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Italicized quotation marks

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Sulfur has advised me that it is MA policy that, when quotations are italicized, the quotation marks themselves are not. It is a good thing for all MA pages to look the same; but this particular look doesn't look good: The italicized quotation marks "HERE" hug the text; the non-italicized quotation marks "HERE" do not, but float away from it. On my own screen (because my default font doesn't have italics and Mozilla fakes it in an exaggerated way), this even leads to overprinting on the right side and an apparent extra space on the left side. Is this really the way y'all want it? Spike-from-NH 18:02, January 5, 2012 (UTC)

Depends, I guess. What is the intended meaning (the semantics) of the quotation marks, what the meaning of the italics? If they even have a separate meaning, then there probably is a sensible order in which those two need to be nested, independent of how the outcome looks. If there is no separate meaning, and actually both form of markup are supposed to mean the same thing, we should (A) determine whether we really need both formattings at the same time, and if yes (B) do it via a template. -- Cid Highwind 18:10, January 5, 2012 (UTC)
They're in the context of quotes within text. As in, Cid said "What is the intended meaning?" With a font that has italics, it looks just normal and fine. When a font has to fake something out, it's always going to look weird. -- sulfur 18:21, January 5, 2012 (UTC)
So, no separate meaning? Are they both really necessary, then? -- Cid Highwind 18:27, January 5, 2012 (UTC)

Cid, my query does not depend on semantics but only on typographical aesthetics. (Sulfur, it looks bad in general; it merely looks especially bad to me with the home-brew font.) For example, the style guide I usually follow uses that same criterion to put period and comma inside quotes, even when the period or comma is not part of the thing quoted. (Wikipedia comes down on the other side and puts them inside or outside the quotes based on where they belong.) Spike-from-NH 18:34, January 5, 2012 (UTC)

It's formatting to show that it's a quote rather than plain encyclopedic text. Standard markup. In terms of periods and other such punctuation, they go inside the quote, unless the thing in quotes refers to a proper name (such as an episode, documentary, etc). -- sulfur 18:36, January 5, 2012 (UTC)
But if two styles with a semantic value are used, we can't just ignore semantics and talk about aesthetics. There is a difference between, in markup terms, <QUOTE><EMPHASIS>Text</EMPHASIS></QUOTE> and <EMPHASIS><QUOTE>Text</QUOTE></EMPHASIS> - the former would be appropriate if something was emphasized by the actor who uttered the phrase, while the latter would be appropriate in cases where we want to emphasize something that happens to be a quote. It stands to reason that just wanting to have a different font for quote content is neither the former nor the latter, so should use a different formatting altogether. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cid Highwind (talk • contribs).

Again, I am not proposing that the font of the "Text" change, only the font of the quotation marks, so that they appear in the correct position with respect to the text. (Upon further review, it is ignorable in Arial and Palatino; looks subtly incorrect in Tahoma and Cambria; looks pathetic in my personal font (which MA obviously has no duty to correct).) And aesthetics is my only basis for making the suggestion. The quotation marks are never part of the thing they quote, so didactically they should never be italic; the alignment just looks better if they are. Spike-from-NH 18:50, January 5, 2012 (UTC)

We only use one style: <QUOTE><EMPHASIS>Text</EMPHASIS></QUOTE> Anything that uses a differing style is incorrect and has not been caught for whatever reason. That style looks fine in the default fonts on the various browsers on Windows and Macs. Mobile skins do it all differently anyhow, so they're somewhat irrelevant (especially since that skin changes weekly it appears). -- sulfur 18:59, January 5, 2012 (UTC)
All of that still doesn't make much sense to me, because you both seem to be ignoring my core point: We should do what's semantically correct, and not do something just because it's either aesthetically pleasing or already done on a good number of pages. If it is incorrect, we should fix it - or at least stop repeating the error. -- Cid Highwind 20:13, January 5, 2012 (UTC)

Sorry; me, I'm not ignoring you, I'm disagreeing with you, and asserting that this semantic difference is never important. (When it is — to revert to my other example — no style guide demands that punctuation be artificially moved inside quotes if what you are quoting is literal computer code.) And I disagree with Sulfur when he seems to imply above that established style ought never be rethought. That is all I have to argue my position; for the time being, Sulfur has brought some of my recent edits into line with the style and I think I fixed the remainder last night. Spike-from-NH 20:51, January 5, 2012 (UTC)

Then the disagreement goes both ways, because I really believe there is some importance to the order. Two examples:
  1. "Khaaaan!", he shouted, and then added in a more neutral voice: "I like your hair. It's not a toupet, is it?"
  2. We should either visit Vulcan or "the Planet of Galactic Peace", as Nimbus III is sometimes called.
In the first case, we want to visualize an emphasis that the original speaker of the quote made. In the second case, we're emphasizing ourselves, and one of the terms we're emphasizing just happens to be a quote.
Of course, if both variants have some meaning, we shouldn't also use it in cases that don't have that meaning - like, for example, simple inline quotes without specific internal or external emphasis. If readability of inline quotes is a problem, we should either avoid those or format them in a different way, preferably using a template. -- Cid Highwind 21:06, January 5, 2012 (UTC)
I agree with sulfur on this issue. Having the italics inside the quotation marks is the only way we've done it and, IMO, it should be kept that way. --Defiant 22:00, January 5, 2012 (UTC)
I see no reason to make several hundred edits to "correct" what does boil down to a stylistic choice. Emphasized sections of quotes are un-italicized, bolded, or both, so it isn't necessary to change the whole format simply to present the inverse. Creating another template is also going to break a butt load of external reference links since a "=" can't be used directly in one, not to mention the creation of a template for quotes hasn't really gone over all to well in the past. I'm fine with the current styling, and I don't see any reason to change it. - Archduk3 01:01, January 6, 2012 (UTC)
I see, this is becoming another one of those dead-end discussions where something has been put in stone after randomly being employed on articles, and then any sensible discussion about it is cut short by claiming that "this is how we do things" (even if wrong) or "we mustn't correct that", and enter some people who are disagreeing probably more for personal reasons than for having understood the core problem, and we're left with a weird choice from years ago until all eternity. So be it, I'm out of here - if you're reading this and support using quotes and emphasis in some semantically correct way for a change, let me know. -- Cid Highwind 11:27, January 6, 2012 (UTC)
For straight quotes, things are formatted properly as is (semantically that is). These are quotes that are intended to be inline. As such, we want to distinguish them from the rest of the text somehow. Avoiding inline quotes is impossible in encyclopedic text, and I see no reason why we should take that route. I can see reasons why it might be nice to put that in a template (with no other formatting such as new fonts or otherwise, which has always been one of the major issues with quote templates).
In terms of speaker emphasis (such as "the Planet of Galactic Peace", I see no reason why it could not be indicated that way.
I think that what we really need to do here is take (yet) another look at all of our formatting and layout stuff and confirm that things are being done "appropriately". I'd suggest that we take a look at a proper encyclopedia and see how they deal with these things and take that as a starting point for discussion. -- sulfur 11:59, January 6, 2012 (UTC)
I'd appreciate it if this was attempted, but only if "we're doing it this way!" is less important than "this is the correct way" in that discussion. Otherwise, it would just be a waste of time. For what it's worth (and, yes, we're not Wikipedia, yadda, yadda...), Wikipedia states that one should not italicize "a quotation [...] inside quotation marks or a block quote just because it is a quotation" [1]. -- Cid Highwind 12:49, January 6, 2012 (UTC)

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