I left two comments under both of Pimp Juice's answers on this question asking to consider editing out the quote markdown because both answers are >90% quoted and it doesn't look sensible to me to use quote for the whole answer. You could as well quote up a bunch of other answers on the site because they are essentially taken from other forums, but people don't do that because there's no point in highlighting the whole thing. Both of my comments got deleted by moderators I assume, and the answers didn't get edited.

I see that there is a rule about quoting copy-pasted parts to avoid confusion and misattribution of credit, and potential plagiarism accusations. I can totally see how it makes sense when an answer consists in part of quoted text. However, when an answer is 100% copied text, I don't see how much good it makes to completely format it as a quote, as opposed to prefacing it with something like this:

The answer below is a direct quote from [forum post link].

(The copied answer)

The example above doesn't visualize well how it would look like, but you can probably remember an answer formatted like that.

I think we should not format all quote-only answers into blockquotes like robots. Let's make a sensible rule to pre/post-face quote-only posts and not use the blockquote formatting for the sake of the post looking nicer.

  • My question would be why the user posted 2 answers instead of 1 – Der Hochstapler Sep 6 '16 at 11:49
  • @OliverSalzburg Yes. One long answer could have been written instead. – DavidPostill Sep 6 '16 at 11:56
  • @OliverSalzburg they are 2 distinct answers - and as per this post it is acceptable.. – Sathyajith Bhat Sep 6 '16 at 11:59
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    @user1306322 - "don't see how much good it makes to completely format it as a quote" - It is a quote. In any writting when you use content that you didn't write, you quote and cite it, or summerize and cite it. PIMP_JUICE_IT choose to quote it. – Ramhound Sep 6 '16 at 14:45
  • @Ramhound not in any. Usually. But not any. There are reasonable exceptions and I believe this is one of them. – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 15:06
  • @user1306322 - I don't agree. I have written hundreds of papers, in a formal setting, of those in an educational setting I wouldn't recieved a grade if I said "stuff below is from ..." and likely would have been throw out of the numerous programs I have completed if I did that. – Ramhound Sep 6 '16 at 15:09
  • @Ramhound I understand your reasoning, but please note that this site is not the same setting as the one you describe. Where you've had standards for decades, we can be more adjustable and change our rules to improve visual formatting and content quality. In a comment below you raise a concern that an answer that is >90% quote should not be acceptable on the site, but the rules say that it is acceptable, even if undesirable. – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 15:12
  • @user1306322 - I never said that. What I said exactly is, "You are 100% incorrect in your thinking, that an answer that is 90% quotes, is not acceptable.", which means it is acceptable. Answers on Superuser are expected to be written in the English language, how you cite something in the English language differs slightly depending the style guidelines uses, but they all require you to use quotes when using a citation. – Ramhound Sep 6 '16 at 15:14
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    @user1306322, you're missing an important benefit. People expect, and are used to seeing, quoted material in block quotes. When they see that, it adds credibility to your answer, even if the original author was a total idiot. There's an aura of authoritativeness filling an answer with block quotes of anything. So your neatness benefit would be offset by loss of credibility. :-) – fixer1234 Sep 7 '16 at 1:19

The help centre page How to reference material written by others gives a suggested format that quitations should take. It shows blockquoting being used for copied text.

It states

  • Provide a link to the original page or answer
  • Quote only the relevant portion
  • Provide the name of the original author

The fact that the word "quote" links to our help page on how to use blockquotes is rather implicitly telling you to use a blockquotes for quoted text.

I'd much rather know that someone is being honest about the content that is taken from somewhere else by blockquoting it, otherwise it looks a bit like you are trying to take credit for someone elses work.

  • Correct me if I'm wrong but it only applies to when there is any original text written by the user, which is not the case here. I think one line at the top/bottom saying where the whole answer was taken from should be enough, and the quote markdown is unnecessary in this case. This way it still doesn't look like anyone is stealing credit from the original poster, and "when everything is highlighted, nothing is highlighted" misuse doesn't apply. – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 11:51
  • @user1306322 There is original text in both questions. The "WARNING" in the first one for example. – DavidPostill Sep 6 '16 at 11:59
  • @DavidPostill you know what I meant :p – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 12:03
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    @user1306322 No I don't. Using blockquotes correctly is mandatory. If you don't you could be potentially be accused of plagiarism. – DavidPostill Sep 6 '16 at 12:07
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    I meant that the warning text could be easily delimited from the rest of the post with a line break, and the message could say "everything below this line is a direct quote from <there>", and it would not be ambiguous at all. And it would look neater (in my opinion). I get that we have invented rules about avoiding confusions, but in case of 100% quote posts, I don't think it serves well to follow only the letter of the rule and not its spirit, harming (even if slightly) the visual aspect of the post. I think the benefit of the answer looking nice outweighs the tiny possibility of confusion. – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 12:09
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    Especially if the answer begins with a disclaimer that it's a quote, I don't see how a confusion could happen at all. – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 12:15
  • Many users like to end their quoted blocks with the link instead, citation style. I personally don't want to go mangling their answers to move the links, it's easier to just tell them that they should be using blockquotes as a blanket catch-all and be done with it, then it doesn't matter where their link is and we all know that it is a quote. – Mokubai Sep 6 '16 at 14:16
  • @user1306322 - When I read an answer, anything that is not in a quotes ( or a quote block) I assume was written by the author of the answer not the author of the source material. For us members of the member who have written, hundreds of papers in a formal setting, quoting source material is important and a vital step. – Ramhound Sep 6 '16 at 14:48

Is this the standard of formatting answers now, or am I right to question this decision?

Yes it is the standard, and you are wrong to question it.

Note the use of block quotes above where I am quoting you.

From How to reference material written by others:

When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question (from another site or in an answer on Super User) make sure you do all of the following:

  • Provide a link to the original page or answer
  • Quote only the relevant portion
  • Provide the name of the original author


etc ...

Note the use of block quotes as I didn't write the original I am quoting it.

Here is a screenshot of the original showing how it actually should look:

enter image description here

  • I get the "correctness" attitude, but I just don't think it goes in hand with looking neat. My proposition would be to instead preface answers which are essentially 100% quotes with a link to source and a line break. – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 12:08
  • <shrug>. That is not what the community has decided to do. – DavidPostill Sep 6 '16 at 12:14
  • I'm part of the community and I'm thinking otherwise. We could come to a different decision as a result. And I'm asking everybody if they think the same. – user1306322 Sep 6 '16 at 12:16
  • @user1306322 - Anything that is not the author's own words should be quoted, if not quoted, then that is called plagiarism. So the proper thing to do, when adding content you did not write yourself, is to quote it and then provide the source for said content. You are 100% incorrect in your thinking, that an answer that is 90% quotes, is not acceptable. – Ramhound Sep 6 '16 at 14:46

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