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When To Quote (And When Not To)

 
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How To Quote

You can quote a reply by pressing the Quote button to the top-right of the reply you wish to quote, or by using the BB tags [quote=Some Name] [/quote] with the quoted text in between the tags.  Quoting provides context to your reply, but there are times when not quoting is the better option.

When Not To Quote

When the context is obvious or you're replying to the post just above, it is better not to quote but instead use the Reply button to the left at the end of all the posts.  This keeps the posts neat and easier to read.  With some mailing lists it is necessary to quote all of the previous post in case the your reply is not threaded correctly.  However, JavaRanch is a forum, so you don't have to worry about threading.

If you continue to quote the entirety of the previous posts in your post, a staff member may edit out the quoted text, and this makes them cranky.  You don't want a cranky staff member!  

How To Handle Nested Quotes

Sometimes when quoting it is helpful to edit the quoted text, especially if the quoting is nested.  If you quote a post that already has a quote in it, you may see something like this in the edit window:

   [quote=John Doe][quote=Jane Roe]This is the originally quoted text.[/quote]This is the text you just quoted.[/quote]

The above looks like this when submitted or previewed:

John Doe wrote:

Jane Roe wrote:This is the originally quoted text.

This is the text you just quoted.



Does the nested quote provide needed context for your reply?  If not, remove the nested quote like this:

   [quote=John Doe]This is the text you just quoted.[/quote]

Then when submitted or previewed, the text will look like this:

John Doe wrote:This is the text you just quoted.



Breaking Up Long Quotes

Sometimes the quoted text is long and you want to make a reply to different sections of the quoted text.  Do this by breaking up the quote and adding new Quote tags.  If this is your quoted text...

   [quote=John Doe]This is a long sentence with the first point you want to reply to in it.

   This is the second sentence.[/quote]


...then you can break up the quote like this:

   [quote=John Doe]This is a long sentence with the first point you want to reply to in it.[/quote]
   Your reply to the first point.
   [quote]This is the second sentence.[/quote]
   Your reply to the second point.


Notice that you do not have to repeat the name John Doe.  Be sure to use the Preview button (just to the left of the Submit button) to check whether you have typed the Quote tags correctly.  It should look like this:


John Doe wrote:This is a long sentence with the first point you want to reply to in it.


Your reply to the first point.

This is the second sentence.


Your reply to the second point.
 
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