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Allow block quotes in comments

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When commenting on a post, sometimes I want to comment on a specific paragraph, or similar section. The most natural way to me is to block quote it, however using Markdown to do it doesn't work (it just removes the >). I'm left using regular quotation marks (which work, but are kind of ugly for longer quotations).

Could block quotes be allowed in comments?

Why should this post be closed?

5 comments

As far as I can see, the sites' FAQs and this Meta site do not address the purpose of comments. What is their raison d'être? Are they meant to be permanent or ephemeral? What should they contain? Until we sort those more fundamental questions out, I don't think we can really discuss whether they should allow for blockquotes, or LaTeX, or what-have-you. So have a downvote from me not because I disagree with your proposal fundamentally but because I disagree with it right now. ‭msh210‭ 29 days ago

@msh210 comments are meant to be, well, comments. Constructive comments to improve a question/answer, or like you just did, comments to state why you disagree with something. ‭Moshi‭ 29 days ago

Dang, people really don't want to have blockquotes in comments for some reason... ‭Moshi‭ 29 days ago

I've used italics for this purpose. Seems to work well enough and doesn't eat up a lot of space or add visual clutter like a blockquote would. ‭Olin Lathrop‭ 29 days ago

@Olin Lathrop ah, that does seem like a good workaround. I'll probably use that for now. ‭Moshi‭ 29 days ago

1 answer

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When I first read that post, I thought "no way" and added a downvote quite quickly. But as I'm thinking more about it, the whole idea seems more useful to me and I started becoming inventive.

I'm seeing two main "problems" here:

  1. Comments are shorter than posts. Hence they need to be less structured and many formatting elements (headings, lists, ...) shouldn't really be needed. This is also the reason, why they allow only minimal (inline) formatting.
  2. Comments are shown below posts. Because answers are generally more important, comments shouldn't take away too much space. Hence I'd be wary of allowing formatting, that causes a lot of space. Blockquotes aren't the worst (compared to e.g. comments), but they aren't the best either.

But hey, we are going to revamp comments anyway soon, so why not be somehow visionary-inventive? Let's find ways to solve them.

Here are my/some suggestions, we might consider:

  • Allowing comments/comment threads to relate to a specific line/paragraph of posts.

    This could be somehow similar to review comments in GitHub. Something like "annotations". Might also be useful with regards to having post reactions, such as "dangerous", "deprecated", ...

  • Hiding the quoted text behind a button and show it only on demand.

    For example there could be a [ref] (short for reference) button or a button with the icon used in email clients for reply (left arrow) before or at the beginning of comments, which will collapse to the quoted part on click and allows everyone to jump to it easily.

  • or, in combination with the first: Showing line-related comments inline by adding a small comments icon.

    This could be similiar to how comments are shown in PDF programs. Once you click the icon, the comment is expanded as an overlay or you are brought to the comment page or the page scrolls to the comment. Might work similiarly to footnotes.

What are your "crazy comment ideas"?

7 comments

Showing line-related comments inline by adding a small comments icon. Oh, so Wattpad XD ‭Moshi‭ 29 days ago

In all seriousness though, your suggestions are good. I wasn't really thinking about space, since blockquotes don't add much height anyway and I basically assumed that the height would be constrained by the hiding-extra-comments mechanic that we already have. ‭Moshi‭ 29 days ago

a [ref] (short for reference) button or a button with the icon used in email clients for reply (left arrow) Something like ⮪ or ⮌ ? (I'm aware you were just listing possible examples, just was curious what you envisioned) ‭Moshi‭ 29 days ago

@Moshi "Something like ⮪ or ⮌ ? (I'm aware you were just listing possible examples, just was curious what you envisioned)" yes, something like that. (BTW it's somehow ironic, that I need to quote you in a post about quotes :D) ‭luap42‭ 29 days ago

I like your out of the box thinking, but I wouldn't want commenters to essentially litter my perfect post with little icons all over the place. I agree comments should be short and not too visually cluttering. How about the quote feature would only write the text in italics or different font, maybe grayed a bit or with a slight gray background? No additional space would be required, and all the comment clutter stays out of the post itself. ‭Olin Lathrop‭ 29 days ago

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