazy, it was no understatement. biggrin.gif The use of the ellipsis ("...") is another great suggestion: those dots should be used much less sparingly than they usually are (my own quoted posts included).

And, Daffy (note that I don't need to include a quote of her response at all for this comment to make sense), if you've never used the red Reply button, all I can say is "Keep up the good work!" thumbsup.gif
Doclotus
Fwiw, I do use the reply button on occasion, though not very often. The two instances I use it are: when the post I'm quoting is short (and I may still shorten the quote even then) and when I'm dissecting, er responding to, a more lengthy post but I will break up the quote into the sections I'm responding to in order to provide context for each argument. In the latter case, I've made this less of a habit of late, as it turns the debate into a bit of a mess down the road when you have a quote of a quote of a quote of a...you get the idea. At that point its better to respond by argument/category vs. quoting ad nauseum.

A good example of this was Wertz's thread regarding the race card in the primaries. My post that shifted from the quote fest to what I described above can be found here. Wertz's post that kind of assisted in this effort can be found here. Granted, not all topics lend themselves to this, but I thought this might be a useful way of keeping some threads from becoming a quote fest that really winds up being somewhat unreadable.
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