Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

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Nalates
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Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by Nalates » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:09 pm

When we reply to a post it is often felt necessary to quote the post to which we are responding. However, etiquette on many sites is not to quote the entire post. In argumentative threads it is often claimed not quoting the entire post is taking a quote out of context, which is silly. How one responds determines whether one is taking it out of context, not how much is quoted or not.

My preference is to quote only the pertinent part of a post one is responding to. While I could reason that partial quotes save disk space, since we essentially copy and paste the quoted text, the cost of disk space probably negates that reason. However, I do think it makes posts harder to read.

I doubt one can absolutely avoid charges of taking a statement out of context. So, I don’t see trying to avoid such claims as a good reason for making a rule or guideline about quoting. My belief is whether or not something is out of context will be settled in the thread discussion. However readability of the posts is a good reason. Readability is a personal preference thing.

When quoting large blocks it is often difficult to find the point a respondent is referencing. I think one is better off using a link to the post rather than quote the entire thing. To make it easier on the reader I prefer smaller quotes just large enough to maintain context.

Also, in well written English it is grammatically correct to use […] (brackets and ellipsis) to indicate the one quoting is omitting part of the original text. Use of the square brackets indicates the ellipsis is not part of the original text.

I think the best one can do in regard to staying within context is to quote at least adjacent sentences and probably the entire paragraph.

Whenever the post is several posts up or on preceding pages it is good etiquette to provide a link to the post. I think this is especially important in adversarial or acrimonious posts.

Opening Post References – I have not decided what I think on references back to the original post. We see something like “@OP” meaning they are responding to the opening post. I think it implies they are skipping the intervening discussion. I think in an active thread it is somewhat like a speaker interrupting another. On the other hand, if the topic is on topic, it should not make that much difference. I still feel it is an interruption and somewhat disrespectful. While I suspect the poster using @OP is not intending to be disrespectful, it seems a bit arrogant… ‘here is my thought on this … screw reading your thoughts.’ Whether that is true depends on the context of the post and whether it responds to subsequent ideas in the the thread.

When a topic drifts off topic I can somewhat understand. Then I think it is better and fair enough to state something like, “Returning to topic…” provided they are responding to more than just the opening post.

Emphasis – when quoting sometimes one wants to highlight the sentence or thought they are responding to. The idea is to highlight a point within a large quote. Since bold, italics and large text are some of the few clues we have to indicate the tone of our writing, the emphasis can confuse readers as to the original tone of the writing. To maintain intellectual honesty the current writer typically notes they added the emphasis.

Rule Bashing - The above are more suggestions for guidelines rather than rules. However, rules and guidelines can be used to belittle or beat up those one disagrees with, bash them with a rule. In some forums and games such behavior is an offense in itself.

Pointing out another’s mistakes is not often received with warm welcome. If one wants to educate and be helpful, pointing out rules in a PM is probably a better choice. Having a guideline that only moderators are allowed to point out rule violations in public is one I think is good idea. It is often necessary for a moderator to reference rules to remind people. Members should report rule violations if serious and PM the violator otherwise. Either way they are not saying anything to the violator in public, unless it is a violation that abuses a person.

I am of a divided mind on serious violations. People with confrontive and or abusive personalities often need for the community to step up and affirm their behavior is a problem. Some psychological issues and bad habits need to be challenged for there to be any hope of a remedy or corrective measure.

My suggestion for guidelines on these points
Suggestion wrote: Quoting Posts - Guideline
On this forum it is felt quoting an entire post is redundant. When one wants to quote and entire post, please use a link to the post rather a 100% quote, especially for posts over 200 words. Make it clear what the link is to.

When quoting text in your post please avoid quoting entire posts. Use just enough of the original text in your quote to provide some context and the part you are responding to. If the post is in the current topic thread then assume the reader has read the post you are quoting. If there are several posts between what you are quoting and your post including a link is a good idea.

If the post is not in the current thread provide a link to it, and realize many readers will NOT have read it. This makes it important to be more careful with context and avoid misrepresenting the quote.

Remember. Paragraphs are grammatically correct when the express a single idea or topic. When quoting a small portion of a paragraph take care that the context is maintained.

Opening Post References – Guideline
While it is acceptable to call attention to a drift off topic and return to the opening post topic it is considered rude to ignore discussion between the opening post and your post.

Emphasis: Adding to Quotes – Guideline
When adding emphasis to a quote it may appear one is trying to change the tone of the original writer. To avoid that note any emphasis you may add.

Rule Bashing – Guideline
Rule bashing is often a debate or flame tactic of pointing out a rule violation to another in a hostile or mean spirited way. If your intent is to help someone or just correct misbehavior, use a PM and explain the rule and provide a link to it. Use some tact. People are usually less than fond of unsolicited criticism.
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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by Mac_Fife » Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:28 pm

I agree that quoting large posts in full is both unnecessary and potentially confusing. It can also make the forum thread much more difficult to follow as a whole, as a repeated requotes (which happens on occasion) can make it hard to see who is quoting who as well as dramatically increasing the page length.

Quoting very short posts in full isn't generally much of a problem, but also probably isn't very worthwhile: If you're responding to the immediately preceding post, then it is unnecessary. It may be valuable if you need to reference a post several positions earlier.

Quoting excerpts from a long post is something I do. It's a bit more work that quoting the whole post, especially if you want to react to several separate elements, but it's not that big a deal. I will also omit sections of a quote if they're not relevant, but up to now I have probably failed to enclose the ellipsis in square brackets - that may be a difference between British and US English, or just that I've never encountered the rule.

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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by Nalates » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:17 pm

The use of square brackets came up in something I was dealing with... forget what. We see them used in several places when the writer inserts their own text in quote, i.e., [sic] when disclaiming spelling or grammar problems, [person's name] when the quote's pronouns make it unclear.

The ellipsis indicates something is unsaid. Use of the square brackets is to indicate who left it unsaid in a quote. It made logical sense to me.

Most of the grammar information is minutia. When the written words are our primary tool for communicating the small things can be helpful. However, misuse of English seems to comes up when issues are passionately debated... :roll:
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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by realXCV » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:52 am

The "@op" is like any "@a_poster". It's a way of saying that we are replying to the original poster but without quoting the post.

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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by Nalates » Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:42 am

Yes... that is in the OP...

The problem I have with the use of @OP is not the abbreviation but the omission of a response to the intervening posts, especially when when it repeats information previously covered.
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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by realXCV » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:06 am

The problem depends on if op refers to the original post or the original poster. If it refer to the original post, then it's clearly an omission of every other posts in the thread. Worst case being when the original poster has made more than one post.

If it refers to the original poster, then it's only a way of saying that the message is for that poster.

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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by Mac_Fife » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:41 pm

I think it highlights that "OP" is ambiguous. Using "@OP" would tend to imply Original Poster, but it depends on an informal convention that many novice forum users would not necessarily be aware of. I've seen several forum threads where it's been almost impossible to work out, even from the context, whether "OP" referred to Original Post or Original Poster.

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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by realXCV » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:07 pm

In that case, just assume that it reffers to the poster.
Nalates wrote:Pointing out another’s mistakes is not often received with warm welcome.
I personally prefer to have an ordinary user telling me that I've made a mistake instead of a threat of ban by a moderator.

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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by Nalates » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:46 pm

We all have preferences and that is fine. What do we find works best to avoid problems among forum members?
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Re: Quoting, Emphasis, Rule Bashing

Post by Mac_Fife » Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:27 pm

I guess it depends on what realXCV means by "a mistake": I think if we're talking about posting in the wrong forum or some other kind of breach of etiquette then I think that it will often be picked up by other forum members before a mod gets to it anyway. Unless the infringement is fairly serious, I'd hope that a ban, or even a threat of one, would not be a moderator's first response. Personally, I'd be inclined to PM someone first and simply point out the problem; what happens next rather depends on what needs done - if it's something the user can do themselves, then give them a chance to fix it, otherwise get their agreement for the moderator to fix things (e.g. moving a thread into a more appropriate forum). Other promote having the mod post the comment to the thread. I'm not sure, but in some respects, our policy of not applying colour to moderator posts maybe means that it doesn't stand out as "moderator intervention" so may feel less like a chastisement to the people involved.

Anyway, bans should be pretty close to a last resort.

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