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Re: Emphasizing quoted text in an essay

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I am pretty upset that the <q> tag is as worthless as it has become. I
guess any robot smart enough to look for <q> or <blockquote> could
also be smart enough to look for quotation marks, although there are a
great many varieties of those!

Re: Emphasizing quoted text in an essay

In article

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The one thing I am not sure of is how well voice readers take
notice of default styles or styles of their own if and when  
triggered by the blockquote or q tags. They are perhaps highly
unlikely to take note of normal quotation marks because as you
point out, there are a lot of types, and a lot of contexts where
you might simply need to be human to understand whether and how
to voice-pause and time the bit concerned.


Re: Emphasizing quoted text in an essay

TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:

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I'd say it was born worthless and never had a sporting chance. The problem
is that it was introduced years after the invent of HTML and in a situation
where no browsers recognized this markup. This would not have been fatal for
an element with some different semantics, but obviously it is not a good
idea at all to render an inline quotation as normal text, with no indication
of being quoted. Surely there are situations where the context, or maybe
explicit explanations, make it clear that some text is quoted, but it would
be foolish to rely on such things in general.

If <q> had been in HTML and supported by browsers from the beginning, things
would be quite different.

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Well, there are varieties indeed, even within one language, and if you
considered nested quotations, even the Academy of France won't tell you what
the correct inner quotes are (and I mean this literally). Looking for
quotation marks, though not rocket science, would require essentially more
work than recognizing <q> or <blockquote>, especially since browsers and
search engines have to parse tags anyway (whereas they can treat any
punctuation as just character data, something to be rendered but not
analyzed), and they already have special processing of <blockquote> (and, in
some browsers, <q>) for rendering purposes.

There is a deeper reason too why looking for <q> would be better, in an
imaginary world where it had been defined, implemented, and used properly.
It would unambiguously indicate text as quoted. Quotation marks, on the
other hand, can be used for a multitude of purposes, like "scary quotes"
(around special words when used for the first time), "irony quotes" (often
reversing the meaning, as in "he made a 'constructive' proposal" = "he made
a completely non-constructive proposal), and in formal notations like
class="foo" when discussing HTML (which is a special case but still some
content that may appear).

It's all too late now for <q>, and <blockquote> is largely a lost cause too
(since it has been used for mere indentation so widely - it would be wrong
to assume in general that it indicates a block quotation).

Some day someone might invent a completely different markup system that
replaces HTML, or alternatively someone might promote the simple idea of a
<quote> element that implies no rendering features, like quotation marks,
but is to be used in addition to them, to carry only the semantics.

(I think some version of HTML 5 included such an idea, but the current
version seems to have just the hopeless HTML 4 definition for <q>. I'm
surely not an HTML 5 enthusiast. Every second time I try to access the W3C
draft for a proposed suggested "specification" for HTML 5, it crashes my IE
8. I think this silently but eloquently tells how realistic HTML 5 is, even
though the draft ... "specification" itself probably uses just a few "HTML 5

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

Re: Emphasizing quoted text in an essay

On Thu, 05 Aug 2010 15:00:39 -0400, TheBicyclingGuitarist  

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I've separated your inquiry into two questions:
1. How should I markup block quotes from different sources?
2. How should I style block quotes from different sources?

In answer to the first question, I would suggest a semantic class, thus:
<blockquote class="VTAP">Yadda yadda yadda <blockquote>
Quotes from other sources would either carry no class= or would have their  
own, source-specific, class defined.

In answer to the second question, I would suggest:
blockquote.VTAP {font-style: italic}

Alternatively, you could use a slightly different font, though that's  
somewhat of a crapshoot given the variation in fonts available on any  
particular user system.  Another alternative might be a VERY SLIGHT tint  
to the background-color (example: use a value of f0 for one or two of the  
RGB color values).

I'd steer away from anything that changes the density of the text (visible  
 from across the room) because I think it would be distracting.  I hate  
reading printed material that someone else has underlined or highlighted,  
because it potentially diverts my brain from the emphasis that the author  

Finally, since you have meticulously identified the source of each quote  
immediately prior to the quote itself, doing nothing additional might be  
the best choice.

Chris Beall

Re: Emphasizing quoted text in an essay


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Um, actually:
<blockquote class="VTAP">Yadda yadda yadda </blockquote>

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Re: Emphasizing quoted text in an essay

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<blockquote class="Seinfeld">You yadda'd over the best part!</blockquote>


Sherm Pendley                <www.shermpendley.com>
Cocoa Developer

Re: Emphasizing quoted text in an essay

On 8/5/10 12:00 PM, TheBicyclingGuitarist wrote:
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For a quote less than two full lines when seen on a displayed Web page,
I put the quote inline, in normal text with quotation marks.  For a
longer quote, I use <blockquote>.

Following the convention of type-set hardcopy, my CSS causes any
blockquote element to be indented and in Italics (of the user's chosen

My CSS is
    blockquote, .quote { margin-left: auto;  margin-right: auto;
       width: 90%; margin-top: 0em; margin-bottom: 0em;
           font-style: italic; clear: none}
The .quote class is so that I can use this same style for other elements
(especially the <p>, as described immediately below).  The zero
top-margin and bottom-margin are so that I can put a blockquote in the
middle of a paragraph.  I follow this CSS with
    p.quote { margin-top: 1em }
which allows me to make separate paragraphs of a quotation.

Note that insertions into a quotation that are not part of the original
quotation should not be in Italics.  For those, I use the CSS
    .notital { font-style: normal }
specifying the class notital for a <font> element within the quotation.
 Yes, I know <font> is deprecated; but, while editing a Web page, it
conveys more information to me about the purpose of the markup than does

I would not use color or bold to indicate quotations.  Colored text can
be a problem for those who are color-blind or have other visual
handicaps.  Some fonts become hard to read by anybody when they are
bold.  If I were to specify a particular font type (serif or sans-serif)
as the default for my Web pages (which I do not), I might choose the
opposite type for blockquote; however, I think Italics are sufficient.

To distinguish quotes from different sources, use footnotes to indicate
references.  Place the footnote reference inline at the end of the
quotation.  Footnote references may be formatted with square brackets
(e.g., [12]).  You may either number your footnotes or use the
convention seen in RFCs (e.g., in Section 7 at
<http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc5905.txt ) or in the W3C
specifications (e.g., at the end of the second paragraph under
"Abstract" at <http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/ ).  In any case, the
reference to a footnote should be a link to the footnote's body.  Some
include the square brackets in the anchor, but I prefer having only the
reference in the anchor.

If a footnote reference is super-scripted (using <sup>), omit the square
brackets.  This form should be used only with numeric footnotes.
Otherwise, the footnote reference should on the same level and use the
same font and font-size as the rest of the quotation's text, except it
should be normal and not Italics (my notital class).

Footnote bodies may be placed within the page containing their
references, either at the end of the page  or at the end of the section
within the page; this might mean repeating the bodies if quotes are
repeated on several Web pages or in several sections.  Or the bodies can
be consolidated onto a separate footnote Web page, in which case I would
launch that page in a separate browser window the first time a link to
it is selected so that the user can easily switch back and forth between
the main text and the footnotes.


David E. Ross
<http://www.rossde.com/ .

Anyone who thinks government owns a monopoly on inefficient, obstructive
bureaucracy has obviously never worked for a large corporation.
1997 by David E. Ross

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