Quoting Etiquette

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Quoting Etiquette

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:23 pm

This may seem like a pet peeve, and in some ways it is. However, there are also practical reasons behind this request, which I'll get to later in this post.

Quoting Etiquette GUIDELINES
There is no need to quote in full an immediately preceding post in a thread. I know many do it as a matter of convenience; the quote radio button is right there after all. I would prefer that you instead use the Post Reply radio button to respond to an immediately preceding post.

Besides convenience and habit, you may also do it because the text you are replying to is contained as you compose your own post. You can also do that by simply scrolling down to see the preceding post. Or, after you've composed your post, you can delete the quoted text before sending your response.

If you're responding to a specific point in the previous post, and that point is lengthy, try to edit that quote down to respond to the desired target. Be careful NOT to take something out of context; that's frowned upon.

When quoting a post with attached or linked image files, please also try to delete that link. It unnecessarily eats up bandwidth and page space. A good example of this is a post where you are complimenting someone on a great shot; you end up with a post where most of the space is the picture, repeated, and one sentence at the bottom "great shot!".

Finally, there's the "nesting quote". I'll provide an example below.

Sometimes, it's necessary to quote an entire immediately preceding quote. Use your best judgement. This is a guideline, not a rule. Many of you I'm sure have noticed that I've been editing out quotes as unnecessary. I intend no offense; to me it's just housekeeping.

And, by all means, if the post is several back, go right ahead and quote the post so we know what you're talking about. Edit the quote as you desire (again, don't take things out of context please).

Reasons NOT to indiscriminately quote posts

-Ease of reading: I don't think anyone wants to read the same post three or four times if not necessary.
-More compact threads: see above.
-Annoyance factor: okay, this is where it's a pet peeve :wink: . Nothing bugs me more than seeing a post I have to scroll through endlessly to see a two word reply.
-Search functionality: If posts are constantly "repeated", i.e. quoted unnecessarily, you increase the number of search results you get; the original post, and others where it is quoted.
-Search indexing: This may swing both ways. I know when I search something with Google, railroad.net is usually highly ranked in search results. This is good. It could also be a drawback.

I'm sure there are more reasons. And if anyone has any suggestions, by all means, add them here. Just PLEASE don't quote my entire post! :P

Thank you for your cooperation! Again, this is NOT a rule; I won't hold it against anyone. Just don't hold it against me if for reasons of functionality I edit out a "superfluous" quote. No harm, no foul.

DISCLAIMER: I don't mean to single anybody out. I've been meaning to post something about this for a while. I've meant to do it as part of a larger project regarding rules of the forum, etiquette, etc. But since I'll never have time to do something all-encompassing like that, I'll take a bite-sized stabs at it.
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:24 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:This may seem like a pet peeve, and in some ways it is. However, there are also practical reasons behind this request, which I'll get to later in this post.

Quoting Etiquette GUIDELINES
There is no need to quote in full an immediately preceding post in a thread. I know many do it as a matter of convenience; the quote radio button is right there after all. I would prefer that you instead use the Post Reply radio button to respond to an immediately preceding post.

Besides convenience and habit, you may also do it because the text you are replying to is contained as you compose your own post. You can also do that by simply scrolling down to see the preceding post. Or, after you've composed your post, you can delete the quoted text before sending your response.

If you're responding to a specific point in the previous post, and that point is lengthy, try to edit that quote down to respond to the desired target. Be careful NOT to take something out of context; that's frowned upon.

When quoting a post with attached or linked image files, please also try to delete that link. It unnecessarily eats up bandwidth and page space. A good example of this is a post where you are complimenting someone on a great shot; you end up with a post where most of the space is the picture, repeated, and one sentence at the bottom "great shot!".

Finally, there's the "nesting quote". I'll provide an example below.

Sometimes, it's necessary to quote an entire immediately preceding quote. Use your best judgement. This is a guideline, not a rule. Many of you I'm sure have noticed that I've been editing out quotes as unnecessary. I intend no offense; to me it's just housekeeping.

And, by all means, if the post is several back, go right ahead and quote the post so we know what you're talking about. Edit the quote as you desire (again, don't take things out of context please).

Reasons NOT to indiscriminately quote posts

-Ease of reading: I don't think anyone wants to read the same post three or four times if not necessary.
-More compact threads: see above.
-Annoyance factor: okay, this is where it's a pet peeve :wink: . Nothing bugs me more than seeing a post I have to scroll through endlessly to see a two word reply.
-Search functionality: If posts are constantly "repeated", i.e. quoted unnecessarily, you increase the number of search results you get; the original post, and others where it is quoted.
-Search indexing: This may swing both ways. I know when I search something with Google, railroad.net is usually highly ranked in search results. This is good. It could also be a drawback.

I'm sure there are more reasons. And if anyone has any suggestions, by all means, add them here. Just PLEASE don't quote my entire post! :P

Thank you for your cooperation! Again, this is NOT a rule; I won't hold it against anyone. Just don't hold it against me if for reasons of functionality I edit out a "superfluous" quote. No harm, no foul.

DISCLAIMER: I don't mean to single anybody out. I've been meaning to post something about this for a while. I've meant to do it as part of a larger project regarding rules of the forum, etiquette, etc. But since I'll never have time to do something all-encompassing like that, I'll take a bite-sized stabs at it.


I agree! (that's a tongue-in-cheek example; you've read the whole post twice for a short response).
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:28 pm

Here's an example of an actual nesting quote. Each of these quotes was a single sentence response to an immediately preceding quote. I've changed the names to protect the innocent :wink: but note these are well-respected members. Again, I'm not singling anyone out:

"Member1" wrote:
Original Poster wrote:
"Member1" wrote:
Original Poster wrote:What's with the CSX train and tanker cars parked at Highbridge? The train had a caboose/office car at the end so it struck me as "not normal".


CSX B749. Runs every weekday and runs up to Burnwell Propane in Peekskill.



Does it normally hold on a track outside of the car appearance facility at Highbridge? I don't think I've noticed it before.



The furthest track away from the mainline leads to the Oak Point Link. That's how they enter MNR
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby BigUglyCat » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:43 pm

Sarge!

I agree with you 100%. I've complained in the past about this sort of thing on other sites, and got no interest whatsoever. Especially the quotes that repeat series of pictures!
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:58 pm

Here's an example of a targeted quote:

Jeff Smith wrote:When quoting a post with attached or linked image files, please also try to delete that link.


I always try to remove repeated images...
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby charlie6017 » Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:19 pm

I agree with you Jeff, it's a great way to keep things orderly......especially with the nesting-quotes.

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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:53 pm

I must be from an older generation when on usenet quoting, especially nested quotes, was fairly standard.

I am still personally in favor of it because otherwise it can be hard sometimes to understand who someone is actually replying to.

But your comments and guidelines are so noted.
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Woody » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:53 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:Here's an example of an actual nesting quote. Each of these quotes was a single sentence response to an immediately preceding quote. ...

"Member1" wrote:
Original Poster wrote:
"Member1" wrote:
Original Poster wrote:What's with CSX train and tanker cars parked at Highbridge? ... caboose/office car ... struck me as "not normal".
CSX B749. Runs every weekday and runs up to Burnwell Propane in Peekskill.
Does it normally hold on a track outside of the car appearance facility ...
The furthest track away from the mainline leads to the Oak Point Link. ... how they enter MNR
Your example posted above is also an example of too much air or white space that accumulates in nested quotes. I've trimmed it.

Hit the delete button to deflate the empty spaces and stack sentences or key phrases. That's easier to read, with less scrolling, a scannable version of the long comments. Try to be ruthless chopping stuff available in the complete form a page or two above. So ... I cut words, usually indicating with ellipses, but if only a word, I often just chop it. Of course, it's fundamental that cutting words does not change the author's meaning.

This nesting and deflating and ellipsesing ... seems most useful when I reply belatedly to a post from a few days, or more, back.

++++++++++
For 30 years I worked at a major national business magazine. The layout was finished, charts and pictures in place, hedline ready, the writer's manuscript edited by a senior editor, and I'd be told: "He's still 12 lines too long. Trim it down." To get past feeling sympathy for the author, and I do tend to be rather long-winded with my own writing, I'd tell myself that every word cut was worth a dollar. And I could get that manuscript to fit the page. :-D
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:29 pm

Woody wrote:...every word cut was worth a dollar. :-D

I bet Sgt. Smith wishes it was. :wink:

My personal pet peeve: when you try to quote one or two people, but accidentally delete part of the code. Like so:
me wrote:I love 4449.[quote="myself"I like 261.[quote="I"I love steam engines, especially 611. What's your favorite?[b]

See how annoying that is? You can't tell who wrote what.

Always make sure your quotes are bracketed thusly:
Code: Select all
[quote="someone"][/quote] or [quote][/quote]
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Jeff Smith » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:32 pm

Now, here's an example of a spliced quote from two different posts (no false modesty here!)

mtuandrew wrote:
Woody wrote:...every word cut was worth a dollar. :-D

I bet Sgt. Smith wishes it was. :wink:
[/quote} (Oops. Formatting error! ^ I didn't even do this intentionally. I could fix it, but it's a good illustration.)

Why yes, yes I do! :wink:

Greg Moore wrote:I must be from an older generation when on usenet quoting, especially nested quotes, was fairly standard.

I am still personally in favor of it because otherwise it can be hard sometimes to understand who someone is actually replying to.

But your comments and guidelines are so noted.


And that was indeed the style at one point. I remember usenet well. And DOS 3.1! Again, I'm not holding anyone's style against them. It's an OCD thing with me, so if I snip someone's quote, it doesn't mean anything other than just me trying to preserve flow for the purposes I've enumerated above. He!!, half the mods do it. That's why I only post this as an etiquette guideline. There are some forums where it's pervasive, particularly the nesting quote; I'll scroll half a page, and find a one-sentence reply. A lot of times, we get very very detailed posts; the reply is targeted to one point in that post. As Woody notes, and I think the term is, it's column inches. Maybe I'd had made a decent newspaper editor LOL.
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Greg Moore » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:29 am

Jeff Smith wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:I must be from an older generation when on usenet quoting, especially nested quotes, was fairly standard.

And that was indeed the style at one point. I remember usenet well.


Well, an important part of the Usenet etiquette that I think also got lost in translation was trimming the quotes to just the relevant parts. Leaving the entire post for a one sentence reply was considered rude.

Then again, I also remember when if you tried to post a reply with fewer words than the original quote you'd get a warning:
"Your reply is shorter than what you are quoting. Are you sure you want to send this? [y/N]"

And then of course if the reply was set to 'world' as opposed to say just the local Usenet server you'd be prompted:

"Your post is set to send to the entire world. This could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Are you sure? [y/N]?"

So times, they are a changing.

Of course top quoting is just plain wrong, no matter what :-)
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby MEC407 » Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:39 pm

This has been a pet peeve of mine for years. There are three or four members in the New England forum who are habitual offenders. I politely suggested some basic quoting etiquette and they all ignored me. Perhaps hearing it from someone whose name appears in red ink will cause them to reconsider. :wink:
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby Jeff Smith » Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:04 pm

^Some members are wordier than others LOL. When they get together, it can take half a page! Again, I sincerely appreciate their contributions whatever the scenario and volume.
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby CRail » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:08 pm

All too often people use the quote button as the reply button. This has been a pet peeve of mine for years as well. I applaud this post rather enthusiastically!
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Re: Quoting Etiquette

Postby justalurker66 » Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:34 pm

If one is going to quote someone the quote button is a good tool. The important part is to trim the quote to the relevant (but not out of context) part that one is replying to. It is also good if the reply is bigger than the quote - but not an absolute requirement. If one is replying to the immediately preceding post a quote is not as needed. But when the immediately preceding post is huge and one is only replying to a part of it, a quote of the relevant bit is helpful.

Multiple quotes can be helpful to keep the thread of thought intact (especially with intervening posts). Some forums I am on have software that does not quote quotes which helps with the nesting (it must be done manually) but some users will destroy any format.

Try not to overthink it ... the balance between having an annoying quote or making an equally annoying post that needs to be explained because no one knows specifically what is being replied too can be struck. The goal of a quote is to have the thread flow smoothly for the reader without a lot of scrolling backwards or repeated reading. Some people have learned that balance.

The goal of every communication should be to be understood. Work toward that goal.
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